RELEASING YOUR MUSIC

Being able to tour your project around the world may be the end goal, but releasing music – with or without a record label – is one of the most effective ways of getting there.

Not only is your latest album a snapshot of where you’re at musically right now, it’s also a big chance to create some ‘noise’ around what you’re doing and to give jazz promoters and press that extra nudge to check it out…

 

Getting press for your new release

If you’re like most jazz musicians, one of the main goals of releasing new music is to get press.

Not only does this help you connect with more potential fans around the world, it also means festival and club promoters get to hear about what you do.

And even if they don’t happen to read about your new release in a magazine or online, one or two killer press quotes give you great ammunition to use in your next pitching emails.

But whilst hiring a professional publicist can make big impact on the effect of your release, it doesn’t come cheap. So it’s good to be prepared (especially with your earlier releases) to take on some of this work yourself with a DIY PR campaign.

British music journalist Matthew Wright wrote a guide all about how you can pitch to journalists more effectively. I’d recommend checking out the full piece, but here are his main points:

How to pitch to music journalists

  • Research your writer to make sure they like the sort of music you’re making
  • Spend timing making your initial pitch stand out
  • Consider what practical information needs to be included alongside the ‘punchy’ intro
  • Make sure you’ve got a well-written biography
  • Have great promo photos (+ more on than here)

(You can get more info on these points – and more – via the free downloadable cheat sheet)

Album or EP?

Jazz musicians seem to have a particularly strong affection for the album format. I guess it’s because our education in jazz has been largely via seminal albums that we’ve listened to again and again (and again).

Sometimes you need the 40-50+ minutes an album allows to get a specific concept across. But, if that’s not the case, there are plenty of other reasons why you might want to consider releasing multiple, frequent EPs instead of a full-length album every 1-2 years…

You can find out the long answer to this in this article on albums vs EPs, but people today are digesting music very differently: think streaming, downloads & videos.

The big advantage of EPs & singles

Being able to release content frequently is going to give you an advantage.

You’ll pop up more often in playlists, press releases & social media posts…

…and you’ll have more reasons to get in touch with the festival & venue promoters that you really want to reach.

If you’re very much in the DIY zone when it comes to your project, multiple releases per year means multiple chances to get through to those writers and influencers that you’re trying to reach.

So, EPs & singles instead of full-length albums?

Controversial? Possibly…
More effective? Often…
Worth considering? Sure!

Crowdfunding your next record

With many labels seemingly investing less and less in new music, musicians have had to look at alternative ways to finance their albums.

‘Crowdfunding’ may well bring to mind the likes of Kickstarter and PledgeMusic.

These types of platforms can work really well as a way of setting out your album plans and then letting fans and supporters give money up front to make it possible. (It certainly did for US saxophonist Mike Casey!)

But if that’s not your thing, there are more subtle ways of raising money to consider too.

Pre-order your album

Making your new release available to preorder in advance from the usual online music stores is another great way to get money up front. It also helps you create excitement, anticipation and extra publicity in the weeks leading up to the launch – especially if you can create a special, limited edition version as extra motivation.

Label services & distribution deals

There are also plenty of new models coming up – namely label services – which help blur the lines between self-releasing and signing over your rights in a traditional label deal.

You get to keep the rights to your music – along with a much larger % of the sales – whilst getting the professional infrastructure and expertise that a traditional label offers.

It’s not to late to push your new release!

I’ve seen plenty of occasions where so much effort goes into making the music as good as possible, that the actual release plan gets a little forgotten!

If that’s you right now: don’t panic.

You can still work your new release in the weeks after launch day to maximise the attention it creates and the amount of people it reaches.

Step one: check this list of 10 things you should do this week if you’ve just released a new jazz album..!

Step two: check out these two options for submitting a video and/or track for playlisting on this website:

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