As attention spans get shorter and tech gets better, how do new artists reckon with releasing music in 2020? With digital recording almost entirely replacing analogue, the amount of music that can be recorded in a given time has skyrocketed.
In the past, it took months (and lots of money) to put an album together. Now, the entire process can take mere weeks for next to nothing, meaning that far more music is being released than ever before (seven times as much since the 1960s, according to The Wall Street Journal).
So, what should you keep in mind when releasing music?
How to release music as an independent artist
1. Singles are your friends
The fact is that, according to consumer insight group LOOP, people listen to playlists more than albums now. Streaming services curate them, listeners create their own, parties and events are usually set to the background music of somebody’s playlist.
That means if you’re an artist, make sure you’re releasing singles and promoting them as much as, if not more than, any album that it might belong to.
As well as this, think about the pace you’re setting. Recording a song will take far less time than an album, meaning you can put out several in a shorter amount of time.
2. Self-releasing is an option
The democratisation of releasing, particularly with platforms such as Bandcamp, means that you can actually release your music on your own, at least until you potentially get signed to a record label.
You should keep in mind that some platforms are more designed for publicity, similar to social media outlets than a marketplace to buy your music. But if you’re willing to go unpaid for some exposure, have at it!
How to market your music independently
3. Social media
We cannot stress enough how important social media has become to releasing music. It is the single most important tool that nearly everyone has at their disposal.
This is the case for all industries, but music, in particular, can be shared and collectively appreciated through social media. It might even get you a following and if you’re lucky, you could get noticed by an agency or a talent scout.
If you do go down this route, your social media should be vibrant and engaging, but also consistent. Post often and engage with your audience, however small they may be. And, of course, constantly share and promote your music.
You can find content ideas for Facebook and Instagram here.
4. Physical copies
It’s true that digital purchases and streaming far outweigh physical media. But if you perform on the street or in small venues, having some CDs for people to buy can be a good move.
Bear in mind, though, that burning the CDs, creating and assembling packaging, and taking them with you to your gigs is a lot of work. Just consider whether the time and the cost would be worth it.