Welcome to the official Singerreise webpage! Join in the discussion as we talk about the life of an opera singer, and as we learn about Schubert's masterpiece Winterreise.

Entertain, Educate, Encourage

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The First Anniversary (053)

It's birthday time for Singerreise! Welcome to the one year mark. One year ago, the first Episode of the Singerreise Video Podcast was published. I was hairy, inexperienced at videography, but I had a mission and a drive to help people. I hardly knew what I had to offer at the time. But whatever I did have, I was going to put it to use.

Really, I'm not much for birthdays -- you may have noticed the lack of balloons. But hitting one year of doing Singerreise is a good time to look back at what has been accomplished so far.

As is my inclination, I resorted to putting together a spreadsheet to see what I've done. It's like a disease. Here's some of the numbers

Previous to this video, there have been 52 episodes in the Singerreise Video Podcast. On average that's one per week over the last year.

Of those episodes, 18 of them have been about Winterreise. Beyond that, I've also covered another five arias and art songs. Altogether, Sarah and I have done 22 musical performances for you all on video, and each performance has been accompanied by some teaching about the song.

There have been 16 videos about singer life, covering subjects like memorization, translation, facial hair, and a longer series about how to do your taxes as a self-employed singer. I also reviewed 2 books on video.

Some of the most successful Episodes at Singerreise have been the 6 interviews. In the last 2, I also put together 27 deleted scenes for patrons. The deleted scenes have been some of my favorite nuggets from the interviews, so I'm really happy that they've been preserved in this way.

When you put together all the videos - the official episodes, the bonus videos for patrons, welcome videos, and campaign videos - they total a staggering 258! Wow. (And more have been posted since I wrote this.)

Besides videos, there have been 87 posts and articles at Singerreise.com, as well as a handful of resource pages. I'm also maintaining a facebook page and a twitter account. I dare not try to quantify the number of posts and comments there.

Seeing all these numbers definitely helps me feel like I have accomplished something. And I am proud of my work thus far. But it hasn't been just one success after another. There have been some big failures in there, too, a few things that I tried, and that bombed.

For example, in the spring I launched a campaign to raise awareness for Patreon, the primary mechanism that funds Singerreise. I called the campaign #99Reasons, and then produced 99 mini-videos.

The plan was to release one video per day for 99 days. Each video was a new reason why you should consider joining Singerreise at Patreon.

Many of the videos were outright silly, and some were more thought-provoking. All of them were short. The project launched at the same time as the Singerreise Twitter account, so each reason was formatted to be tweetable. Sometimes that meant I only scratched the surface of a major issue, but I stuck to my chosen format, and resisted the temptation to expound on each one. I didn't miss a day, even when I was in a country without access to facebook and twitter.

The hope was that I could achieve awareness through sheer volume, that Singerreise could always be visible because there was something new to see. But it became a huge hassle and time sink, and it may have annoyed and turned people away instead.

I still think the #99Reasons videos are entertaining, and they're still relevant. If you're curious, the playlist is available on the Singerreise YouTube Channel.

And because they are really short, it would be a good way to boost Singerreise's lifetime plays. Because of some recent changes at YouTube, Singerreise now needs 10,000 lifetime plays to re-qualify as a YouTube Partner. Until that point, Singerreise is working with handcuffs.

EDIT: There's a lot of you already doing this, and its working! Perhaps these #99Reasons videos were not such a failure after all?

Another less-than-popular series was about doing taxes. As it turns out, I'm far more enthusiastic about finances, spreadsheets, and crunching numbers than my audience. Almost nobody watched those episodes.

Another disappointment, at least thus far, has been how slow Patreon patronage has grown. I've very thankful for the patrons I have, but I had hoped that by now, Patreon support would have grown to the point where Singerreise was self-sufficient.

Right now, the number of hours that I spend on Singerreise is not justified by the income it generates, especially after expenses. This work doesn't make financial sense for my family. There are many other ways that I should be using those hours for income, and it's too expensive to keep as a hobby.

To be honest, lately I have been wondering if Singerreise is worth the effort. Has Singerreise run its course? Is it time to shut it down?

The short answer is "No." There is still at least one milestone that I, personally, need to achieve. I need to complete Winterreise. Singerreise must continue at least until the end of that.

The good news is that I won't exactly be hurrying to finish Winterreise. Between numbers 18 and 24, there'll be more bits about singer life, more interviews, some non-Winterreise music, some vocal technique to teach, maybe another book review, a store to launch, and so on.

I talked a lot about those near-term goals in the previous Episode 52, so check that episode out. Even better, see all of the goals I have for Singerreise at patreon.com/singerreise.

But Singerreise isn't merely a list of my personal accomplishments. I still hang on to the mission of Singerreise: to Entertain, Educate, and Encourage. I still believe that these videos and articles are of value to singers, students of singing, and all those who love and appreciate singing. By making these videos, I'm providing a service. I'm helping people.

By people, I mean you, by the way. You all are the purpose for Singerreise. You're the reason Singerreise is here in the first place, and the only real reason it is worth continuing. You're the only ones that make Singerreise worthwhile.

And if you want to get Singerreise a birthday present, make sure to let me know that you're paying attention! Tell me how I'm doing, especially on facebook and YouTube.

Thanks for all your support this last year, and thanks for watching!

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