Should You Release New Music at the Moment?
With most of the world in lockdown, everything seems to be at a complete standstill. Everybody’s just waiting around for life to return to normal. So what does that mean for your new music? Should you release it, or should you wait? I’ve seen lots of conflicting opinions on this over the past couple of weeks, so I wanted to share my thoughts and hopefully provide a bit of clarity for those who are still unsure. Here are some things to think about…
Starting with the obvious, you can’t do any gigs to support your release at the moment. Playing live shows is without a doubt, the number one way to build and connect with your audience and get yourself out there. Nothing comes close, so this is a huge part of a successful release plan taken away. If you already have an audience who would attend your release show, it’s probably best to hold off and make the most of it when you’re allowed to play again if you want to be sure you’re maximising everything.
That said, if you’re only just starting to build your audience, this might not be a negative for you. If you’re smart with your social media use, you may be able to start building some local traction, so that when this is over, you can start gigging with a decent following already in place. Also, there are a few artists whose audience are entirely online anyway. If this is the case, you may find that they’re more attentive than ever.
At the moment, it’s hard to keep anybody's attention for long, we’re all distracted by the bombardment of news that comes our way and the surreal situation we’re going through. For this reason I’d avoid great big build ups to new music releases, keep any announcements to one week before, max. This doesn’t mean don’t pre-plan your strategy, you should still be contacting your PR list and submitting for playlists in advance of the release. It just means not leaving your audience aware and waiting for too long. You need to give them an action to take right off the bat, such as “Pre-save my new single now” or “My new track is out, go and listen to it today”, or they’re attention will be taken away. From there, you can continue to push the music and they’ll be able to listen to it right away.
People need entertainment more than ever
Sure, attention spans are even shorter than before, but according to the latest Nielsen report, media consumption is up 60%. I’ve heard a few artists saying that promoting their music feels a bit insensitive at the moment, but if you’re respectful and focus on benefitting your audience, not yourself, this is a great time to promote. People need entertainment more than ever and as a musician, you’re in a great position to give genuine value to people's lives and distract them from the negativity.
It’s a great time to build an audience through entertainment, but that doesn’t have to mean putting out your next EP. Instead, you could focus on creating more video content, live streaming, doing covers and just engaging with your following. I’ve seen artists doing quizzes, podcasts, virtual gigs, challenges and more to socialise with their fanbase at this time. Think outside of the box and focus on benefiting others.
What would I do?
My opinion would be that it’s better to hold off on anything major in most circumstances and use this time to grow and build a connection with your audience, plan your post-lockdown release more strategically than you ever have before and get lost in some creativity. Forget about instant gratification and think long term. That said, it hugely depends on your audience. For some, it might be the perfect time to release that huge project. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think carefully about how you can best benefit them right now, while getting the most from your music. Focus on giving genuine value to others and you’ll be onto a winner.