You have a single that is perhaps the best thing you’ve ever done. You know it deserves to be heard; if only you could find your audience. The best music blogs would write about you. You’d increase your Spotify streams and fans would flock to like you on Facebook.
While that’s a legitimate vision to strive for, there are a lot of factors to consider when releasing a single, or even a series of singles. Just dropping it and hoping for instant success is rarely an approach leading to a successful release.
1. Is your song memorable?
The first 10-20 seconds of your song are the most important. Bloggers and Spotify curators often receive dozens, if not hundreds of submissions in their inbox each day. Most don’t make it past the 10-20 seconds. Unfair, I know. You should ask yourself if your single grabs you within those first 20 seconds. And if it does, what follows should be just as great, if not better. There are a variety of aspects to consider, and every music listener is different in what appeals to them. One may prefer something eclectic, something they’ve truly never heard before. Another may rest on a strong melodic hook. Whatever is your strength, go with that, and make sure you’re targeting the people to whom it would most appeal.
2. How do you reach your target audience who would be most interested in your music?
Spotify is changing the game. Before the rise of Spotify playlists took hold, you had limited opportunities for exposure if your genre was an outlier. Now you can use that to your advantage. Take a listen to a few of the top Spotify playlists in your genre. Would your song fit into the playlist? Look at the other bands who are featured on the playlist and google them. Have they received press on their single within the past 90 days? That may be the very lead to get on a writer’s radar.
A note on this: If you are using a well-known band as your benchmark and no one knows who you are, you’ll have to take that into consideration. You should also look at whether the writer is covering bands at your level as well. Chances are, if the writer or Spotify playlist curator are only covering established bands or those on record labels, they won’t consider your band unless you have an existing relationship.
3. Determine your overall promotion strategy and objectives.
Back in the day, I would recommend a premiere strategy for any band looking for great exposure: meaning you allow one blog to post your single before anyone else. And it worked amazingly well before it became an overcrowded strategy. We could fairly easily get major outlets like SPIN to cover the bands we represented. In 2018, it’s better to avoid the premiere as your primary promotional strategy. I recommend looking at what you hope to achieve. Do you want to increase your streams overall? Do you want to bring a higher level outlet on board? If you’re looking at streams it’s better to pitch more outlets with a really open approach to letting them post (meaning make the song downloadable and non-exclusive). Premieres can be a long and arduous process to secure, and often times the payoff isn’t worth the effort for an unknown band. If your goal is about bringing a higher level outlet on board, you first want to look at whether they would cover a band at your level. Do they only premiere established bands? If so, chances are you wouldn’t be considered.
4. Have it available on Spotify and other streaming sites.
Blogs are still primarily using Soundcloud to post songs on their sites, but I do expect that to begin shifting to Spotify and other platforms. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a well rounded strategy when in comes to making your single readily available. First, make sure you have your single available on the top three platforms which blogs are currently using: Spotify, Soundcloud and Bandcamp. To get your song on Spotify, you’ll need to go through a distributor like Tunecore, CD Baby, or Symphonic.
You can set up Bandcamp and Soundcloud on your own. To increase the chances of your music being found, make sure you are tagging properly on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. Tags can include your band name, genres, hometown, possible moods for listening on Soundcloud and Bandcamp. It’s a really passive way to get discovered if you tag your songs right. If you’re not sure what moods to go with, look at the Spotify “Mood” playlists for ideas.
5. Set a release date for the single
As I mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t just “drop” the single. Tease your fans on social media with alerts about it coming soon. Create banners on all of your social media branding the date you plan to release the single. As a general rule, you should give yourself a minimum of two weeks in advance of the release date to begin building anticipation. Most of the bigger blogs won’t even consider a song once it’s a week old, let alone a few days, so you should be reaching out those blogs well in advance to let them know it’s coming.
6. Know when to hold them. Know when to fold them.
Build on your momentum. Have other songs ready to go so once the first single starts to die down you have a new one to build upon your previous success. Even better, if you do have a budget, plan to connect it with an EP or album release to give more more opportunities for exposure.
Green Light Go: Planning to release a single? Set your release date and use our six week strategy to re-engage your fanbase in advance.
Sharing is caring: Know someone releasing a single? Send them this guide to get them started.