Viral music success today is achieved through ACTIVE release strategies, as evidenced by the fact that more than a third of the songs uploaded to TikTok are sped-up, slowed down, or pitch-modified. All forms of “active” releases.

An active music release lets people make something NEW from your music. Or allows them to easily add your track to something THEY are already doing online.

This shift from mere consumption to a hybrid between consumption and engagement is such a prevalent trend that Spotify is currently working on a project that will enable users to modify audio in a legal and licensed way. In other words, artists and labels will be PAID for the remixing that happens on the Spotify platform.

So clearly, both active and static releases are important for modern music launches. Active releases are great for growing your audience and creating a sense of participatory excitement. Static releases serve your true fans because they are the truest form of your artistry.

Let’s explore each kind of release strategy a little deeper.

What’s the difference between active & passive releases?

A static release is: 

  • The first official version uploaded for worldwide music distribution
  • Packaged into an overall marketing effort, often including an “official” music video and social ad campaign
  • The version of your track (or album) that gets promoted first to radio or playlists, supported via PR, and pitched for sync placements

These kinds of static releases are still important, obviously. They ARE your art, the closest representation of all your choices, talents, and influences. It’s the version of the song you’re most proud of, and most thrilled to deliver to the world. 

But the story shouldn’t begin and end there. Sometimes the way to get people to care about your official version is through an active release. 

An active release:

  • Gives people many ways to USE your music
  • Does NOT take itself too seriously
  • Brings in cross-promo opportunities through collaboration

We live in a participatory world, and your music will go further if fans can easily and instantly say something about THEMSELVES through your music.

An active music release strategy includes: 

  • The “official” static release
  • Freely downloadable stems
  • Sped-up versions
  • Remixes
  • Demos
  • Acoustic takes
  • Social video performances
  • Duets
  • Open-verse challenges
  • Memes
  • Instrumental/karaoke tracks
  • And more

How to create stems? 

Stems are individual tracks that isolate the most important parts of your song. This makes the process of remixing more manageable. 

Imagine that your final mix is comprised of 70 different audio tracks. But your remixer really only wants the lead vocals and the hookiest instrument to make their new version. The remixer doesn’t want to download your entire session or have to scan through all of those separate tracks to find what they need. 

Stems streamline the process. 

How you decide to deconstruct your track is really up to you, but you should obviously consider what parts a remixer is most likely to want isolated from the mix. 

It’s standard practice to reduce your song into 4 separate stereo tracks. Each can highlight an isolated part, or pair down the whole session into 4 groupings of instruments. 

For a producer to create a remix, it’s helpful to provide: 

  1. Vocals
  2. Bass
  3. Drums
  4. Other instruments

You can use BandLab’s Splitter tool to instantly generate isolated tracks.

How to create sped-up versions of your song 

Sped-up versions are great for dance trends on TikTok and Reels. 

Whether you’re boosting the excitement on an existing dance song or lightening a slow folk ballad, sped-up versions give you a way to amplify the hooks and turn up the fun. 

Try a few different tempos depending on the original speed  (1.2x, 1.5x, 2x, 2.5x) and see what sounds catchiest. 

You can use BandLab’s AudioStretch tool to quickly create a sped-up version of your track

How to make an instrumental? 

Instrumental versions can be great for sync placements, where a director or editor may want to remove vocals temporarily if the singing or lyrics compete with a scene’s vibe or dialog. 

No-vocal versions are also great for fan karaoke, as well as social content like open-verse challenges that require you to share instrumental tracks. 

To make an instrumental track, you can:

  1. Print a version of your mix with the vocals muted
  2. Ask your mixing engineer to do the same
  3. Use BandLab’s Splitter to isolate and then remove the vocals

Prompt fans to interact with your music! 

Sometimes people are waiting for permission. So be clear.  

Make sure your audience and network of musician friends know they not only CAN engage with your active release, but that you would LOVE them to!

Encourage people to create their own remixes, forked tracks, TikTok dances, duet vocals, and more. And get them to tag you so you can keep track and share their content too. 

“Post a video of you doing THIS, and tag me!”

You can also run a contest and pick your favorite entries!


Conclusion

As you can see, an active release strategy is crucial for drawing attention to your music in a world dominated by interaction on social platforms. 

An active release gives you — and more importantly, your fans —  a number of fun ways to recontextualize your track. It’s not passive, it’s participatory. 

But it’s worth remembering, active releases usually begin with and RELY UPON that song being distributed as a static release. 

Want your official releases on Spotify, Apple Music, and everywhere else that matters? 

Get started at ReverbNation.com

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