Marketing Music: Old and New
There are many great discs out there, and many to come. Here are some tips on how and why to market both.
It is wise to start your plan well in advance of release date. Say, 3 months minimum. Why? Well, there are many reasons and I’ll just name a few:
There is the remote chance that your CD will be reviewed by traditional media (magazines). If so, their lead time is 3-4 months. Regardless of whether you get the review or not, you don’t want it to be based on your missing a deadline.
You want to get your CD to radio at least one week before release date. I recommend 3 weeks, as the music directors have tons of CDs to look through to find yours.
All of your materials should be approved, prepared and ready to go when the release hits. This includes:
Media Release About the CD
Hi Resolution Photos
Tour schedule with all details filled in (time, date, cost, etc)
MP3’s of all tracks
MP3’s of singles
Physical Copies of Discs (50 min) if you plan to press
Your interview schedule (times you are available) and what you are/are not willing to do
Website complete with purchase options and links to all Blogs, Social Networking Sites, etc.
EPK for download on your Website
Story angles and pitches
Quote Sheet of previous reviews and any press clippings in pdf form
So, as you can see, it can take some time to pull this all together. Don’t be caught releasing your next disc without being prepared.
It’s kind of harsh and also somewhat of a misconception to use the words “old music.” I mean, in today’s day and age of digital downloads and very few record stores, nothing is really “old.” And at the same time, things move so fast that everything is “old”! However, let’s, for the sake of argument, call any CD released more than 8-12 months ago, “old.”
Older releases which were never marketed properly upon the release do have a chance to gain airplay and media attention. Is it the same process or plan as new releases? Yes and no. I say yes because the list of items you need to have prepared in order to launch your campaign is the same as #3 above. I say no because there is no sense of urgency to marketing older releases. The chances of your getting reviews in magazines are slim to none. The chances of you charting on radio are slim to none. So, what can you do? A lot.
Older releases can be pushed very much in the same way as new releases, especially if this is your “current” release. Many artists take years between recordings, but that doesn’t mean they stop working on their “current” release. Here are some ideas for working with older music:
Pick a new track that has never been pushed and work it at internet radio. You may think that internet radio is unimportant, but it is the fastest growing radio market. In addition, internet stations can and will help your cross promote on the web via their sites and social networking sites.
Work a few tracks at once. Why not? There really is no “single” on older releases, so go for it!
Make friends with webzines and podcasters. They are much less picky about “release” dates. And again, they can help you cross promote.
Tour and play songs from the release. Yes, you make be sick of them, you make have new material you like better, etc. but you want to sell merchandise. So, play the music on your CD and let everyone know that they can buy it there.
Offer incentives- offer a free download of a never before released track with the purchase of the disc. If you are selling physical copies, offer something as well- a piece of merchandise or the download.
Be realistic- the goal with older releases should be to deplete your inventory if you have physical discs, or to reach a target you personally set for digital releases. So the strategy is really inbound marketing- cultivating your fan base, growing it to support your music.
Your second strategy/purpose is to create an awareness of the band so that with the next release you already have a foundation.
Don’t confuse the issue: Posting videos on YouTube of you performing new material while you are trying to sell older material? Umm… bad idea. Keep everything focused on what you are trying to accomplish.