So you spent the past year or so writing a bunch of songs. Writing, recording, producing and everything else that comes along with creating an album that you’re truly proud of. Now you’re wondering how to release an album that will sell a lot of copies. You don’t.
That’s right, that album you spent a lot of time and money on? Don’t release it. Let me save you time and frustration and break the news to you now, no one will buy it. If you want to know what to do instead, stick with me.
First, let’s talk about why no one will buy it. As consumers, our attention span is very small. They are so small that a simple scroll through facebook will lead you on a deep internet search of cat videos, online memes and then a political argument about Donald Trump. We feel inconvenienced when youtube suggests we watch a five-second ad. We have 12 tabs open on our internet browser at the same time as we are watching tv. The internet and the information it gives us have made our attention span significantly lower than what it use to be.
Let me ask you this. When was the last time you sat down and listened to an entire record the whole way through? If you’re younger than 18, I might even venture to say that you never have. It’s not how we listen to music anymore. We listen to playlists, radio stations, and youtube videos. When your friend comes over they say “Did you hear this SONG?”. Times are different.
So, what should you do instead? You just spent all this time working on an album you believe in and you want someone to listen to the entire thing. How do you do it?
You give it to them in smaller pieces. Pieces that their attention span can handle.
Release it one song at a time.
Instead of trying to force an old method of consumption to work with the internet, use the internet and people’s flaws to your benefit. The internet allows you to release infinite amounts of content whenever you feel necessary. You never were able to do that in the days of records.
Don’t try and release one large piece of content (an album) one time, release 100 smaller pieces of content (songs, videos, images) multiple times. I know that it doesn’t seem like that would be better. But the truth is, that’s all a consumer can handle at one time. We are a generation that shortens words because we think it’s an inconvenience to type out a few extra letters. Release a song, release small vlogs or videos promoting the song. Fill your feed with behind the scene pictures or posts talking about the song. People will be able to consume and digest smaller bits of information better this way. It will allow people to slowly and almost subliminally become more attached to you and your music.
You will slowly become a part of their lives. This is the key. People invest in things that they feel like they are a part of.
On another positive note, this also allows you to spend more time on each song, truly crafting it to be the best it can be. There’s no deadlines for an album to be completed or pressure to have a specific amount of songs for the album. People are tired of investing in a $10 album that has one very good song and nine mediocre songs.
Listeners used to love taking a record home, reading the credits and admiring the artwork. Not anymore. Now, listeners want to be able to throw your song on a playlist, have it match a mood or vibe and then play it along with 100 similar songs. As an artist, you have to let go of the fact that no one wants an album anymore. Give the listener what they want.
So there, sorry bands and artists, but it’s how the music industry works now. I hope this doesn’t crush your hopes and dreams. Instead, I hope you take this info and play the game to your advantage. It’s as easy as giving the consumer what they want. I’m sure I am going to get a lot of comments on people saying that nobody buys songs anymore and just streams, so I am going to address that in a blog very soon. Be sure to sign up below to catch that post!
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