Releasing music has sure changed from the industry standard way of doing it in the past. Back in the pre-digital days, all promotion was based on the album release date. That meant that there’d be at least a 6 week promotional run-up to the drop date, with the idea that building awareness and demand was of paramount importance. The approach is way different today, with unannounced superstar drops, and a general move away from albums in general. If you’re wondering how to garner attention competing for the same ears with a music world full of artists, there is a release formula that more and more labels and indie artists are adopting.
Let’s Not Obsess On The Album
While once upon a time albums were the lifeblood of the music industry, today we find that consumption of the format goes down every year. And with good reason. It takes a huge amount of time, effort and money to complete an album, and during that production timeframe, fans are forgetting you exist. Even worse, the opportunity to gain more fans is nil.
The album as it was is an unsustainable model. The new version of the album, although it might seem counterintuitive, fits much better in our digital world and provides many more marketing opportunities.
Release More Often
No one says that you shouldn’t release an album ever again, but there’s a better way to do it. It starts with rethinking how we release songs.
The idea is to maintain fan awareness and provide more exposure to potential fans. The best way to do that is to release your music more often. That means one song every month or 6 weeks at most.
As soon as you finish as song, put it out and continue working on another. If you finish it early, wait until the buzz from the previous release dies down a bit, then release again. Then repeat the process.
You can still make that album, but instead of having just a single marketing event, you’ll have 11 – one marketing event for each song of a ten song album, plus the album release itself.
This release formula has the added advantage of giving each song more exposure, since there are none of your other new songs that are competing for attention. Think of it this way – how many times have your bought an album, skimmed through all the songs, and only played your immediate favorite one or two from there?
Some songs require a few listens before they sink in as favorites, but many of those are still-born in the midst of an album. With this singles-first release formula, all songs get equal exposure and live and die on their own musical merit. You get plenty of time to promote each song individually, and then time to compile the songs into an album with some additional bonuses to make it attractive to the fans.
If you’re an older artist I have no doubt that you have a problem getting your arms around this strategy. After all, you probably grew up during the era of physical music when the album was king. Many artist’s recorded music lives still revolve around the idea. But what do you ultimately want – a souvenir trophy or more people listening to your music? The answer is to release more music, more often.
You can read more from The Social Media Promotion For Musicians Handbook and my other books on the excerpt section of bobbyowsinski.com.