Where Artistes Are Going Wrong – They Don’t Have a Plan
It is completely baffling that an artiste would work so hard on their music, dedicating hours and hours practicing, writing songs, not to mention spending large sums of money recording, mixing and mastering, creating visuals, and album artwork only to rush the release with no plan in place.
We know once the music is finished a deep sense of urgency rushes in, screaming – “release release!”
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 three months of preparation.
Here are the basic components of a pre-release to show you the key elements you need to consider before you get too far ahead of yourself.
Even if your release is not new, it’s important to backtrack and reset the stage.
Pre-release Warm Up
Step 1. Take your best piece of content and shove it down the throats of a targeted cold audience. Yes, I had to say it like that because we are on a pursuit to acquire as many “potential fans” as we possibly can. If you take it too lightly, you won’t get the same results. You must be relentless in your pursuit to acquire new fans, and if that means bombarding them with music video after music video; so be it.
Step 2. You should have a warm audience now, and this phase is designed to take your warm audience and turn them into a hot audience. We’re simply going to release a new single off your next project, and run an ad to them. You should have one goal in mind with this phase, and that goal is to blow their mind! As I’ve stated previously, and I’ll say it a million more times; make sure your music and content is top notch. People perceive individuals with higher quality content with a greater respect, and if they really enjoy it; this is where the true fan conversion happens.During this phase, it’s a lot more likely that people will begin following you and liking your page on Facebook. It’s also likely you’ll start receiving more likes and comments.
Step 3. You now have a lot of new followers, and people are really enjoying your content. Our next step is to hype them up, let them know that something big is on the brink of dropping. They don’t know it’s your next project, but subtly hint towards it, give a new single preview if you have to. Just hype them up, and make sure whatever you do, say, or show; is truly “hype-worthy”.
Now is the time to strike, check off your pre-release checklist, set a release date and plan your post release!!!!
To maximise the exposure and success of your new music fully takes some serious planning. That’s why we’ve put together a list of 10 essential steps every artiste should fit into their pre-release plan. Make sure you’ve checked these off your list.
1. MAKE A RELEASE TIMELINE
Organization is key. There are a million things for you to keep track of. Before you start, begin by making an easy-to-follow timeline. This will be your guide during your entire release process, highlighting all important milestones and dates. Organize your timeline into 3 major phases — pre-release, release date, and post release.
There’s no point in sharing a picture of your cover artwork a month before the single is available if no one can click to access, save, buy, or share the tune. Before you go crazy trying to create anticipation, set up your pre-saves or pre-orders! Get the link, then share that link when you post updates about the release ahead of its drop date.
2. THINK SOCIAL INFLUENCERS
Influencer marketing has become a big part of music marketing and you should include it in your pre-release plan too. Who has a large and relevant following and will be likely to share your music and news with their audience? Consider press, industry contacts, bloggers, Youtubers but also peers, fans, and any partners. It’s best to approach them in advance so you can think creatively how to collaborate to spread the word and so they can fit you in their content calendar.
3. ORGANIZE YOUR CREATIVE ASSETS
A professionally mixed and mastered song and visuals are everything. You need to make sure you’ve got creative assets that are compelling and really grab attention. Prepare your photo and video content well before your release date. Create a downloadable folder with promo images, gifs, music, videos, etc, so it’s easily accessible by industry contacts, your publicist, bloggers and anyone who can help lock in any premieres, shows, or partnerships.
4. PARTNER WITH A MUSIC DISTRIBUTOR
How are you getting your music out there on all major digital music services? That’s obviously the most important part. There are tons of music distributors out there that will take that burden off your shoulders and can really maximize your exposure. For example, Hapilos or Zojak distributes to different stores and services covering 190 territories across the world such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and, YouTube Red, and also has some pretty awesome relationships with major DSPs to help artistes get on more of the hottest playlists, more frequently. Check out their successes.
5. UPDATE YOUR WEBSITE
Your website is your central hub online. It’s where many of your existing and prospective fans will be looking for any new releases and updates. So before a new release, make sure your website is looking its best. Make it easy for people to learn more about you and ensure your fans can get the key info in one place, including: tour dates, store, contacts, bio, social and listening links. News about your upcoming release should be front and centre, with pre-order call to actions taking precedence. Also think about matching the aesthetics of your website to that of your upcoming release. It’s a good idea to update hero visuals with the artwork and information about your new music... Read this artiste website checklist.
6. UPDATE YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PAGES
Your website isn’t the only digital real estate you want to update in advance of your release. Consider updating your social media headers, and profile images with release information, pre and post launch. Additionally, fine-tune your biography, and contact information to work in the date of your release. Maintenance is only half the battle though. Be active! Think about creating a content plan and teaser campaigns. It’s a great way to build hype around a release. Create a content plan, and release images from the studio, promo shots, video clips, tracklists, GIFs, etc throughout your release cycle. Tag partners and the people involved on social media.
7. WORK ON YOUR MAILING LIST
Owning your audience is extremely important to stay in control of your fans relationship. Put some effort into growing your list; you want to make it as easy as possible for anyone to sign up. Put email captures on all your digital real estate like your website and social pages. You can even have a physical mailing list at shows for people to sign up. A good strategy when you’re starting out is to give a track away in return for an email address. Then create a flow of communications to send to your list that will keep them in the know about any important details. Email is a bit more invasive as a means of communication, so be cautious about the frequency and think twice whether your fans will like and engage with your content. You don’t want them to unsubscribe!
8. PREP WITH DIGITAL SERVICES
Just like with your website and social pages, your streaming profiles should reflect and champion your new music. You absolutely want to prepare your Spotify and Apple Music profiles. Make sure all your hero and profile images are updated to reflect your artwork, update your bio with release info, and make sure you’re posting content on your Apple Music Connect profile about the news with teaser media.
9. CREATE CUSTOM MERCHANDISE
Who doesn’t love fresh clothes or accessories? Selling merch is a great way to generate some extra buzz (and money!) around your release. Think hats, shirts, backpacks — whatever seems reasonable within your budget. Regardless of what you end up going with, make sure it accentuates the aesthetic of your new release and connects with your fans. It’s important to plan out how you’re going to sell everything to your fans. An easy solution is to use Music Glue, a specialist e-commerce platform for artistes, where you can create a free website and store to sell merchandise, experiences, tickets, music and more direct to fans. If your budget is limited, the Print on Demand t-shirt feature is an easy way to stock your store for free with fulfilment also taken care of; just money in your pocket when you make a sale.
10. PLAN SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR RELEASE DAY
Think of release day like your birthday. If you want it to be a success — you’ve got to go big. There are tons of fun ways for you to capture as much attention as possible around your release during the big day, so get creative!