• Phil McDonald

Single or Album?

The music industry has undoubtedly changed. In the last decade or so we've seen nothing short of a revolution in the way music is recorded and released. The days of the major labels running the show are long gone, a of smaller independents have fallen by the wayside and a huge number of artists no put out their own music with no label whatsoever. Back in the day, the major's approach was to release a couple of singles followed by an album. If you were very lucky you might get to release another one. Not up to you of course.

So fast forward a decade or so and you have a bunch of great songs you've recorded and you're thinking of putting them out there as an independent. But how should you put them out? I don't mean which online distributor should you use, but should you go down the route of a full-length album, as much fanfare as possible, launch party etc or take the songs you've got and release a series of singles? There are arguments for both approaches.

Traditionally bands released albums, right? Yep, that was the way to go. Back then albums were physical things, 12-inch vinyl, a cassette or a CD. Some fancy artwork would complete the product and your customers would not only have your music but they'd have it in physical form. These days that doesn't really happen. Sure, some people still press vinyl but the costs are prohibitive. As far as tapes go, no one does that anymore. Even CD's are rare.

So should you release a full-length digital album? Of course. You can drum up a load of interest, arrange a few gigs in support of the release, try and get some radio airplay and you've got a lot of material to promote. A full-length album also gives people a good idea of what you're all about and a taste of your diversity. On the cost side if you're selling complete downloads of say ten tracks then you're obviously going to make more money which is never a bad thing right? There's also the opportunity to release on vinyl or at the very least, knock out some CDs at gigs.

Then, of course, we have the other argument. Singles. In this digital age why bother with an album? There are no real distribution costs so it's not like you have to go for one big release. One of the biggest advantages of releasing singles is the continued support and the momentum you'll naturally build up. You create a buzz with the first release and you can follow it up at regular intervals with further singles, monthly for example, and keep the interest going. Coincide this with a series of gigs and it's a no brainer. The other obvious advantage of this method is that you don't need to splash the cash and pay for an album's worth of material on one hit. You could record three or four tracks initially and then record a few more later.

Whichever approach you take the main thing is to get your music out there! It's never been easier to self-release and promote so there's no excuse. Write it, record it and release it. At the end of the day, that's what matters.

Have you released some music recently? Single or a full album?

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