Release a Series of Singles or a Full-Length Album, Which is Better?
The question that few artists think about when launching their career in the music business is whether to release a series of singles or a full length Album? This is a very interesting topic and a very important one. The invention of digital music changed the music listener’s experience forever.
A digital medium source versus an analog medium source, which really is a vinyl album or tape versus a digital CD, Mp3 or streaming format. We as baby boomers were brought up to buy albums and full-length CD’s. A key difference is how you would listen to them. Album, CD, and tape can usually be heard in the order the artist wanted. Streaming and Mp3 are usually in a random order playlist.
Today Mp3 sales and streaming services are out selling CD sales by a widening margin.
The artist needs to change with the times to stay relevant. People are not buying those vinyl discs called albums anymore, at least not in masses, and CD sales are in the rapid decline. Mp3 sales are okay, however you must keep in mind that you no longer have to buy the full album, and with digital internet streaming it is a song by itself that can and most often be heard over the entire full length album.
The question persists, what is the artist to do in todays market? Studies show that people in general prefer to buy the entire full-length CD or Mp3 album from their favorite bands. But those people are diminishing as younger listeners are looking into the latest and most convenient way to enjoy music. They are buying singles, streaming and selecting songs from the artists catalog over a full length Mp3 album or CD at a bigger rate everyday!
Here it is, if the artist is huge say a Bruno Mars, Alicia Keys, Lady Gaga, etc. they should release the full-length CD and Mp3 album because they have a strong base of loyal followers that will buy it. But if the artist is new to the industry the best way to get out there is to release a series of singles.
Every time a single is released there is a better chance for people evaluate it and the artists has a better chance to get heard. If a full-length Mp3 album or CD has say twelve songs on it, in today’s fast paced world the market wants the top song(s) which are not even established yet. This can cause the entire full-length Mp3 album or CD to be ignored.
The American hard rock band Audioslave released an album that was getting little recognition. After the album was out there they decided to release a single song, which wasn't on the album. The record label decided to give it a shot, the song was called “Doesn’t Remind Me of Anything” the song got heard and radio play. It was a single that became a smash hit and led the full-length Mp3 and CD called “Out of Exile” to a triple platinum status in 2006. The crazy part is Audioslave is a big band with a large following; it took a single to get the full length album release selling. After this happened the single was quickly put on the album.
So if you an upcoming artist would release singles till they get a big enough following. Then release the full-length version CD and full length Mp3 album all while keeping a few singles around for release say in your back pocket, that would be a great idea! You may need them one day.
It’s unfortunate that artists realistically can’t with confidence release a concept CD these days, and the idea of sitting down and enjoying a full-length CD from song one till its end is over. But we live in a fast paced society and that’s just the way is, we might as well get used to it.
Drew Puzia is a multi-award winning Mix Engineer at SoundBurst Studios in Las Vegas. Drew is certified in Audio Engineering from the world renowned Berklee College of Music. His experience spans over three decades in the music industry and he has recorded and mixed countless musicians in many genres of music. Drew is the founder of SoundBurst Studios online mixing and mastering services.