Releasing Music In The Digital Age

Releasing Music In The Digital Age

By Les Stroud

Don’t get excited, this is not your “hack” for becoming a famous pop star or song writer. As a tangent comment, let me just remind you that there is no “hack” for any creative endeavour. In fact, any strategy or method at all from henceforth will always be a moving target. Except for this: the rungs of the ladder to creative “success” (whatever “success” truly is, who knows), will always be some variation of; having an idea, goal and intention setting, motivation, constant practising of your craft, creating, (maybe some networking) and releasing.

It's that last word that this article is concerned with. Just how do you release effectively if you’re not 13 years old and already a Tik Tok star? Well, I have a strategy. For the purpose of our little chat, it will be based solely on my YouTube initiatives, but I believe the technique can work for Instagram/Tik Tok/Facebook and/or any other platform now existing or yet to be invented.

Bear in mind that this happens to work for me. So, if you’re not like me, then it might not work for you. It’ll be a shoe that doesn’t fit. So read the words and if it feels familiar to you then it just might work for you too.

Several years ago I decided to take my YouTube channel seriously. This took some ego adjustment on my part. I’m a professional and awarded documentary film maker in terms of what actually gave me a successful life. So YouTube??? Ewww. Yuck! But, sigh, I had to give in to the inevitable. And give it its due.

This is where your work begins. First, listen to several podcasts, read several articles all the while collating the information into columns or organised bits of information that jive with you. That make sense to how you operate. This simple act enabled me to take my $100 per month channel to $1500/month; not bad pocket money. Next, I found a seemingly smart and experienced agency that was solely concerned with YouTube growth. NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT; I did not hire them to take over and run my channel, I utilized them as consultants to help me run my own channel. I have blown way too much money giving away my “social media” to self-proclaimed experts. Analytics blah blah blah, SEO blah blah blah. I’ve got news for you. NO ONE really knows what they’re doing with this stuff and anyway as already mentioned, it’s a moving target. I was lucky to find some excellent consultants. They, for a small cost, coached me further into how I should operate, then sprinkled a bit of fairy dust behind the scenes (that was just too complicated for my desires to bother to learn) and that took my $1500/month and added a zero. Now we’re getting somewhere!

And here is what I did. This is my own little secret of what works for me. I quite literally sat at my kitchen table for nearly two solid weeks organizing. Picture me with thirty -five little hard drives containing twenty-five years of content, from my work as a film maker. Content which I owned fully.

I am an organizing freak. I love getting everything in place and then launching my attack or strategy or simply my game plan. Maybe you’re not like me that way. But trust me it works. You will be surprised, if you have been working hard as a creator, just how much usable content or content you can re-purpose that you actually have. Sure it’s extreme in my case, as I literally had four years-worth of releasable content, but I’ll wager if you are over thirty and you’ve been hard at it in your artistry, you will have a good six months to a years-worth of content you can release (one piece) every week. Maybe a little less if you’re younger.

Here's the thing; that was for and from my film career which is admittedly robust and rich in content. But now I am adopting the very same method for my music. All of a sudden, that little song I produced in music college is next week's content release Friday morning at 10am. And now that I am studying what works, I am finding more ways to repurpose my musical content into yet another YouTube (or TikTok or Spotify or Bandcamp or Soundcloud or whatever) release. I’ve had a few consultation calls over Zoom and did screen recordings so I wouldn’t forget the advice. ChatGPT has also come to the rescue laying our strategies and writing phenomenal promotional blurbs for me. Yes, I can afford to invest a bit of money here and there into promotions or promotions people (about 1K per month). But even if I didn’t hire outside help I could also, with a few more hours at my kitchen table, take over the press releases and promotional efforts I’ve paid other people to do.

In short, teach yourself the process. Do the research. Figure out which is out of your league and which you can handle quite nicely (more than you might believe).

We’re all independent artists now - isn’t it nice to know that with a little bit of at home elbow grease you can manager and promote your own musical world.

Have the idea. Set the intention. Get motivated. Work on your craft. Learn how to promote. Release your art.

Les Stroud is currently in the process of releasing a new song every six weeks for the next three years. You can find his material on all music platforms and his music videos at:


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