Brian Asselin is a mutlifaceted member of the Songwriters Association of Canada and a recent Featured Member. He has spent many years teaching music and working as a jazz musician. More recently, he discovered an interest in songwriting and while he finishes up recording his debut album, he has already gotten radio airplay for his song, “Tonight,” which was actually his first foray into writing a conventional love pop song. In addition, Brian wrote a song of appreciation for teachers which has garnered over 300,000 views on his Youtube Channel. We interviewed him to find out the secret of his success on Youtube and why he feels that “just having a song isn’t enough.”
Initially teaching music was a way of supplementing his income as a musician, but it soon became a passion unto itself. So much so that he decided to attend teachers college where an assignment led him to write the song, “You Have Made a Difference.” The song has captured the attention of teachers and students around the world, leading to Youtube hits, sales of the song, as well as sales of the music charts. It’s success illustrates how writing a song for a specific target audience, along with the investment of significant time in marketing your song to that audience, can lead to sales and public awareness.
Contrary to what some many believe, placing the song on Youtube did not lead to immediate fame. Instead, with diligence and many hours at his computer, Brian contacted teacher organizations around the world, in addition to anyone else who might be interested in sharing the song, including the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper from whom he received a letter of appreciation. He even sent a copy to Oprah and Ellen Degeneres (but never heard back from either). For 5 months he spent 2-4 hours online daily to share his song. He sent out 200-250 emails, and mailed out 100 copies. The 300,000+ hits he’s received has been a slow accumulation that experienced a significant rise on Teacher’s Day, on October 5th when his Youtube video received almost 10,000 hits in one day. The song has taken on a life of its own. The lyrics to “You Have Made a Difference,” have been added to a text book in South Africa, and the song was used as a theme for the Canadian Federation of Teachers for World Teachers Day.
It is expected that the song’s popularity will continue to grow as World Teachers Day is celebrated annually, and few songs have captured the sentiment of gratitude for teachers as captured by Brian’s song. In the mean time Brian hopes that the success of this song, will help to catapult his upcoming album. When asked if he had any tips for fellow songwriters, he replied, “Jump into the deep end. Just having a song isn’t enough. No one is going to search for you (online). Promote yourself as much as possible.” Clearly, Brian has taken his own advice and benefited from it.
Note: The Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.