What Should You Release? Singles vs. EPs

With the music industry in a constant state of change, artists are constantly trying to keep up, as people’s listening habits are continuously reshaped by new technologies and tastes. Here we look at developing a release that makes sense for you and your listeners, and whether it’s better to drop singles or release an EP.

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

As the music business continues to evolve, artists must learn to adapt. Finding the right plan for your next release is key, and today, we will help you figure things out.

The way we consume music is changing, so we must rethink how we release it. The days of people turning to albums for entertainment are gone. Today’s music fans expect everything to be available all the time at a moment’s notice. Those searching for new music seek out singles above all else. If they like what they hear, those same listeners will look for the rest of that artist’s catalog in time. That idea applies to new music from established artists as well, but only to an extent.

The first any artist should do is set goals. What do you want to accomplish with your next release? Be specific and reasonable with your answers. A good example of release goals would be gaining 1,000 followers and earning 10,000 streams.

Once your goals are set, release the song you believe is most likely to accomplish that goal and do everything in your power to make that track succeed. Create a music video, promote to your mailing list, create memes, and do anything you can come up with to reach your goals.

At some point between four and eight weeks after the track’s release, take time to review your goals and whether or not you achieved them. If the answer is no, choose another song and release that track. You should repeat the promotional efforts of the first song, as well as any new ideas you may develop.

When you achieve your goals, then you should move forward with plans to package songs together. You can pair your popular single with two to three additional tracks and release that material as an EP. That way, you can continue to capitalize on the momentum of the single while giving your current fans something new to enjoy.

That plan may not necessary for more popular musicians. Artists with sizable followings have to be accessible to new listeners while also keeping their more devoted fans engaged. These artists may see more value in sharing EPs over singles, if only because their audience is hungrier for content than those of musicians just getting their start.

In this episode of Music Biz, host James Shotwell answers one of the most common viewer questions by presenting multiple paths to success. The key to getting ahead is a combination of knowing yourself, your audience, and what you want to accomplish. If you can understand all that, then you are already miles ahead of your competition.

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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