Music Production in the Age of the Single

By Damien Verrett

DMA instructor and working musician Damien Verrett returns with more super-practical advice for young musicians who want to make music their profession. This time he tackles the ultra-important topic of carefully planning how to release your music.)

The 21st century is the Age of the Single. Playlists and streaming culture have brought singles to the forefront over full-length albums. “Going platinum” has never been more difficult in a music industry that is dense with quality hits that top the charts for just days before being overtaken by The Next Big Thing.

Damien Verrett (aka So Much Light) is a multi-talented performer and composer. Check him out!

Sound scary? It doesn’t have to be! Even as a DIY artist, solid planning can help you get your single noticed. Here are a few key points to keep in mind before putting out your next jam.

Don’t Do it Alone!

I know that feeling; your song is finished. It’s mixed, mastered and it sounds awesome! You’ve shown the video to your friends and family and they all love it! So what’s next?

Is it time to throw the track up on Soundcloud and wait for the plays to start rolling in? You could roll the dice and hope the right people hear your music, but the Internet is a big place and it’s unlikely. A better strategy would be to put out some tunes, buckle up and start sending some emails.

Putting out a single as an exclusive feature with a blog or website will help you reach a wider audience than you’d be able to attract on your own. Plus, it will help you build relationships with writers and bloggers that you can utilize the next time you want to release your music.

You’re trying to build a relationship with your listeners and the best way to do that is to stay on their minds.

I like to start by searching for blogs that have released reviews of records that I’m into. For instance, I might Google “FKA Twigs, LP1 Review” to find publications that operate within a similar genre of music. There’s no point sending a Country single to a Metal blog, so save yourself some work by narrowing those sights.

Before beginning this process, make sure you have reasonable expectations. Popular bloggers get hundreds (if not thousands) of emails just like the one you’re sending. Hopefully, somebody will pick up your single and then the next time you want to put something out, you’ll have somewhere to turn.

Sometimes we musicians have to do mundane tasks that feel like the furthest thing from the music. But remember, nobody is going to work harder for your music than you!

Keep the Ball Rolling

Okay, so you’ve gotten an awesome blog to release your first single. Or, maybe you decided to release it on your own. Now you need to keep the ball rolling. Putting out a single or two a year isn’t the best way to captivate potential fans.

You’re trying to build a relationship with your listeners and the best way to do that is to stay on their minds. If people loved your first single then they’ll be even more tuned in when the second one comes out, which means they’ll be much more likely to mention it to their friends, who will keep passing it on and so on and so forth.

It’s also good practice to have a release schedule. Rather than putting out one song at a time with no specific amount of down time in between, it’s better to have a handful of songs already finished that you can put out a few months apart. You want to keep your momentum going. If one of your singles does well, you want to have another one ready to launch so that you can keep people talking about you. Don’t be hasty!

One single is good, but more is better! So Much Light loaded his Idiot Soul EP with five great tracks.

Make Music You Believe In

The best planning means nothing if you aren’t putting out a product that you believe in. The last thing we want as musicians is to release art that we aren’t happy with. Before you get caught up in the rabble of blogs and social media, remember why you got into music production in the first place and never stop improving your product!

No number of emails or singles can improve the quality of your music. That being said, the best strategy of all is to work hard on your art, never stop growing and have fun.

Good luck out there!

Damien Verrett is a singer/songwriter/producer from Sacramento, Calif. He performs under the stage name So Much Light.