These days, the question should no longer be “why should we release singles” but “how to release singles in the most effective way possible.”
To answer that question in the best way possible, I set out to release a song per month for almost a year.
Before I get to what it was that I did, lets take a few seconds to revisit why we should release singles (in case you are still on the fence or can't remember why it is a good idea).
I've been launching singles on a monthly basis for nearly a year and it has been a very effective way for me to keep communication lines open with fans and sell more music.
Releasing singles also multiplies the amount of feedback I get to keep those creative juices flowing, increases the amount of opportunities for me to feel that rush of anticipation that you feel when you are about to release your art into the world and lets you wrap yourself in that warm blanket of satisfaction that comes from having fans tell you they love the song, know where you are coming from and how it made their day better more than just once per year.
Think about it, how does it feel when you are about to release a song? Do you want to have that feeling more often?
For those of you who need more factual, business-minded reasons to release singles, here is a great post on Music Think Tank that goes deep (and I mean deep), on why it makes business sense to release single songs instead of albums.
So now that we got the why out of the way, lets get to the how.
How to Release a Singles
Like I mentioned earlier, I've been releasing singles as often as possible over the course of the past year (once per month on average). The following is a rough system I've developed which has worked pretty well in some areas but, I'm sure, could use some improvement.
I've divided the process into 3 parts; Preparations, Distribution and Amplification.
I usually create videos, credits, lyrics, album art, and a blog post up front and have them located in a single folder so when I get to start uploading and filling out album data. Nothing slows you down faster then having to stop everything to dig around for stuff.
Time to upload songs, videos and whatever else for distribution. This should be fairly painless if did your job in the preparation faze.
For my song files, I use Bandcamp as my main store where I try to send the bulk of my traffic on release day but I also use CDBaby for distribution to iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, MOG, Google Play, etc. I just have been using them for awhile now, am comfortable with them and they do a nice job keeping track of where the money is coming from (but they're price seem to keep going up and up). There is also Tunecore and another more inexpensive service I've been hearing good things about called Songcast.
For videos, I currently just use YouTube. In the past I've added videos to other sites like Vimeo and have used use a video distribution service like OneLoad too. Just takes more time and I am only a one man operation. For now, I get enough bang for my buck on YouTube. Really depends on how much time you have and what sort of presence you will have on the other platforms.
Once everything is live on your distribution channels, complete and publish your blog post.
Now that everything is set up it is time to start telling your world via what I'm calling Amplification (could be a better term but it just sounds more musciany don't you think? Anyway…).
Usually I start by contacting everyone in my email list. Then I make my rounds in the social media world as well as reach out to any blogs, radio and podcast contacts that have featured my music in the past.
There's More Though
Everything I've listed above should give you a pretty good idea of how to release a single. But, if you want to dig deeper and improve your chances of creating the maximum amount of buzz, adding new fans and selling all the singles you can, then you should read my free ebook “Sell More Singles.”
“Sell More Singles” contains an in-depth outline of the entire single release process. Stuff like; why releasing singles is the best option for indie musicians, how to prepare your files for distribution, which services to use to distribute your single on iTunes, Spotify, etc, where to promote your single, and more
Sound cool or what?