Being a "creative" in the music industry is an adventure that is full of challenges and obstacles. Every decision you make is either going to advance your career or hurt it somehow someway. No pressure. The best thing you can do to overcome your obstacles is ask others who've been there and done that. At this point in my career, I get asked questions on a daily basis. I answer a majority of these questions in the exclusive material I only send to my subscribers. Subscribe here.
One question creatives constantly struggle with is when to release new music. I’m sure some of you are dealing with that question at this very moment. Read On.
Recently I had a conversation with a friend of mine who happens to be the vocal coach for Capitol Records. Yes, that’s the label that signed artists like Katy Perry, Sam Smith, and Tori Kelly.
During this conversation, she pointed out something to me that I had always speculated but never really acknowledged. Fresh off the plane from Europe, she told me she completely understands why artists, songwriters. and producers in the U.S. struggle with delivering long lasting music.
Everyone is in a rush!
For me this struck a chord, no pun intended. The majority of the sessions I’ve been in, the songwriters have always focused on completing a song within a few hours. Whereas in other industries, artists such as painters, sculptures, or choreographers all take a significant amount of time before completing one “piece.” These artists understand how much time and effort goes into every unique piece of art and makes it known by charging hundreds to thousands of dollars.
So why do many songwriters and producers put so little work into their music and expect a big payout? I mean sure, there’s a chance you can write or produce a song that goes viral and puts you on the map but how long will you stay there? With labels no longer putting in the time to develop creative artists it’s very easy to “get on,” only to turn around and “fall off” because you had no follow-up records and not enough genuine fans supporting you.
In this game, the follow-up record has to be bigger than the initial single. The first record get’s everyone’s attention and the follow-up proves that the first wasn’t an accident. From there, the third release needs to be bigger than the second and the trend continues. Whatever the release is it needs to compete with or be better than the one that came before it.
Andre 3000, who happens to be my favorite rapper, once said "Baby boy you only funky as your last cut. You focus on the past your ass'll be a has what." Hear the full song here.
So when should you be releasing music? That depends.
When you’re an artist like Adele, Frank Ocean, or D’Angelo, your talent alone will keep your fans waiting years to hear something new from you. This is a great thing! Let them wait. Build the anticipation for as long as you can so that when you do drop an album, you give the world something to talk about. Just make sure it was worth the wait.
When you haven’t reached that level, you do the complete opposite. You release music frequently and on a consistent basis. The rule here is to release great music. Music you took your time on, crafting every melody, lyric, and sound to be the best it can possibly be. It's your obligation to your fans to give them quality music. They'll appreciate it and so will your bank account.
Last week an artist told me his next release was “just a SoundCloud record,” implying that it didn’t need to be that good because it was going on SoundCloud and not being pushed as an official single. This mentality is a big NO NO! Why? Because you only get one chance to make a first impression. If you are hoarding your best material the only person you are hurting is yourself.
What happens when someone stumbles across your page and instead of listening to the single that you put so much work into, they listen to the throwaway song you posted just to have music out? They’re going to listen to it for 30 seconds or less, realize that it's not that good and you obviously felt the same way, so they move on to something else. You blew your chance at an opportunity to gain a fan, a manager, or even a feature from someone like Drake. Click here if you missed my post on "How to get a Drake feature."
Now do you get it? No wonder why people hardly buy albums anymore.
As an artist, songwriter or producer, sit down and come up with a schedule to release your music. It can be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly and market the hell out of it. Whichever schedule you choose, make sure everything you release is great, not good enough for SoundCloud.
As a creative, the number one thing you should be focused on is extending the amount of time it takes for a person to hear your music and click NEXT. If you can convert a listener from a potential song skipper to a fan, you did your job. Now repeat the process over and over again until you have a solid fan base that is there to support you with or without the backing of a record label.
Lastly, be sure to click the share links below to share this with your music friends. The better music they make, the better their careers will be. I'm sure they'd do the same for you. Be sure to subscribe and if you have comments, feedback, and questions enter them below and I'll get back to you.