So… you’ve created something special for the world to hear, your going to self-release it and your wondering what others do to get actual results in 2021.
A little introduction...
As many of you may already know I’m no “music industry marketing guru” but whilst working alongside many music creatives, building our every-growing creative facility and generally “nerding” out; I pick up nuggets of information that I think would be beneficial for others to hear.
One of the biggest struggles I see on a day to day basis is the distribution of our clients music. The majority we work with are artists/bands looking to make a name for themselves, to write music and self-distribute it for the world to hear. Many are either just starting out or are simply not in a position to be backed by record label in a position of power and influence. To squeeze the most out of any release requires planning and I’ve never witnessed something successful (bar a viral video) that hasn’t been prepared, planned or executed in an orderly fashion.
This hits the nail on the head, most music creators that face this position simply aren’t prepared to put the actual work in thats required to publicise their own music successfully. Most create a number of un-engaging social media posts, maybe a couple of tags and think thats good enough, when in reality, it’s a constant game to create content that creates attraction or interaction over time. Creating content will be another post for another day but I wanted to knuckle down on what basic elements you can apply to your next release. These will help push you to create a more professional release which in turn improves attraction and professionalism.
Build A Timeline
There is no right or wrong answers to building a timeline for your release but I’d always recommend it. It creates consistency and forces you to put your ideas onto paper for actual action. There is however one rule you must keep to… Once the timeline is completed it MUST be executed in the way it’s intended to, no matter what. Be ambitious and stick to what has been confirmed within your timeline.
The first item to keep in mind is when will your music will be mastered, ready for release. If you don’t know the answer to this then pre-plan with all dates to be confirmed throughout. Your masterplan should include a social media campaign which should include posts you will make to promote the release. Again, this needs to be natural, cool, engaging, entertaining posts. Not ones that can be seen as manufactured to suite the intention of pre-planning a release. A good way to do this is to plan posts that you would actual post, not posts that are forced – Sounds obvious but it can be easily overlooked.
I recommend using tools you have access to when creating a timeline. My personal favourite is Excel/Google Sheets which you will be able to load on most devices and also have the option to share with others.
Once you’ve created a solid timeline for your release strategy you will need content. I suppose this should come natural to most creators but not-surprising this is an element most music creators struggle with. Your content should be engaging, entertaining, relevant and feel natural to your audience. We’ve all seen a social media page that feels pre-fabricated and if you consistency create this type of content it can start to create a detraction for your audience. This is not to say that the odd “ask” or “pre-fabbed-post” post doesn’t work it simply needs to be in moderation.
The advice I can give for content creation is to be completely authentic.
If you feel like a rough mobile phone video with a short description is suited towards your look then go for it. You will soon find out whether any audience you attract from it will truly engage with you. If it doesn’t then it shows that you are either not engaging enough to attract an audience or that the audience you have doesn’t relate to the content you’ve just published.
One of the most powerful tools is the use of influence from others. It’s kind of like the ‘word-of-mouth’ concept which is what Electric Bear Studios is mainly driven by. Once you have noted a master plan, created the content to support it you are now in a position to reach out to third parties to utilise what they have to offer.
This can range from radio stations, magazines, bloggers, local companies you could license your music to, pre-release plays, other creators and so on. You can look to receive exclusive feedback from well-known bloggers that take an interest towards your music and what you stand for or send a sharable version of your release for a one-off radio performance. This can then work with your pre-planned timeline to enhance your potential reach on release day.
Just remember that the pre-save button on Spotify works in your favour alongside user play-listing to boost the chance of more people hearing your music. You can integrate this tactic into your networking opportunities to help boost your audience reach on release day.
Social media platforms are where most of you will find yourself building the majority of your content on for your release strategy. When creating content there has always been the question asked whether you should wait and create a lower amount of high quality content or a to produce higher amount of less quality content.
As mentioned in a previous paragraph the key to growing an audience through your release strategy is to be consistent in your content that relates to your audience, in tern this provides traction. Some of you may be producing highly attractive visuals and some of you may be produce fairly low quality phone recordings. There isn’t specifically a right or wrong way to do this as long as your providing consistent content to a potential audience that can relate to it.
Artists, bands or any other music creatives will have some form of online branding. You may be already aware of this but if you haven’t then look into what creates a brand. As much as this is more business it’s incredibly true too many musicians. The way you look to others, the way your posts visual look, how you record a video alongside any subconscious message of what you stand for.
Some creatives think about this too much which in tern affects their ability to post consistent content. Others have never even considered this. The fact stands that most successful bands, artists, musicians have some form of brand.
Building a successful career in music isn’t a quick process. The stories you hear of creatives gaining fame overnight isn’t always true, most have been in the industry grafting for years.
I once heard someone say that if you are prepared to give up on your career, if you fail after the first release then it isn’t something you really wanted in the first place. Becoming stable and ‘successful’ in the music industry takes time, hard graft, sacrifice and persistency. It isn’t for everyone and your career can’t be forced.
Drive your passion into all angles of making your music career a success. Stick at it, don’t expect anything in return and keep at it. The second you put a time frame, an expectation on gaining results is the worst decision I can advise. This creates negative pressure and a ‘fake’ reality that you could expect to see results after any release.
My advice is simple… Love what you do, find ways to love what you do more and be persistent.
If you’re good at what you do you will see progression over time. Don’t be greedy.