Tips for an Effective Music Release Strategy
8 Bulletproof Music Release Strategy Tips
Increase Your Reach and Maximize Engagement
We live in a high-volume, high content, “low-barrier entry” entertainment industry. The rise of social media since the early 2000’s established a “free” platform to promote art. With digital distribution stores like Distrokid, CD Baby, Tunecore, and Symphonic Distribution, to name a few, an artist is a click away from distributing their music worldwide.
With the current ease of promoting one’s art, it’s normal to feel unseen amid other passionate, talented independent artists expressing and sharing their music. You may find yourself asking, “How can I keep up and continually be seen?” This is a question I’ve faced time and time again during my musical journey.
As an independent artist spanning a 15-year career, I’ve gathered 8 surefire ways to ensure each music release strategy and/or promotion campaign is high quality and in the right quantity to stand out in a crowded landscape of artists…
1. Build a Solid Team: Having a great team allows you to focus on what the artist does best: create quality art, while delegating tasks to experts in their respective fields. A great team helps with brainstorming, collaborating, strategizing and essentially every step of the creation process. A solid team is made up of a long list of people (manager, producer, mixing engineer, creative director, etc.) and at first, it may seem daunting to recruit all these talented folks, but start with one or two at a time. Make sure these individuals align with your creative vision and can stand by your side for the long haul.
2. Host Pre-Release Listening Sessions: Before releasing your project to the world, select a handful of trusted ears to listen to the new releases. Ensure some of the listeners are non-artists for honest, consumer-centric feedback. You can set up the listening session either in real life or digitally on a platform like Soundcloud or Dropbox. Hosting these sessions give you a chance to get extra input about everything from delivery, content, market relevance, and the mix of the work.
3. Plan for Derivative Works: Planning for derivative works is crucial when it comes to the strategy of putting out many works consistently. With the right strategy and preparation, you can create one project and stretch it into 3, 4, 5 or more revenue-generating alternative projects – adding quantity to an already created quality release. One way to do this is to use your music stems – when you record a project and have it mixed and mastered, make sure that your mixing engineer gives you seperated stems for the vocal and instrumental files. This is important because your final mixed stems can assist you in creating and securing derivative works like remix singles, remix albums, mash-up albums, television/movie placements, and revenue-generating sample packs from your own music.
4. Prepare for Momentum Ahead of Time: Have you ever written a song and had a strong feeling of“this is the one?” If you are confident in the success of a potential release, then make sure to record, shoot a video and begin promotion ideas for the follow-up singles. Smart artists including J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West shoot multiple videos at one time for several different singles.Therefore, when the first single pops, they can take advantage of the active momentum and release a follow-up song/music video that capitalizes on the current attention and interest of their fans. In comparison, if you wait to shoot a video 6-12 months later, you may have potentially lost the momentum and interest of your crowd.
5. Maximize the Power of “Re-Sharing”: The “re-sharing” concept allows you to share and repurpose media frequently and keeps your fans engaged while they happily anticipate new content. Basically, you reuse material previously posted but you change the messaging. And even though it’s older content, you may have new followers/fans/supporters who have not heard or seen the picture/song/video. So re-sharing not only assists you in posting quantity but also engages new fans who haven’t been exposed to the earlier content yet.
6. Provide Incentives for Fans to Create Fan Art: Engage the artists in your fanbase by incentivizing them to create “fan art” that you can then share on your social feeds. Some ideas for incentives include contests, free concert tickets, lunch date with the artist, pre-show passes or merchandise, and so on. When fans see you posting fan art, it may incentivize other fans to create more material since they know there is a potential you will share it on your media outlets. The best part is you gather new content without actually having to create it!
7. Promote Your Lifestyle (it’s content too): Although hobbies, interests, and side projects may not be directly related to your music, sharing some of your candid life moments and/or extra-curricular activities will add a personal touch to what you share on social media. And, capturing parts of your lifestyle, will be natural and help with adding more quantity to what you already share musically. Connecting on a more personal level is also beneficial as fans appreciate getting glimpses of the person behind the artist.
8. Stay Consistent: With all of these strategies in place, the final key element is consistency. In our saturated creative world, staying consistent with your musical output helps in staying top-of-mind with your fans. Remember to be consistent with building a strong team, with recording music, with posting on social media, with promoting new releases or collaborations, with sharing your Lifestyle, with re-sharing content and with preparing for momentum. To stand out from the crowd, you have to consciously and consistently show up.
About the featured blogger: Ami Kim is currently a topline songwriter and vocalist for DivineTracks.com and currently lives in Los Angeles.