One of the most discussed topics for new & upcoming artists is how to properly release music. There’s a wealth of information available on what works versus what doesn’t. Naturally, with the focus being on artists who have attained success and navigated through the ranks.
So how can you pull from the information that’s being presented and apply it to your individual situation? It begins with studying, researching and developing a process around your music. To be truly successful in the music industry you have to build step-by-step, level-by-level.
Now is the perfect time to start this building process. Throughout history technology has always found a way to bring people closer together. The explosion of online music streaming and access to a worldwide audience with the click of a finger has completely shifted the digital distribution landscape.
This circumstance has opened the door for a lot of artists who can execute and build around their craft, no matter the location. A lot of what I write about is how can artists create value, build leverage and increase productivity. I hope to achieve this by extending my organized knowledge in the structure of blueprints, formulas and schemes.
The value being created is this:
No one’s path will be the same as the next artist or musician. The real value lies in studying human behavior and determining which formula will put you in a position to be successful.
This is why I love what I do.
Blueprints, formulas and schemes change over time. What remains the same is human behavior.
So the real questions are: What’s possible? What’s impossible?
People will always listen to music.
People will always buy merchandise.
Economically speaking, the questions that need answering are:
Do people listen to your music?
Do people buy your merchandise?
I recently watch a great interview from Adam22 and the ‘No Jumper Podcast’ featuring Benny The Butcher. Check out the clip below as they discuss the power of patience, persistence and developing your craft over time.
For new & upcoming artists that are in the process of releasing music. The idea of building a fan base, being consistent and building a brand can be overwhelming without the proper knowledge.
In this article, I am going to breakdown the process you can take to increase your chances of success. Such as:
- Constructing A Marketing A Funnel.
- Using Consistency To Build A Brand.
- Prepping Your Marketing Campaign.
- Developing A Project Release Strategy.
Infrastructure is everything. No matter how talented you are, infrastructure is key. To paint a picture, why do you think one hit wonders end up being one hit wonders?
Infrastructure = People, Process & Technology
With the rise of music streaming and digital distribution. You can relatively ride a wave for a while before you actually — need — to re-create that energy. That is why most record labels are eager to sign artists who have produced ‘a hit’ minus the large body of work.
Major record labels are the biggest benefactor in that situation because they can pay top dollar for market share vs. growing an artist organically. This why having an infrastructure in place is even more valuable today, than it was thirty years ago.
One of the most valuable philosophies that Nipsey Hussle left behind is that you can’t skip steps in the process. Why? Because you’re missing out on valuable lessons, even if those lessons involve failure and hardship.
DON’T QUIT, KEEP GOING.
You can still put yourself in a position to secure your financial freedom through trial and error. The quicker you fail, the faster you determine what works and what doesn’t. The key is to never stop experimenting.
Now, let’s dive deep into ‘The Best Project Release Guide For New & Upcoming Artists’.
1. Build A Marketing Funnel
The main objective of a marketing funnel is to build a fan base around your brand and get people to advocate for your music. This is how you will continuously gain fans. The key is to stay consistent and provide value for the people that engaged with your music in the first place. It’s about conversions, when people listen to your music, do they follow you or keep listening. Either way you can win people over through time and consistency.
My advice: Take care of home first and then expand out. The goal is to release music and have everyone in your city, state and region listening to your project. To put things in perspective;
Does it really matter if the city doesn’t feel it?
In return, your supporters will help you spread the word and share the experiences that are being cultivated within your own community. This is the value associated with building a marketing funnel. People on the outside start to look at the value, lifestyle and culture being created on the inside.
The essential function of a marketing funnel is to create a path towards a target action. Whether it be your music, social media, attending a concert or purchasing merchandise. From this path you can develop a number schemes that fit into your overall goals.
For example, someone discovers your music on social media; where does your music live? Where can they watch your videos? Marketing funnels are also key to worldwide distribution because fans can discover your content and dig deeper into who you are as an artist.
The goal is to create loyalty.
So when people do discover your content, you have the proper pieces in place for them to consume and become a member of your community. Marketing funnels assist in establishing a fan base, provide growth and are key in presenting a culture around your content (music, social media, etc).
Check out the article below for the full step-by-step process on how to build a marketing funnel.
How To Build A Marketing Funnel
Once You’ve Built Your Marketing Funnel The Growth Process Becomes Automatic
2. Unite The Process Of Planning & The Power Of Consistency To Build A Brand
Consistency is everything when it comes to releasing music. Even more, the strategy behind how you release music is important. It starts with a having a plan in place that can be backed by actionable steps.
For example, if you’re releasing music videos for your singles. Your best bet would be to line up 5–10 singles and release the audio first over the span over 2–3 months to see which single does the best and lead with that video.
This will help you build up leverage, gather data on what works and introduce your brand to fans. You’ll get more bang for your buck and begin to develop a routine for your single releases.
Where your music lives plays a major role growing a fan base as well. The key is to retain fans through discovery mode. For example, when someone watches your YouTube video; is your SoundCloud and other social media platforms linked?
It’s about creating a marketing funnel around your music and bringing people into your world. Releasing singles leading up to the official release of a project is also a very effective growth strategy.
For instance, YouTube is the pinnacle for digital distribution and music streaming. So the more videos you release, the farther your reach will go in terms of increasing your music streams and creating value over time. Drakeo The Ruler is a great artists to model yourself after when it comes to ‘Flooding The Market’.
You’ll want to include the link to your most recent/upcoming project in the description, along with your social media profiles.
Consistency helps build brand awareness and the process of planning provides a foundation for growth. A major aspect of consistency is planning, having a concrete plan in place will increase your odds of success.
Consistency can also help you build relationships and form connections with your fan base. Consistently being in front of your target audience can queue people to engage with your content. This will naturally establish credibility and increase traffic to your music.
To begin, create a content schedule. This will act as a blueprint for your project releases, as well as a schedule for your followers. Creating a content schedule naturally gives people an idea of when to check back for new music.
This is why consistency is an effective psychological strategy. No matter if you release music daily or weekly, fans of your content will subconsciously be triggered by new posts or queues.
For starters, you can plan out your project release by identifying what resources are available to you (time, energy, money etc). Will you be able to record music every single day or every week?
The focal point should be centered around what’s comfortable to you. This includes what makes sense for your fan base and factoring in what you need to do to accomplish your goals.
Consistency is a major factor in the planning process and is key to successfully executing a project release. Check out the article below on the power of planning.
Creativity Under Fire: Use Dwight Eisenhower’s Top Tactic To Stay Consistent
Unite The Process Of Planning & The Power Of Consistency To Build A Brand
3. Create A Marketing Campaign
As a new or upcoming artist, you should be building out a marketing funnel while also prepping for your marketing campaign. The difference between the two is that a marketing funnel speaks to the inside (infrastructure) and a marketing campaign speaks to the outside (people).
Once you have identified your target audience and online community. You can move forward with your distribution strategy. Instagram & Facebook are a great platforms for artists when it comes releasing music and building a fan base. With Twitter being a must-have for most new and upcoming artists, the social media platform has continued to create value through it’s video capabilities and die-hard music fans.
The key is to focus on the people.
How can you evoke emotion, create buzz and push the narrative when it comes to your music?
This is why marketing campaigns are a continual learning experience.
“Anything that can be measured, can be improved.”
Marketing campaigns combine strategy, experimentation and research. To realistically see the results of your efforts it will take at least 6 months to a year. Once you do find a formula that works, you can begin to repeat the process.
That is why marketing campaigns should be considered to be an “Investment of Time”. The time is going to past regardless, how you choose to focus your energy will be the deciding factor when it comes to the overall success of your releases.
The reasoning behind a marketing strategy, experimentation and research is that you need time to identify which content resonates with your target audience. Once you identify those underlying factors you can begin to specifically plan marketing campaigns around your fan base.
An effective marketing campaign is considered to be one of the main pillars to success when it comes to creating content for consumption. Marketing campaigns should go hand-in-hand with content creation. Ultimately — with one feeding off of the other when it comes to your overlaying growth strategy.
Marketing campaigns allow artists to gather data, define demographics and gain a better understanding of your core fan bases. For more on marketing campaigns, check out the article below.
How To Create A Marketing Campaign
Timing Is Everything—Check Out How You Can Hit The Marketing Trifecta: Branding, Revenue & Networking
4. Develop A Project Release Strategy
A major key to releasing music is knowing who you are and what you are. After you figure that out, the next step is to determine how can you broadcast who you are and what you are to your listeners in a strategic way.
Content Strategy — Combined With — Content Marketing — Supports Branding
This is where content strategy and content marketing contribute to the overall framework of your project release strategy.
How do you exactly define ‘project release strategy’?
A project release strategy characterizes the preparation cycle for your digital plan of action.
When I say ‘project release strategy’,
I specifically mean a preparation cycle for creating and managing digital content such as photos, audio and visuals on a continual basis.
Schemes Create Freedom & Increase Productivity
A project release strategy is a scheme that an organization can use to plan, create, publish, analyze and govern music. Schemes create freedom and they provide a level of unity.
- Effective, accessible content
- Repeatable schemes
What is effective, accessible content?
Content strategy has two functions:
- It aligns your music with the appropriate business objectives as a new or upcoming artist.
- It benefits your fan base in helping them achieve goals, answer questions or fill a void.
The key to continually gaining listeners is fairly simple. Do not present them with an entirely different experience than the one they initially received. This hinders the chief aim of your project release strategy, which is driving streams, views and ticket/merchandise sales.
If the “information” you present on social media does not coordinate with your business objectives or aid your listeners, then don’t put it in the music.
The underlying rule is this, if it doesn’t support you making money, attaining your goals or helping to further your business endeavors. Nine times out of ten, the “information” being presented will not help you build a fan base and is a waste of time.
What is a Repeatable Life Cycle?
A repeatable life cycle is a routine that your organization is accustomed to executing. It is like a recipe that everyone has repeated a thousand times over. The repeatable life cycle infers that each type of content that is produced within your organization can be reproduced by using the same method each time.
This process creates a designated scheme with everyone operating as one unit. Each member of the organization has a clear understanding about who is doing what during the production process.
A project release strategy consist of 6 steps:
An efficient project release strategy eliminates all the speculation out of execution. For example— if your supporting team doesn’t have to figure out all the steps required to create and publish a project. They can spend more time planning and executing the post-production process. Setting up interviews, videos, placements, sponsorship, features, etc.
Governance = execution+consistency and should always be at the heart of everything you do as a new or upcoming artist.
Make Music About What Your Target Audience Wants To Hear
Another vital component of executing a project release strategy is that it places the spotlight back on the listeners. By positioning your content within your objectives as a business and brand. You are engaging listeners, answering questions, solving problems and making it convenient to connect with your music.
When you make music for your target audience, you are effectively placing the limelight back on your supporters. If you want to encourage your listeners to support a project or a new video. Then you need to carefully examine how they consume music and what type of energy they need in their everyday life.
FINALLY — Focus On The Fans
As a new or upcoming artist, the number #1 rule is to focus on the fans who consume your content. These relationships can assist you in meeting your business and brand objectives (building a community, cultivating a fan base and securing funding, etc).
As content creators, it is essential that we’re cognizant of the kind of knowledge our target audience needs to achieve their goals (inspiration, energy, love & romance). Otherwise, we might compromise their loyalty by distributing off target content. As a new or upcoming artist you don’t want to risk losing prime positioning as you climb through the ranks.
How To Create A Wave Using Social Media & Music Streaming
Learn How Content Strategy Produces Freedom
Consistency creates opportunity. In business, you have to make a commitment to focus on your craft. Whether it be music, writing, beauty products, fashion, etc. The benefit of focusing on your core product will put you in a position to plan, produce and execute.
Once you figure out a situation that works for you, you will be in better position to be consistent. Consistency will aid you in building out a project release strategy. If you know what you’re aiming for as far as objectives and goals, you are more likely to hit your targets.
The key is to effectively combine your marketing funnel, consistency, marketing campaign and project release strategy to improve your overall process. Once you can execute the infrastructure area of music, everything else (besides recording) becomes automatic.