So it's been a year since I released Aquanaut. 8800+ plays and 116 downloads later, here's what I know now, hopefully this helps someone:
1. The response has been great. Like Scateren, it was never properly polished, expertly mixed, etc., but it is what it is, and to see it spread around in twitter space has been fantastic.
2. People in much of the world do buy music. This primarily includes Europe, USA, and Japan. Streaming might be convenient but like every middleman service, it will never feel like a listener connected directly to the author. Bandcamp shines for this. Since it's free to listen, actual purchases really felt like gratitude.
3. Many people buy premium. Seems to be more about gratitude since the value was the same.
4. Like every music release, Aquanaut too could be found on torrents within days. My listeners did not respect my asking not to publish the lossless files (actually one may have). Unfortunately Bandcamp does not allow better control over who gets the FLAC files, but it's obvious someone bought it only to upload it to a torrent tracker.
5. The above said, I've never had trouble with the torrent community. However what seriously derails me are digital lockers of the kind that run ads all over the place. I had a lot of trouble with these, and for some reason there were always Russian traces everywhere an illegal copy of Aquanaut turns up :( I appreciate rebels, especially fellow Slavs, but am no empire, so... don't know.
6. Taking down zips or rars of my music is the ultimate punishment for having it released. It is distracting, and demoralising, takes forever, and the quickest way is to take screenshots, copypaste the urls, threaten dmca and whatever, and send proof that it's yours - all of these at the same time, in serious-looking word documents, just what a musician needs. Anyway, I say this not only because I feel the need to protect my work, but also said uploads never had the little pdf artwork booklet that took some effort to produce.
7. Do not upload full tracks to Last.fm unless you wish to see them streamed on a million aggregator sites, always for ads, and sometimes for money.
8. Not one person will review digital music unless they either receive an exclusive copy in advance, or you pay them, or they know you personally. Not one person will review free music, period. It's 2015.
9. It may feel very awkward to repeat things on Twitter but it's the only way to cut through the noise, at the cost of annoying your contacts.
10. Facebook wants in on monetising your work too, so it will bury the news unless other people share it for you (and asking friends is no less awkward than spamming twitter). I don't expect this would surprise anyone but it's unpleasant to find out about it anyway.
11. No listener found the diver visual. Nobody caught the edit of Dive on Kahvi's 2013 xmas compilation either. The old days of discovery are gone. By itself that's no reason to forgo these little things. Maybe it was always like this.
12. Last but most important. Direct touch is everything and so this is the year I decided to finally start a mailing list. The experience of releasing Aquanaut was a big part of this. Gratitude comes back to you.
Above all, I've had a wonderful time making and publishing Aquanaut.
Happy 2015 ♪♫