Stop Putting Out Records (At Least Until You’re Ready To)

New bands will often ask questions like, “How do we get people to buy our records? or “How do we get people to come out to our shows?”

The problem is that many bands want to be popular before they’ve done anything. Stop putting out records and asking people to buy them. If you think you can just record an album,put it on Tunecore and watch the sales come in, you’re ten years late. You need to build an audience before you release an album.

There is only one way to do this: collaboration. Place yourself in front of other people’s audiences. I’ll say it again. Place yourself in front of other people’s audiences. Nicki Minaj did 3 mixtapes, solo verses on several singles and appeared in a bunch of other artists’ videos before she did an album. When it was time to go into the recording studio, she was so popular she had a major label bidding war on her hands. B.o.B. did singles, remixes, videos, mixtapes and EPs before he did an album. He was on the cover of XXL magazine (a media audience btw) two years before he released an album. By the time his debut album came out, he had a killer fan base and the album instantly went to #1.

Can this be accomplished on a smaller, local scale? You bet your ass it can. Make friends with the local papers. Stop booking tours no one cares about. Make friends with the big promoter in your town and be the opening band for anyone with draw. If you live in a small town, concentrate on the closest major city. If you have 10 songs, scrap the record and spend the time and money on your best song. Give it away for free. Make a video for that song and tweet the link to bands, friends, family and anyone you can. Don’t spam shitty content. Add value to people’s lives with art that matters.If people aren’t responding, YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING WRONG. If your message isn’t spreading, YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING WRONG. You need to produce ‘straight A’ content or you will fail. You have to be the best at what you’re doing. If people don’t care about your songs or videos you need to do a better job. Embrace change until people start paying attention. Only then will you be invited to perform in front of other people’s audiences. When that happens your fan base will grow. Love your fan base. Honor them. You’ll know when it’s time to release a debut album when people start asking for it.


Markus Almond is a writer from Brooklyn. His blog can be found here. Follow him on Twitter at @markusalmond.