“Even though the album is an endangered species, can we try and make a coherent and good one, even if it's like making a horse and cart at a Nascar conference?” - Chris Martin
I made a case for each of them. After further review, I’ve decided while EPs and singles have their uses, I have chosen the winner.
An album with 10 or more songs is my clear favorite for artists looking to market themselves most effectively. Why?
Here are my 10 reasons for 10 songs (or more):
1. Easier to Sell
Any product you make is going to cost you something, so it’s going to be good to recoup some money from sales. If you are making product to sell at shows, a full album (I’ll use album to mean 10 songs or more) is going to sell better than an EP, or a single, which are great but more for promotion in the new music economy.
It doesn’t hurt that there’s no other place to get art and credits, etc. anymore. It’s really frustrating to listen to albums on Spotify or iTunes and not be able to know who the musicians were, or read the lyrics.
2. People Prefer More
The truth is people just like more. We live in a supersized economy. I know when I go seek out a new artist I just heard, I’m disappointed to find just a single or a few songs. I do hold fast that 10 songs is fine as a minimum, but even in that, folks buying your CD after a concert will love more than 10.
3. More Content
As we will talk about more in this series “Why Content is King”, in order to have things to blog, post, or tweet about, we need content. I feel each song you have recorded is a chance for many marketing opportunities. And of course with each song on an album you have 10 or more chances to make a music or lyric video of a song, write a blog about a song, tweet or post the song, or make a meme from some of the lyrics. It's all about content.
4. More Videos
I talked about videos in the last point but given that they are very powerful, having more songs to do acoustic or more developed music videos of is a big plus.
What most artists don’t realize is that many of the costs of doing an EP of 4-5 song are also in the cost of a full album. So in a way you’re just paying for 5 more songs, and you can do those cheaply if you want (piano/vocal or guitar/vocal). In many ways you save money by doing more songs, especially when you compare cost over sales.
6. Longer Marketing Window
Album shelf life, or how long you can market it, is much longer with a full album. EPs are great, but the process may be a lot to handle, and then you can’t do another for a few years. That’s a long time to ride 4-5 songs. 10 or more songs lets you market for a year and a half if you need to.
7. It’s an Experience
There’s just something about a full record that provides a listening experience that goes far beyond a cool single, or a few songs. Remember, that as Christian artists, our goal isn’t the same as commercial pop artists. We aren’t just looking for fame and fortune. We are looking to get that one song to connect with just the right heart. 10 or more songs gives us a better chance to do that.
Also, an album gives us a better way to tell a story from the first song to the last.
“I always want to make an album that lets people immerse in it, kind of like you get caught up in a good movie.” - Luke Bryan
8. Serious Tool for Serious Artists
The truth is that serious artists serving their audience deliver full albums. Yes, I know that we are now back in a singles culture. I also know that EPs are cool to show your music quickly. But like it or not, serious artists with followings release full albums.
“Things are moving pretty fast these days; we all need to slow things down a bit and add CONTEXT to the content before music becomes completely worthless. We need to build that artist's mythology, build a world to replace what's been lost in the absence of album art and liner notes.” - Scott Perry of New Music Tipsheet
9. Easier to Market Traditionally
If you have thoughts of marketing to radio, local stores, doing national or regional publicity, those outlets will always prefer albums. People prefer a story, and a full album helps tell that better than any single or EP ever could.
10. Easier to Tour With
This echoes the first point, but it’s worth repeating. As an artist on the road, or doing many dates, a full album tells the story of the tour better. It sells better off the table, sells for more, and it makes more sense to those who just heard you and want to buy.
“You continue to evolve with each album that goes by and, as an artist, you continue to expand with every recording project.” - Randy Travis
Have a great week!
Eric Copeland is a music producer and president of Creative Soul in Nashville, TN in association with Word Entertainment. If you are thinking of making an album, check out http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com for more information.
Single vs. EP. vs. CD
The Quality Issue
Three Reasons Why CDs Are Still Relevant to Youhttp://musicministrybiz.blogspot.com/2012/04/how-to-sell-more-cds.html