The benefits of releasing MORE music in 2020!
We've arrived at a strange time in the music industry. It's not hard to get started. All you need is a computer, digital audio workstation (DAW) software and some good sounds and samples.
Nearly all North American and European households have access to a computer.
With this, it seems everyone should become famous, right?
Well... Not really
In April 2019, Spotify founder Daniel Ek told investors that there are over 40.000 songs added to Spotify each day. This equals out to around 1.2 million songs per month. Due to this, the market has become very saturated, this means it's harder to stand out.
"with more than 50 million tracks now available on Spotify, growing by close to 40,000 daily..."
Daniel Ek to investors, April 2019
The reason for this massive amount of songs has to do with a few factors:
You don't need a studio to make good sounding quality music
In "the old days", you'd have to rent a studio, hire session musicians, instrumentalists, engineer time. This was invaluable. This was also why you needed a label to cover the costs. The labels would need to recoup these costs, hence they would do a big push to recover their investment. They would pick and choose 10 acts to invest in, 9 would fail, 1 would make up for all the failed investments. But we can talk more about this in a different article.
Nowadays, 1 act makes up for 10,000 acts - considering they don't need to make any investments to get the music released.
Music distribution has become easy
You can easily distribute music without a label. You can use services like Spinnup or DistroKid. Some charge a small percentage, but most just charge a flat fee of around 10EUR per song.
So I hear you thinking.. why even bother? I'm competing with 1.2 million other songs each month - and that is even if I release a song each month, which many artists aren't doing.
My question is: why not?
Why wouldn't you release more music? Think less about it being perfect, taking 5 months to finish a song because you didn't quite like the kick, but instead release more music, get it out there.
As someone who has tried both releasing once per 6-8 weeks and building them up slowly, to releasing a lot of music quickly. I've found out that both have interesting pros and cons, but releasing more music creates more opportunities.
Releasing less music, 6-8 weeks
Releasing a song every 6-8 weeks is something that I swore by last year. I wanted everything to be perfect and only release on the labels that are owned by the big DJs, for example: Don Diablo, Tiesto, Hardwell, Steve Aoki. They all have their own labels. They are HEXAGON, Musical Freedom, Revealed, Dim Mak respectively.
My perspective used to be a bit lazy and was as follows:
I would bin a song if I couldn't sign it to one of the labels I wanted - I had a top 5 list and if nobody wanted it, the song was failed.
The other side of that is just as negative, though. I would sign a song on one of the big labels I wanted to sign on, release it, and never look back to it.
The pro about this strategy is that you don't have to handle a lot on the release side, but the con is that you become dull, lazy, and don't learn the insides of the music industry, which is invaluable to you as a musician. Because as a musician, you are not just an artist. You are a marketeer, an entrepeneur, a salesman, besides making art.
Releasing frequently, every 2 weeks (or more!)
I first tried releasing a song every 2 weeks in early 2020. Obviously this is something that is harder to keep up with. Which is the first con. The big pro about this is that you build a big catalog. Even if all your songs do 500 streams a day and you have 100 releases. You're still doing 50.000 streams per day (which equals to around 1.4 million streams every 4 weeks.
The biggest pro for this strategy comes in the form of momentum. Momentum is something Spotify looks at when considering you and your song for Editorial support. They only look at the last 28 days of your statistics. So once your music has died down, you have to start all over again! They don't care about your past success, just your last month's performance.
Contrary to popular belief, and perhaps true for many other situations other than the music industry, people tend to forget and look over the "failed" songs. (Maybe because not a lot of people see them, haha).
To clarify what I mean, would you rather have 5 releases that all have 50K, or 5 releases with 500,000 streams each + a couple songs with 10K?
HUTS: Case Study
Our case study for this is my project HUTS.
We've launched this project in February 2020. Within a few months, we're in several editorial playlists, reached numerous New Music Friday listings on Spotify and got over 3.3M streams and counting over 28K+ per day.
The reason for this success is a strict bi-weekly release schedule. Combined with a highly-engaging trending style.
For a lot of HUTS songs we've used the Car Music 2020 Soundbank.
For HUTS, although getting significant editorial support, we have never done any internal pitching or emailing Spotify curators personally. We've only used the very important artist pitching tool.
Once you have your Spotify for Artists set up, make sure to pitch your song at least 7 days before your release. Good writing and accuracy is more important than filling it in too broad.
Future of the Music Industry
The future of the music industry is a very interesting one. It is the hardest industry to make a living in. It's a very moving industry. But it's also something people will never give up.
Bottom line. Don't overthink. Use good sounds. Release more music.