As much as many of us would like, we can’t just make and perform music every waking minute of our lives. This doesn’t just apply to those of us balancing music with full-time jobs and familial obligations, but also well-known successful musicians who make music for a living. Since music is ultimately a reflection of life, songwriters, lyricists, and producers have to delve deep into the non-musical aspects of their lives in order to create meaningful work. Whether it’s to recharge creatively or to tend to pressing non-musical matters, it’s not uncommon for musicians to step away from making music for a long time.
Re-introducing music to fans after a considerable stretch of radio silence can be tricky. Your fans might feel a strong connection to your music and will be thrilled to know you’re in the game again, but capturing and holding their attention in 2019 has never been harder. Here are a few tips for bringing new music to audiences after a long hiatus:
Craft an engaging and cohesive message
The first new impression you give to audiences is paramount, and you’ll only get one chance to get it right. To figure out what to say and how to say it, you’ll need to think long and hard about your goals in returning to music. Are you planning a new album release? A collaboration? A tour? Some artists come out of hiatus with clear announcements of fully formed plans, while others shroud their returns in mystery. What you do should be in line with your previously formed musical identity. But however you decide to announce your return, it’s a good idea to have consistent themes that tie everything together planned and ready to roll out. Images, colors, text––these are things you can add to your messaging from the very beginning of your return that you can later reveal or further explore with your new music and performances.
Bring your new message to your fans by streamlining your website, social media channels, and streaming profiles
To get the attention of your fans, you’ll need to bring word of your return to every digital representation of your music you can: your website, social media channels, streaming profiles, mailing list, etc. This applies whether you choose to be straightforward about the details of your return or not. Some artists are so vague about returning from a hiatus that they only change the profile images to a single color on all of their accounts to leave their fans guessing. The choice is up to you, but make sure that your messaging is as strong and consistent as possible.
Strategize how and when you present new music
Once you’ve fully revealed your plans to release new music, it’s time to share your new work. Instead of releasing everything at once, most artists release short teasers and singles for a good reason, whether they’re returning from a hiatus or sharing music for the first time. Small pieces of new music are meant to draw audiences back in to get fans excited about your old and new work. It’s a good idea not to release new music first thing after a hiatus, but to instead build anticipation through messaging first.
Coming back strong after a break means that an artist has to go all in when it comes to advocating for and promoting their work. You might have your doubts if it’s been a long time, but those feelings are natural. If you love making music, share that enthusiasm with your fans, even if they haven’t heard from you in a long time.
Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.