In this age of the gatekeepers being gone and the Internet making it easier for every band to be heard by the world the lifespan of an album is now smaller then ever. While there are some exceptions of records that can still push singles two years down the line, most mid-sized artists are lucky if they can get anyone to pay attention to their records 3-6 months later. One way to solve this is to put out releases more often. This revs up the publicity stream for your band and gets you in the news cycle more often, as well as giving your fans something fresh and new more often. We have all seen bands lose their fans interest by taking to long to release new material. This goes tenfold for bands targeting teenagers since 18 months later they can be on to the next trend.
One of the best examples of this technique in action are modern Dance
bands who are able to use the method of constant releases by releasing one-off singles to the blogs, iTunes as well as remixes which keeps them in
the constant news cycle. Look at most of the top bands on Hype Machine,
they all never go two months without posting a new track or remix.
Financially this is just as smart. Let’s say you are selling your
albums for $10 and your EP’s for $6 if you are selling to dedicated
fans both releases you are making $2 more. As well, in these tough
financial times people are more likely to buy something that is cheap
even if it is not of as much value (despite our best efforts to educate
the world about this). As well the critical mass of constantly being in
the news cycle from constantly releasing new material throughout the
year will help all of your releases gain publicity and get you to the
ears of more and more fans. If you offer a quality product by employing
this method you can expect to see your bands fanbase grow.
There is an exception to this working well. There are some bands that
live and die off being album bands. Wilco, Radiohead, The Shins, Green
Day etc. are bands that are expected to make genius albums. A band like
Forever The Sickest Kids is a band trying to get a break by getting a
Top 40 single and gain more of a following any way they can. While this
technique is great for them and any band with a small following, it
does not work if you are a band who is going to live and die by making
an album your listeners are going to fall in love with.
Take this technique and apply it however you will. Release new singles
in between albums. Make a follow up EP of B-sides between each album.
The more and more I read about the industry I see this technique and
similar ones being one of the essential things a modern band needs to
do to get ahead of the pack.