Over the past week I've come across three music industry pundits discussing the importance – or lack there of – of the album in today's wide open arena of music marketing. I thought I would share them with you below and then offer up a few of the reasons why, as an aspiring artist, an album isn't in my immediate plans.
So, if you are an artist these are great reads. They will give you some perspective into how you might want to formulate your marketing strategy from this point forward.
And, if you are a fan who likes to geek out on anything and everything music, you'll like it too. After all, you are the most important piece of this entire puzzle. Check it out and let us know what you think.
First, check out Bob Lefsetz over at Lefsetz.com. He feels that the Album is dead and explains why in his posts Albums and More Albums.
Meanwhile, Scott Perry of New Music Tipsheet – by way of Hypebot – thinks that Bob Lefsetz is promoting career suicide, and says so in his post In Defense of the Album. (For the record, considering the nature of his site he may be a tad biased. Just my opinion).
And finally, I saw this post this morning by Dave Allen discussing the “End of the Album as the Organizing Principle” over on the Music Think Tank.
My Two Four Cents
Other than the points made by Bob and Dave, there are a few other reasons why for me – as an aspiring indie artist – that releasing my music song by song makes sense right now.
First, I don't want to spend the time pouring over 10-12 songs. In the time I was spending contemplating the album, I could have 2-4 songs floating around working the crowd and building a little momentum while at the same time allowing me to getting a better feel for who my audience is. This would allow me to make certain adjustments to my marketing strategy if needed.
Second, I don't have a ton of experience recording and I don't want to make an entire CD of half ass recordings. Practice makes perfect right? I might have a few below average recordings out of the shoot but after 2, 3 or 4 I should be kicking out some good stuff.
Third, releasing one track at a time gives me opportunity to monetize and/or promte the song more than once. I plan to use the song as a way to get the fan interested enough to opt in to my list and then, down the line, I could release all the tunes as part of a compilation.
Fourth, I think that focusing on one song at a time will make each song better overall. How many times have you bought a cd's where you just know 5-6 of the track were nothing more than filler. Had the artist had more time to contemplate the tunes they would have either been better or just thrown out.
There are few other reasons why a single by single would make sense for an Indie artist.
If you aren't recording yourself you may be paying for studio time. Recording a song at a time may not be practical over the long haul but in the short run would be. Plus, if you are savvy, having a single or two could help you raise money for future recordings.
Or, maybe you aren't sure if you have what it takes. Dipping your toe in the water with a single or two before jumping in head first ccould give you some insight as to what is to come.
Finally, maybe you need a little validation of your or your bands talent. Better to find out after a song or two than after a huge investment of time, money and emotion.
In general, I think there is something to be said about not blowing your wad in one shot. Slowly releasing a track or two at a time may create a little anticipation for the listener while giving the artist another legitimate opporutnity to communicate with his audience.
Hell, single by single worked for many of the greats The Beatles, Elvis, Cash, etc.
Besides, you can always do an album at some point if you really want to. Afterall, it is what some of you and I were brought up on and there will always be a little bit of nostalgia for that format.
Bottom line, find what works for you and roll with it. What do you think?
Hey there, I just met you on Twitter. Following up on this tweet I saw on your profile. I have a number of thoughts on the matter and as I’m in the studio this very moment working on my second album, I’d have to say that I still have some belief in the album project. That being said, I can understand where the naysayers are coming from.
You wrote: “In the time I was spending contemplating the album, I could have 2-4 songs floating around working the crowd”
I completely agree…that’s where the old-fashioned demo comes in…or as some folks call it – the EP (extended play). The question is whether you want to release each song as it comes out or give folks a little bit more to chew on all at once.
I think getting three solid tunes out there for starters is a great idea and our digital world permits distributing them relatively easily. If someone does not have much recording experience, I’d suggest finding a producer-engineer who is looking to collaborate on a project and add them to his/her portfolio.
I started out with the idea of creating a 4-song demo, but then my vision expanded beyond that and then everything else came into place to help me realize that vision.
Even before thinking of something like a demo, I professionally recorded a couple of my songs just solo piano/vox. I put them up on my website, but the means to monetize them were minimal. The purpose was to have some kind of recording available online.
Certainly things have changed a lot. If I weren’t so close to being done with this album already, I’d probably release some of the songs one by one by one…but, at this point, I’m inclined to build up the anticipation by sharing samples of rough mixes (which I have been doing). Then I’ll do the “big reveal” all at once with the world. I have been contemplating releasing a “single” to promote it, but I will have to see.
Well, we’re about to call it a night here in the studio!
First, thanks for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. I really appreciate it.
Second, regardless of what the pundits and I say, this ultimately is a personal choice. It is great that you see both sides and are able to take advantage of each. It is a great real-life example for all of us to reference. Thanks again!