In today’s rapid content, easy-streaming/consumption-from-the-cloud climate, what’s a better music release strategy: albums or singles?
Music Release Strategy #1: The Storytelling Nature of Albums
Albums are still important when you have something to say as an artist via a collection of songs that have cohesion. If you’re inspired to create such a collection, and you think it will resonate with your audience, then you should pursue that.
Music Release Strategy #2: The Attention Span for Singles
However, so much of the music industry (as well as just about any other industry today) depends on the attention of your audience. Unfortunately, that attention is in short supply due to the glut of info spewed at each of us every second from any device that can garner our eyes and/or ears.
For this reason, and the fact that streaming music is so readily available and devices to stream the music are ubiquitous, many artists have found that they can keep more of their audiences’ attention by steadily creating and releasing new music as one-off singles vs. spending vast amounts of time (a year or more) woodshedding and recording a new album without being in front of their audience.
So Which Strategy is Best?
You might think an artist dropping out of the day-to-day social feed to work on an album might create demand for their latest, upcoming work, but because media moves so quickly these days, too much time away from your audience online and your audience may move on to something else. That may leave you with the sound of crickets when your album is finally released.
In contrast, releasing a new song regularly, say once a month, gives you a consistent cadence for your audience to expect and anticipate, creating that demand, but without such a large gap between releases that your audience totally moves on to something else.
In many ways, the release of music at a consistent clip becomes the marketing and promotion for your brand as an artist. Your brand can then be monetized in a variety of other ways. This, along with backend royalties from regularly releasing music and/or selling licenses for other businesses to use that regularly recorded music can help create more diversified music revenue streams, which is a good thing.
Plus, each of those songs you recorded and released throughout the year can still be collected into an album…perhaps you start releasing a 12 song album each year from the collection of singles released each month that year. You can still produce CDs if those sell well at live shows, but now your albums might simply be annual collections of the songs produced that year.
Today’s Recommended Action: Experiment with your Releases
Figure out how you can release music on a regular cadence to keep your audience engaged. Consider releasing new singles once a quarter to start, or if you’re feeling more ambitious, every other month, or ideally, once a month.