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How To Market Your New Album

Want to hear the worst marketing strategy I’ve ever seen?  I had a client that spent years writing, thousands of dollars on recording and mix/master, and duplicating, and their marketing strategy was to drive to the nearest big city on a Tuesday and put a single copy of the album in the locals section of a record store and a one sentence post on Facebook about it.  That’s it!  No announcement, no lead up, and no party of any kind to celebrate so much time and money spent.  What a waste!  Don’t be that band and start learning how to market your album now. 

So how much should you spend on marketing?  I’d suggest matching your recording budget 1:1.  What good is an album you poured your life into if nobody hears it because nobody knows it exists?  This money should be going to campaigns, PR firms, placements, videos, photos, art, duplication, distribution, or anything else that pushes your product out to more people.  Remember, your album needs to draw people to your next show so you can play to a packed house, sign some autographs, take some pics with fans, and sell some merch to get a few bucks for gas money so you can make it to the next stop.  Without an album, good luck drawing them in.  

Let’s talk about building a little hype.  How will people know when to tune in for the big release if you don’t tell them when to tune in?  Design a strategy that starts with the writing process, includes photo and video from the recording sessions, talks about how good the mixes are sounding, announces the first single, announces the album release date, and counts down to the big day.  Without those important steps, your album releases to a whopping 12 buddies instead of the thousands that actually want to hear your album but had no idea you were even writing a new one.  

Another big mistake I see is posting on the wrong day at the wrong time.  Nothing like a Saturday at 3am to release that album you’ve spent so much money on.  Do some research on the best day/time to release your music on social media.  Your aim is to generate a little momentum through shares and interactions between the band and your listeners to drive the algorithm into showing a wider audience.  Good luck going viral if you’re releasing your album while everyone’s sleeping.

And who do you target with all these announcements and hype building techniques?  The hoards of fanatical fans that you’ve cultivated on social media over years and years by being chill, having fun, building relationships, giving back, and being worthy of people giving a fuck about your art.  If you haven’t started building a fan base that includes followers from multiple social platforms, fans you’ve met at concerts, or email lists you’ve built, you need to start immediately.  

The world is all about video these days.  And YouTube is still king.  You’ll be weaponizing video across all platforms to draw the attention of your listeners so they’ll check out the album and hopefully show up to your next show.  Don’t cheap out on the video and really aim to draw them in.  If potential fans will only listen to albums with good videos, you don’t get much choice these days.  Put some thought and effort and money into your video and it will pay you back in dividends.  Even if your video goes viral, it won’t keep making the rounds on social media indefinitely and YouTube will be it’s final resting place.  Consider linking up with promotion channels like Slam Worldwide or Chug Collective or wherever your potential fans are going to check out new music.  

Consider a listening party or an album release party.  Bonus points if you can coordinate a listening party at a small event space or in the studio it was mixed in.  An intimate invite only listening party can generate a bit of buzz around your upcoming release.  And I still love attending an album release party. It’s a chance to go support your favorite bands on their special day. Like the birth of a baby or something.  Pick the city or cities where you draw the biggest crowds.  Consider hitting multiple dates, a mini tour, or a full-blown tour to promote your new album.

Similar to video, audio streams will spike across all platforms during the initial release but they’ll live forever on Spotify.  Getting onto popular playlists that your target audience is already subscribed to can boost your streams exponentially.  Getting onto the right playlist is going to be one of the hardest things you’ll have to accomplish when it comes to a successful release.  Just like video, how can you go viral if you don’t get in front of your target audience?

The last couple suggestions are to get favorable write-ups in editorials that specialize in your genre.  Bonus points if the audience is your target audience.  Cross promotions with fellow bands can help to organically reach a wider target market.  And lastly, just hire a PR firm if you have no idea how to do any of this.  Seriously.  If you can raise the funds, hire people that do this kind of work every single day.  

And whatever you do, don’t forget to build out your website before the big release and have your merch ready for your album release party.  Without a way to capitalize on your product, your product is useless.  

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