Today we’ll talk about the incremental album. It’s a super simple concept, and one that is perfect for the social media age where fans expect frequent access to your creative process at the very least, and participation at best. They want to feel connected to a musical journey, not JUST consume the finished product.
And if that’s the ideal fan experience, waiting a year or more to put out the perfect collection of songs all at once, as a traditional LP, could actually be costing you.
With an incremental album, you have dozens of chances to get your fans involved
First, you can enlist fans to become your de facto A&R team. Along the way, you get valuable feedback about each song by sharing demos, rough mixes, alternate mixes, and then, of course, releasing the finished mastered version of every song as a single.
Hopefully your fans are sharing all those demos and mixes throughout the process too.
You can then use their opinions (and analytics) to determine which of those tracks are strongest. From that point on you’ve got two choices:
1) Compile the strongest songs into an EP at the end of each 3 or 4 month period. (And maybe include some demos and alternate versions, too).
2) Wait until the end of your tracking period (a year?), take the best of the best, and compile those songs into one killer full-length album.
There are some big benefits to the incremental album process:
Like I said above, this process lets your fans feel like they’ve been part of the creative journey, and you’ve shown that you value their input by seeking out their opinions in real-time. They feel invested in the new project and will be eager for its final release.
You have more opportunities to earn revenue by distributing all the songs initially as singles, and then releasing multiple EPs and/or one full-length. Remember, whichever route you take along the way, you’ve STILL made a full-length album by the end of the process.
You’re a saner, healthier individual because you didn’t slave away on an album in SECRET for a year. You built it piece by piece, letting it be revealed in public, and allowing it to develop into a product your fans KNOW they want because they’ve heard you build it song by song.