Single or Album?
When an indie artist completes a song and moves to the next, to complete the project, at times the question arises: would it be a good idea to release just one song instead of waiting to complete an album? The idea is soon forgotten and you start working the conventional way, to create an album. Creating an album sometimes takes so long that some incredibly good numbers get lost in time. On the other hand, is the hassle of marketing and publishing, and you want to do all of it together, for all the songs.
I discussed this with a few indie friends and have written about it in my blog “Publishing Indie Music”. It is important to understand that publishers are looking out for opportunities to license your songs and leverage flow of money. Therefore, in the initial stages of your career, you will not benefit as much from the publishing deal, as the terms will not be too favourable. So unless you come with a solid earning background, you do not enjoy much bargaining power in the deal. Considering this, the other option is to wait a little in your career before you sign a publisher, until you have earned a name and fan base, in order to get a good deal from the publishers.
Publishing expense aside, big actions require big money. The longer you take to complete the project, the more problems you face. No I am not trying to discourage you. The fact of the matter is, at times the studio is not available, or the guitarist falls sick or quits. What if you run out of money? Life doesn’t stop, my friend!
I have noticed that we follow in the footsteps of our favourite stars, or just follow the legacy and hold on until we have completed recording an album. All of us want money and success. But I personally feel it’s not always important to make it big and earn more money. How about making it small and earning soon?
What I’ve seen in a lot of excellent indie artists is that they often hold back a release until the album is complete. Until each song is done simply right, they don’t even talk about it. I’ve even known groups to leave an album unreleased because they have a bigger project that looks more attractive. It so happens that the bigger project (sometimes) goes all wrong, and the group ends up with two unused projects, along with a broken band and professional as well as personal debts.
I have however, also known a few bands that believe in constantly moving on. Continuous releases mean constantly building fan following and cash flow. Even if it is not big, it is not stagnant either. A lot of problem comes from simply following or ignoring the advertiser’s advice. We are naturally programmed to believe that big is better and in this, we tend to ignore smaller achievements that we can or could have made. Internet, social networking and all the online tools available today make life much easier for indie artists in a lot of ways. It’s anything but difficult to get a single song on iTunes and see how it performs before you release an album.
Make sure you let only these factors decide your course of action:
- When do you really want to release your music?
- Do you know there are people who want to hear your song?
At the end of the day, there are no guidelines to follow. A single good song is not going to guarantee the success of a whole album. However, you are possibly holding back a good song for an album that isn’t even ready, while there are millions who can turn into fans if that one song is released, and liked. This will make way for your following songs to become a success. It also gives you a chance to cover more listeners with every release and try new ways to reach the ones who might have missed the previous song.
You’re always going to read and hear about the “correct” way to do things. In indie music as well as in other matters of life. In any case, there isn’t one correct way to do anything. Just see what you really want to do. Make a plan and stick to it, then just get to work. Don’t stop!
Got advice on this? Please share it in the comments section and I will add it in my future blogs.