Recognition. Takes. Time. If you don’t believe us then listen to the words of producer Chris Holmes – CAT’s Audio Engineering Department Head – who just received his third (and 1st Canadian) Gold Record.
“In the age of torrenting, illegal downloading, and the instant access to media, the idea of getting any kind of accolade for sales seems quite unlikely. Especially in music, the coveted Gold Or Platinum record is seemingly out of reach for most artists in this day and age…or so it would appear.
I was very fortunate to of received two of these accolades in my life; a platinum record for a Korn record I worked on in 2005, and a gold record for an Ashley Tisdale album I worked on in 2007. While both of these awards mean a great deal to me, I really wanted a Canadian one. Canadian Gold & Platinum records are much harder to come by, as the market is much smaller, at roughly 1/10th of the US market.
Sometime during early 2009, I got to work on a batch of songs that would end up on Faber Drives second album “Can’t Keep A Secret”. At the time, my friend Jeff Johnson was an up and coming producer who had been tapped to co-write with Dave Faber, and he was kind enough to bring me along as his engineer. We ended up with two of his songs making the final album; “I’ll Be There”, and “You & I Tonight” which ended up being the third single for the album.
While the album was successful in 2009/2010, it faded from memory quickly, and to say I was disappointed we didn’t hit 40,000 units sold (the threshold for a gold album in Canada) would be an understatement. I felt that it was probably my only chance at getting a Canadian gold, and it was seemingly not going to happen this time.
Fast-forward nine years. Nine years. My life had changed drastically, and while I was still working on music full time, “Big Record Label” records didn’t really exist anymore, and it was more about doing larger volumes of regional independent artists who would sell fewer albums. Gold Records just weren’t even on my radar anymore.
Then in November of 2018, I got a call from Jeff Johnson. He informed me that we had finally surpassed the 40,000 units on Faber Drive, and that he would be shipping out a Gold Record for me. I was shocked, and elated but also somewhat confused. How did this happen? How did we, after eight years, suddenly garner the numbers we needed to get this achievement?
The answer was slow & steady growth and an adjustment in the way sales are tracked to include streams. Faber Drive kept touring, kept releasing music, and kept being around. Slowly over time, they were able to push the sales over the line.
For music artists today, the way these sales records are tracked is much different. In July of 2018, Billboard and Nielsen SoundScan both revised their album sales records to include streaming. 1500 song streams through a paid/subscription service, or 3750 add supported streams, or 3750 video streams can now be counted as one album sale. While 150,000,000 streams might seem impossible, it is more likely that an artist will get those kinds of numbers instead of selling 40,000 physical cds anymore.
Why am I telling you this story? Because you have to understand that success takes time. Creative types seem to want the instant pay off of success and when they don’t get it, they usually just give up. Persistence and consistently working on your goals is the only way to get there, even if it takes the better part of a decade.”
Photo of Chris Holmes by Victor Poirier.