The Single or Album, which is a better option for new artists?
As an upcoming artist in the music industry, you might be wondering how you should be releasing your songs. At first, you may not even be thinking about this stuff, it may just go over your head at the moment because of the excitement about finally getting your music out. It’s something to think about, which is important because it can dictate how you release music in the future, and will affect how your fans digest your music.
As a studio owner and a music producer here on Long Island in New York, I have a lot of experience with upcoming and seasoned artists working on releasing singles, as well as doing albums. I don’t think there ever will be a definite answer that fits everyone. Still, I do have some opinions that I believe could help artists make their decisions, especially for the group of talented upcoming musicians here on Long Island. I also believe that having the right release schedule and process could potentially help nassau county and suffolk county artists pop up on the music industry map.
Hip Hop Artist – Russ
I’m going to talk about the artist Russ for this example. Russ is a hip/hop and R&B power house who came up around 2015. Russ isn’t from Long Island but his strategy can be replicated anywhere. At first, he was releasing album after album, trying to make some noise to attract the music industry. After releasing 11 full projects, he saw that he still wasn’t making any headway. So what he decided to do was release one single every week until he blew up. He talks a lot about his process and come up which helps other artists see that there is a way to do this.
Now personally seeing how this all played out and hearing what Russ had to say about it, I can definitely see and understand how much of a difference switching his strategy made. It might be a hard pill to swallow, but as an upcoming artist, you don’t have many fans and you don’t have the reach within your circle to really market yourself, and get people to want to listen to you. Expanding on this a little bit more, releasing an album takes time because first off, you need a solid amount of songs completely finished, you also need to make sure that there is some sort of theme within the songs that are on the album.
Album Cover Art
Cover art has to somewhat represent the content of the album as well, and all of these things cost time and money. It’s important to know that you must invest in yourself to grow, but you need to make sure you are spending wisely. Now let’s say you wanted to go this route, and you are ready to drop the album.
The next obstacle is getting people to listen. In today’s world people’s attention spans are a lot shorter, and people consume so much content at once. How can you expect someone to have the patience to listen to every song in order and in completion without even knowing who you are?
Even if they like the first song on the album, the truth is the majority of listeners won’t go all the way through. I’m not saying this to discourage making albums, but it makes so much more sense to do the album route when you already have people listening to you and messing with your brand and vibe. That way they can appreciate the process that you went through, picking the theme, artwork, the track listing and everything else that’s involved.
The single strategy is in my opinion the best way to go for upcoming artists. Here’s why: First off, you might not even have your sound figured out yet, and you might want to experiment with different producers, sounds and genres. Releasing singles often doesn’t box you in and it’s almost like the testing phase to see what listeners and your potential fans will actually want to hear from you. You can even treat each single as an album in terms of promotion, marketing, and roll out. Also, dropping singles consistently will naturally build your music catalog and people will be able to see your versatility. I think once you start to gain traction and begin to find your own sound and what people like about you, that is when you can start to entertain the album thing. The singles are going to mold your sound, and the album can be the showcase of that sound that you have been working at over time.
Of course, this is all my very own opinion, and this doesn’t mean that if you follow what Russ did you will blow up, or if you don’t follow what he did means you won’t blow up… that’s just not true. Everyone’s journey is entirely different and at the end of the day, success comes from hard work, consistency, networking, and the dream and energy that you put out into the world.