The case FOR still creating albums [Hisham Dahud]

“As a marketer and educator, I often told clients and students, “DON’T PUT OUT ALBUMS,” writes Hisham Dahud.” Now, today as an artist, I have many reasons why they should.”

Guest post by Hisham Dahud

I read this today:

“As soon as you finish a song, put it out and continue working on another.” – Bobby Oswsinski


Don’t do that.

The length of time between beginning and finishing a song — I’m talking full mixing, post-production and mastering — is rarely, if ever, consistent. I’ve found it’s best to always have at least 4–6 completed songs in the barrel before beginning to fire them off (i.e. begin a campaign). That way you can continue to ‘feed the machine’ to create marketing moments, but you always have reserves if the creative process stalls for any reason — which any artist will tell you, it does (often).

While I agree albums as a standardized format of release isn’t exactly the best strategy from an economic standpoint, there is a lot to be gained BY the artist in releasing an album that many modern marketers do not talk about. Such as honing in on their own sound by creating a consistent body of work, or expressing a consistent layer of themes they otherwise could not do with disjointed singles. Or giving their high value listeners something to really sink their teeth into, allowing the listener the opportunity to become a fan by investing in the artist, as opposed to the music.

Generally speaking:

1. If you’re a NEW band or artist, CONSISTENT singles is the way to go. 100%. Lower the barrier to entry, make it easy for people to get acquainted. A simple model would be 3–5 singles, released once or twice per month (depending on your ability to create supporting content), that could lead into one or two EPs per year (great if you have more).

2. At some point though, especially once you’ve built a small but REAL following, you may feel like you can’t fully express yourself in disjointed 3–5 minute chunks. You may want a wider canvas to express more of your perspectives, viewpoints, musical influences, etc.; which a single just can’t do. An album creates ROOM for you to do that.

3. Furthermore, a realized album is a way for fans, the media, and potential fans to take you seriously. You’re capable of producing a BODY OF WORK, not just quickly exporting every half baked individual song you make. It also is a great way to plant a flag that says “I AM HERE” — in terms of your sound, your themes, your perspective, etc.

4. It’s much more powerful to lead someone into an album as a way to “learn more” if they hear one of your songs on a playlist, in a commercial, etc. As opposed to disjointed singles.

5. Albums have potentially more staying power than a single. Some of my favorite artists became my favorite artists because I heard a song on a playlist and it had me dive into past albums where I was able to literally hear and feel their evolution as an INDIVIDUAL. It made me invest in THEM, more than just the music they made. Some of these albums were years old; didn’t matter. As one of their more high value listeners, they provided me something I was able to sink my teeth in.

6. From a marketing standpoint — albums are great “tentpole” items; i.e. they’re something you can always build OTHER stuff around. Tours, merchandise, behind the scenes content, commissioning remixes, music videos, etc.

7. Also from a marketing standpoint, you don’t have to drop an album like a boulder and expect it to make waves. No, it’s all in the release strategy. You can treat each track on the album like a series of singles, but at least you’re able to always refer back to the idea that you’ve presented a body of work; that all these singles are part of a larger whole that you are encouraged to dive in to.

Rant over… I hope this helped someone.

Hisham Dahud is a Music Marketer and Brand Builder with roots as a musician, which he has returned to today as a full-time artist and composer RIZIK. Get in touch on Twitter

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1 Comment

  1. Hello and thank you for creating such an easy-to-use website with a lovely backdrop. I appreciate you sharing this.
    Thank you for this video on the top ‘growth techniques’ you should avoid like the plague, how to manipulate the Spotify algorithm to get new followers and more!

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