I love independent music and independent artists. But there are so many different areas of launching music that must come together for people to discover and buy into your journey and, unfortunately, that means that sometimes artists make mistakes. I’m here because I’m so passionate about helping artists achieve success, and I want to help you along your journey.
I’m sure we have all made these mistakes before, but a smooth launch isn’t impossible if we keep these areas in mind.
CONFUSING A RELEASE WITH A LAUNCH
Releasing music is not the same as launching. It’s easy to click some buttons and have your music out in the world—it’s the easy options that trip us up though. If we strip everything back to the one reason why we put music out into the world, it’s because we want to connect with people and give them an experience they otherwise would not have had. When we take the easy path, we miss out on achieving our end goal: getting our music into the hands of more people. The only way to do this is to build momentum.
A launch is a sequence of strategic moves that create an upswing of engagement. There is a lot to it and every launch should be tailored to the artist. It’s up to you as an artist to think about what each action you’re taking will achieve.
Start with this: what’s one place I want to be at after I’ve had my next launch? Then reverse-engineer some ideas around how you might get there. The planning starts today whether you want to put something out tomorrow or next year, the work needs to be put into the strategy from day one.
HIDING THEIR JOURNEY
The easiest way that we fail to launch is by forgetting that everything we do in the lead up can help build this momentum. The work you’re putting in can be interesting to people, as can the behind the scenes view of what your creative life is like.
We can create so much content from this journey too, and each piece of content is just another little piece of movement towards an end goal. The idea behind a Snapchat post can become the basis of an email to your subscribers. A blog post can spark any number of quotes and images on Twitter.
The intrigue stage is where we should spend most of our time and it’s your job as an artist to share your journey. It’s the most important way to make sure that when it comes time to release, there are already people engaged and waiting for what you put out.
NOT FOLLOWING THROUGH
Launching is tough. There is so much that needs to be done in the process that we often feel like taking a break afterwards but be careful you don’t waste all the good work you’ve put in.
There’s no better way to trash your momentum than to stop once you’ve put your music out into the world, or played that launch show. The follow up matters. It’s your chance to sell more music and to prepare for the next thing. You can take your foot off the accelerator, but make sure you have a plan for what happens next.
The Radioheads of the world can go and hide in their studio for five years after a launch and world tour, but to get to that stage of fan engagement, we need to put in the consistent effort to build and maintain relationships with our audiences.
Your launch plan matters—not because you have to do everything to succeed, but because you need to know why you’re doing what you’re doing. Each action causes a reaction and that momentum build is just the same in marketing terms as it is in physics. Prepare to engage people before your release, know what you want to achieve by the end of your launch and then follow up with your audience and continue on after. Each launch you do can only improve by knowing why you’re making every decision you make, to reach new fans and drive those relationships forward.