To have a solid music marketing plan. This blog post will discuss important aspects that need consideration when developing your music marketing strategy and provide some insights to help you with your next music release.
It takes so much time, money, energy, and creative power to create a body or collection of musical works. Be it an album, single, or extended play, the process of putting it together is always tedious and sometimes very stressful. The aim, in most cases, is to release the music and get as many people as possible to listen, appreciate and connect with it. However, this is not as simple as it may sound. In most cases, musicians spend so much time creating these amazing singles, EPs, and albums only for them to get lost in the over-saturated pool of released music. They get ignored and fall on something close to deaf and uninterested ears. While some may not allow this sort of disappointment to get to them, it can dishearten and be artistically damaging.
Failing to plan and properly schedule a music release can be a sure ticket to a disappointing release – it isn’t exactly the surest ticket to a successful release. The truth is that a music marketing and release plan doesn’t always come together overnight. It takes time, information, and maybe some helping hand(s). It is something you start long before the release of the music. If you intend to market your music, then a music marketing plan is as important as the actual music creation. Most times, doing it sooner is much better, especially if some or even all of your plans involve time-sensitive elements. It is ultimate that you identify your target audience and also grow your fanbase. This is especially important because before you announce your new album, you already will or should have a loyal community that’s excited about the music.
In this article, we will talk about the things that you must consider before releasing your music. These are things that will, to a great extent, affect the outcome of your release. To avoid a very disappointing release, I advise you to leave nothing and anything to chance. Instead, follow all or, at worst, some of these steps.
Decide What you Wish to Accomplish With your Release and Be Clear About it
This is where it all starts. There is a saying that if you don’t know where you are going, you might end up anywhere. Be specific about your music release goals and what you wish to achieve. For every musician, there is a unique career or even music release goal. Your goals are totally yours, and they can, of course, change with time. That being said, start by thinking about what holds the greatest meaning to you as a musician at this stage in your career. What are the things you really want to achieve with your music? It might be to make it to the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine, selling about a million copies of your album, or even getting playlisted on major music playlists. The key here is to be as specific as possible about what you want to achieve while also having your brand and identity at the back of your mind. Would you mind writing down the goals and being direct about them? Without totally restricting your goal setting to these, you can follow these simple steps below while setting your music career goal.
We cannot overstate the importance of being specific. Do not be indirect, and don’t generalize. Use actual figures, dates, and words. Do not say “sometime this year.” Instead, say something like “October 2021.”
Make it Measurable
Set goals that you can track its progress and also measure. You must measure your goals to know how well and bad you are doing with your music career.
Be Realistic and Make your Goals Attainable
To avoid being grossly disappointed, you have to be as realistic as possible. At your beginning stage, it might be a sort of joke to set a goal of selling one million copies of your debut album – although it is not totally impossible. Balance your goals out by not going too low and also being as realistic as possible with them.
Get your Music Marketing Plans in Sync With your Music Career Goals
This is the point where you go back to your actual goals as a musician and check if your music release/marketing plans are in sync with them.
Set a Release Date
This is quite important because you might not release the music at all if you don’t get this part done. You need to give yourself or your team a date. Be specific about it; don’t just say “November,” instead say “November 10.” Before the music goes through all the processes of production and post-production process, it is important that you already know the release date. Also, be realistic about the date so as not to put yourself and your team under unnecessary pressure. Create space and enough time for pre-release activities like promotion, listening parties, meeting with promoters, media houses, radio/TV stations, and many others. For a single, it is wise to set the release date one or three months away from the time you are making your music release plan. Much bigger projects like albums, EP, mixtapes, or compilations will definitely need more time. For larger projects, you can set like 4 to 6 months.
Set your Budget
This is one of the most important things you will have to consider. The truth is that, without money, your music might only end up circulating to you, your family and friends – and your team. To get things done in today’s music industry, you will need some money. It might not mean blowing up your life savings, but it will surely need money, and this is where budgeting comes in. The first thing you need to know is that regardless of what people might say, you can still successfully promote and release your music on any budget, regardless of how small. Just because you don’t have the backing and resources of any major label as an artist doesn’t mean that your music marketing plan will fail.
The key is to prioritize and make judicious and smart use of the budget you do have. This will get you farther than sitting back to make excuses and comparing yourself with artists with mega budgets and influential labels backing their projects. Tailor your music release budget to whatever goals you set above, but in general, it is wise to include paid ads on social media. If you still do not fully grasp the entire music release thing, paid social media campaigns are such a great place to start. Tweak different parameters till you discover what works best for you and your career, then finally invest as much as you can afford in that.
Get the Artwork Ready
Although this might seem like a not-very-important aspect of your music release strategy, the truth is that this is as huge as music promotion itself. Your song’s artwork is the first visual aid accompanying your song, and it speaks a ton about your music. Be it a single, EP, or album. Make sure to get the artwork ready [preferably months] before the release. Because the artwork will always go hand-in-hand with the audio file(s), it becomes paramount that you prepare the artwork early enough.
For artworks that require you to use your photo or any other photo, it is vital you arrange for a shoot early enough and sort out everything that comes with the shoot, like makeup and costume design. Know exactly how long each of these procedures takes to have a better and clearer understanding of time. Account for each of these activities when setting the timeline for your music release. Also, make sure to do some research and also scout for inspiration when developing your album art. Your album art says a lot about not just your music but also about you as an artist.
Make Use of Available Analytics to Keep Track of Everything
Whatever you are doing, make sure always to keep track and monitor every little progress you make. One of the most important parts of your music release plan is figuring out what’s working and what’s not working. The stats, digits, and graphs might not be exactly interesting, but the truth remains that the long-term result of doing this will be more than interesting. By keeping track of your career and release with analytics, you see exactly where you are going, where you have been, and where you are – it could not be any better.
Although the mention of analytics might disinterest some and maybe seem a bit intimidating, the entire process doesn’t exactly have to be a stressful or time-consuming part of your music release strategy. Many social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have some very nice form and highly detailed analytics built right into their dashboards for users to know just how they are doing. Also, by including every link you share in a trackable Linkfire link, you will collect valuable cross-platform data points such as channels, clicks, streams, and follows, all in one place – this makes tracking a lot easier more fun. Smart links aren’t just for when your release comes out; in fact, they are also important during the entire album or single release process. Linkfire offers seven types of smart links that will intuitively inform you about just how your music is doing.
Prepare your Music for Different Release and Distribution Mediums
Different distribution and promotion mediums might require different file formats. If you plan to release CDs, Vinyl, or DVDs, you have to prepare just the right formats for each medium. Also, if you are planning to release your music o radio and TV, you might want to consider preparing a radio edit of each song or the particular one.
Launch a music release pre-save campaign
About one to three months before your actual release day, you’ll want to start creating as much awareness and getting as much attention as you can. One way to get some attention and even prepare for greater stream counts is through a pre-save campaign. This is basically a way to reward your listeners to “pre-save” your music on streaming websites like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer, etc. It’s effortless to create a Linkfire pre-release link that will direct all of your listeners to save your music on all streaming platforms. What this does is that your music will be directly delivered to those who pre-saved on the day of your music release. This is the equivalent of pre-ordering a physical CD or vinyl. This will help boost your presence on each streaming platform through plays and traction; this might translate into getting featured on major curated or organic streaming playlists.
Release the Music!
Finally, you have to do it. This is the step you had been waiting for, and it is the most exciting of all the steps. The key here is to relax your mind and try not to allow it to stress or overwhelm you. One way to eliminate stress and easily direct people to your new music are by using a release link to promote your new single or album. If you had already set up a Linkfire pre-release link, it would convert automatically to a regular release link on the day and hour of your release.
Using a release link is quite helpful because no matter what platform or format your listeners use to listen to music, they’ll be quickly and easily connected to your music via one simple link. This makes it easy for you to share your music with virtually anyone and everyone. Don’t stop there! Create even more momentum after your release day by performing a show or live streaming a music release party. Do everything possible to make sure that you direct new fans to your music. Get active on social media and use even available local media like radio, TV, and even newspapers. The goal is to get people to notice not just your music but also you. Print banners and merchandise and be in as many places as possible.
I hope you should have a better idea of what to consider when developing your music marketing strategy. If I missed any aspects or want some help with figuring out how to promote your music, please comment below and let us know! We look forward to hearing from you about the progress of your own personal musical journey. Do you have any suggestions on how artists can promote themselves?
Featured image provided by Linkfire.