So you’ve got your album mixed and mastered, now what?
The album release is becoming an all new art form of its own. Just this month, we saw two extremely different approaches to releasing an album from U2 and Taylor Swift. They shared a common goal, however: to overcome the rising popularity of streaming and spur fans back into the record store.
With the convenience of Spotify, Pandora and the like, artists today are faced with the challenge of offering fans a good reason to purchase their music rather than rent it. Here are four ways to create that demand for your album release:
Make It Exclusive
What can you include in your album sale that fans won’t get through Spotify? It might be bonus tracks, behind the scenes videos, pictures, merch, etc. Fans love to feel like they’re on the inside with their favorite artists when they invest in an album. Offer something that both allows them to show off that they’re a true fan and gives them a way to engage with you and the music even more.
Some artists offer limited edition album covers. Sometimes they’ll throw in a URL to a website with downloadable extras. Let fans know up front that they’re getting more than just album.
Offer Audiophile Formats
One thing that streaming can’t offer (at least for now…) is high fidelity. The cheap earbuds and MP3s of the iPod era have brought a huge drop in audio quality to the way many people hear music. But, fans are starting to reject that trend.
Vinyl sales are up over 40% this year, and many new albums are being released in HD digital formats like lossless 24bit/96k. More than any other time in the past decade, fans are now willing purchase an album just to be able to hear it in its best quality version. And as audiophile music systems continue to grow in consumer demand, it’s only reasonable to expect this trend to continue.
By offering your album on vinyl and in an HD mastered digital version, the format alone becomes an incentive for fans to buy it.
Make the Packaging Beautiful
Along with the growing popularity of vinyl is a higher demand for beautiful album art and packaging. Having an album cover look decent in an iTunes thumbnail is one thing. Having it look great as a 12” x 12” vinyl cover is another.
Higher an artist/designer and spare no expense to have your packaging become part of the album experience. Asking your fans to pay for music is asking a lot these days. Making them feel like they’re getting a comprehensive, crafted piece of art can help justify that cost. Also, a beautifully designed package can draw in new fans or collectors.
Finally, create a buzz about the album prior to its release. This might mean putting out a single beforehand, posting a video from the studio to your YouTube channel, or teasing some of the album art on social media. Consistently remind your fans of two things: that you’re working on a killer new album, and when it’s being released.
While selling your album may not be as easy today as has been in the past, there will always be a market for albums that move people. By following these tips, you can make a stronger impression with your album and better your chances of selling it in age of streaming.