Due to the strides in technology, making and releasing music has become a lot easier to anyone with a computer. I had a discussion with a fellow musician about the music hustle in general and it became pretty clear that the difficult part with making and releasing music is after the actual release of the project. The question, "What Next?!" comes to mind.
On the 8 March, I released an EP titled “Jumped On A Plane & Wrote This EP” with the intention of using a different marketing strategy to what everyone else is doing at the moment. Here are 5 things I’d like you to consider when you release your next music project.
1) Which Website
With everyone running to DataFileShare to share their music, I strongly suggest that you either get your website up and running or get in touch with a local website that hosts mixtapes and projects.
Your own website is the most ideal and you can read up on the reasons why here. For those of you that don’t have the luxury of a website, get in contact with one of the local websites that host music. TheBlacksmithed, is one of the Hiphop oriented music showcase websites that host Eastern Cape projects and singles. They are always willing to listen to what you have to offer and better yet, they’ll put something about you too.
Make sure you contact websites that focus on your genre and style. Also spend time on the websites you approach to find out what they are about, how to submit and what you like about the site so that you can add something less generic when you send your first email to them.
2) Set Post-Release Goals (You have pre-release goals right?)
I’m a huge fan of setting goals, the first blog post I ever put up was about goal setting. Anyway, like everything in your music hustle, releasing a tape should have objectives or a greater purpose. Simply "spreading the word" with no set plan of getting something measurable shouldn't do.
Once all is said and done, this is the only way you’ll be able to evaluate the success of your tape. The more goals, the better but make sure they are reasonable and within your grasp. Some goals to consider are radio Interviews, cd sales, number of reviews of your tape by bloggers, podcaster reviews. Remember nothing is too small, especially if you’re still an independent artist. Once you've established what you want to achieve, the next logical thing to ask is "how". I'll leave you with some research to do.
3) Maintaining Relevance (Marketing)
The struggle with independent marketing is the lack of ideas to keep your project relevant after a week or even a month after release without it being too irritating or too heavy on your pocket.
Simply posting a link about your tape may be okay a few times but after some time people will be annoyed. Having short snippets of a performance, remixes, video footage in studio or simply images of people purchasing your cd is a good way to say the same thing over and over again but not the same way every time. Using a combination of these ideas has helped keep my JOAPAWTEP in the peoples “eye”.
Remember, word of mouth is powerful so ask a friend to tell a friend. You never know who might stick around for your next works. PS. I'M NOT SAYING SPAM EVERYONE. Be social on social media and politely ask for a minute or two.
When it comes to visuals, everyone thinks music video, dope cover art and everything that may be well beyond their budget or resources. However, these “ideals” are taken from a business model of a signed artist and if you're reading this, you're mostly likely and independent artist like me without the financial backing of a label.
Most of the time, your audience knows where you are in your musical journey. A dope cover is probably within reach but you can substitute your lack of a music video with many micro videos.
Some ideas to consider are Lyric Videos, The Making Of Videos, An Interview About Your Tape etc. I released a few lyric videos and this has helped keep the “marketing” aspect of the EP alive. To view an example of a lyric video click here. Try to space your material well so that you don't bombard your audience and to prolong the relevance of your project.
5) Get something out of your project.
Jay-Z has this quote, “People really feel like music is free, but will pay $6 for water.” That inspired me to value my music at least as much as that $6 water.
There is more than one way of getting something out of your music. Giving your tape out for free without getting anything out in return should scream to you "I’m making a loss." This doesn’t mean you should make money every time you release a track but you should try get something out of it.
Here are some things you could get in exchange for your music can be email addresses for your mailing list, cell numbers for your whatsapp mailing list, “share this image and I’ll give you the track for free” so you get a shares.
There are a many other ways to get something in exchange for your music. With that said, everybody likes free things so use that word strategically and you’ll give your audience what they want and they’ll give you want you want.
Lastly, don’t forget to thank everyone that put in work with you to help create your works. Thank everyone who gives you a review, whether it’s good or bad. If you have a project out or a single, send it through to me so I can listen. My email address is email@example.com and I'd appreciate it if you spent a few minutes in my music world, Jumped On A Plane & Wrote This EP. Much appreciated.