We’ve featured some of the craziest album release gimmicks from attaching USB albums to balloons to releasing a newspaper. There was one Flaming Lips album where they added Kesha’s blood in the vinyl record. If you’re a new musician who’s about to launch your first album, you might be thinking ” Are gimmicks absolutely necessary because I’m to broke to spend another cent and to pooped to come up with something brilliant?” If we’re talking about over-the-top gimmicks like the vinyl with Kesha’s blood, then the answer is NO. No, you don’t have to go that far but if you can, awesome! But if we’re talking about gimmicks in general, ranging from an online contest to having a really awesome CD packaging, then the answer is a resounding YES!
Creating publicity and music release gimmicks has always been a MUST but it’s much more needed today that it was 20 years ago. Why?
1. CD sales are declining. If you want to sell CDs, you better make sure it’s worth buying. By “worth buying” I mean that it’s totally worth it than just downloading your songs online. Start by having a really good-looking CD packaging. That way, they’d feel like they’re getting more bang for their buck.
2. There are just too many good artists. With so many indie artists nowadays, it’s soooo darn hard to get people’s attention. There are just so many good artists! And the internet has made it easier for every kind of musician to be out there. The way to stand out is by being really, really good and by being unique. Develop your brand as an artist and market yourself!
3. People have much lower attention span. Thanks to technology, our average attention span is now shorter than that of a goldfish. If we don’t wave our hands and do a silly dance, we will be included in the background, all blurred and boring. Come up with interesting ways to catch their attention every now and then. That’s just how things roll from now til forever.
For all the reasons above, it is clear that you must have a solid marketing strategy. Do not just sell your CDs or post random stuff. You have to have a clear strategy that is based on your brand as well as your goals. Hire a good marketing/PR consultant so she/he will guide you with your brand. Good luck!
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.