There’s a lot more work that comes with making a hit single. Nothing happens overnight, despite what social media may show you. Independent artists will have to work twice as hard to get their single in the right hands. So you might ask yourself, what’s next after recording the single and posting the artwork or music snippet on Instagram and Twitter? How do you make the sure the single doesn’t just fly under the radar and just becomes a dud? I have 5 tips that you need to make sure you have covered before releasing that hit.
Disclaimer: We are going to assume that the production, artistic direction and all of the things needed to make a commercially viable single has been done. So we will just cover the promotional parts.
Have it easily accessible and easily sharable Your new single should be something that any potential fan can find and share with their friends at the click of a button. Major streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are a must. Remember, going viral is the key to a song becoming a hit. If it requires me to search for it in largely unknown music sites, then more than likely I won't put effort into finding it. Worse yet, I won't feel comfortable sharing it on my social media pages either.
Create a marketing strategy Don’t just push a single and constantly post links to the song on your social pages, hoping that the 50th time you post it will all of a sudden make me press play. You need to have a strategy that about allows you to know if what you are doing is working.
Who your song is for? Meaning: What demographic will find it popular?
How are you going to get the music to them? What channels are you going to use?
What goals do you have for the song? Is it 5,000 streams, 100 downloads or 10,000 video views?
When are you going to release it and why?
This is big because many times artists release a song randomly and haven't done research on what might be coming up that could affect the success of their song. Several years ago, I scheduled a song to be released the week after the death of Whitney Houston. Of course, it got no media coverage and flopped initially due to what was going on in the music community. These are just a few of the questions to ask yourself and your team when strategizing the release and promotion of your single. I have seen a lot of good songs fail because the artist never planned out a strategy, but only hoped that the single would be successful.
Publicity. Music bloggers and internet is a great way to get coverage for your new single. More people who break in your new music and have an influence the better. A music influencer is a big key to your song being a hit because they have way more reach than you. Get those headlines.
Take notes and amend strategy if needed, If you have or have not done a marketing strategy, you will need to take notes to see what is changing. Did your Facebook post or blogger's article lead to more streams or website traffic? Are you noticing less response to post about the single or more plays when you performed it at the recent open mic night? If so what did you learn and what is your next step. Most artists don’t want to admit that they’ve made a mistake or something isn't working. But you have to be able to look at what you have done to know where you are going.
Have qualified help Most artist starting out usually don’t have record label or A&R help with their careers. More than likely the people who are helping you are family, friends, or green horns trying to break into music. So as the adage says “beggars can't be choosers,” somewhat applies. However, that doesn’t mean that you accept the help of anyone who volunteers. Remember this is your career and one while it is important to have the help, choose help that actually goes with what you need.
Brandon Countee is the founder and Chief Design Director of Majestic Raven (MR). He specializes in branding and marketing, along with artist management and artist development.