Steve Palfreyman

Steve Palfreyman

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Steve Palfreyman

Founder, Music Launch Hub
I'm a creative strategist passionate about building online brands in the music industry. I host a global music community where career musicians & industry professionals build music & release strategies, together. I also host the world's largest virtual music conference, the Music Launch Summit. I bring 13+ years of experience to the table, being a recording artist and also having consulted with hundreds of artists, both early stage and top tiers.
music industry, consulting, social media, strategy, networking, music performance, startups, artist development
rock, indie, singer/songwriter, music, startups
Melbourne, AUS

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Recent Feedback

David Nyro submitted media.

Serious Nowhere by David Nyro

Steve Palfreyman

David, wow! I love this track. I don't say that very often as my first comment, I mean that. I read through your thoughts below and most of my feedback will respond to those points.

Before getting to that the one thing I will say is that to me, the video clip itself is actually the major thing letting the song down. That doesn't mean don't use it, it's just that to me, it's not adding anything to the experience; it's not sharing a new story or perspective, it just feels like stock footage. 

But let's look at the song. You clearly know how to write a track; the hook in the chorus has been stuck in my head for a couple of days (I like to listen a few times before writing feedback if the song is good - to see if I come back). And yes, I have now listened a few times over the past few days. It's great.

I think your voice is really good here, and the production overall is fantastic. Nothing to change. The only thing that bugs me is the incredibly long fadeout at the end. I don't mind a fadeout, but this goes on for eternity and I think listeners will tune out or skip. You don't want people skipping on Spotify as it tells the algorithm that people skip which can harm your chances of getting picked out and put into playlists...

As far as career progression, it's tough. Your music sits in a tricky spot. It's very good, but I can see how a music supervisor might struggle to get you placed. This music has a market, but it's not the flavour of the month. Can unfortunately make things tough.

As for what to do, there are people out there who love this music (it turns out I am one of them). You need to find these people. The best way to do this today is on Facebook & Instagram, with a mixture of organic content and paid advertising. It'll be an investment in time and some money, but it's arguably the cheapest way to get your music in front of people right now.

In terms of monetizing your music so you can keep making and growing etc. that's always a possibility once you find the fanbase and start putting offers in front of them. I think your best opportunity is to look towards bringing people into a community that you create in some way, and then map out a plan to give them chances to support you.

The music is good enough (most people try all this before the music is ready) so as long as you have more great songs like this up your sleeve to release, then a pathway like this will make sense. I've listened to some other tracks and I can see you have other good songs so I think there is absolutely merit in pursuing this path.

The hard part is right now you are poised looking at a myriad of pathways, you've dabbled in some, but it's hard to know which one is right for you without trying. Feel free to hit me up if you want to talk some of this through in more detail, more than happy to catch up for a quick chat at some stage.

Clifford Reeves submitted media.

3 AM by Clifford

Steve Palfreyman

Great track, this one is rockin'!

So much to like here, especially the vocals (melody, lyrics and energy all great).

Love the driving bassline and drums work well. The arrangement is really good.

Some things I'd consider looking at:
Some of the tones are a little jarring (I'd consider a new kick sound, and maybe different samples for the drums).
I'm into the jangly guitar, but the solo tone doesn't feel like it fits (I'd either keep the tone the same but beef it up and double track it for the solo, or find something more unique in that section).
Guitar solo should be half as long unless something new is added that second time around. The melody is cool, it just doesn't add anything by going twice.

Major tweaks would be on production. With more production value I can see this getting a lot of traction. But don't lose too much of the DIY vibe, this is 90% of the way there. Awesome work!

Riley Jensen submitted media.

Steve Palfreyman

This track is right up my alley! I love the core riff, it's catchy and clever, the instrumentation is smart, singer fits nicely and I like that thought has gone into how the song progresses. It feels like it sticks to form when it needs to but there are still some progressive experiments with the flow. Quality of recording is good and I love how you've tried to explain the process and ambition of the band, that has captured my attention almost more than the song. How you pitch your story is as important as the music you make and you're off to a good start.

To help you with progressing, my opinion of tracks like this is they need to go somewhere. I feel like there's a missing link with the ending, as it's building up to 2.46 the strength of the singer starts to really shine, and while I can dig the 'stop' that happens, it's a shame it went straight back to the core riff. We sort of built all this way-up, then went back down and had to wait for those amazing harmonies at the end.

I just say this to keep in mind next time - the length of song isn't as important as making sure every tiny piece in it earns its place. I think you could have found a way to push through to that end part with harmonies quicker, or launch in straight to it, keep the energy moving and not bring us back to something we've already heard before.

I would also say be careful of your lyrics, it's very easy to quickly pigeon-hole yourself if the lyrics feel too cheesy. Push the boundaries of the stories you want to tell and make sure you're writing lyrics every day of the week to expand yourself.

As far as marketing, go heavy on your story of 'this is the year for us' make sure you're pushing each other to put out as much video content as you can. (Side note, be careful of the 'fade to black' in this video, it distracted me from the song, I went back to make sure it wasn't a glitch, always make sure something is happening). Talk about what you're about on your socials, put together more videos and snippets like this, look at the video and imagery you make as one half of the musical puzzle, share stories, meet new people daily on social, interact, create - do all this all year without stopping or looking back and you'll be setting yourself up for a shot at making 2019 'your year'.

Bob Gaulke submitted media.

Steve Palfreyman

Smart progressions, I like the lazy vibe, really suits the droning vocals. There are brilliant textures and all the players are amazing. In a song like this that creates a lot of space by nature, there is a lot going on.

Sometimes it feels like there is a bit too much going on - I'd love to hear different sections have more purpose/focus on particular instruments. Right now no one instrument stands out for me, it's all a bit of a mash. But if certain parts were allowed to breathe a bit more in certain sections I'd be more likely as a listener to be wowed.

It's a common tendency, and I get it might too be an artistic choice. But for something like this, a little less chaos and more space would take this from a good to great song.

As far as promotion goes, you really need a social media strategy. There's not much action on your Facebook Page, I haven' checked your other channels yet, but if this is any indicator, before you start reaching out to people you need to be posting regular content. Feel free to hit me back if you want some help there. Your video from September is on the right track but there should be a lot more of this - such as exploration behind the concepts, the people, the narratives of the record and you as an artist.

Go heavy on content as your #1 prerogative for 2018.

Riley Jensen submitted media.

Futureproof by Kaptur

Steve Palfreyman

Ok, I actually freakin' love this track guys; it's not just up my alley but damn it takes you on a journey!

It's funny, somewhere between 2.40 - 3.50 or so I was thinking I'm ready for a bit of release from the tension that had been built, like the track wanted to go somewhere, and I ended up being happy it moved into that bridge and then back around in a new direction. Sometimes you want a song to take you where you want to go and other times you're even happier when it doesn't do that.

Pulling off the latter is way harder, so big kudos to really making this an interesting experience.

I love what you're doing on your social media, especially the video content, keep that up.

This will be the first track that I've received here and love enough to share on social media, great work!

Riley Jensen submitted media.

Steve Palfreyman

Nice stuff, I really dug the track! Keep in mind I give very honest feedback and I take some guesses given I don't know the context of what you're releasing, how and when etc (which would adjust my feedback). It's always tricky with this style of music; it is a packed genre and so decisions need to be made about what you want the song to do for you, which should change what you do to get it out there.

In terms of the song itself, I felt like it took a little too long to 'get somewhere' (was roughly 1.10). Which I usually love when it's a part of a body of work, but it's riskier if this is a single. I also feel like the song needed to change somewhere else too, there's definitely space for a bridge or an outro. But at the least, I'd love to see that dream beat change somewhere. A lot can be done to a listener just by creating some tension and going back.

I LOVE your main hook and how it's carried instrumentally as well, for me that's the strongest part of the song. And the outro part too was nice.

All I'm getting at here is I can hear talent oozing through this but I also feel like you're playing it a little safe. I'd love to hear what happen if you start pushing your own limits a little.

In terms of release, keep in mind your best opportunity with a song like this is to find a way to visually tell a story that ties in with the song and use that build your fan base. The song is strong enough that it deserves time spent on the visuals. I would be looking at a creative strategy that is more than just a film clip, no doubt there is a whole campaign's worth of content that you can put out to grab people's attention on line.

I say this because if you can build your fan base and set yourself up for down the track, assuming you keep pushing the boundaries with your writing it'll be hard for people not to notice you.

All in all I dig the song and I'd like to hear more of what you have. Really great stuff!

Linda McClain submitted media.

Too Much Silence by The Jewel Machine

Steve Palfreyman

First up, great song, I can see there are some talented musicians working on this!

A couple of things to consider on the music and also the recording side. I take the pragmatic approach assuming you're after constructive feedback and so I won't talk about all the things that are great. The track, in my eyes, has potential to be great! 

It's worth considering what you want to do with this recording. i.e. it's obviously live and so the long intro makes sense. But if this is pre-production for a single, I'd look at tightening that intro, bring in the verse faster. Singles must put the listeners' attention first, movement is the aim.

Verse #1:
Drums are quite busy in the verse I find they distract from the vocals. there's a lot going on with the instrumentation, strings/banjo are busy here too. One of the hardest and best skills of a band is creating space for each member, which often means bringing instruments in and out or simplifying lines at key sections of the song. You guys need to decide what the focal point is here and write around that.

Both voices need to be split in the mix if they're copying each other like that. At the moment they don't make each other stronger, but pull your attention away from each. Definitely a mixing thing. I would also say it'd be interesting to hear both of you sing at different times, I can hear two powerful voices here, showcasing both at different times would be interesting to explore.

Bridge (half time part)
The vocals mirror the rest of the song, but i feel like there is a great opportunity to let some of the instrumentation shine. Could mean adjusting the lyrics, pulling them out entirely our making the more complimentary and less in the forefront.

I get the live vibe of the track and that lends to the song being a little eratic in the way it moves between sections. But it will find a harder home on blogs and radio, for example. I say this because I don't know the audience you're reaching our what you want this song to do. That's an important thing to consider, not so you change your song just to try and get a result. But so you can make some creative decisions based on the result you want.

Things like, if it's as content to show your audience what you're working on, what you're like live, then perfect.

If you're looking for a more polished single then the production quality isn't there yet.

Focus on the song first, make it make sense, keep getting feedback and most importantly talk to each other about each of you see for this song. Spend the time on producing the track yourselves and you'll see the difference not just in this song but in your writing process as a band.

Keep up the great stuff, there's a lot to build on here for sure!

submitted media.

Money by Blake Preston

Steve Palfreyman

First up, it's really nice to see a lot of time and care going into the production. I can see the quality of the clip and the recording, that's brilliant. It's definitely a catchy track too, I've gone straight to your website to find more stuff to listen to - I'm intrigued right from the get go!

It's a tough genre to sit in, so much of what you're trying to create has been done before. Not to say there isn't space for more music like this, but I do think there's always space for new or different takes on a genre like this. I have no doubt a lot of time and care has gone into producing this, but for me I'd love to see some artistic choices try and stretch the mold a little more, not just fit safely within a mold that's very full.

It's obvious the musicianship is there so no excuses to push the limits with arrangements.

With the clip I get the feeling it's built more on what can be made with resources in front of you and less like it's been made as a standalone piece of work in itself.

I think there's a strong message you've got to push forward with the song and for me the video lost an opportunity to really story-tell. Hey, I could be wrong, but it looks more like a series of stock clips that make 'just enough sense' to piece together, rather than a piece of art in itself. If I'm spending time watching something visually I want to be drawn into what's going on, not just have it there for the sake of having it there. I really loved how some of the shots fitted during the bridge for example, if the rest of it felt like it at had that much purpose I'd be writing a very different piece right here.

All this to say, it's strong song and clip that a lot of care has gone into but we're in a world now where art needs to be pushed and I think you have what it takes to push harder. I really hope you take this as an overall look at where you are and not a direct reflection of what you should be doing with this clip and it's release. As in, right here I give very honest feedback, so much so, that outside of Fluence I would be talking about what's practical considering you're in full swing of launching this. What I say should be an encouragment to look at what you're doing and create content with more meaning and purpose every single day, tell the stories behind this record, share insights into the process and who you are do all of that feeling so proud of what you've made (I know I'm keen to hear the whole album). Its important now you keep swinging no matter what, your work is worth it.

Shamal Ranasinghe submitted media.

Steve Palfreyman

Wow, really cool concept here! Great promotional video too, really makes me want to try it out.

I think the biggest challenge you'll have is that people will want to test it out before they buy it.

Would be cool to see some more videos on how it works and why it'll make a difference. This promo video is great, it creates intriguie. I'm now on your website and the best thing would be to be getting me immersed in the experience.

Show me why it's the must have thing. Show me the benefits I'll experience. Why everyone else around me is going to go "wow, I want one too" as soon as I get it.

Essentially, the front end of your marketing is good, next and arguably most challenging part, is finding a way to take people on a journey to buy.

Plugin Fest submitted media.

Steve Palfreyman

Great looking event! You should take a quick look at Pause Fest - a different but similarly focused festival here in Melbourne. I appreciate the passion coming through in your story. One suggestion is to think a little more about communicating why you're doing this - it'll improve your messaging from the start. In fact, Simon Sinek's book Start With Why would be a brilliant read for you.