In the last couple of years, physical sales have been dropping dramatically. Nielsen, the company that tracks consumers’ behaviors in music sales, has been reporting a massive fall in traditional albums sales.
If vinyls have been making a comeback, recently, they still don’t outperform digital sales.
As a Music Strategist, Advisor, and Marketer, I generally ask my clients to think twice about releasing their music physically for multiple reasons and the first one being that it is an expensive initial cost.
To give you an order of idea, from the last 10 clients I have had, you can count a good $1,000 for a release of 250 physical albums (typical CDs, no vinyls here).
Now, let me tell you where you should invest that sum of money if you were planning on having a physical release. The impact should be way bigger than the few albums you will sell to friends and family and the rest of the stock left in your garage.
1 — Social Media Ads
First thing first, ads on social media, like Instagram ads or Facebook ads, are probably the best ROI.
So many people use Ads on social media to get their music heard by a wider audience, but the problem is that majority of them don’t know anything about social media ads and go as cheap as possible, hoping for big results.
For example, a band would spend $1 a day for 7 days and call it a great promo:
“Hey guys, look how cheap it is, we can do a test like this!”
The problem is that you will not test anything here because the budget is way too low to reach the potential that the ads’ algorithms have, and the target will be too small as well to really see the proportions it could take.
However, by spending $1,000 into your digital music release for a whole month (around $35/day), adding a targeted location and the right audience, your money will be wisely spent and bring more people to your cause, to follow you and to enjoy your music on the long term.
2 — Influencers
You see this term a little bit everywhere, and a lot of people are calling themselves “influencers” each time they make one person decide to consume a specific product, and while they have all the rights to call themselves influencers, I am mostly talking about the influencers that have a large number of followers and a massive engagement rate.
An influencer can ask between $75 and $250 per post (when they have around 10,000 to 50,000 followers). Having a budget of $1,000 could definitely save you some time and bring a lot of exposure and awareness towards your music release.
You could think about making a special video or image that the influencer could use, and especially on Instagram with the very handy “Stories” and their “Swipe up” feature.
The amount of awareness brought to your music with influencers is dramatically high, and I heavily suggest you look for them on social media and to ask for their rates.
3 — A camera
This may sound crazy at first sight, but hear me out…
The Music Business is evolving at full speed, so much that even majors can’t keep up with it. That’s actually a good thing, and social media really help because they are free and the attention to grab on them is unlimited.
Nowadays, listeners don’t want to just listen to your music; they want to know you. They want to see you in your everyday life; they want to share your life, as insane as it may seem. Therefore, they want the full access, and it starts with vlogging.
Vlogging is an incredible way to stay in touch with your audience and YouTubers understood it way before the Music Business woke up from its deep digital sleep.
So, if you were to invest $1,000, better off investing in what your fanbase will actually want. You will be able to buy some gears like a camera, a microphone, tripod, and other SD cards for you to start talking about your daily life as an artist.
4 — Yourself
I really wanted to put this one at the top of the list, but I am used to readers in the Music Business and starting off from this point would make you cringe immediately.
However, you have to understand that investing in yourself is way better than a physical release. I actually think that it is way better than any other investment.
Investing in yourself means to take the time to analyze your strengths and your weaknesses. This is called Self-Awareness and if it means to empower yourself as an artist by allocating some funds in order to go see other artists play on tour, to grab a feeling of what it is to be a touring artist, or to relax because you have a stressful life in general, then you have my green light.
I can not stress you enough to think about where you are as an artist right now. You would be so surprised at how many musicians, singers, and songwriters come to me to have some insights on how to push their career further and the main problem is them not being at peace with themselves because they just rush and go hard on themselves without being self-aware.
In other words, if you plan on releasing a physical album for your new project, then think twice — check that list, ask yourself if you couldn’t go smart on this investment before regretting having piles of CDs at home that can’t find a buyer.