Host a Listening Party for Your Next Album Release

September 20, 2012{ 1 Comment }

You’ve spent a long time working on your album: songwriting, arranging, practicing, revising, recording, producing, mixing, mastering, writing liner notes, choosing cover artwork, booking and planning your release party.

If you were using that time to cross North America on foot, you’d be in Chicago by now!

So when your next album comes out, make sure you celebrate not just the final product, but the time commitment too—the process! Throw a “needle-drop” party.

What is a needle-drop party?

A “needle-drop” is the audio geek term for music that has been transferred from vinyl to digital formats.

But that’s NOT the kind of needle-drop party I’m talking about here—nor does it have anything to do with falling syringes. Rather, it’s something I first heard about from my friend Rob Stroup, a producer who runs his own recording studio in Portland. When he helps a band finish a recording project that he’s particularly proud of, he hosts a “needle-drop party” for the band at his house.

The band invites 20-50 fans, friends, family members, or supporters (in the fan-funding sense) to Rob’s house for one special night of cozy music-making, good food, and discussion.

The band plays a short set of acoustic tunes in the living room; they tell stories about the work behind the songs and album; and then they drop the needle on a vinyl copy of their new record. (If you don’t have vinyl, put the CD in the player, or hook your iPod up to some loud speakers.)

While the new album plays, partygoers can mingle and eat sweet treats. When the album is done, the band gets to DJ for the rest of the evening, spinning other artists’ music that influenced their latest recording.

Get a friend or super-fan to host the party, or throw one yourself

It’s the down-home version of an official listening party. Not a new concept, but one that never gets old.

You can invite people for free and encourage them to purchase albums at the door. You can charge a cover and include the album with that price. You can have a suggested donation and give out albums. You can forget about money altogether. Whatever works for you!

The idea is to get people excited not only about the music, but the story behind the music. Then they’ll be more likely to share their enthusiasm for your band with their own friends—increasing buzz, concert attendance, and album sales. 

Have you ever hosted a listening event for your band? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section below.

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[Image of vinyl record from Shutterstock.]

  • I perform most of the parts on my recordings, which makes it hard to present as a live event. My project is also primarily focused on writing and recording music using natural spaces as inspirations and recording studios. I take solar-powered recording equipment into the outdoors and cut my tracks that way. Part backpacking, part creative extension of the studio process. Listening parties are a great way to present my music to fans and followers and create events they can attend without the hassle of having to book a profitable performance and finding and hiring musicians that can play my compositions. It also provides the opportuniyty to discuss details about my process, inspiration and technology with those who are interested and spare those who aren't.