My biggest frustration in the music industry is seeing an artist release new music and then sit back and wonder why they didn’t hit that pivotal Number One spot or even make the Top 20!
Making music is not a cheap business; neither is it a quick process, if you do it properly, so I cannot understand at all why you as an artist would want to put so much time and effort into your craft creating something that you want to be proud of and then not shout it from the rooftops!
Surely you want your music to reach an audience? You must want it played on every radio station possible? You want to receive glowing reviews. Hell, you may even want to make some money back.
So why the hell are you not promoting your music?!
I can understand that not all artists are good at promotion and some don’t know why to begin but we all have access to social media and if you can post about what you have just eaten for dinner, what movie you have just watched or how cute your dog looks then I’m sure you can post a link to your new music, share the story behind the inspiration and get excited that you are releasing art.
My role as a music manager and songwriter has seen me take on many different hats and one of these has been campaigner, marketer and strategist! Things that when I started out, I didn’t know anything about but knew that they were fundamental to success and without it, we may as well never release any music because who would hear it?
I have been lucky enough to release my own EP and a co-written single and also release the debut single from my artist Stuart Landon under my record label. The promotion to these has been vital.
Releasing my single and EP saw them both debut in the charts at number 4 whilst Stuart’s release hit the number 1 spot on both the iTunes and Amazon Country Charts on the day of release.
But how did we do it?
It’s no secret and it’s not something that is difficult. I appreciate that it is time consuming. There are days when I only had 4 hours sleep but you have to be dedicated in the business and do everything you can to succeed.
What I would say is never release your music without promoting it and then beg for downloads on the day of release. Firstly, this makes you look desperate but secondly, even if the song breaks the top 10 by the end of the day or even hits the top spot for that matter, it doesn’t matter to the people watching because it has completely lost its impact at that point.
Whilst in LA earlier this year, the A&R team and the one of the label heads I was speaking with said that when they have been given an artist to consider or keep their eye on (and believe me they do!), they always look at their social media accounts and follow their new releases. If that song makes an impact within the first hour of release, it’s worth checking out and watching the artist for progression. If it doesn’t do that then the artist or their team hasn’t worked hard enough to promote it and they won’t care for next time. Rightly or wrongly, this is what some of them think. It’s a dog eat dog industry and you get one chance.
Another piece of advice they shared with me was to consider your release day.
Now granted, no one wants to release a new single or album on the day when Carrie Underwood, Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift or U2 release their music because regardless of genre, you probably won’t hit number 1 before them but don’t always avoid this competition.
What do most artists do when faced with this?
Answer: They release on a Sunday or a Thursday and for the industry this is a big no no!!
Firstly, the beady eyed industry execs who are watching you, will see this as a cop out. The way the chart positions work, I could probably release a single on a Sunday of myself singing (which you really wouldn’t want to hear!) and it would go to number one!
Sunday is the easiest release date but no one does it so you are not in competition with anyone and will be seen to be taking the easy way out.
For some artists, releasing music isn’t about chart position and it is simply about being proud of having music available to the world but if you want to progress your career and have an impact in the industry then a decent chart position can help you.
It’s always better to say you had a number 1 single or a Top 10 hit than a number 126!
So promote yourself! And here’s some tips how:
• Contact local radio stations and ask them if you can arrange a live session with them. Apply to BBC Introducing for your local area.
• Make a list of email address and contact names and as you do so, highlight the ones who support you so that you have this to hand for future releases and then it won’t be so time consuming when you have the next release.
• Set up a pre order for your single. All pre orders count towards chart position on the day of release and is a great tool. You can talk about your music when you are on the radio or doing interviews in magazines or blogs and point listeners and readers to the pre order site.
• Send your music out for review to press, bloggers and even friends. If you don’t know anyone then ask on social media and this can be your starting point until you get more contacts. Even one review is good to start with as it makes it look like people are listening to your music and taking the time to write about it.
• Make an EPK and ensure your music links are within that along with a professional written bio. The difference an EPK makes is amazing. It makes you stand out from those who don’t have one but they are professional and show you are serious about your future plans. A&R types like everything in one place without spamming their inbox with a photo, an MP3 and separate bio.
So start to Promote yourself and continue to promote yourself. Don’t expect anyone to do it for you because the music industry is so fickle.
You will be forgotten overnight because for every lack of promoting you do, there is another artist or another manager working all hours to make they are ahead of the game.
Be that person. Be ahead of the game.
Be the competition!
Until next time