How we released Live at the Royal Festival Hall.
We've previously blogged about the whys and wherefores of Mary Hopkin Music, but it all started in 2005 with Live at the Royal Festival Hall 1972. It always seems a terrible shame when there's music unheard, but in 2005 the music world was becoming more democratic.
Companies such as CD Baby were showing that artists could be in charge of their own sales without having to work under the umbrella of a major record label. And because Mary still had a hardcore following, it seemed like a good idea to make something we could sell online.
The Unreleased Archive
Among the unreleased archives, gleaned from those pesky 2" tape reels that had been hanging over Mary's head, was a slimmer tape of a gig she had done in 1972. We don't know who made it but it was evidently a kind engineer on the night, taking a copy from the sound desk. An engineer friend, Mike Silverston, had made CD copies of these tapes and so we had a CD to work from.
Learning How to Release an Album
I will fully admit all naivety here. I had no idea how to go about it but I started to do some research, and found out the basics of how to release an album. You find a CD replication company, come up with a master CD, create some artwork that fits their templates, send everything off and cross your fingers. I literally sent the CD that Mike had made, and Mary found a great picture of herself dating from around that time. What you have then, if you have bought a copy (and if you haven't, it's on sale), is the result of a cottage industry. Or a Cardiff terraced-house-industry.
Getting the Ball Rolling
I knocked up a simple website, made a Paypal button, and then once we had the CDs lining our hallway in boxes, emailed the lovely Pat Richmond who spread the word amongst other fans through her website. Seeing the orders flood in in the first hour was very emotional and overwhelming. It meant that there were still people out there who wanted Mary's music.
We didn't have Space Studios yet, (although it swiftly followed) so for a few months I was lugging packaged CDs to the local post office and holding up the queue while I sent off CDs all around the world. Even the post mistress (who often served with a cockateel perched on her head) commented when she saw our Mary Hopkin Music logo how much she liked Mary's music.
Since then we've followed a slightly improved process but Live at the Royal Festival Hall 1972 continues to be a popular album, showing Mary at her live best.
Want to know more?
That's how we managed our first release. Is there anything else about this you'd like to know? Please ask through Twitter, or on the Facebook page! If you like this content, please share with your friends using the buttons below.
Next week we'll be looking at some of the songs Mary performed in her early days.
Jessica Lee Morgan is Mary's daughter and runs Mary Hopkin Music.