If you’re reading this, it’s too late.
Just kidding, it’s (almost) never too late. Really though, if you’re reading this, chances are you either A: are about to release an album, B: just released an album and it’s still sitting in your apartment in a box, or C: are known as the “Peep My Mixtape, Fam” guy that everybody avoids for some reason at the family reunion. Let’s fix that.

In the next 5 minutes, we’re going to take a look at what really makes an album go from “Wasted” to “Wanted,” and by the end, you’ll be ready to start promoting your next project, even if you haven’t started it. First things first, though:

1. It’s not about the album.
“But I spent so much time in the studio making sure everything was perfect!” Yeah, so did Mark Rothko, but that doesn’t change the fact that all of his paintings are rectangles (literally every single one). The release and presentation of the product should be about everything except the actual product.

Take a look at any popular project that has been released in the past 3 months. Let’s use Rihanna’s ANTI as an example. RocNation, the famed sports and music management firm of Jay-Z, was responsible for the majority of the promotion regarding ANTI. If you followed the album’s release at all, this image should seem familiar to you:

This image (above) is how RocNation kicked off the album release. No announcement, no giveaway, no nudity (although that changed). Just a black screen on Instagram that essentially says, “Are you in? If so, go to this website.” There’s no way to tell actually what the hell Rihanna is coming out with at this point, only that if I want to find out, I might find it in this “room”.

“I might find it in this room.”

Might find what? Doesn’t matter. What matters is, there is something, and the artist is providing it to me (almost) directly. This is perfect to have fans in this mindstate, because they are interested in what is behind this door, and they have no idea what it is. The element of surprise is your best friend with an album release, and the #1 way to lose that card is by saying, “I’m coming out with an album! Here are all the details about it!” Unfortunately, this is the norm among many artists today.

2. You come first.
If you can leverage anything for your release, leverage yourself. You are an individual entity that is rich in character, activities, and qualities, so make sure that you connect with people and showcase them!

Take, for example, Chance the Rapper. Chance is known for his positivity in both his lyrics and his performances, for being fun-loving, and for his pride in his hometown of Chicago. What can you find on his Instagram page? That’s right, pictures of his smile, memes, and shows featuring Chicago (funny how that works, isn’t it?).

Using pictures like this can also be incredibly useful as promotion for an upcoming project. Feature images of you and your crew doing something that represents yourselves. Take the time to show off some personal flair, and make sure your fans are your friends, too. If they are interested in you as a person, they’re more likely to be interested in you as an artist and whatever album you release.

3. Be social on social media.
Social mediaCongratulations. You currently live in a world where there are billions of people asking to meet up with other people, and it’s all free.

As an artist, making sure that you are engaging with fans on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat is absolutely key, because it is a free ticket to put yourself on a virtual stage in front of everyone. You can showcase where you are, what you’re influences are, what videos you like, etc, and really put yourself out there for the world to see.

Make sure that you are using this incredible resource frequently.

Effective use of social media can ultimately turn into what is known as a campaign. Going back to Rihanna and ANTI for a second, Rihanna put out 8 installments of her “ANTIdiary” series before she made any formal announcement regarding the album. This campaign spanned almost 3 months, and all of the posts in between these “rooms” showed off her famous fierce nature, and promoted an upcoming tour following the official release. Nothing else. Just Rihanna, her “rooms”, and an upcoming tour. Taking a normal social media account (like the ones we all have), and suddenly focusing it in on one theme engages your audience and inspires them to follow you, and keep on the lookout for what’s next.

4. Everybody loves free stuff. Everybody.
It’s true. With the amount of information that goes around today, consumer attention is more divided than ever. This amalgamation of data and text that floods our lives via the internet-connected devices that surround us pulls us into an innumerable amount of topics.

So how do you grab people’s attention? Offer free stuff. Free TowelPeople respond to incentives, and if you give people something for free, you are essentially buying some of their time, because they feel incentivized to give you some attention in exchange for a perk. “Free stuff” can take the form of a single off of the album as a pre-release feature (think Drake and “One Dance”/”Pop Style”/”Controlla”), a discount with a local partner, like a restaurant or local store, or even something as simple as an everyday item like cheap sunglasses, a towel with your logo on it, or stickers. When used correctly, these free items can set up a “quid pro quo” scenario, and get the ball rolling as you get closer to your album’s actual release date.

5. Drop the album (and the mic).
Mic Drop GifIt’s finally time. You’ve built hype, campaigned on social media, made sure that your fans love you, and given away some free swag to promote your album. Now, set an official release date (not too soon but not too far away, either), and promote, promote, promote. Use these same tools to make sure that everyone knows when your tape is dropping, where it is dropping, and what it will cost (if it costs anything…thanks streaming).

Also, be sure to prepare for the worst. One thing you want to make sure you avoid at all costs is a botched album drop. If your work is set to be released at 6pm on Wednesday, and you have 5,000 fans rush to your Bandcamp at the same time and it crashes, that’s a lot of attention and sales that could disappear in the blink of an eye. Make sure that your provider or medium, whoever/whatever it is, is ready for the volume.

6. Water the plant. Watch it grow.Dj Khaled Watering Plants
Just like the prep stages, the follow-through of an album release is equally as important. Make sure you continue to promote the album after it is already out, incentivize fans to talk to their friends about it, get your music played on local radio stations, and reach out to music authorities (like Amalgam Digital and others) to see if they would do an Artist Spotlight on you.

You never know what other audiences are out there besides the ones that you specifically targeted with your pre-release promotion. Cover all of your bases, and you have the opportunity to be rewarded with a whole new audience. Following through and nurturing your product is one of the official keys to success.

7. Nobody likes a studio rapper.
If you want to make your money back, and hopefully turn a profit with this album, you’re going to have to perform it. Streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and even Tidal, as convenient as they are for consumers, have absolutely hemorrhaged the cash flow that artists used to get from album sales. The majority of the populace nowadays does not own physical copies of even 1% of the music that they listen to, because they can stream it for cheaper than the cost of your physical costs, if not be able to get it for free.

This is the second installment of “‘Why It Is So Important To Bond Personally With Your Audience For An Album Release’ For Dummies.” If you audience doesn’t know you as a person and as a performer, chances are they’re not going to shell out money to watch you perform. However, If your audience loves you as a person and performer, they’re much more likely to come check you out, for a nominal fee. Performances and partnerships are the #1 way to get paid as an artist nowadays, so make sure that you get out there and light up the stage.

7.5 Make it your own.
The reality of releasing an album is that every artist is different. There is no set formula or “1 year plan” that is universal for album releases, because every artist, every label, and every audience is different. That’s the beauty of business – you can start at the same Point A, but your steps to Point B are never going to be the same.

That being said, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time you release an album. Sure, you might have to pick out a fresh set of rims or maybe upgrade to 20″s, but you can use these 7 secrets (which are now “not-so-secret”) that the guys and girls behind the music business use as a blueprint for when your drop your next album. Like we said before, a well-planned and well-executed release strategy can quickly take your work from “Wasted” to “Wanted”, and help push your career to the next level.
Source: http://amalgamdigital.com/the-7-secr...album-release/