How often should you release music?

Hey friends!

Today we’re going to talk about how often you should release music.

First up, this is an extension of the discussion I started in the video I uploaded on Friday. In this post we’re going to dive deeper, but here’s that if you want to watch:

My Recommendation

I want to start off by just giving you my broad recommendation that will apply for most artists. You should likely release a new single every 4-8 weeks.

The reasons for this are:

  • This is achievable for most artists without sacrificing quality

  • You stay top of mind for fans / listeners

  • You pretty much always have something to talk about

  • It’s enough time to properly promote every song

There are many nuances to this though, because every artist is unique and there are a lot of very good reasons to break that standard.

Releasing Every 1-2 Weeks

Hip-hop artist Russ has talked extensively about how he dropped a new song every week for like a year (or longer), and how that propelled him to success. Nic D is another successful artist that also talks about releasing every 1-2 weeks.

Both of them have talked about how releasing music frequently gives you more chances, allows you to improve faster and means you can dump a ton of social media content out at a fast pace to go with that music.

All of these statements are true. However, the caveat is this just doesn’t work for most artists.

Why?

  • Most artists can’t release this fast without sacrificing quality

  • It’s not enough time to run most marketing strategies outside of just social media

  • For certain genres this is simply too much music for fans

  • Even if you pull it off you’re likely to get burnt out

Despite these cons I know several artists this has worked well for. They tend to have one or more of these traits:

  • In a genre that’s a bit more ‘cookie cutter

  • The vocals are mostly rapped and not sung (or screamed)

  • They’re outsourcing their instrumentals and only doing vocals, or they’re making instrumental music

  • It’s a collaboration project with multiple writers contributing and producing

  • They’re young and have a ton of free time, or making music is what they do full time

  • They don’t have a budget so social media is their main form of marketing

When I say cookie cutter, I don’t mean it in a derogatory way about the music. Some genres follow a predictable format and use the same chord progressions in most songs. Hip-hop music and pop music both fall in this category.

A lot of rappers buy their instrumental beats online. Also, recording rap vocals is just easier than recording melodic vocals. I don’t want to make it sound like i’m knocking rapped vocals, because it’s definitely a skill that takes a lot of work to make sound good (you don’t want to hear me rapping on a hip-hop track). However, you’re not worried about pitch as much which simplifies the recording process quite a bit in most cases.

I know a duo that was releasing new songs every week for quite a while (maybe they still are). It was in an electronic pop type of genre and it was actually very well written - they didn’t sacrifice quality at all in my opinion. However they’re both professional songwriters who do music full time and have been doing it for a while. Plus they BOTH write.

One advantage of releasing this fast is it allows you to have much more material to test in your ad campaigns. Song not performing well? Well the next one comes out in 10 days so we’ll just pivot to that one.

In the vast majority of cases, releasing every 1-2 weeks is a bad idea. Unless of course you tick several of these boxes.

Releasing Slower

In several other styles of music, things just take more time. Progressive metal for example often has technical playing, complicated time signatures, very long songs and concept albums. Not only does the music simply take a long time to make, fans are used to consuming that content in album formats.

On a similar note, if you’re in the position where you can hit charts with your albums then the strategy can also change. It might make sense to drop 3-4 singles in rapid fashion (every 1-2 weeks) before dropping your whole album because it builds hype which leads to more day-1 consumption of the entire record.

The vocalist of Falling In Reverse has talked about how their strategy is to perfect each individual single, making an amazing music video for each one and then ride that wave as long as possible. They don’t play the volume game.

Art vs Business

Everything we’ve talked about so far has been really about the marketing / business side of music. But there is also the artistic side.

If you have a grand artistic vision for how your music should be released to the world you can totally do that. As the artist you can decide how much you let these marketing considerations influence your process. Some will choose to embrace everything they can to maximize results, some none of it because it doesn’t align with their goals and many more somewhere in the middle.

New Content

Should you release music every 1-2 weeks like Russ and Nic D? Or is 4-8 weeks better? Let's talk about!

Wendy Parr is a holistic vocal coach with 20 years of experience working with big name artists, and she's won a Grammy for her songwriting work. Many music industry vets hail Wendy as ‘The Artist’s Secret Weapon’.

In this video we look at the Spotify for Artists data for one of the top 300 artists on Spotify with 1.6 billion streams in the past 12 months.

Whenever you’re ready, there are 4 ways I can help you:

  1. My courses. Spotify Growth Machine teaches you how to use Facebook ads to promote your music on Spotify. YouTube Growth Machine teaches you how to grow a YouTube channel organically and how to use YouTube ads. Fan Growth Machine teaches you how to build a website, online store and grow your email list.

  2. My ad agency. Forbid Media specializes in running Facebook conversion ads to promote your music on Spotify.

  3. Website / Store / Funnels. MusicFunnels is the best all-in-one platform for music artists to make a website, online store, sales funnels and build their mailing list.

  4. 1-on-1 consulting. You can book 1-hour calls with myself or Alex Bochel here.

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