Most musicians move on too soon.

They put all their creative focus on the next release. Or they only promote their latest work, neglecting all the songs that came before.

But taking your attention off your older tracks is a mistake. Because there are three big reasons why you should continue to market ALL the music in your back catalog.

Why your old music deserves new attention:

  • The first and simplest reason? Good music is good music. While YOU might be focused on your recent stuff, your older releases will still be brand new to most of the world.
  • Next, your back catalog is a source of revenue. Your existing fans already like your older music. So find reasons to keep ’em coming back to stream tracks and buy related merch.

    For those reasons and more, you can’t neglect your back catalog.

    In this article, I’ll give you a list of ways to encourage existing fans to replay music they already love, and to attract new fans who’ll dive into your entire catalog.

    How to bring fresh interest to older music

    1. Celebrate album anniversaries

    Anytime one of your albums turns 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25…

    … it’s an obvious chance to celebrate that music all over again. You don’t always need remastering or bonus editions to commemorate an album’s birthday.

    You can retell the story of the album. Send an email. Make social posts.

    It doesn’t have to be a year-long celebration, but at least give the anniversary a month of content and memories. And — this is important — remember to tell your followers exactly where to go to listen again!

    2. Drop unreleased tracks

    Not everything you share has to be a polished diamond. In fact, not everything you share even needs to be finished.

    If you abandoned a track during a particular session, share it and tell us why it never made it onto an album. You can release demos. Alternate takes. Anything that helps build a bigger story around a previous period of work.

    And if it doesn’t feel worthy of strangers’ attention, you don’t have to distribute the music to platforms like Spotify. Just share it directly with your fans and email subscribers.

    3. Do a collaborator shoutout!

    Sometimes self-promotion feels like tooting your own horn. If you struggle with that, forget about yourself for a minute and brag about your collaborators.

    Did a player, bandmate, featured guest, producer, or co-writer contribute something amazing? Something you could’ve never done on your own? Sing their praises. It’s a great way to show gratitude while also bringing attention to your own music.

    If you have a regular collaborator, you’ll have even more options because you can highlight multiple moments you appreciate from them throughout your catalog.

    4. Playlists, playlists, playlists

    Playlists give you almost endless ways to contextualize your music.

    You can group your tracks by:

    • collaborator
    • mood or genre
    • topic or theme
    • period of your career
    • a particular town you lived in while creating the music
    • influences
    • instrumentation
    • other musical elements like key, tempo, etc.
    • success metrics (“Greatest Hits” or “Biggest Misses”)

    5. An artist’s-choice content series

    Create a few different, short, themed, content series that you can run on social and email, such as:

    • The songs I’m proudest of
    • My 3 best lyrical lines
    • 5 things you didn’t know about me
    • My top 10 videos
    • 3 people who shaped my music
    • My favorite guitar solo

    I think you get the point. You come up with a concept that requires multiple emails or posts, and use the theme to generate deeper and sustained interest in your older music.

    If you set these up as automated email sequences, you can even schedule them to be delivered throughout the year to anyone who has recently subscribed to your list. And of course, send these to EVERYONE on your list when the series is first created.

    6. “Free (plus shipping & handing!)”

    Have you ever heard or a Free + Shipping & Handling music offer?

    It’s an interesting marketing campaign-type where you offer to send someone something for free, as long as they pay for shipping.

    Once they’ve entered their payment info, you then present a second (or even third) offer for additional merch items — usually with a limited-time discount.

    Not everyone will elect to purchase additional items, of course, but if enough people do, you can profit AND build your email list simultaneously, all while giving away your music.

    7. Live listening parties!

    Host an event where you tell people interesting facts about the songs before or while the music plays.

    This can be done digitally on Discord, X, or Twitch. Or it can take place IRL at someone’s home, venue, or art space.

    8. One-off performance videos

    No one said you need a special reason to perform your own tunes!

    Shoot a live performance video for Reels and TikTok. Who cares if the song is two or twenty years old? Then find the best 15-second clip. Post it.

    If one of these live videos gets traction, you can follow up with more supporting content.

    9. Perform a specific album

    We’ve all seen artists stage a themed tour around a particular album.

    Roger Waters has done this for Dark Side of the Moon. U2 did it for The Joshua Tree. You can do it too…

    … for ANY of your previous albums.

    In fact, I once did a 7-day residency at a venue where I played a different album of mine each night, so you can work your entire catalog into certain events.

    And you have options beyond venue shows and festivals. You can do something similar whenever you want via livestreaming!

    10. Advertise!

    One of the best things about digital marketing is that it gives you relatively cheap access to massive global audiences. You can also test lots of different content to find what works best.

    And since your oldest music will be brand new to most people online, you can use your highest performing social content to reach strangers at a lower cost.

    As long as that ad content remains a cost-effective way to drive engagement, sell merch, and build your audience, leave the ads running.

    Again, who cares if it’s an older song that performs best in your ads? It’s working!


    Conclusion

    I don’t expect artists to prioritize older music ABOVE their latest release.

    Nor should they.

    That wouldn’t seem realistic. Both in terms of effective promotion and your own excitement as a creator.

    But I hope you at least see the importance of promoting your back catalog. At least enough to schedule in a few of these promo campaigns throughout the year.

    This type of effort is going to be increasingly important if you want your music to remain algorithmically relevant and discoverable on streaming platforms.

    And given that a deeper catalog is an incredible collection of music, moods, and connection points, you can leverage ALL of your work throughout the years to grow your engagement, boost your revenue, and build your audience.


    You want to know the best kept secret in music distribution?

    It’s ReverbNation.

    With pro-level reach.

    Access to industry opportunities.

    Fast responses from our support team.

    And you keep 100% of your royalties.

    More in Promotion



    How to get your lyrics on Spotify, Instagram, Google, and more

    Chris Robley

    Chris Robley

    May 20, 2024

    How to get your lyrics on Spotify, Instagram, Google, and more

    Want to get your lyrics on Spotify and Instagram so the words are synched in-time with the music? It's pretty…


    Before you follow that Instagram trend, READ THIS!

    Chris Robley

    Chris Robley

    April 29, 2024

    Before you follow that Instagram trend, READ THIS!

    Sick of posting "random" stuff to get attention for your songs? Do you feel the pressure to hop on TikTok…


    Don’t forget to mention these 4 things in your Spotify playlist pitch!

    Chris Robley

    Chris Robley

    April 23, 2024

    Don’t forget to mention these 4 things in your Spotify playlist pitch!

    Want to get your new music onto official Spotify playlists? Then don't forget these four things when you pitch your…


    How to get your lyrics on Spotify, Instagram, Google, and more

    Chris Robley

    Chris Robley

    May 20, 2024

    How to get your lyrics on Spotify, Instagram, Google, and more

    Want to get your lyrics on Spotify and Instagram so the words are synched in-time with the music? It's pretty…


    Before you follow that Instagram trend, READ THIS!

    Chris Robley

    Chris Robley

    April 29, 2024

    Before you follow that Instagram trend, READ THIS!

    Sick of posting "random" stuff to get attention for your songs? Do you feel the pressure to hop on TikTok…


    Don’t forget to mention these 4 things in your Spotify playlist pitch!

    Chris Robley

    Chris Robley

    April 23, 2024

    Don’t forget to mention these 4 things in your Spotify playlist pitch!

    Want to get your new music onto official Spotify playlists? Then don't forget these four things when you pitch your…