I’ve had the chance to work on many projects and with many great artist. In the beginning of every project there is a specific question that is always asked: should we be focusing on an album/EP/mixtape or should I get behind one single? The factors that play into making those decisions will be very important. You have to look at funding, content, social impact goals, marketing, and the medium of distribution that you want to use in order to make that decision.
The first factor you should consider is funding. You can spend thousands of dollars recording a beautiful full-length project, or you could use the same amount of money to fund the creation, marketing, and promotion of one song. This is not to say that you don’t need a body of work (music); it is to say that your funding should definitely be allocated accordingly.
I’ve seen countless mix tapes “drop” with no adequate promotion. This is not the smart way to move and the days of just depending on your hosting DJ to promote your mixtape are long gone. There must be a balance between money put into the project’s creation, and money allocated for marketing and promotion before the project even begins. It’s important to understand every artist needs a single but every single does not have to be a part of an album. You simply need supporting music that further promotes the sound that you have and the message that you are delivering.
Since your marketing plan should to be defined before you start a project, your target audience has a big impact on weather you should only promote a single or if a full project should be promoted. Some audiences are drawn to the message of music and others are drawn to the feeling. If your target audience is more into the message that you convey then it would be advantageous to you to give them something to think about, a.k.a. a whole cohesive project(Album/EP/Mixtape). If your target audience is more about the feeling that the music gives them, then you might consider giving them that one rememberable musical experience, a.k.a. a single. This will also give you the timeline that you need to run by in order to complete the decided work.
We all know that the best marketing is through Word-Of-Mouth, and the only way to develop that type of advertisement is by giving the audience a reason to talk about your music. I think, the easiest way to spark exterior conversations is to make music that addresses your immediate circle of peers. The personal interaction about your music between them will create a sustained and perpetual buzz.
There are many websites that you can host your project…. but at the current time they either, have an extensive/expensive waiting list or they are over saturated. But, because of their popularity, your project should be available on all of them as well.
Social media is another big deal that could become a full time job if not approached the right manner. There are many programing applications online that will allow you to automatically post, repost, and acknowledge content. The big thing is being able to reach all of your networked audience uniformly. One good platform for doing this is buffer (www.buffer.com), and when paired with “If This Then That”(www.IFTTT.com) the two create a very powerful marketing tool that interfaces with most of your associated social networks. There are other sites that are free and others that will cost but your main focus is to be within budget and carefully calculated.
At the end of the day your music is what represents you and who you are as an artist. Whether it’s a single, mixtape, EP or an album, the only way that you will connect and create an impression on your audience is through showing them how they can relate to your issues. People gravitate towards what helps them express themselves. Make your music express the masses and you’ll walk at the head of the line.