First, I want to apologize for it having been so long since my last blog post; for this I am truly sorry. Let’s skip the excuses and move on to the good news — which is that I have been working towards expanding the blog to include the addition of a video/audio podcast.
The podcast will be available on the Z3R0K3W1 YouTube Channel in the Podcast Playlist. The first episode is available now and features Denver artist/turntablist, Dunroq, as our special guest. In addition to the website, the audio version of Z3R0K3W1 Podcast will be available soon on iTunes, Spotify, and Google Play to download / stream. You can stream the first episode below.
I have secured a comfortable space to record the podcast and I am really excited to share this with all of you. I will be featuring local Colorado DJs, producers, musicians and artists, comedians, budtenders, and many more. In addition, there are many visiting guests scheduled to appear as well. Keep checking back for more information — like sneak previews or some behind the scenes action. *nudge, nudge* *wink, wink*
Z3R0K3W1 Podcast 2016 ©
Z3R0K3W1 Podcast 2016 ©
Z3R0K3W1 Podcast 2016 ©
Today, I wanted to speak to the musicians, songwriters, etc about a little strategy. I know some have mentioned my tendency to ramble in my blog posts. So I’ll endeavor to maintain some semblance of brevity. Already, I digress…
By this point if you are creating music of some sort then you are probably familiar with the EP. EP is an acronym, or short for ‘extended play’ album. An EP album contains more music than just a single but is unqualified to be a LP, or full studio album. LP is an acronym, or short for ‘long play’ album. LP is a term used for CDs and/or digital downloads but originally, and more commonly, is used in reference to the 12 inch vinyl record format. A full studio album may contain 8 or more songs. The average EP often contains only 4 songs.
Many dream of releasing their first full studio album, but how many considered first the EP?
The EP for the listener
Limiting the amount of songs for an EP can be useful for reaching listeners unfamiliar with your work. Why overwhelm an audience that may not be looking to give your work the attention you think it deserves? Consider showcasing specific selections and let the listener sample your work. Peak an interest in the listener without beating them over the head with your music. This benefits you as an artist by converting the listener into a fan. You’re a dealer, and music is your drug — give them a taste, get them hooked, and get them coming back for more product. Use the EP as a gauge to tell if a full album would do well, or if you need more time to refine your sound.
An EP gives the listener just enough of what they want. Like a single, the listener can acquire just the music they want without spending too much money on the music they don’t. Let’s face it — it is not often that every song on a full studio album is a hit. In a world of streaming, it is better to have a fan buying some of your music (single or EP) than none of your music. Sales always pay better than streaming royalties.
Keep in mind that putting an EP to market costs money. So you only want to use the EP to showcase, or highlight, specific work to put front of an audience. The idea is return on investment; unless you don’t mind spending money just to put music out that only your mom buys. She’s a nice lady — go give her a hug!
EP for the artist/creator
For new artists, an EP can be used to demonstrate your sound. EPs can be great when experimenting with new sounds/styles/genres as well. Making them a great tool to minimize cost and easily obtain fan feedback.
EPs can also be used as a tool to obtain new opportunities like performances and/or collaborations. Think of it as your business card. You pass it along, as your credentials, to others in the industry. Do they listen to it? Doesn’t matter. It is about as arbitrary was them looking at your business card. The hope is that at least a percentage of them will.
In showcasing new music for new listeners, again the artist has an opportunity to convert new listeners into new fans that are eager for that next release. Word of mouth is always the best advert. An EP can help build an audience that is familiar with your work and is more likely to support your future endeavors.
EPs make great merch for sale at concerts. Or even just to hand out at concerts. One such artist, that I am personal a fan of, walked up to me at a show and slipped me an mixtape. Kosha Dillz is that artist. I remember bumping into him at multiple shows in Colorado and Oregon. He was always on his hustle and would slip me stickers or CDs before quickly disappearing into the crowd like he was a figment of my imagination.
There are many people that won’t consider listening to your EP and will drop it in the first trash bin they see, or just drop it on the ground as soon as you walk away. Despite those people, there are some that will pocket it and give a listen on a whim — because they are actively looking for new music instead of waiting for it to come to them.
The best advice I can give you is to put your music into the hands of people you don’t know. I know from experience strangers are far more likely to support you than those closest to you in most cases. It is a harsh reality I have heard many complain about — but in my experience, strangers are the best word of mouth promotion. Advertising/marketing collateral is something people can respond to, touch/feel, accept without the pressure of a sales pitch. Something they can review later at their discretion/leisure.
“But CDs are dead!”, you’re saying. I hear you loud and clear. You are preaching to the choir. Most would be hard pressed to find something in their house to play a CD with. Even still, many are noticing an upswing in vinyl record sales. Let me stop here for a moment… because I agree that nobody wants a CD as marketing collateral and vinyl is far too expensive. Only hipsters are taking those from you on the fly anyways.
So what is the play here? Digital download cards are handy and easy to distribute. They are easy to pocket and have a less chance of being immediately ditched. Music from digital downloads can be quickly added to an existing music libraries or even point the listener to your other resources — like your website or online storefront. The downside is motivating people to dig the D/L card out of their pocket, go to their computer or device, and browse a website / app to find your music.
How about USB drives? Low capacity drives (perfect for EPs / LPs / singles) can be purchased in bulk from online wholesalers for very low cost like alibaba.com. The downside to this is loading each drive. I would definitely recommend implementing the use of a USB hub here. This is something you would do in limited batch quantities; but may be very successful in promoting your EP / music. USB drives are small, can be easily pocketed, and are less likely to be ditched. If anything someone will erase your music and use it for storage. At least you tried. Plus, if they are motivated enough to put in the work to erase the drive, then there is the small chance they will be motivated enough to listen to it first.
Ready to start playing gigs and selling product at your merch table? You’ve got shirts, hats, and several boxes of your full album waiting to unload — but nobody know who you are? This is a perfect time to sell your EP, and give people a taste of of your music without forking over bucks for a full album they know nothing about. My last suggestion be to setup QR codes on your table a product tags to redirect potential fans to your music (EP) / website. Build that fan base, and maybe you’ll see them at your next show — where they’ll be eager to grab that full studio album.
I guess that is about it for now. For more information on EPs, consider Google or Bing. Don’t forget to check out the Podcast (S01E01 – Dunroq) and click subscribe.