The 3 stages of a successful music launch

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[This article was written by Yann Ilunga and it originally appeared on The Jazz Spotlight.]

I recently sat down with artistpreneur and Music Launch Summit founder Steve Palfreyman to talk about what a successful music launch is made of.

As he highlighted during our interview, many musicians don’t have much clarity on what a music launch actually is.

“Recording a song and simply tweeting it out is not music launch,” he said.

The Musician–Turned–Used–Cars–Salesman “Syndrome”

Nowadays, a simple tweet or video posted online allow you to reach fans on the other side of the world.

This is an unprecedented opportunity for indie musicians, no doubt about it.

However, at the same time, technology, when misused, can backfire too –  especially when it comes to promoting your music.

If you think that tweeting as many random people as possible to let them know about your new EP is an effective marketing strategy…think again.

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Sometimes without adding anything but the person’s @username…

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What do you think happen in these cases?

Not only this “strategy” doesn’t work, but it’s spammy (and annoying).

Just take a step back and use common sense: if you were to come across a stranger on the street would you just approach him or her and be like “Buy my music, buy my music!”?

You wouldn’t, right? So, what makes you think that this “tactic” would work online?

You’re NOT a used car salesman, so stop acting like one.

You’re a musician.

The music launch phase many artists mistakenly spend too much time on

Understanding that you’re a musician and not a used cars salesman isn’t enough to successfully launch your music, though.

“There’s one phase artists tend to spend too much time,” Steve added. “A music launch is made of 3 stages: Intrigue, Launch and Support, but often, as indie musicians, we’re drawn to focus exclusively on the Launch phase.”

It’s understandable: you’ve spent quite some time in the recording studio and your EP has finally been recorded.

Time to share it with the world, right?

Wrong!

In fact, your music launch should start BEFORE your EP is ready to go.

You should think about your launch and focus on making your fans part of the journey before you’ve finished your album or song.

Music Launch Phase #1: Intrigue

The Intrigue phase is the longest phase of the launch and it begins before your fanbase even know about your new project.

Its goal is to take back the curtain and give your community a sneak peek at what you’re working on.

You could do this by using video on Facebook Live and Periscope or even by sharing images and visual stories on Snapchat and Instagram.

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Steve’s band Winter York gives fans behind–the–scenes look on Instagram (credits: instagram.com/winteryorkmusic)

If you’re more of an “old–schooler” then you could write a series of blog posts (don’t forget to include a few photos!).

With the Intrigue phase, not only will you give your fans an exclusive look at your world, but you’ll also build an emotional connection with them.

And, for you, this can even be the time to crowdsource and ask for feedback.

Music Launch Phase #2: Launch

During our interview, Steve made a very interesting point: “Even though this is where many indie artists spend a lot of time on, Launch is actually a relatively short phase.”

Up until now, you may have thought that you’d need to spend months and months in the Launch phase…

Have you ever heard of the “blitz marketing campaign” concept?

It’s a strategy where you focus on pre–arranging press coverage, digital marketing campaigns, etc. and launch everything over a short period of time.

A blitz effect is created: people are going to see you and hear the buzz about your new album almost everywhere they look.

If you have spent the time to connect with your audience on an emotional level and you’ve made your fans part of the story (aka your music journey), then your launch phase is more likely to be successful.

Music Launch Phase #3: Support

Think about it: your community knows what you’ve been working on, they’ve given you feedback, and they feel like they’ve been active participants in the music creation process.

What do you think will happen when your EP is finally ready to be launched and you’re looking for support?

Your community – which has been EMOTIONALLY involved in the whole process – will help you out.

“In the Support phase, your fans support the launch; you continue to share your message, but get ready to move on,” Steve concluded.

These days, Steve and 40+ top music industry experts are discussing music business on the digital conference of the year: the Music Launch Summit.

Music Launch Summit

The lineup of speakers for this digital conference includes Benji Rogers, Cari Cole, Ariel Hyatt and John Oszajca.

This must–attend for indie artists event continues throughout October 2nd, get your FREE virtual ticket now!

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