How to make the most out of a single song

In 2016, it can be very easy for artists to fall into a mindset where they believe the fastest way to gain attention is to shovel out as many songs as possible as often as their budget and schedule will allow. While this approach to releasing music certainly works for some, it’s far smarter from both a financial and promotional standpoint to only release your absolutely best material and milk it for all its worth. A song premiere and video release should be considered the bare minimum in terms of promotion, but most never know what else to do with their music. This post, written in collaboration with the band The New Electric, will hopefully help you and other creative minds rethink the way you promote your music career.

Our story is one of a group of hard working guys who managed to push two singles into billboard charting positions independently.

Now the first ingredient was the music! The product, the everything. How do we write, record/make great music? The answer is, we work with great songwriters and great producers. “Well, are we not great songwriters and producers ourselves?” We might be, but everyone needs a co-writer and a producer, even writers and producers themselves.

Once we had music that we thought was great we decided to hire a radio tracking team to push our single for us. It was a pretty penny but ended up being well worth it in the end. The trackers sent us on a radio tour where we traveled across all of Canada going to every station meeting every program director and music director and DJ and at 3 or 4 stations a day.

Knowing we were going on a radio tour, we devised a strategy to make a chart with every stations socials, info and notes about who we talked to and what we talked about. We also planned to look like stars walking in, full wardrobe and hair no matter how early or how tired or worn out we were. We also did vocal warm ups before every radio performance stop. We did our best to charm and make relationships with these radio people in the short time we had with them. As we did this across the country our radio team pushed. We were featured, then some ads but nothing huge.

We started reaching out to fans of other bands on Twitter and started talking and building relationships with them. We eventually had a solid group of fans that we talked to daily so we started holding Twitter requesting contests. The stations were getting bombarded with requests for our song and then with a little luck and a lot of push from our team we won two radio competitions in the same month, Next Big Thing and Future Star. These put our song on the map and it started charting in the top 50! It climbed all the way to #16 over a 6 month period. We made a music video for the single that got picked up by Much Music we also toured give the single as much “Life” as possible.

To sum it up, we did a lot of work! We engaged fully on social media and found unique ways to interact. We looked and sounded our best at all times and always greeted everyone with a smile and a warm heart. I would say that It’s all about relationships and being someone that people want to work with. I can’t say if this will work for anyone else or why it did for us! We’re just doing our thang. Thanks for reading!

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.