Release Strategies: Singles or EPs/LPs?

Independent artists face a multitude of strategies when it comes to releasing their music. One prevailing thought is that releasing a single every month is the most effective way to garner attention and grow an audience. Is this true? It may not be worth all of the hype. Let’s take a look and explore the distinct advantages of regularly releasing EPs and LPs:

1. Accelerated Audience Growth
Releasing singles allows artists to grow at a snail’s pace monthly. By providing listeners with a cohesive collection of songs, artists create a more substantial project to attract and build audiences around. EPs and LPs have the potential to accelerate audience growth significantly. 

2. Data-Driven Insights
With EPs and LPs, artists can benefit from valuable analytics to identify which songs resonate most with their audience. These driven insights can guide artists in where to prioritize their time around content creation for promotional efforts.

3. Focused Promotion
Armed with data on song performance, artists can focus promotion efforts on the tracks gaining traction through the creation of lyric videos, performance music videos, alt versions, and social media content. When we focus these efforts on top-performing songs, we know that it will amplify growth.

4. Sync Placement Opportunities
By packaging songs into EPs and LPs, artists increase their chances of securing sync placements; more songs available to pitch for TV, film, and micro-licensing opportunities. One song placement from your project can lift your entire album project.

5. Complete Narrative
A collection of songs within an EP or LP provides listeners with a complete narrative to connect with the artist’s music. This cohesive storytelling fosters a deeper connection and encourages repeated engagement.

6. More Streams!!!
In a single-a-month strategy, efforts are focused on driving listeners to one song. EPs and LPs keep listeners streaming within the project (even when you promote/feature one song on the project). With a single release plan why hand off that listener, that you worked to get, only to have them kicked out to a different artist? Take a look at Aaron Kellim’s data (Spotify last 28 days) for his project: Version of Myself. We released seven songs, and recently started dropping promotional content for track number six, “Where Does That Leave Us.” You can see the impact.

The last 28 days of streaming data from Spotify.

With the data obtained from the album, we now have a clear understanding of which songs to prioritize for the creation of lyric videos, music videos, and other promotional content.

Now, some may argue for the strategy of releasing singles monthly and later compiling them into an album. While this is a valid approach, it presents a dilemma. Once the compilation album is dropped, both the singles and the compiled songs album are available for streaming. Which will audiences stream? As artists strive to attract listeners, will these new audiences opt for the album or listen to the single before being kicked out by the algorithm to the next artist?

There can be benefits in releasing singles (not everyone has the resources to invest in albums). They are easier to produce and release compared to the time and money it takes to build an album. However, this approach has limitations. The “single-a-month” strategy can be likened to making small bets in a game of chance, hoping for a significant payoff. Conversely, by adhering to a regular EP/LP release cycle, artists significantly increase their chances of success with each project. The advantages of EPs and LPs far outweigh those of singles.

Got questions? Send me a message.