How often Should an Artist Release Music


How often should you release music

The question as to how often a singer should release new material is up for debate. But in this week’s blog post we will look at the EP campaign, and the results,  following the launch of the THUG EP project by Dawit Jeffery and how it, assisted his career, as a recording artist.

What better way than to show a real-life case study as to one way to release music.

In a singles-driven market, it is recommended that you release songs every 6 to  8 weeks.The frequent release of songs can be tied to the release of an album or leading to a show.


THE EP CAMPAIGN

In 2012 Dawit Jeffery and I linked for the first time, and he did a song “Nuh worry Wi” in collaboration with Jason Ramsey (J’Son). This was the first song recorded by Dawit.


The general idea is that you release 4 to 5 singles from the album, leading up to an event. All this is the link to a larger campaign.


To release the first song, we decided to release a lyric video and posted it on youtube, facebook, and Twitter. This was shared with friends. Additionally, the song was sent to a compiled promotion list of  DJs. We also used Soundcloud.  that was basically the campaign.


The second song ” I call on Jesus” was released about two months after the first release, and the same steps were taken. This too for the third and fourth singles, which saw the final release, January before the EP event.


In between the release of each song, work continued to complete the production of the album.


The EP EVENT SUMMARY


About March or April following, we launched the EP. The location was  Dawit’s church in the south side community. The event featured collaborating acts on the album and other supporting friends.


A band was hired to for the event. they were given the instrumentals for the tracks to do a few rehearsals.

Entry to the venue was $JMD300. You enter the venue along with receiving the EP.
Persons received a printed CD, packaged in a designed cardboard sleeve casing. ABout 50 persons turned up to the launch.


I Noticed the crowd’s response to the songs performed. The majority knew the songs word for word. Nothing significant was done as a full-on promotion, and the results were good.


THE RESULTS OF THE EP LAUNCH


From the launching of the EP,  Dawit has received a number of bookings for events, such as concerts, leading praise and worship sessions, and a number of speaking engagements. Recently he was invited to share at a book launch.


Persons have become more aware of his music and the other things he has to offer. This has propelled him over the past four years, as an artist and as a  brand.

Conclusion


When looking to promote an album, or you just want to know if it is wise to do so, you can examine the results of this case study, and other case studies like this.

Frequent music release allows a buzz around your brand. Note you can be easily forgotten. Over time you get support for your music and your fan base grows as a result.

How to use an album as a marketing tool


When you look at the music landscape over the years to now, it can be said that the album as a format, is dying, or probably is dead. Nobody is buying albums, or singles, instead, you find persons streaming. 


The question is,  what’s the purpose of doing an album as an artist, and how can an album be used to maximize the potential of sales, and be used as a marketing tool for self-promotion?


The song selections affect the sound
The music you select will represent you as an artist and will influence the type of persons you want to attract to yourself, such as who will book you to perform.


When putting together songs for your album, you should structure them in a way that is well -fitted for a performance set. When you are booked for a 45 minute to an hour set, and perform live as a headlining artist, you should have a group of songs to perform, representing a complete performance, leaving the audience satisfied.


The group of songs is for you to showcase your sound and style.You may send your songs to persons, or when they discover you online or otherwise, can listen to the songs that you have, and this can lead to one deciding to book you for an event. 


eg; A person may decide on getting Joe Artist for a show, because of their liking for his music, and believes that others will appreciate his sound because he embodies that pulling factor for reaching audiences or drawing a crowd to a concert.


An album is can get you media attention

The music itself is a marketing tool for you to get more shows. This can be what you issue as your flyer, business card to prospects.


Outside of the songs being what they are,  songs are a way to get media attention.


eg: Say you send a single to an editor. the single on its own, would not necessarily get the traction needed. The situation is dependent on the genre, and market. So if you are an established act, you probably would get the media to talk about it, whatever their spin which in turn, would warrant media attention.


The release of the album itself can be an event launch enabling media attention. The album launch may be considered a manufactured event for press coverage. With the media at hand, you are able to give them a press release. This includes the packaging of the album, your photograph, biography, and other related info. With this done, granted that you reached out to the right media contact, you will be able to get write-ups for the different editorials. So with the media attention, is added value to you marketing your work.


Along the lines of hosting an event, say in this case a mini-concert, you could consider inviting other artists who are considered established or are similar in sound to you., and whose audience is similar the same.  


 eg you’re a reggae artist., and your sound is similar to a Chronixx, protoje, or perhaps a gospel artist like a Jermaine Edwards, what you can do, when putting out your album, is invite these persons to the event. This allows you to share the stage with them. Their fans will come to your show. so when you launch your album with these persons performing alongside yourself, persons will pay attention to you, and if your music is likable, persons may buy your album and support you the same.


Can be used to book shows


As an independent artist with 6  to 7 singles, outside of the secular arena, you can do one song and get a break, with a follow up of consistent bookings. For gospel, it’s different.Yes, it can work for others genres as well. However, when you have one song, persons are skeptical of putting you on a show for longer than 10 minutes. if you want to perform for 30 minutes to an hour, with an album out, you’ll be able to showcase a catalog of songs, that persons like, and will keep a crowd entertained for an extended period.


With a catalog of songs Persons are able to decide whether you are an artist they’ll have on their show, or maybe you would add value to supporting a headlining act on a show. Additionally,  you can promote yourself as a headlining act based on the fact that you have a catalog of  work to promote your sound as an artist


Conclusion

  • Your song is your business card. It speaks for how you want to market yourself.
  • You showcase and self yourself through building your song catalog.
  • The album can be a means to get media attention.

let me know whether this information has been helpful. Share your questions and comments.

4 things you can do to Promote your music now

You have finished the recording and mixing process for your new song now what? Here are four things you can do now to promote your music.

1.Email songs to friends

The general understanding is, each person, may know at least five persons.These persons may be friends, acquaintances, family members,  persons you meet, etc. You’d have had their contact email address, or, are friends on  Facebook, for instance.

So this first strategy is simple. You send the song to these persons that you know and talk to on a regular basis. Include a message stating the title eg:” mama don’t cry”, and suggest the need for feedback.

Be it email, WhatsApp, Facebook, make it a personal message to the persons, asking them to listen to the song, and to give their take on it.


2. Share It on social media pages, or Groups online

Outside of emailing friends, you can post the songs for example on facebook, twitter, google+. This is just one aspect. Another aspect is posting the song in groups. You may be a part of different groups based on your interest.


Eg: you may be apart of a football club group, so it’s easy to share the song with them, as you would already have been familiar with them. You could engage one on one with some members, getting feedback on the song. You might say, ” hey guys I have a new song called Mama Don’t Cry, and  I’d  really love your feedback.


It’s basic stuff like that. It should not be done as a blast Instead, explain in your message that you have a new song, also stating your reason, intent, and need for feedback.


3. Send the music to DJs for radio play DJs who will play the music you do

This is a big part of the promotion process. You should find DJs that play your music. It makes no sense to send a reggae song, to a contemporary gospel station. Find the DJs that play your music. They are easy to find, they are on Facebook, they’re on Twitter. Ask them for their email address, let them know you have a new song you want to submit it to them, then send the song to them.


Most of the times you may get their email address for you to submit the song to them, and if they like the song, it will be added to their playlist, for airplay. Some DJs will compile mixtapes and may add your song to the mix.


For those DJs who are not on a radio station, they are Online. They might put out mixes weekly to their audience so you can submit your work to them as well.


4. Live Performances sing the song you’re promoting at each live performance

Live performances can be seen as a way to promoting your music.  Each time you go to a concert to sing, for example, the song you would promote at the time, should be apart of your performance set. This is something that is noticed to be done by a lot of artists. eg: in the Jamaican gospel scene, an artist like DJ Nicholas, when he was promoting his single ” Holy Ghost Gym,” for every performance around that time, this song was done.
This was a part of his promotion strategy for the song. After a while the song became popular.
This is one way to consider when promoting a new song.


Conclusion


Using these four simple methods, you have four ways to promote your music:
  1. Emails songs to friends
  2. Use social Media 
  3. Submit songs to DJs for airplay
  4. Live performances

What is the Correct Way to Send Promos To DJs



At the end of getting your song recorded, mixed and mastered by your producer and engineer, you have the final product, and you need to promote the song. One of the best ways is to get the music to DJs. You will first need to collect info for all DJs you have listed as targets, eg. email address, phone, etc.

The norm for persons is to put all the email addresses together, attach the song as a  mp3 with the artwork, and then do a blast, with the title” New Music” by <Artist Name> < Title Song>.


The Right Approach
When you send promos it is better to take a few things into consideration.


eg: DJs may not want you to attach the song as a mp3. It may clog their email inbox. Sometimes when the inbox is full, and you send an email, it may bounce. At times you don’t get a response from DJs, this may just be one reason.


Another consideration may be to know whether a DJ has received and read the email sent. How would you be able to know this? Probably, you may listen in on every show, where you have mailed the DJ,  to hear whether your song is played. Chances are, you may contact the persons individually to confirm this as well. Quite a timely process, and ineffective.


Email MArketing Software


There’s an easier way to know who has read your email or downloaded your music. One answer is an Email Marketing Software. Your email view will look more organized. The setup offers the option for a Logo display of your label, or of you as the artist. Basic info of about your song, a press -release, or A Bio can be done.


 You can attach links for the DJs to download or listen to your music before deciding on downloading it.  The system will allow you to know who has played your music, and you will then be able to decide, who best to send your work, based on the responses.


One type of Email Marketing Software is Mailchimp. it allows you 2000 emails there about when you sign up for free.  When you sign up, emails sent are tracked, and you are able to tell who did or who didn’t  open your email. Also, who downloaded the music. This system proves far more effective, when you know who directly to send these emails to. So marketing and promoting new songs is easier for you.


If You use your regular email, You will put the name of one DJ in the ‘ To‘ section then the other DJs at the  ‘BCC‘ section. 


BCC is Blind Carbon Copy.


Each DJ will get the message without anyone else knowing who else has received it.
The drawback is that you won’t know who opened the email, or who downloaded the music. Note too. sending an external link is helpful, as sometimes the DJs may want additional info within the package, such as the song instrumental, and the artwork.


eg. A DJ  may want to mix the instrumental while transitioning the song, and so on.


Using External Services
The Standard is to send the package as a zip file, not attached to the email. External services may come into play. eg: Dropbox, Mediafire, mega.nz, box.com.
These services will allow you track the number of persons that have downloaded the files. This is to help you effectively target the process.


 Conclusion
The most effective of ways to send promotional emails is using an Email Marketing Service. Additionally, you should include as part of your package, A small press release, the inspiration behind the song, and other related info that are useful to share with the DJs. 

How to use Youtube to Promote your music


Youtube is the largest platform for videos online next to Google. Many persons use this to access music. As an artist, it’s a tool you can use to build your online following, to effectively promote your work.


Here is a problem though. For an upcoming artist, you are unknown to many, and so there won’t be much of any searches for your music. Except for having a  small following, eg. family friends, and so on

Have  a Consistent Action Plan

There’s an effective way to getting your music recognised, and it will take having a consistent plan. You should know the category your music falls under and the artist to which your sound can be matched against.The aim is not to compare your work to others, but to help you realistically identify, and know the target audience you are going for.


eg. as a gospel artist, your sound is similar to that of Kevin Downswell, or a Jermaine Edwards, your target would be the fans of either of these on youtube.


With that in mind, you know persons are already on the search for these persons, the question to yourself then should be, “how do I use this to the advantage, for persons to find me on youtube?”


Do Covers

A perfect plan is to use covers. What you are doing essentially is, singing the person’s song, and then, for example, use your smartphone with a selfie-stick, to record your live performances of the song, to then posting it online.


The video post would be put up as a cover. So the Title would be
eg: Kevin Downswell’s “You make me Stronger Cover” by <your artist name>.


When persons search for “You make me stronger,” they may just well find your take of the song. They’ll probably listen to it. When they listen to it, and like your version of the song, they’ll search for you on youtube, to find more of what you do.


If you have original songs online, persons will listen to it also, and if they like it, chances are after a while, they will buy your music, or may want to attend your concert to support you. things like that.


Alongside the suggested action plan,  as you a number of covers over a period of time, you should post additional content. Things like sharing the message behind your song. 
eg: a song may be done from the experience a relationship break-up, and and you express yourself by singing a song.
eg2: ” I was in an accident, and  I wrote the song to inspire people, there is hope.


However, it is, when you share the experience of the why behind the song, what is the inspiration, it’s you connecting to your audience.


The more you continue to post on youtube, your content will grow, and the more persons will then have reason to want to view your channel, to find you and consume more of your music.


Eg. Say you’ll be performing at a concert at Ranny Williams October 30, simply posting an invitation to persons to attend, is content. You may be on another event, you do the same, and overtime persons find you interesting. They’ll subscribe to your channel, follow you on other social media platforms, etc.


Conclusion

Ensure you use youtube effectively. The key to doing so is being consistent and seeing to it, that persons find you. One way for persons to find you is by using covers.

let me know if the information has been helpful. post your comments or questions below.

How do you get your music on iTunes



After you have recorded your song, have it mixed and mastered the next thing you will need to do is have your music in places for them to buy it. So how do you do that when you live outside the USA or don’t have a distributor? I look to answer that question in today’s post.


Being outside the United States, or Europe, in order to get your music into music stores, you need a distributor. There are various distributors that you can get access to. You can use, eg. VP Records, Universal Records and such like. These entities have distributors, and their job is to get the music into stores.That may be the physical or digital format.


Independently as an artist, you can’t  get direct access to let’s say iTunes. To do so, you’ll need an aggregator. The aggregator is to see to it that you meet the criteria for the music distribution. eg.  they make sure the song title is ok, and so on, and then get the music to the stores.


Here are some aggregator options:
  1. cdbaby
  2. Tunecore
  3. Routenote
  4. Distrokid
  5. ReverbNation


Personal Experience with some aggregator

TuneCore

Tunecore cost 29 to start per album. $9 per single and a  yearly subscription 49.99 and no fees are deducted. Additionally, your music is put up on iTunes within 24hrs. The disadvantage to this arrangement comes if you earn less than $50 for the year, it can prove very costly due to the yearly subscription


Cdbaby

Cdbaby costs approximately $49 to have your music up on iTunes.You pay this fee once on subscription. There is, however, a percentage deduction hereafter.


Routenote

Route note will have you put up your music charge free. That’s if you sign up for the free option.15% is however taken after sales. To get all sales proceeds, you  may sign up for the premium option, at an approximate cost of $49


Distrokid

You pay $19 per year, and upload as much music as you like. ie: Distrokid is the best option. Besides that, if just starting out as an independent artist without money, you may use RouteNote. Over time as you build your career, you may transition to the other services such as Distrokid, as it would be the most cost-effective, compared to the others.


Analytics for DistroKid is real time. You can see purchases before payout. The same can be said for TuneCore, though more costly. 


The Overall Basics to Getting Started


1. High-resolution album artwork size and specifications are given and must be a square and should not include costing and other details.


2. Track Title
Name of each track is written by the given specifications and featured artist, are also written in like format.


3. Upload music
specifications:
TuneCore- WAV files

RouteNote and Distrokid  High-quality 320kb mp3  or wave 

What do you do after your record your first song



Create a marketing plan to promote your music. A marketing plan is a plan of action to get persons to listen to and buy your music.


There are various components of a marketing plan to take into consideration.


Who is your target for the music you create
For example, say you do reggae music, your target would be people who listen to reggae. If it’s dancehall, you’d do the same, gospel, etc.


Other questions to consider are who will buy your music, and where are they? Where do these persons go to find out about the music that you do?


What are the different channels, are you going to use to promote your music?


eg. persons may listen to the radio – sending your music to DJs


In your marketing plan,  you will look at the radio stations you’d want to target. These would be the most likely ones that would play the music you do. eg. You may now consider a radio station that plays only contemporary gospel, but you do reggae/ dancehall. You’d know then that station should not be placed on your options.


In addition, to live radio, you may also target online radio as well. There are shows that will align to your kind of music, the DJs will play your music, and expose their audiences to your music. You may also target podcasters in a similar light.


How can you use video, to promote and market your music?


You’ll first want to get a music video done, and then getting it played on review shows, and live TV. Another option where the use of video come into play comes with live performances. eg. morning TV shows, that you can target, to perform your music live. Then you have the internet. this is where you can upload your video, without you depending on TV station to allow the opportunity for exposure.


Live Performances a part of the marketing strategy.

eg. You may be booked for about 5 shows for a period. For each show, you’d consider performing the song, you want to be promoted, in addition to other singles and covers.
So if you’re promoting a song, it would not be wise to do a new song for each show, and not perform the song you want to promote, at the given time.


Print Media

you’d send your press release, and promo kit,  to the editor of the entertainment section of the media outlet. What you are hoping to achieve, is for these outlets to publish your release, or contact you for an interview, and so on.


In addition to print media, there are online media, such as blogs and review sites, where you’d send your music to them, for them to review it, as well as share with their audience, and expanding your reach.



Conclusion

At the end of putting together your plan of action. the next step is to execute it. So you’re going to now contact all the radio stations to get interviews, and the shows that you’ve identified would play your music. sending your print media info, once completed, getting to the producers of the different TV shows, to get things going. Also performing the song you want to promote, a choice among your set list. All these steps take you to where to go to next, after recording song, and you’ve received the mastered finish.

Should an independent artist get a manager



A manager’s purpose is to help manage your career and to make sure you make as much money as possible, as an artist. That’s their purpose, to manage your career. They bring you to the next level in terms of exposure and earning money. If the manager you have is not making you money, get rid of him. Let’s examine the Pros and the Cons, of the matter.

Yes To Self Management…?


Managing your career by yourself, means you think about the long term, that is, where you see yourself, five / ten years from now. Where are the places you want to perform? And what are the type of songs you want to do? Also, how are you going to monetize your career? These are the questions, that you need to think about.

Most managers – the ones that are effective, they utilize their relationships to get you exposure to push you in the right direction to help you have a sustainable career.

In order for you to get one step ahead on your own, there are some things that you need in place to ensure that you manage your career effectively. Let’s  say you are pulling strings together on your own, you need a team alongside you.The manager would normally work with a team to help push your career forward, just the same.

The first person you need on your team is a booking agent. The booking agent really is to ensure you get as many shows and expose you to live performances. They are key to making sure you are continually on a stage to perform.

The next person on your team should be the publicist. The responsibility of this person is to get you media exposure.They assist with executing your marketing plan.They get you on talk shows, radio interviews,  and write up in the newspaper and magazines.

Important, and often left out is the lawyer. Should there be a contract for signing, the lawyer ensure that details are clear  and that you are protected. They also see to it that your brand and your image are protected.
Finally you need an accountant. You need  a system that will keep track of your income and expenses and to manage it well.It’s ridiculous to  earn $1000 this month, and you spend it all. The accountant helps you manage your money, help you ensure everybody is paid  and ensure you have more money in your pocket as well.

No to Self Management….?

Having someone  to handle the day to day activities of your career means coordinating activities, around your marketing plans. Also there must be  liaison re talking to alot of promoters, ensuring that the logistics are worked out, that you have transportation to go to the shows, that you reach the venues on time, that you have everything that you need to feel comfortable to perform and that all things necessary,  are in place  to push your career forward.

All this can be done by yourself, but after a while it becomes draining for an individual. Therefore there is need to delegate the task to a manager. The manager coordinate the activities of your team, so that you may be able to think about the important thing, you need to think about, and that is, working with your producer to make great music.

For a while you can self manage, but after a while you delegate to a team. If you are in a group, one person can deal with the activities of managing the group.

Managing yourself can be done, if you have the skills to effectively  organise yourself, but overtime you might not be able to  get all things done.

Conclusion


Th manager is the person responsible for managing the activities between you, and your team. They  ensure that your career move forward, and things work out to your favor. A manager  who is not able to help you move forward, in terms of where you see yourself, will not be helpful to you.

To manage your career effectively, you need key persons within a team to help with that.
Booking agent to get you shows to perform, a publicist for media exposure, a Lawyer to handle legally binding arrangements and an Accountant for managing your money.