You have a close connection to your music. You put your heart and soul into it. You are attached to it. You feel strongly about it. And all of these things are why you’re so awesome – because you truly care about the music you’re making.
And now, you want people to listen to it.
But here’s the issue: you’re so attached to your music that you want to release it how you want to release it, not how everyone else wants you to release it.
And what do I mean by that exactly?
Well, if you want to drop an album with 16 songs on it, you’re gonna drop an album with 16 songs on it.
And you want to drop it tomorrow?
Well, you’re gonna drop it tomorrow.
Because it’s your music and therefore you should be allowed to do it your way.
Well, yes…but also…no.
Your job is to get people to hear it, therefore you’ll need to map out a plan to get people to listen.
You have to do it their way.
Here’s an example.
Russ released 11 albums over the course of a few years. None of those projects did the numbers that he wanted when he released them. But what did he do? He paid attention.
He looked at his streaming numbers and saw that the first song on every project had the most streams.
So what did that show him?
It showed him that people were willing to listen to one song. They wanted to digest one song at a time.
So what did he do?
Instead of continuing to drop full projects, Russ started dropping one song every week. He did this for over a year until a few of those songs really started getting traction and more and more people started going back and checking out his catalog.
So he actually ended up releasing 87 songs which is more than a few albums worth of songs, but he spread it out in a way that people were able to grasp onto what he was doing. He gave the music time to breathe.
Will this work for everyone? No. However the point is that you have to put thought into how people are going to receive things.
At one point, everyone had an album full of songs that were 4+ minutes long. And they would release an album every year or two. Then, everyone was dropping mixtape after mixtape. Then that died down and everyone started releasing shorter EP’s. And, song length got shorter.
Why? Maybe because there’s so much music and other content out there for people to digest on a daily basis.
Whatever the case may be, we know one things for sure, and that’s that people’s attention spans are at an all time low.
So what does this mean when it comes to your music releases?
Well, if you have a lot of music, you must devise a plan of attack essentially.
Am I telling you not to release an album?
But if you are going to release an album (or any kind of full length project), you’ll need to make sure that you’re really taking out the time to build anticipation for it. You can’t promote the cover art once and then drop the whole project soon after and expect people to catch onto it (unless maybe you’re Wizkid’ and have a big fan base that’s been dying for your music).
Why do movies give you multiple previews of the movie for a few months before it comes out?
You guessed it.
They want to build up the hype. They want to give you a sample in order to entice you to want to go see the movie.
So, the same goes for your music releases.
And I get it. Some artists feel more comfortable creating albums or EP’s because they feel like the project will tell the story. So if that’s the case, then you need to tell the story in your rollout.
You might want to drop a few singles before the project comes out.
Or maybe you have a ton of unreleased music and you feel pressured because you don’t know what you want to release or what you want to put on a project.
So in that case maybe think about releasing a bunch of songs over a period of time (ex: a song a week, two songs a month, one song a month, one song every two months etc.).
Maybe you incorporate a visual with each of those songs (because people are very visually stimulated).
There is no right or wrong way to go about it. The choice is totally up to you.
If you take anything from this article, just know that while you make music for you, if you want people to hear it, you need to deliver it to them in a way that they’ll digest it. All you can do is study how things have worked in the past (both for yourself and others) while also paying attention to human behavior and how people are engaging with content during this time. Test things out, analyze your results and move accordingly. Do what works for you and your audience.
When’s the last time you released a song? Or a project?
How many streams did that release get? Why was that? What did you do that worked? What didn’t work? Ask yourself the right questions and you’ll find the answers you’re looking for.