There have been a whole bunch of revolutions lately. One of the ones I’m most excited about is the revolution in the area of recording gear and software. I think it’s really incredible how just in the past few years tools have evolved to the point where people like you and I can get REALLY great recordings on our own, in our own homes.
I think a lot of people are aware of this particular revolution and are really jumping on board, which is awesome! But there’s another revolution I want to talk about today that I think a lot of people are missing… and that’s the promotion revolution! Just like in the recording arena, there are tools that are now available to normal people like you and me that we can use to really effectively promote our music.
As artists we spend a lot of time making sure that our songs and recordings sound great, but I see a lot of people that think their work ends there. They get their album done, throw it up on iTunes or Bandcamp, send out a few Facebook or Twitter posts, and that’s it. This is a HUGE missed opportunity for artists. Album releases are a big deal, and with all the hard work you’ve put in to your album, you need to give it the best release possible.
Today I want to give you some ideas on ways to turn your album release into a special event that gets people as excited about it as you are!
1. Give it Time
In order to really build excitement about your release, you’re going to have to give it some time. I realize that sitting on finished songs that you worked so hard on can really test your patience, but trust me. Sit down and plan out how you want to build up to your release. You should incrementally release information about it such as the title, track listing, cover, etc. Having a time of dedicated promotion before your release will really help transfer your excitement to your listeners.
2. Set up a Preorder
If you’re using Bandcamp to sell your new album (which I highly recommend), you have the option of setting up a preorder for your new album. You can read the specifics of setting that up here, but basically your listeners will be able to stream one song from your new release, and if they preorder it they’ll immediately get a download of that songs. On release day, Bandcamp will automatically send out an email to anyone who preordered with a link to download the full album.
This is a great thing to include in your pre-release promotion because it gives your listeners a taste of what they’ll be getting in the full release and gets them excited about it. But most importantly, while they’re in the midst of their excitement, it gives them a chance to take action and reserve a copy for themselves.
3. Make a Music Video
Obviously setting up a preorder means unveiling a new song. So why not spice that up a little more and make a music video? Videos are inherently more engaging than just audio, and combined with a preorder you might see a higher percentage of your listeners engaging with it AND the preorder.
4. Noisetrade Promotion
Noisetrade is a similar platform to Bandcamp, but with a few key differences. Anything you put on Noisetrade can be downloaded for free, although there is a “tip jar”. So it’s very similar to Bandcamp’s name-your-price option, and you do get email addresses from everyone who downloads. The biggest difference though is that you can pay Noisetrade to promote your album on their site. There’s a few different options, but basically your album will be placed on their homepage for a week and you’ll be included in one of their bi-weekly emails that goes out to a pretty massive list.
One way to use Noisetrade to promote an upcoming release is to take a select few songs from it and put them up as an EP or sampler. Not only does this serve to excite your current listeners with some new songs, it can bring you a lot of new listeners, especially combined with Noisetrade’s paid promotion like I talked about above.
But how does this get people to buy your new release when it comes out? Well, you do get the email addresses of everyone who downloads your EP or sampler on Noisetrade. You can keep these emails separate within your mailing list service and send them a special email once the album comes out, letting them know that they can get the whole thing. Even better would be to include a special discount code just for them, since they’ve already gotten a few songs from your release!
5. Utilize your Old Releases
This might be more indirect than direct promotion for your new album, but one good way to reinvigorate your fan base and attract new listeners is to extremely discount or give away your back catalog for a limited time. Tell your listeners about it and ask them to share with their friends! If you’re using Bandcamp for this promotion, you’ll get the emails of every new person who downloads your music, and you’ll be able to send them a nice email letting them know about your new album when it comes out. If your curious about the results of this, check out this case study and see what happened when I gave away all my music for free for a day.
6. Do a Reddit AMA
Reddit is kind of a weird place, but it’s a very popular place. It’s also well known for hosting AMAs (Ask Me Anything) where people essentially allow themselves to be interviewed by the community. The way AMAs work is that you schedule a time that you’re going to be available, and at that time you start a post, allowing people to comment on it and ask you questions. You can use this within your promotion campaign to give people a chance to interact with you directly and have them ask question about your new release. Your fans love to interact with you, so this will get them excited!
7. Do a Live, Interactive Stream of Your New Album
Another way to build excitement is to do a live, one-time stream of your new album before it releases. One way that you could do this is through mixlr.com, which let’s you broadcast audio to a live audience. Basically you can hold an online listening party and interact with your fans while they hear the entire album for the first time. This is another instance where having a preorder set up will give your listeners an action they can take while they’re excited about what they’re hearing.
8. Submit your Album For Review
While you’re working on all this other stuff in your release campaign, it’s a great idea to submit your currently unreleased album to different music sites for review. Spend some time making a list of all the ones you want to submit to that fit your style and genre, and also spend some time coming up with a solid pre-release “press announcement”. And shoot high here… even if you think a certain blog or site is way above you, send it in anyway! You never know what might catch someone’s ear, and you might find yourself getting a review from a huge site and tons of new interest!
As you see, there can be a lot of work involved in running an album release, but I believe it’s worth it! Figure out which of these things you want to try out, be creative, and plan it out. I know you won’t regret the effort you put into this, because your music is worth it!
I’ve been building my career for that past five years as Lowercase Noises, and my blog is meant to share my experience and help you achieve some of the same successes I’ve had. When you sign up for my email list you’ll receive two free ebooks; one detailing all the tools I use to create and promote my music, and an extensive write-up on the best ways to use Bandcamp to promote your music. I’d love to see you there!
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