Musically hosted a very interesting panel at this years by:Larm regarding music marketing campaign trends.
Main points were that campaigns cycles are now much longer, they’re working on a global basis, music has to be available on all services immediately and a single might now have more than one impact date.
Having to do a lot of work before an album gets released is part of the long term approach and it’s very important not to rush into an album and start campaigning after the release. Many successful new pop acts have more than one single out at the moment, Dua Lipa for example had six out at the same time. And there’s still no album today. Looking at Swedens latest export hit Zara Larson, who has released singles continually since 2015 and just released her follow up album in March 2017, shows us how extremely long the marketing build up to a release can be nowadays. And her album doesn’t even feel like the highlight of the campaign – it more feels like “another marketing asset”. All her hits from the last few years are on it but the press doesn’t seem to make a big deal out of the album release. Her single releases definitely seem to be in focus. Raye, who’s just breaking through at the moment, only has features and an EP out, the same for Anne-Marie. For all of those pop acts it seems essential to be featured on other artists tracks as well as continuously releasing singles over a long period.
Ferrar from Polydor Records points out that this ongoing presence is important for the majority of artists, even Drake is releasing music regularly, and only a few artists can nowadays disappear for one or two years without loosing relevance.
One of the reasons for this is the immense amount of music released online every day and the tyranny of choice consumers are facing. Even for streaming services it’s important that there’s a long term strategy for an artist in place and that there’s more music to be released than just one single and an album. This makes the artist stand out to them and easier to place them on playlists as there is a higher relevance according to Ong from Deezer.
Staggered and regular releases of music will not only engage the super fans, who have a high interest in the artist and probably would have waited for an album anyway, but will help engaging the casual listeners. Albums are still relevant though to get a deeper engagement from the super fans. As it might not reach the casual listener, fans still want a long form artist led experience they can engage with (as I’ve also pointed out in my last blog post) and it can also be used to re-engage fans which have dropped out at some point. I think it might be important for this to also think further than just an album – I feel like visual content has been ignored to much as everybody is focusing on streaming. But visual albums work. I also think releasing a video with every single is a must and it should be available right from the impact date. Maybe bundling in more content with the album is also a step forward: documentaries, videos, backstage content, contests, etc.
Streaming platforms definitely have a lot of work to do to offer artists a better platform to include this content and create an experience. Spotify is definitely not good at offering the user an artist experience. You can’t upload many visuals, videos, song credits and lyrics are missing entirely, Overton (Secretly Group) stresses. I think as soon as streaming platforms open up their mind to helping artists tell a story on their platforms the album will receive more value again.