3 Ways Releasing Music Constantly Can Hurt You As A Musician

With the way the music industry has transformed to favor the instant gratification of playlists over the past couple of years, musicians are rethinking the ways they work in some significant ways. Chiefly, the breakdown of the album as music’s main music-listening format is forcing musicians of every stripe to approach making and releasing music differently to cater to music-addicted audiences with perpetually diminishing attention spans. Releasing more music more often is the only way to keep listeners engaged, conventional music industry wisdom dictates. But for as much as a non-stop musical race might sound doable to some musicians, it’s an approach that isn’t likely to work for most of us.

1. Making music that’s actually good takes time

There’s nothing keeping you from writing and releasing a constant stream of new music, but let’s think about what makes music good for a minute. Albums sometimes take years to make which is one of the reasons many artists are opting to release music in smaller and more manageable chunks. But the time it takes to create an album ends up being a huge built-in benefit. Great music can’t be forced and musicians often need time to develop something they can really stand behind. Writing something and releasing it as soon as possible leaves you at risk for making rushed music that doesn’t reach its potential.

2. Creative and promotional potency gets lost when releases are split up into singles

Putting out an album or even an EP is a big deal for an artist. In terms of creativity, it’s a chance to weave together musical and lyrical ideas into a defining cohesive artistic statement. Music released together like this gives blogs, radio outlets, and traditional press a reason to feature and promote the artists who put the work into making albums and EPs. But when music is split up into singles, this promotional and creative potency gets watered down significantly, even if the released songs are part of a cohesive group of songs. Press and media outlets aren’t used to the ways the music climate is changing and this can be frustrating, but albums and EPs are seen as releases that indicate that an artist is bringing something serious to the table. Putting out music in a way that prioritizes frequent releases over larger cohesive offerings can hurt your chances at finding media coverage and an audience for your work.

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3. More music doesn’t necessarily translate to more chances for success

Some artists view releasing new music like putting quarters in a slot machine by hoping each new song will be successful. But prioritizing putting out lots of music over making music that’s actually good and thoughtful are two different things. Listeners want to hear something that grabs and compels them in a meaningful way, and churning out song after song won’t do you any favors unless you’re able to make everything you release solid and filled with artistic integrity. Also, releasing music as often as possible makes it difficult or even impossible to promote your work. Sure, the attention span of your fans is probably a lot shorter than it used to be, but if you keep screaming at them to listen to your new single every month, they might just start tuning you out after a while. This leaves you at risk for putting out great music that never gets heard.

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.

Dave3 Ways Releasing Music Constantly Can Hurt You As A Musician


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  • DARRELL HEATH - February 19, 2019 reply

    Yea I find takes time in most cases to release that number 1 single that grabs my listeners attention .Working on one I like now COWGIRLS RODIEO`S &TUCSON SKY`S …..A STORY ABOUT THE TIME I MET EVIL KNIEVEL IN THE GREAT OLD WEST …YES I WANT A HIT BUT HOW MANY MUSIC LOVERS LIKE EVIL KNIEVEL.?…I THINK ITS A GREAT SONG BUT THAY DECISION WILL BE LEFT TO YOU ALL ..
    THANKS Darrell Heath

    Marcia Escobosa - February 20, 2019 reply

    Whether or not your audience knows Evil Knievel doesn’t have to be an issue – it depends on how you write the song. Who says you need to spell out the name of your hero? If you keep it unknown, the mysterious element becomes a compelling one. Then later you can explain what the song is about, allowing the listener the opportunity to know the song, and its writer, more intimately. Giving your listener too much info sometimes hurts the creativity of the lyrics and the rewarding intrigue of discovering the back story of a well-written song. In addition, leaving it anonymous allows the audience to ‘fill the void’ with their own idea of who that hero is… making it more personal and adaptable to their own experience. Always a good thing.

  • fojeba - February 20, 2019 reply

    I agree with most of your view,however i believe keeping making music improves the skills of making good music and having the option to choose the best between many songs. Most of famous artists usually select best songs of various songwriters but for us small artists we need a pool of songs that we create ourselves .We should just avoid releasing singles as you mention too often and rather go for albums .

  • Eddie B - February 21, 2019 reply

    I have produced 42 albums as a solo artist In my career I do 1 album per year and travel seven months promoting that CD I do extremely well and every year it doesn’t seem to differ I have a pretty good Fanbase as well so I don’t promote anything new until the beginning of the year this has worked well for me for many years and continues to be a great formula for what I am doing

    Vivid Lover - February 24, 2019 reply

    Wowza Eddie B. You are a prolific beast. & you’re an inspiration.

  • Cartas - February 21, 2019 reply

    Thought provoking article! Can you pencil out an outline of what might not ‘over-saturate’ if an artist does have a lot of well crafted material. Thanks. C

  • Corinne Nora - February 21, 2019 reply

    Thank you for sharing this Patrick, it speaks to me a lot. There are so many components in releasing an album that go way beyond the music itself, it’s really hard to controll them all and I still haven’t found the key to make it work for me yet, after 2 albums. I’m convinced of my musical creativity but struggle a lot when it comes to managment, social media & marketing. I get depressed when I get the feeling that those fields are sometimes more important than the content itself – and turn my back on them even more, it’s a vicious circle. But as a musician you also want your music to be heard so you have to play the game by its rules, I guess. Tough time to be making music in. I keep my eyes wide open for creative solutions that serve the music best.
    Thanks again for your thoughts on it!

  • LoKe - February 21, 2019 reply

    In this electronic world we live in, its best to do both. That old saying “it only takes one hit to make you famous” is still true today. We only have so much time in our busy lives to make music, most folks won’t have the time to complete a full album, if they don’t release them song by song that “one” may never get heard… Reverbnation is a great format for the single release however, once the artist has enough songs for an EP or album, put it together. Add a couple songs that have not been released and send it off to the disc makers. The best selling & most profitable item at you merchandise booth will be a CD, followed by T-shirts & picks. But on the flip side, if most just received one e-mail with a label, show & radio play information for the whole year, Most would be more likely to open it and read it. Your site is a great format for reverbnation & the singer/song writer to make money. The song is what’s important, it is what moves people and it’s what makes the $$$. When a great song is written it should be pushed up the food chain to the radio, this is when & where great things happen for everyone. I would like to have all my songs (for sale) with reverbnation. Call me old fashion, but if they let me put my song up for listeners, got me signed, paid me, the creator a fair profit and so on… I am faithful. I would like to know the story of how reverbnation assisted a now famous artist. I am rambling… Love what you guys do. Peace, LoKe

    Timi DoubleU - February 22, 2019 reply

    Hi I am fairly new to the whole ReverbNation thing even though I have been in and around music my whole life. This is new to me and I would definitely like to know more about this and how it works? How you have generated that revenue and packaging with ReverbNation. I would like to get into more of the live seen and sales of it?

  • igor Carmo - February 21, 2019 reply

    Say no more i completely agree will all this and i think you also understand this with more and more experience working in the music industry.

  • Ariana Saraha - February 21, 2019 reply

    I have a friend who is also an artist I admire. Her first album was incredible. But then she went on a binge of releasing what sounded to me like half-baked singles. I lost interest so much, that I haven’t even listened to her new album, which may be just as epic as the first…

  • Dan - February 21, 2019 reply

    I would recommend releasing an album or ep in its entirety, then over time releasing videos featuring those songs to rekindle excitement in your music.

  • Timi DoubleU - February 22, 2019 reply

    I was thinking about this a little while back I just completed a new project and I was kinda back and forth about releasing the whole thing at one time or just releasing a single a month? It is something that I have been thinking about if this is good as a new artist who has been in the industry a while but this is a new area for me to work in so I am trying to get a feel of what steps to take to promote the music that I have been inspired to do. Timi Doubleu/Timi W Music

  • Justin J Barger - February 24, 2019 reply

    I do it all the time with Arseterror…but harsh noise/power electronics isn’t really a career booster…so….

  • Jaz Buttar - February 25, 2019 reply

    Thanks its great content

  • Demavinci - March 3, 2019 reply

    For me I think it’s a great idea that I should give a shot and I mean the album idea but also one or two singles a year won’t be such a bad idea considering our current generation.

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