How to Release a Single and Sell More Music More Often

Here’s the deal:

For the past 30-40 years musicians have been releasing albums. Many times the time between those albums was a year or more.

Many bands and musicians these days still model their own release schedules after this same one.

This is a mistake.

These days you should learning how to release a single and doing it often.

Here’s why.

Why Singles?

A few years back I started to notice that fans were starting to shun albums.

This led me to try an experiment. For a full year, I released one single of my own music once per month.

Here is what I discovered.

1) You Stay Relevant

Assuming you are not god, and can whip out a full album every month, making your fans wait 6 months to a year (or more) between releases is an eternity these days.

Especially when there is so much else going on in the lives of the music fans that we are trying to win over.

By releasing singles, you stay relevant in a music market where releasing music only 1 or 2 times a year is almost the same as releasing nothing at all.

2) You Build A Loyal Fan Base Faster

When you release music, you are essentially opening the up the lines of communication with your fans. The more often that you release music, the faster you and your fans are going to get to know each other.

By releasing singles, you create a loyal fan base faster. A fan base that gets in the habit of getting music from you on a regular basis. They begin to anticipate each release. You win.

3) You Crush Procrastination

By releasing singles you replace procrastination with the sense of purpose that is created from frequent delivery of music.

You can’t sit around and wonder why your career is going nowhere because you have work to do.

4) You Get Paid More Often

Get paid 8 – 12 times per year instead of just once or twice.

If you are willing to put in the time and effort, releasing singles is a great strategy. But how?

How to Release a Singles

Like I mentioned earlier,  I released singles as often as possible over the course of a year (once per month on average).

The following is a rough system I’ve developed which has worked pretty well in some areas but, I’m sure, could use some improvement.

I’ve divided the process into 3 parts; Preparations, Distribution and Amplification.

Here goes:

Preparation

I usually create videos, credits, lyrics, album art, and a blog post up front and have them located in a single folder so when I get to start uploading and filling out album data. Nothing slows you down faster then having to stop everything to dig around for stuff.

Distribution

Time to upload songs, videos and whatever else for distribution. This should be fairly painless if did your job in the preparation phase.

For my song files, I use Bandcamp as my main store where I try to send the bulk of my traffic on release day. I also used CDBaby for my music distribution to services like iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, etc.

For videos, I just used YouTube. In the past I’ve added videos to other sites like Vimeo and have used use a video distribution service like OneLoad too. Just takes more time and I am only a one man operation. For now, I get enough bang for my buck on YouTube. Really depends on how much time you have and what sort of presence you will have on the other platforms.

Once everything is live on your distribution channels, complete and publish your blog post.

Amplification

Now that everything is set up it is time to start telling your world via what I’m calling Amplification  (could be a better term but it just sounds more musciany don’t you think?

Anyway…).

I started by contacting everyone in my email list (if you don’t have one you are screwing yourself).

Then I make my rounds in the social media world as well as reach out to any blogs, radio and podcast contacts that have featured my music in the past.

There’s More Though

That is the gist.

Everything I’ve listed above should give you a pretty good idea of why and how to release a single.

But, if you’re the kind of musician who wants to dig deeper and improve your chances of creating the maximum amount of buzz, adding new fans and selling all the singles you can, check out my free ebook “Sell More Singles.”

“Sell More Singles” contains an in-depth outline of the entire single release process.

Stuff like;

  • How to prepare your files for distribution,
  • Which services to use to distribute your single on iTunes, Spotify, etc.
  • Where to promote your single
  • and more

Sound cool or what?

It is but I am biased. Go check it out for yourself.

Click here to get a FREE copy of my ebook “Sell More Singles” – You will see exactly how I built my fan base faster, generated more buzz and sold more music by releasing singles.

Get to it!

  • Shay Leonia

    So you publish it and THEN contact blogs? I would think the strategy would be the opposite if you were looking to see if anyone could premiere the single for you…no?

  • Michele Tavian

    In this month I’m starting to record my new EP and I think this article is so important!! thank yuo so much Corey Koehler and Schwilly Family Musicians

    • Hi Michele, you are so welcome. I glad it helps. If you need anything stop by my blog and let me know. Good luck with the EP.

  • Great post, Corey. My only question is what do you do about “album” covers for singles? Do you have one album cover that you stick to for a while and all your singles have the same image? Or do you switch it up?

    I agree with you about getting away from the traditional release form/schedule. The only time I’m really impressed with an album is when it has a good theme such as MercyMe’s “Welcome to the New.” This was a great album for the band because they were re-branding and changing their sound and everything in the album supported that theme.

    For me, I’ve been trying to do EPs (roughly 5 or 6 songs) although I’ve only succeeded in completing one EP in the last 18 months. Your advice has me wanting to try to just do singles. Thanks for that.

    • Hi Collin,

      Thanks for commenting. I am glad you got something out of the post.

      I created a separate album art for each release. Then when it came time to release them on an album I created a whole new image for the album.

      It is your call but I like having a separate piece for each so they stand on their own. It’s cool having an image to represent the song. I didn’t do it for my first album and I kind of regretted it.

      Also, not that it matters, it is the way many major and indie labels did it back in the day. Something I noticed during all the time I spent in record stores. Some artists released sometimes music geeks like myself or my friends bought the single (in addition to the album) just because it had cool artwork.

      It gives you more opportunity to stumble upon something cool that you can turn into merch.

      Hope that helps. Good luck with your future releases.