Bryce Wastney’s gamble is paying off. The Nelson-based songwriter, who has a loyal following both here and in Australia, removed his first two albums – A Perfect Day For Travel and Hope Mountain – from sale online as part of an exclusive worldwide deal with US label Musik and Film.
“This is the kind of break I’ve been hoping for,” Wastney says. “It’s a chance for me to get international promotion. They have a strong radio network of 51,000 stations and they can track who is playing what songs, so if there is a bit of a buzz in Europe, for example, you can measure how it’s going and base your touring plans around that.”
Although Wastney will still sell physical copies of his albums at concerts, his focus now is on recording singles, the first of which is a reworking of Dead Man Walking from the Hope Mountain album. It was released last week and has already been added to more than 4000 stations (none yet in New Zealand though).
“It’s amazing what they have done with the song,” Wastney says. “I’ve been working closely with Stephen Wrench [CEO of Musik and Film] and top Nashville engineer and producer Jeff Silverman.
“When you are a songwriter the production standards have a big part to play in determining what genre you fit into. Being a self- funded independent artist, I’ve had to do everything myself, which is exhausting at the best of times.”
The game plan for Wastney is to have four songs available through Musik and Film by the end of the year, with a view to potentially releasing an EP. The focus, at this stage, is on digital distribution.
“The world has changed,” Wastney says. “Obviously, I’ll still be selling the CDs I’ve previously recorded at my concerts but, as far as newer songs go, it’s going to be a focus on the digital platform.
“In the old days, record companies held the keys to all the big opportunities, and it soon became a game of whoever had the most money would get heard. Nowadays, artists have a direct connection to their audience, so promotion and funding opportunities sometimes boils down to how many ‘likes’ you have.”