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What next with our music?

October 30, 2018


Making music is easy. Getting anyone to listen to it is hard.

We’ve been making music since about 1988. We’ve lived through huge changes in the music industry and have seen entire genres, scenes and release formats come and go.

We’ve churned out many cassettes, CDRs, CDs and downloads, to varying degrees of success. Fortunately for us, we do it for the love of making music and not for money – because there has been very little of that. Just an observation, not particularly a complaint.

A very significant development has been the arrival of subscription streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music etc. We resisted for a while, not least because of the incredibly small amount of money these outlets pay to the artists, but it is now the case that more than half of all music consumption is by streaming. If we want to be heard, we need to be on there. Also, it seems that the Playlist has replaced the album for much of the public.

We initially decided to use an aggregator, Tunecore, that we have used before for other distribution. There is a relatively small fee for each album, renewable annually. However, we have no money and don’t want a large annual renewal bill to pay by having multiple albums online. So, we put together a “greatest hits” compilation of tunes by Secret Archives of the Vatican and Thousand Yard Prayer called Transglobal Breakbeat Dub Science. Then we added separate compilations for each of these acts, Chronicle and The Story So Far.

The Story So Far cover  Chronicle SMALL

Then we discovered another aggregator, DistroKid,  which has a slightly different payment model. There is a single annual fee (roughly similar to that for a single album on Tunecore) and you can upload as many albums and singles as you like. So. we’ve been uploading various items from our back catalogue. The process is quite simple and they send it to many online stores and streaming services, including some specialising in China and the Middle East.

Just after we did this we heard that Spotify is now allowing direct uploads by independent artists at no cost. However, it’s still in trial mode, among about 200 American artists only. There is no information about when the rest of the world will get access to this. Seems like a good thing to us, though.

However, the big problem with Spotify is that they get 20,000 new tracks per day. Holy cow! How can anyone get heard in that sea of noise?

Get on official Playlists!

Easier said than done. New material can be presented to Spotify‘s curators for consideration a couple of weeks ahead of release. That’s no use for our back catalogue. We could present new material (there is some ready for release) but our life-long difficulty still exists: we don’t fit into any standard genre. None of the official Playlists are right for our music.

Our next battle, then, is how to get noticed on Spotify, how get on popular unofficial Playlists and how to get added to individuals’ Playlists.

Crocodile Gate – Secret Archives of the Vatican Podcast 140

October 20, 2018

We’ve just uploaded the 140th episode of our most excellent podcast. We hope you like it! Please listen, share and comment.

1 Andalus (Original Mix) – Omarilzz
2 The Crocodile Gate of Khemi – Secret Archives of the Vatican
3 Pillars of Ophirian Sandalwood – Thousand Yard Prayer
4 Ilm al Yaqin – Celt Islam
5 Arabesque Trapstep – Desifre
6 Nomad – Desifre
7 Sufi Dub (Austero Remix ) – Monkey Marc, Austero
8 Chaiya Chaiya – DJ Sukh


band podcast blog

The Story So Far – new compilation from Thousand Yard Prayer on Spotify

September 28, 2018

Here is a new 14 track compilation from Thousand Yard Prayer on Spotify.
It includes one remix and two new tunes.  It is also available from iTunes and Apple Music.

The Story So Far cover

Chronicle – new Secret Archives of the Vatican compilation on Spotify (and elsewhere)

September 28, 2018

Here is a new compilation of eleven of our tracks from our back catalogue, available on Spotify.   It is also available from iTunes and Apple Music.

Chronicle SMALL

Changes in the music industry – what next?

September 24, 2018

SAotV Sep 2018


We’ve been releasing music since 1988. That’s a long time. We’ve seen scenes, formats, fashions and styles come and go.

We caught the tail end of the cassette trader scene, then the start of CDs. We saw the start, heyday and decline of mp3s and now the decline of downloads in any format. We have seen the start of streaming and we continue to watch and participate in the changes in the music world.

Sales and downloads

We never sold many cassettes. We didn’t sell many CDs and now we literally can’t give them away. We had more success with downloads, never selling many but achieving small but respectable numbers of downloads using a business model that combined Creative Commons share-as-you-like with pay-what-you-like. However, our Bandcamp downloads are drying up fast, despite us releasing new material regularly.



Music business stats now show sales of physical media disappearing fast. Sales of downloads are dropping rapidly too. It seems everyone is streaming now. It seems over half of music is consumed on streaming services these days, generally legal and with either free or subscription services.


So we have reluctantly started uploading our music to Spotify and Apple Music. We will literally make no money ever from that but it has to be done if we ever want anyone to hear our music.  Fortunately we have day jobs.  Currently we pay an aggregator to add our music to these platforms so it costs us more than we make. However, Spotify has just announced that it will shortly be making direct, cost-free, uploading available to artists.


Our audience is two thirds male, one third female, and aged largely between 22 and 59. They are mostly in the USA and the UK but there are small numbers across the rest of the world.  Apparently, YouTube is a main source of new music for the under 20s but our fans do not go there for their music. We like making videos but perhaps we should not put too much effort into doing so in future.


Albums and playlists

The album as a concept is almost dead in this new music scene. It has been replaced with playlists. We’re exploring that concept; it is an interesting development and we’re not ideologically opposed to it.

As we currently pay to get on Spotify, it makes no sense to upload all our old albums individually. Instead, we’re compiling our best tracks from previous releases and uploading them as “albums” but really the idea is to treat each track as a potential addition our own or others’ playlists.

The playlist concept is dependent on fans following and sharing the playlist or adding tracks to their own playlists. Because we make very niche genre music it is very unlikely we will ever get on the bigger, official, sponsored playlists. We are dependent on our fans’ enthusiasm and commitment.

We will continue to make music and we’ll see what happens.



Here’s our first Spotify playlist

September 14, 2018

Here’s a Spotify playlist for the tunes we’ve just uploaded.   We hope you like this selection.

Please have a listen and follow Secret Archives of the Vatican and Thousand Yard Prayer artists’ pages.


We’re on Spotify!

September 12, 2018

We’ve just added a 14 track compilation of tunes by Secret Archives of the Vatican and Thousand Yard Prayer to Spotify.  We’ve called it Transglobal Breakbeat Dub Science. It’s a selection of tunes we think will work well in people’s playlists and that showcase what we do well.

It seems most people now access music by streaming rather than by buying physical media or downloads. Although we remain critical of Spotify‘s business model (paying artists almost nothing), we also want people to hear our music. We need to be on the streaming services.

If you use Spotify, please listen and “heart” us.

Add us to your playlist.

The more people add us to their playlists, the better chance we have of being added to the bigger playlists and reaching that wider audience that we think we deserve (in our not-so-humble opinion!).  We very much appreciate your support in this way.


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