You wouldn’t introduce the new boyfriend/girlfriend to your parents halfway through your first date, You wouldn’t invite friends to taste your cake while you’re whisking eggs into the flour, What makes recordings any different? Why do so many people instinctively start sharing unfinished songs, and what IS the best way to release new music to garner the most attention?
First and foremost, making new music is exciting. It’s easy to understand why we as artist’s like to share our work. The potential pitfall is you can overshare content that is not yet finished. In some scenarios, such as gathering feedback and constructive criticism from another musician or close friend, sharing during the early stages of recording is completely acceptable. I actually recommend receiving honest opinions and reviews of your work so you can get an idea of how it is perceived outside your own head. The place to draw the line, however, is posting your content to the internet or handing out copies of the digital media to people not directly involved in the project.
The largest problem with releasing unfinished content is that you risk losing potential fans and listeners. If you say, “hey check out my new song I’m working on” and they hear a 60% version, chances are, unless they are totally gaga about your music, the finished product will lose it’s potential impact and they may skip listening to the final version entirely.
Once your unfinished content has been birthed into the world, it gains instant immortality. You open Pandora’s box and all you can do is hope the least amount of people notice. The first thing you have to realize about unfinished material is that no matter how exciting it is to hear your ideas come to life, your music will benefit greatly from having all the components in place before it’s unveiled to the masses. Proper editing, mixing, and mastering will convey your work’s full sound to listeners. Sometimes it’s easy to listen to a working mix and let your brain “flesh out” the sound. Because after all, the artist’s brain is where musical vision originates. It only makes sense that when you listen to the recording you’re hearing it’s full potential. But until the track is complete, other listeners brain’s can only interpret what you’re giving them. Make sure you give them completed material with all the parts in place!
This brings us to the question of how to maximize the effect of your music release. Once your music is finished with production, you’ll maximize listener interest and enthusiasm by having a solid release plan in mind. There are a million things you can incorporate into that plan but here are a few suggestions:
Giving yourself time to circulate pre-release copies to the press is one of the biggest items many artists fail to consider. More people are likely to get amped up about your release if they’ve read about it in local magazines, blogs, or heard about it on the radio. It is not uncommon to hear about an album several months before it is available.
Schedule pre-release listening party as well as an album release concert. The listening party provides a chance to build camaraderie with friends and acquaintances of everyone involved in the creation process. Many people present at the listening party will want to attend the release concert, and will likely bring friends as well.
Put out a single and/or a music video online in advance of the album release. This gives you a sampler to whet people’s appetites for the full release, and having some quality content for people to preview can aid in booking concerts and tours.
Follow the release with a series of shows. A micro tour in your state or region can help make your presence known. Targeting cities that you’ve already made press contacts in will make promoting these shows easier. During the concerts it’s ok to share your excitement about the new album and let people know you have it available for sale. Being confident about your product and showing you are grateful to those who support you by purchasing it goes a long way.
This is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to release strategy. If you’re looking for more ways to connect or want to discuss your album release ideas, give us a call anytime!