EPs remain a popular format for independent artists to release their music on. It provides an opportunity to get a more regular drip of content to your followers, and is less time consuming than creating an entire album.
But how should you go about structuring a release schedule for an EP? I sat down with Plastician recently and we covered some of the basics. Many of you might already be doing some or all of the below, but I often see independent artists releasing EPs to streaming platforms with little to no promotion or build-up. This makes it so much harder to gain traction on streaming services, and can also mean the difference between you generating some revenue from early sales.
Have you had success with something we haven’t covered below? Think we’ve got something wrong? Let us know in the replies.
1. Pick your singles.
- If you’ve got a 5-6 track EP with some obvious singles, make sure you get them prepped early and submitted to Spotify For Artists. See our thread on a playlist strategy for more detail on this.
- Getting singles prepped early will better your chances of Spotify pushing your EP further when it’s released. If your singles are being added to the Release Radars of your followers, as well as their playlists, you’re much more likely to gain some instant traction when you drop the full release.
2. Offer some exclusivity to your biggest fans.
- It’s no secret that streaming platforms don’t offer up massive revenue opportunities for smaller, independent artists. If you’ve got an established fanbase that are willing to pay for your release, why not offer them your first single for an early purchase on BandCamp? This allows you to maximise your revenue from the single and rewards your fanbase with first access.
- Once you’ve offered up this exclusivity, you can then release the track to streaming services.
3. Create supporting content.
- Having one or two early singles before you drop your full EP presents a great opportunity to create some supporting content for your fans to get behind and share.
- You don’t need a massive budget these days to create a compelling video in support of a single. This can help you drum up some buzz / support for your release, gives your fanbase something to share and gives you an opportunity to utilise a bit of paid media on social to push the release (we’ll be getting into paid strategies on another thread soon).
- Heck, even Radiohead can make a low-budget video work. This video for ‘Jigsaw Falling Into Place’ is a great example of executing against a very simple idea and making it work (incidentally, this video was directed by the one and only Adam Buxton).
4. Offer pre-orders and pre-saves for your full release.
- BandCamp let’s you offer your EP up as a pre-order to fans, and gives you the opportunity to release individual songs early to anyone who pre-orders.
- This is a great way to tie in exclusivity around your first single (and potentially another track) - e.g. pre-order my EP and hear the first single a week before its official release.
- In addition to purchase pre-orders, you should also offer up a pre-save link for the EP on streaming services. This means the EP can be automatically added to someone’s library once released, meaning they’re much more likely to give it a listen on release day (which is a super important metric to help your chances of getting on to some of Spotify’s editorial playlists).
- It’s worth noting you can also offer up pre-save links to your singles, as well as the full EP.
5. Get the full release up on BandCamp first.
- Similar to getting your single out early to fans, a great way of maximising profit on your release is to get the EP out on BandCamp first.
- Your biggest fans will be excited to hear the EP (particularly if you’ve generated a bit of buzz with your singles), and are much more likely to pay for it if it’s not yet readily available on streaming platforms.
- This can also work in your favour with anyone who might’ve listened to one of your Spotify singles and wants to get their hands on the full release. Just make sure the BandCamp release date is clearly signposted across your socials as well as your Spotify profile etc. This will allow existing and new fans to know where to go to get their hands on your EP.
- Once it’s been out on BandCamp for 2-4 weeks, you can release on streaming platforms, which will hopefully land it in a bunch of libraries if you’ve been sending our your pre-save link far and wide.
6. So what does an EP release timeline look like?
With all of the above in mind, here’s what an EP release schedule could look like.
I hope some of this was helpful. Would love to hear what you’ve had success with in the past.
For a deeper dive on the topic, check out this conversation between myself and Plastician: https://youtu.be/RSYrPvW83MM