Here’s the deal: For the past 30-40 years musicians have been releasing albums. The time between those albums was often a year or more.
Many musicians still use this model for their release schedule, and it’s a mistake.
These days you should learn how to properly release a single — and do it often. Here’s why.
Why should I release singles more often?
A few years back I noticed that fans were starting to shun albums.
This led me to try an experiment. For a full year, I released one single per month.
Here’s what I discovered.
1. You Stay Relevant
Assuming you’re not God, and can whip out a full album every month, making your fans wait 6 months to a year (or more) between releases is an eternity these days.
Especially when there is so much else going on in the lives of the music fans that we are trying to win over.
By releasing singles, you stay relevant in a music market where releasing music only 1 or 2 times a year is almost the same as releasing nothing at all.
2. You Build A Loyal Fan Base Faster
When you release music, you are essentially opening up the lines of communication with your fans. The more often that you release music, the faster you and your fans are going to get to know each other.
By releasing singles, you create a loyal fan base faster. A fan base that gets in the habit of getting music from you on a regular basis. They begin to anticipate each release. You win.
3. You Crush Procrastination
By releasing singles you replace procrastination with the sense of purpose that is created from frequent delivery of music.
You can’t sit around and wonder why your career is going nowhere because you have work to do.
4. You Get Paid More Often
Get paid 8-12 times per year instead of just once or twice.
If you are willing to put in the time and effort, releasing singles is a great strategy. But how?
How to release a single
Like I mentioned earlier, I release singles as often as possible over the course of a year (once per month on average).
The following is a rough system I’ve developed which has worked pretty well in some areas but, I’m sure, could use some improvement.
I’ve divided the process into 3 parts: Preparations, Distribution, and Amplification. Here goes…
I usually create videos, credits, lyrics, album art, and a blog post upfront and have them located in a single folder so everything is is in one place when I start uploading and filling out album data on various platforms. Nothing slows you down faster than having to stop to dig around for stuff.
Time to upload songs, videos and whatever else for distribution. This should be fairly painless if you did your job in the preparation phase.
For my song files, I use Bandcamp (as a storefront) and CD Baby (for my music distribution to services like Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, etc).
For videos, I just use YouTube. In the past I’ve added videos to other sites like Vimeo. That just takes more time though, and I am only a one-man operation. For now, I get enough bang for my buck on YouTube. Really depends on how much time you have and what sort of presence you will have on the other platforms.
[Editor’s note: as a member of the Illustrated Sound Network, you can upload your video once, and have it post simultaneously to Facebook AND YouTube.]
Once everything is live on your distribution channels, complete and publish your blog post.
Now that everything is set up, it’s time to start telling your world via what I’m calling Amplification (could be a better term but it just sounds musciany, don’t you think?)…
I started by contacting everyone in my email list (if you don’t have one you are screwing yourself).
Then I make my rounds in the social media world as well as reach out to any blogs, radio and podcast contacts that have featured my music in the past.
That’s the gist of it.
Everything I’ve listed above should give you a pretty good idea of why and how to release a single.
But, if you’re the kind of musician who wants to dig deeper and improve your chances of creating the maximum amount of buzz, adding new fans, and selling all the singles you can, check out my free ebook “Sell More Singles.”
Author bio: Corey Koehler is an indie singer-songwriter from Minnesota (you betcha). He shares everything he learns about music marketing with musicians on his blog, Music Marketing Guy.