It’s three months into the year already and for sure our ears are reeling from the insurmountable quantity of new music wheeled out into the music space on a daily basis.
There are some that stick like glue to our ears, earning a reckless quantity of replay value and there are others we’ve pushed aside, not even giving a chance to listen to them. But subconsciously we’re forced to listen. The video placements on MTV Base. Sight of the artist when scrolling through blogs. Random tweets from one of our twitter’s followers obsessing about the delightful feels of the song.
What gets a song enormous replay value is down to two things: the song’s appealing quality —in terms of the lyrics, beat or overall story—and the rollout strategy.
Of course, a song or an album could accumulate a huge sum of anticipation prior to its release and eventually, it leads to disappointment in terms of quality.
This has happened a few times in the music industry. When in 2019, Wizkid had gone on a social media cleanse for months, he came back to tease his first single of the year, then it had a few pushbacks. But with the artwork, a video tease and constant promises, people were in huge expectation. When the song, Joro eventually dropped in October, the momentum flattened. It wasn’t the kind of sound they were expecting. Perhaps they wanted something similar to Soco, but Joro would later introduce listeners to the new sound path that preceded Made In Lagos.
Ultimately, a rollout strategy sets the course, lays the foundation for the success of an album. A rollout strategy creates suspense, invites listeners into the world of the pending project through the several content assets the artist has provided.
So what makes a good rollout strategy?
Simply, what spurs the rollout strategy is the theme or story behind the song or album.
For instance in 2019 when Davido had wrapped up recordings and was set to go live with his sophomore album, A Good Time, they had amassed videos, creative designs and photos from those recording sessions. It showed Davido in variety of happy moods—enjoying music, kicking back with friends and families. Either in the studio or on vacation with his girlfriend, Chioma, it exhibited him in an excited state. It was indeed a good time for him. And basically, that also inspired the album art.
In creating a rollout strategy, think back to what inspired you while recording the song or album. What’s the story behind this new record you’re about to unleash in some weeks? Is there any particular thing you’re passing across or any message you’re dishing out.
After siphoning the theme from the songs from the album, that would lead you to craft a rollout strategy around the album.
In a wholesome rollout strategy are several content types. Armed with your story, and the already finished songs, what comes to mind are the artworks. Ideally, a track from the album would be unleashed first to give a tease of what to expect. You might decide to have countdown images and all but those aren’t the core rollout tactics.
Can a mini documentary around your album be made? Where you invite both the producers and featured artists to talk about how the song came about.
Then you also talk about your journey so far in the music industry and what inspired the album?
Do you have behind-the-scenes videos from the studio sessions? That’s another added content asset.
Yet, you can’t depend on these alone. All these are social media based rollouts. Months ahead of your release, you should set up a newsletter where once or twice a month, you dispatch a heartfelt letter to those who sign up. But what makes people sign up to your newsletter. Promise something extra. Like a one minute clip to the first song on your album is embedded in your last mail. When people hear this, for sure they will want to sign up because they are getting exclusive content.
There are several ideas that will come up when you brainstorm with your team. Be open. Inasmuch as you want to focus on ones that can convert, yet be open to ideas that connect to the story of your album and also draw people into the world you’re building.
Let’s say you’re crafting a love-themed album, you won’t want to go to the slums with your hood guys to shoot a video for one of the love-soaked songs on the album. It doesn’t fit that narrative you’re trying to create.
Artists and their teams often tend to focus heavily on the before-the-album-is-released part, ignoring the post release of the album.
Before the album is dished out, you rarely have content assets. Now that the album is released, you have enormous content, ranging from fans grooving to one or more of the songs, posters of the album’s numbers, your own photos, you having fun listening to the album, plus the interviews with blogs and media platforms.
Perhaps this is what gives fuel to Wizkid’s Made In Lagos’ album. His rollout, stalled by the EndSARS protests meant his team had to fashion a new date and orchestrate new strategies. What followed was instrumental to the album’s success. A new artwork emanated, a video to one of the singles, No Stress came out the day of the album release, the gush of fan-generated content all over the TL on Instagram and Twitter and not forgetting celebrities from home and abroad appreciating the lushness of the album. Hey, it wouldn’t have been possible if Made In Lagos didn’t possess the quality it had.
Furthermore, the interviews with media outlets home and abroad also contributed. The magazine spread with Guardian Life and Native Mag, Vogue, Wondaland plus the mention of the album on most outlets’ “albums of the year articles”. Factor in the YouTube Original live session that had many glued to their phones for the two-hour programme.
An album rollout becomes successful when the songs on the album are top-tier and the audience being marketed to falls in love with them. Rollout tactics work super good in this scenario. Ultimately, work the rollout according to your album’s story.
This article was written by Olabode Otolorin; connect on Instagram with him here