TIPS: How To Plan Your Next Single Release - AfroGbedu

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Wednesday, 10 July 2019

TIPS: How To Plan Your Next Single Release

It all starts with a song.

You write a song, or you find a song; the song moves you and you want it to move the world. So you record and distribute that song as a single to platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube.

Once the song is available, anything could happen. The music could change the world, it could wow a few people, or it could go completely ignored. Of course chance always plays a part, but the outcome is partially in your own hands.

The benefits and challenges of releasing singles in 2019.
The good news: We’re living in an age of singles, and there are tons of ways to put one song to work.

The bad news: Every other artist has a new single to promote too, so you can’t just drop a song into the world and expect it to reach people without some effort and advance planning.

Let’s dig into the best-practices for releasing singles. I’m not sure if they all count as “strategies,” but they’re certainly all important considerations.

1. You MUST release a single FIRST.
In most cases, I’d give this advice: You should absolutely release a single FIRST if you’ve never put out music under your current artist name! Why?

Most streaming services don’t let you claim your artist profile or use their various promotional tools until you actually have music on their platforms. Since those tools can be pretty powerful, you don’t want to MISS the chance to use them for your priority releases (like an EP or LP).

So put out a single first. Plant your flag. Claim your accounts. And be ready to go full-force on the follow-up release.

2. Choose the RIGHT song
None of this matters if the song sucks. Obvs.

Don’t release singles purely to feed an algorithm. The music still needs to be compelling!

That can mean it’s a catchy hit single to please new fans or a demanding artistic odyssey to please your diehards. But SOMEONE needs to be pleased.

3. Time your singles strategically before and after EP and LP releases
Unless you’re an EDM or pop artist, I still recommend you focus on making EPs or LPs (for the reasons mentioned above); then release your singles strategically before and after the bigger release.

The lead-up singles create fan excitement and algorithmic energy for the album, and then the follow-up singles, or the songs that come out between larger projects, keep you from falling into “out of sight, out of mind” territory with fans.

4. Stockpile various kinds of recordings for later use, in addition to releasing traditional “singles” from an upcoming album

5. Make your music more playlist-friendly

The industry is focused on playlists these days, and that’s fine; playlists can generate a ton of streaming activity.

Not all playlist activity leads to real fan engagement though, so instead of artists jumping through a bunch of hoops to game the playlist system du jour,  I’d still advise you — above all — to make the music YOU WANT to make and try to reach fans the usual ways (playing shows, making cool videos, running social ads, etc.).

That being said, the dominant format of the day has always shaped music, and streaming is changing the sound of popular music. If you do want to make your singles more likely to get playlisted, you should be aware of these music trends:

No long intros and outros
People are impatient and can skip songs very easily. Don’t tempt them. Get to the goods.

Consider putting your hook right at the beginning
Speaking of getting to the goods, you could lead with the hook or chorus. The Beatles did it half a century ago, and Bruno Mars is doing it today.

Keep your songs under 4 minutes
Unless you’re making ambient, classical, jazz, or something, it’s best to keep your songs between 2-4 minutes long.

Watch the expletives
Explicit language doesn’t necessarily doom your song, but it certainly can limit the kinds of playlists you could appear on.

6. Choose the right distributor
When you sign up your single for distribution to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and other digital music platforms, you should know that good distribution is about much more than pushing digital files from one place to another.

7. Create a Spotify pre-save
No point in talking about your new music if no one can DO anything with it, right?

Set a release date at least a month in advance and use that time to generate energy for your song!

You can do this FOR FREE via, CD Baby’s marketing platform.

8. Get your guaranteed Release Radar playlist placements!
As long as you follow the guidelines as they’re listed in the article linked above, your single will ALSO get guaranteed placement in ALL your Spotify followers’ Release Radar playlists.

9. PROMOTE your single, ahead of time AND after it’s released
Okay. Now for promotion. There’s a lot to discuss here.

The key to promoting your newest single
Set a timeline and be patient

Yes, part of the benefit of singles is that they’re low pressure and you can drop them quickly. But don’t be in TOO much of a rush. Plan ahead. Do it right. You won’t be able to launch this song again.

Depending on the scope of your campaign, you might even need 1-3 months of preparation.

Here are just some of the things you could do to promote your single, if you have enough time:

  • Global distribution
  • Spotify pre-saves
  • Music video and lyric video production
  • Song premiere
  • Video premieres
  • Press
  • Cover artwork
  • Communicating with reps from your distributor, licensing agency, etc.
  • A page to feature your video
  • Playlist and radio promotion

10. Use singles in CONJUNCTION with an album release
Here are three ways to use a single DURING the process of releasing an album:

Release your single as the pre-add on Apple Music, and the instant gratification track for pre-sales on iTunes
Did you know you can run an iTunes pre-sale for a month before your album comes out? One of the features of the pre-sale on iTunes is that they allow customers to download one track right away (and then they get the full album download on the day of release). Apple Music will use the same track as a pre-add for streaming subscribers. So think about what song will be most enticing. The playlist-friendly single? A deeper cut?

Release a bonus track with your full album
Whether you offer bonus tracks digitally, or exclusively on CD and vinyl, this gives you a great chance to feature some extra content and drive sales and streaming activity. Live track? Alternate mix? Demo? An unreleased track? Acoustic version of a favorite song from your previous album? The bonus track will appeal to fans who want to collect the whole catalog.

Release a new song on a compilation

If the song only comes out on a compilation, I suppose it’s not technically a single — BUT it might be a smart way to put a new track to work for you. You’ll benefit from the song being featured alongside tunes by a bunch of other artists, and you can always use it again later on your own album.

this post originally appeared on: cdbaby

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