To Promote or Not to Promote? That is the Question.


Courtesy of Indie Music

By Lauren Lopez

Your favorite band has a new album coming out. Will they post snippets of their songs on their website? Will they share the album art? Will they drop the album without warning?

Media promotion in the music industry constantly changes. If an artist has a big enough following, they can usually get away with minimal to no promotion because their fanbase will do the work for them. That’s part of the reason Beyoncé was able to drop her album without warning and still experience success. One Direction did a similar thing by dropping “Drag Me Down,” the first single off their newest album, Made in the AM, without any prior promotion of the album. Fans took to Twitter to make sure people heard the song and listened to it. It was a risky move–especially since it was their first release since former member, Zayn Malik, left in March–but it worked.

But if an artist is new or trying to expand his or her demographic, marketing efforts are more intense. Australian electronic dance-pop artist Troye Sivan promoted his most recent album, Blue Neighbourhood, by posting the artwork on his Instagram in sets of three in order to create one large photo on his profile page. Having already established a fanbase from his YouTube channel, Sivan’s promotional efforts were more geared toward gaining interest outside this sphere.

Promotion can also vary depending on the length between albums. When Adele announced her most recent album, 25, she had to give it some promotion in order to remind people that she was still making music. The first word of 25 was just a short unannounced snippet of her single “Hello,” posted in an ad break on X-Factor. No dates or names were determined. Afterward, Adele made a few appearances on various radio shows. Though it’d been four years since the release of 21, she still has the luxury of being a bigger name in music, and therefore does not have to work as hard to promote.

In October, when Panic! at the Disco teased the release of “Emperor’s New Clothes,” the promotion around it had no clear direction. Brendon Urie didn’t allude to what was being released in any of the video snippets, and “This is Gospel” played in the background of one video teaser to further confuse fans. Despite all this, there was still hype around the release, arguably even more since fans couldn’t grasp what was about to happen. Promotions like this are definitely a risk not all artists are able to take, though it was probably able to work for Panic! because their fanbase was able to spread the word no matter what they were promoting.

It’s exciting for an artist to post new music, no matter the build up. Whether you end up marking the days off on your calendar until the release, or you wake up one morning and Twitter is buzzing because something was dropped in the middle of the night, it’s bound to be something worth talking about.

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