The album is done. If you find yourself in this position you're probably feeling pretty good. Your drummer finally played to a click track, your bass player sort of fumbled through half the album before relinquishing his duties to your rhythm guitarist, and your "masterpiece" has been tuned, tweaked, quantized, and crushed to give it that radio-ready sound. Ahh what a time! Thanks to the miracle of digital recording, your ass is now a bona-fide musician (vomits). Joking aside, the end of an album's production can be an invigorating, empowering time. But what comes next? For those of you who now need to change pants, don't panic Daddy's got you.
1. This is a war, have a strategy
As a studio owner, I can not tell you how many times I have had artists come in to record their album who already have a release date scheduled less than a month away. Are you f$@^%&* insane?! Not only do we have to fly through all your takes, rush the mix, rush revisions, find the right mastering engineer, and potentially replicate physical copies but you as an artist haven't even built up the anticipation of your release yet. Amateur hour. If you want your release to have ANY shot at commercial success you need to establish a calendar outlining both the production and the promotion of your album. Set it up through your gmail account, share it with the group, and painstakingly plot out every single deadline needed to create and push your album. Without a clear cut path, your album will flop and your career will forever be stuck playing the Bug Jar on Wednesday nights.
2. bug the media, bug the media, bug the media
Interfacing with different media outlets is far easier than one might think and can lead to your album creating a buzz in the scene. For traditional media outlets, Youtube how to format a press release. Come up with an attractive title and a story worth telling. Find different points of contact within the press outlet you're going after and cc them in the same email. If no one gets back to you, which they probably won't don't be a cry baby. Continue emailing the same thread every four days to touch base. Drive them nuts until someone, at the very least, gives you a "Yes, we will publish your release." or a "No, this story sucks." In the latter case, rewrite the release and start the process again, be a savage. The key is to be consistent and persistent in your approach. Additionally, do the research and find blogs to do write ups on your album. Go for it too, don't be afraid to hit up big outlets like Consequence of Sound or Pitchfork. Disclaimer, establishing a solid "in" with someone at a larger organization first is pretty crucial here. So do your due diligence and pillage your current network for those connections.
3. TEASE ME You fool!
Your audience wants to be wooed, they want to be tantalized, their desire is to be aroused. Become their fantasy by giving them little morsels of yourself before the release. Partnering with genre specific music blogs and social media influencers is the name of the game. Have the blog or influencer do an exclusive release of one of your tracks, music videos, or lyric videos. In some instances you may need to pay a social media influencer to push your album... if you see potential for ROI, then go for it. If after the fact, you don't see direct ROI then you know that particular influencer was a bad fit, can 'em. Give your audience a taste of what's to come leading up to your release. You can use this heightened arousal state to drive album pre-sale, ticket sales, social media buzz, and secondary merch sales. By spacing out exclusive releases and maintaining a solid social media presence, booking agents, talent scouts, and additional media outlets will begin to take notice.
More on promoting your band's release to come, stay tuned kids!