While playlists and music streaming habits are transforming the music industry in some massive ways, releasing music through albums is still the best way to get attention from traditional radio, blog, and press outlets. Unfortunately, this doesn’t change the fact that the attention span of listeners has been dramatically shortened over the past couple of years by things like convenience borne through streaming platforms, music’s newfound affordability, and the jaw-dropping amount of new music that’s now being put out into the world every day.
When it comes to carving out an identity and generating momentum, albums are your best bet, but taking the time to write, produce, record, and promote them doesn’t bode well for audiences who now expect new music more often from their favorite artists. Here are three ways to creatively spread out the release of your album.
Split your albums up into series you release one section at a time
By breaking down your albums and releasing them into sections, you can get the best of both worlds when it comes to holding your audience’s attention and sticking to a conventional album format. Let’s say you’ve recorded an album of 12 songs. By releasing it as three series under the same overarching album, you’ll have three chances to get music in front of listeners, press and radio. Choose one single for each section of the series and use it to define and introduce each section of the album.
But while this idea is good for promotion, it’s something you should probably decide on before you start writing the album and not after. In order for separate series to form one cohesive album, the songs should fit together the way any other album would.
Release your album one song at a time
Going back to our 12-song album example, releasing one song a month ensures that you’ll be able to give new music to your listeners for an entire year. This model of releasing music helps maintain your audience’s attention, but there are drawbacks. Unless your album is written to play like one exciting single after the other, there are bound to be lulls with some of your single releases. Listeners are used to there being less engaging music interspersed with more high-energy songs on an album, but by releasing them as standalone singles, you run the risk of your less exciting music being ignored and unheard. The songs that listeners love more and more with each listen end up turning into audience favorites, and while the album format welcomes this sort of music, this format of promotion doesn’t. Release with caution.
Let your audience decide how your album gets released
By having the most devoted segments of your fanbase decide what songs from your new album should be released, you have the advantage of converting listener interest into results that your fans will be excited about. Being creative through this process, whether through a social media poll or contest, you’ll have the chance to build interest in your new release and hear how your fans want your music presented to them at the same time. However, the key here is to not give too much control and say over your music to your fans. Have a detailed plan for every option, and execute it once you know what your fans want.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.