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Album release ideas in 2019

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Tnavis, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. Tnavis


    Feb 25, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Hey folks -

    My band is in the mixing process of our first album, with a hopeful release date of July. It's an independent release, and while we've all been in been in a bunch of bands before, and put out a bunch of independent albums in the past, we were talking at rehearsal and realize that we're honestly out of touch with how things work in the "modern age", and by that i mean since last time any of us released an album two years ago.

    We're lucky in that we've got a network of talented friends who are doing some video work for us, and some artwork, etc, and one of the ideas is to cross promote with a bunch of different people to get our music out to the widest possible audience.

    So, what else are you guys doing? What are ways that those of you doing original music are getting your name and music out there?
  2. Our music goes on all the major streaming options - Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify etc and we are on Facebook/Insta/Twitter. I think it’s important to be on all of these, with each person perhaps taking control of each social media. We do also have a program that can post to all 3.

    Instagram has been our friend recently but it’s a lot of work and a slow rate of building up a base. Eventually it’ll do things itself.

    We asked an artist who done a very very well known album cover to do ours, he came back quoting $5-10k (this next release will be a DoubleA side!). Our lead guitarists is a great artist. We’ll release little snippets of the artwork on individual Instagram posts until the songs are online. We’ve went with a PR agent to help get the ball rolling.. which sadly in the UK seems to be the only real way to move forward if you’re in a non-pop originals band.

    All the usual stuff applies; talk to as many new people at your shows as possible. This used to be my forte when we were younger. Get them onto your social media there and then, give them a sticker or a small discount on merch. Ask the venue staff/promoter before they leave when the next gig will be etc. Play as much as possible with at least a 1:1 ratio; for every local gig do something slightly outside your scene.
    Tnavis likes this.
  3. My advice to you is to focus on getting your songs on all the streaming services. Use the online music to draw people to your shows and your social media. Have some good merch to sell them at your shows and online. Use the album to promote the live shows and the merch, not the other way.
  4. To follow up to this and my previous post. If you’re a pop band with a female singer, don’t worry about much. If you’re an all male (insert type) rock band, prepare to put some coin down. Merch is where the cash is, but it’ll cost you $10/shirt for something decent, $50 for 100 decent stickers and so on. Buy badges and bottle openers with band branding. Get some sort of gimmick going on with your social media and live show.

    Be all, end all. Be FUN and HAVE fun!
  5. Tnavis


    Feb 25, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    We're a progressive metal band with some minor electronic elements; do you think there would be any interest in the overall music community for playthrough videos/gear rundowns? I mean, this targets a very specific audience, but that may be enough to get some shares and spread the word.

    Which reminds, I believe that it was Stewart Copeland (drummer for The Police), who when he was just getting started (pre-Police) constantly called and wrote Modern Drummer magazine using different pseudonyms, asking about "this amazing young drummer Stewart Copeland", and they put him in the magazine.
    Alik likes this.
  6. 2000TA46032


    Aug 1, 2018
    I know I usually see if a band has a track on youtube. I would put one or two tracks and your videos / live shows there.
  7. Put some stuff on youtube. Start a band page on Facebook. Ask everyone you know to join. Then pay Facebook to promote the page. Pay youtube to promote the video. Have your songs uploaded and available for sale on itunes, etc.

    Reach out to other youtubers and ask if they’d like to use your song as their channel’s intro music. Or use your music during a montage part of their video. Just ask to be mentioned and linked in the description.

    Social media us where the present day is. Selling cds after a gig is so 1990’s. You can try it - but it’s a limited market of people who are already coming to your gig. If you don’t have a following, you won’t sell cds or merch. If you do have a local following, those cd and merch sales will only last as long as the locals get their copy and then you’re done.

    You might find some success on a global stage. You might even start a youtube channel where you show behind the scenes stuff of instrument shopping, or getting ready for a gig, or whatever - something to capture people’s interest. Vlog style. But people have to be interested in you first. Kinda a chicken and egg sort of thing. But once you have people viewing your youtube videos, you link the band’s album in the description and hopefully people go listen and buy it.

    Or go have 100 cd’s made with jewel cases and cover art printed, and be sitting on them for 5 years trying to sell them.
    Seanto, Tnavis and Son of Wobble like this.
  8. Tnavis


    Feb 25, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    Yeah, I think we have around 80 CD's left from my last band's final album. Sold 20 at the CD Release show... and that was it.

    Lots of good ideas all around, thanks for everyone's input!
  9. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    One big trend i am seeing is the judicious use of youtube and streaming video platforms. Right now it's a "thing" to do a professionally(or lo fi) filmed studio track.

    This sort of thing:

    Or this for a more lo-fi DIY feel:

    Son of Wobble likes this.
  10. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    I'm down to kick this can around, as releasing music is such a moving target.

    I first released a CD album in 2004, and it now seems like a "golden age" for the rank outsider.
    At that time, I pressed some of the songs onto vinyl -- this was before the full "vinyl resurgence" (sic) --
    and then I burned a lot of $ mailing vinyl to then-tastemakers such as John Peel, who played the record on BBC 1 which in turn brought it to the attention of David Fricke, senior editor of Rolling Stone, who covered the album there. This from a home release, mind you. And of course CD was a great format still in 2004 because people still valued these little baubles and even pay upwards of $17 for them, so get yours for $5 was a bargain, and getting it from you for free was a welcome gift.

    Last time I manufactured a CD album and began trying to give it away, the most common response was, "Hmmm, I wonder if my CD player still works."

    Rolling Stone magazine shrunk to the size of a napkin, and local music writers for alt publications like LA Weekly all got fired in downsizing schemes.

    All the college radio stations that I sent records to in the past -- my second CD album from that same project in 2009 had college radio spins from every one its ten tracks! -- are 95% disappeared ten years later. My old mailing lists are bird cage liner.

    KCRW at Santa Monica College remains one place to break a project; again, with my 2004 releases, being a LA resident I simply swung by the station and dropped them in an in box, or mailed them directly to DJs.
    When I released a CD in 2015, the station was refusing to destroy unplayed any and all CD or vinyl submissions, and directed bands to submit material at their online portal, which now too seems to be gone. Presumably if KCRW wants you, they'll find you.

    Um, what else? Well all know that downloads are over. So while you want your stuff "on" iTunes, you won't sell any tracks there save for the $1 you yourself spend on the launch test.
    People don't carry music around on their phones these days , they need the space for apps and photos.
    So they stream. Spotify controls over 40% of this market. So that's where your stuff needs to go.

    Bandcamp is good for finding new listeners and connecting with other musos.

    One problem with Instagram as a platform for music is that most users don't leave it to check other sources, and also IG doesn't let you have but one hot link in an account... And the chance of a casual viewer cutting and pasting your band URL into their browser on their phone.... kinda long odds. What i hear IS working on IG is one-minute edits of songs for the recently added video streams. Also, ten-second edits get play on IG. So when you cut your new single these days, you might consider prepping the 60- and 10-second versions as well :woot:

    Another thing: I think Kanye West was onto something with his slate of productions last year (he produced albums by five other artists, each limited to 7 songs). Most of these albums were 21-23 minutes, more like "sides" of old. I actually loved spinning album sides and think Kanye is doing the album a solid by trying to redefine and resurrect it. Because the fact it, while it is wise band business to release full albums to Spotify for indexing purposes, listeners really don't spin them in their entirety these days. I saw John Mayer put out his last album as three eps before releasing them as a compendium. And he said he did this because he realized that he was put off spinning an album by one of his own favorite artists when he saw it had (a whopping) 12 tracks.
    Tnavis and GCPENG like this.
  11. Tnavis


    Feb 25, 2003
    Minneapolis, MN
    I should probably mention we're doing prog with a metal angle to it. We've got a track that's 17 minutes long. So that's right out. LOL

    My previous band got a song in the closing credits of an independent horror film, which was... well it was neat, but it did nothing at all for album sales, band interest, etc. Turns out people need to watch the film....

    Another way I think of it is like this; the youngest half of the band are in their early 30's, the oldest half in their early 40's. We've got careers outside the band, we've got families. We're happy to be making music, and we're proud of the album we're about to release, but we have no aspirations of making any money or fame off it; best case scenario is breaking even, and even THAT is aiming high. I'm sure there's a whole argument about that whole concept, but we're being realistic here.

    That being said, I appreciate all of the input in this thread, and it's given me some ideas about how to go about showing people the project that we're pretty proud of.
    Son of Wobble likes this.
  12. Gothguy

    Gothguy Supporting Member

    Nov 24, 2016
    Two ways to approach this:

    Take your album & throw it up everywhere for free and use it to gain momentum while you plan out the rest of your year after the release. If you can afford it, pay for some PR & maybe some extra video work for the second, third singles. Get those released & written about through a third party & try to increase the size of the platform every time. (Small magazine, medium blog, big blog, etc.) PR is also very good to use to grab supporting spots on bigger shows. Everyone in music talks, it's good to be able to include yourself, especially if someone hasn't heard of your band BUT they know the blog that wrote about you very well. Edit to say that you should plan a release show, get some locals that you're friends with that pull & contact an out of town band that will be able to return the favor to you. Give them a great show & start to branch out from the start.

    Another way:
    Take your album, don't put it ANYWHERE & shop it to management that handles some bands that are in the same world as you (If you have a band in the world of metalcore, see who is managing a metalcore act that is doing well & drop them a line, etc.) management works FOR THE BAND, so they are always actively listening unless they have a client that is so big they don't need to grind anymore (not the right person for you anyway) - OK so shop it to someone you trust, that person then shops you to a label who buys it, probably tells you to rerecord it & then you start from the ground up with a team. A lot of bands rebrand themselves once they sign anyway, so having a "fresh start" can work to your advantage depending on the style of band, if it's marketable, etc.
    Son of Wobble likes this.
  13. Son of Wobble

    Son of Wobble

    Mar 8, 2010
    Glad this thread got resurrected as I was JUST thinking about it, specifically OP's 17 minute track.
    I would guess the entire running time for the full album is slated at 50-70 minutes?
    In any case, given a 17 minute track, I'd say all the more reason and rationale to break the album up into smaller bits and launching them one at a time. For instance, 17 minutes could fill one side of a 33 rpm colored vinyl. I saw Liam Gallagher selling 45 rpm vinyl for $14.99, with no b-side save an imprinting of the lyrics pressed into the vinyl (dubiously billed as an 'etching'). With econo packaging (hand labelled, painted wrappers) you might be able turn a small profit on a short run of 12" records, and give punters better value for the dollar than Liam, too. I guess the bigger point is that you can and maybe should treat each song like an event in itself. Metallica made a Youtube film AND live clip for every album track from their last album IIRC.

    In any case, the more you break it up into pieces, the more places eyeballs can find it (in various digestible forms and lengths).

    My anecdote relative to PR firms is so ancient, it's musty... Nevertheless, touring early naughts and doing a in-studio college radio show, I asked the DJ about a particular indie promo unit I had considered using for our band before opting for DIY. He said, "Oh, you're lucky you didn't go with them, we just throw their envelopes in the trash." This PR firm was a very legit budget provider, but they had no hipster cache at this college. So getting the right PR is more tricky even than finding someone legit. In any case, as OP is playing heavy metal, his market is fairly proscribed, and he could probably hit the handful of hard-copy mags covering the genre with six records or less. A few more gifted to lead writers on metal websites, or metal editors on other music sites, and you've got the market surrounded. After that, it becomes the same vexing challenge of getting Spotify play and Youtube views in an attempt to scale the enterprise.
  14. For my band we are in the same age range and for us we still sell some CDs but it’s other merch that really makes money. I recommend giving the music away for free somehow. YouTube is a good way to do that. It’s good to have CDs for shows and in a Facebook band page “shop.” There are still some folks who like to have a physical copy of an album. Especially when they can get it autographed. Streaming stuff like Spotify is meh, you have to get tens of millions of plays to start making money so you’re practically putting stuff up for free.

    We are slowly but surely getting away from the old style jewel cases and now only doing the cardboard sleeve and CD 5E840741-E23C-4064-8446-188BF5420D1C.
    Our money makers though are shirts and believe it or not we sell out of Koozies about as fast as we can get them. 20E2945D-F5BA-444E-BA59-D53521B624EC. These are our better selling shirt designs. Seems our fans like designs that are fairly simple. Whenever we’ve tried to do anything too fancy it took a long time to sell out of a print. F2E51508-472B-4EAF-9AFF-64BABC143754. D5370120-93D2-4C6E-A4D5-844735F21E19. A0E003B3-16ED-4B20-946D-6352F4D5A668. EC901509-8D15-4F4A-A9BC-D72876C4235E. I’ve seen a bit about USB thumb drives becoming a new way to sell music lately. Even seen that discmakers was talking about getting into that. Benefits being they can hold multiple albums worth of songs as well as video and stuff but our fans haven’t been asking for USB and personally i haven’t bought any music that way because iPhones and iPads have taken over the role of a computer for me for the most part. It’s kinda of funny because when I was a kid my
    Grandparents were saying “what’s a computer” and now my own kids are saying “what’s a computer”

    Vinyl seems to be pretty hit or miss. Really depends on the genre/target audience. If your target audience is hipsters you might be able to sell some vinyl but our fans haven’t asked for vinyl either.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2019
    Son of Wobble likes this.

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