Why is it that some artists’ releases seem to generate a long term buzz and growth while others simply fizzle away?
We all want to know how to release music successfully.
The difference comes down to Momentum.
Momentum is the driving force behind the careers of many successful artists!
These artists create momentum by releasing great music, driving attention to those releases, converting those listeners into fans, and then building upon that growing fan-base by following up with more great releases, in a timely and consistent manner.
The foundation, of course, is great music and branding, but these strategies will help kick-start some hype and also help maintain it.
What Is In This Guide?
The Life cycle of your music
To illustrate why generating momentum, and a consistent release schedule, is so important, let’s look at an example of the life cycle of a typical release.
Here’s the scenario: You create a track, upload it to your socials and initiate a marketing campaign. Your existing fanbase follows the release.
Your marketing efforts result in a list of bloggers picking up the release, which attracts new followers. The track experiences a short viral moment, where it racks up around 10,000 – 100,000 plays in a period of one or two weeks.
However, in the months following the release, you do not put out a new track, video or tour announcement.
In just a matter of days after the initial release date you’ll start to notice a fall-off in the plays.
However with every notable blog feature and repost, it experiences small surges. Though once these features pass, the traffic spike fades.
Your fan base will have grown from the new fans your release attracted, but over the course of weeks it will have transitioned from the introductory phase, to growth and maturity, and eventually begin its decline.
Look at the ‘product industry life cycle’ graph below. This is a common model used to illustrate the life cycle of products.The same holds true for music releases.
Once a release approaches a state of maturity, it’s a good idea to follow it up with another release. This could be another song, a video or a tour schedule.
This allows the new release to ride both the hype generated by the first one, and attract new attention.
Here are some tips and tricks on how to build and maintain momentum:
Pre-Saves can help you build momentum for your music before you release it.
A pre-save campaign allows your fans to save the song or album to their queue so they’ll hear it as soon as it becomes available on Spotify.
This is helpful because you can incentivize your audience to take action during that promotional period leading up to the release.
Having the pre-save available will also give you a call-to-action for whatever interviews or press releases you end up doing.
I highly recommend setting up the pre-save or pre-order on your own website. This will give you direct access to statistics on how the pre-order is going, who is viewing and playing tracks from the pre-order, and a collection of the email addresses of people who do pre-order.
For instructions on how to create a pre-save click here.
Focus on Increasing Your Audience
Sometimes we get so busy recording new music that we take our eye off of the constant grind it takes to keep your socials, streams and email list growing.
It’s important to keep up with consistently reaching out to bloggers, other artists, venues, and playlist curators in addition to keeping up your content on social media.
Also, be sure to capitalize on your email list and your online newsletter. This is the place where you will be able to monetize your fans so don’t skip this step!
Pro Tip: If you are having trouble growing your audience, it may be because you don’t actually know who they are. Click here to learn more about finding your target audience.
Another way to increase your audience is to offer online incentives. Running a competition, online scavenger hunt or a giveaway is a great way to incentivize your existing fan base to help you spread the word about your release.
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with blogs, podcasts, and outlets that are appropriate for your particular release and have the right audience for you ie. your target audience.
Keep in mind that a music blog is written by a person, they’re who you’re pitching too.
When first reaching out it’s important to make a connection by following them on social media and striking up a conversation about literally anything other than your music.
This way when you send an email there could be some familiarity and existing relationships that will help in getting your emails opened and help your music be featured.
You increase your chances that they will be interested in helping you if you show an interest in them.
In addition to reaching out to popular blogs you could start your own!
Your own blog can help you expand your brand and become an influencer in the music industry as well.
Playing live is one of the best ways to reach new fans, sell merchandise and offer an experience people can’t get online. Keeping the shows fresh and different will also help with increasing viewership from show-to-show.
It’s important to have a live show strategy in place and you want to avoid playing too often in your home town or you’ll exhaust your audience and lose value.
It’s also important that you promote your shows, list your shows on sites like Bandsintown and Songkick, be sure to create Facebook events and utilize your email list and newsletter. Lastly, be sure to keep your website updated with live show dates.
Another great way to keep momentum and keep your fanbase growing is by trying to secure opening slots for artists who have a larger fanbase.
This is where networking skills come in handy. Local venues sometimes get to select the opening acts for artists who book their venues, if you have a good relationship with your local venues you increase your chances of being asked to play these larger shows.
Online Live Streaming
Live Streaming is a great way to offer your fans a show from anywhere in the world. It also offers a level of interaction and fan engagement that can be very personalized and informal.
An example of an engaging live stream event is asking your fans what covers you should play. Post the question on your Facebook page or on Instagram as a title. The song suggestion that gets the most likes or comments will be the one(s) you cover.
You could also invite guest performers to join you. This is a great way to add a new element to a live stream while cross-promoting to each other’s fans at the same time.
You can stream on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube live however more robust platforms offer features geared towards creating “official” shows. The two major platforms are Stageit and Twitch. These sites also allow you to set the ticket price. What many artists do is use the “pay what you can” model which gives fans a way to pay you more than what you ask for and can be very lucrative.
Ongoing Content Creation
It’s important to be consistent with your content. I recommend creating and storing content that you can pull from after your release so you’re not scrambling once you’re busy.
Here are some cool and unique content ideas:
Videos are very effective when it comes to promoting your music and building momentum. Depending on your target audience you can post and promote your videos on Vimeo, DailyMotion, TikTok and/or YouTube.
YouTube is one of the most important online platforms for musicians. It’s one of the largest search engines and people often visit YouTube to find new music. Music is also the most searched topic on YouTube!
Video content could include official music videos, cover songs, live videos, behind the scenes, interviews, vlogs, etc. Be creative and offer your fans consistent and unique videos.
Fans love get-to-know you content. These include posts that tell your fans some of the fun or interesting things you’re doing, sharing pictures and candid shots of your life and interesting facts about yourself and your project. This type of content can be almost anything so get creative!
Keep Releasing New Music
In our world of short attention spans, releasing music more frequently can play a significant factor in your success. When releasing a single it’s a good idea to have some follow up songs ready to release in the coming months.
Always keep in mind that consistency is key when building momentum, especially as an up and coming artist. It’s recommended to stockpile content, and have shows booked, prior to your release so you’re able to focus on releasing quality material instead of scrambling to create and release content that might not reflect your best work.
How To Release Music & Build Momentum - Key Take Aways
Bottom line is, the more quality content you can store up, the more buzz you can generate via press and the more you can engage and build your fanbase will have a direct impact on the success of your release. Think of your release as a constantly running machine, the more you fuel the longer it can work for you.