Releasing an Album in 2019
Releasing an Album in 2019 – I made a promise to myself about 3-4 years ago. It was that I would go about releasing my first album before the age of 32. Why 32? LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy was 32 upon the release of their bands seminal self titled debut album. James was a source of inspiration for my aging artistic soul as my 20’s waned. If he could get it done by then, why can’t I get my shit together by the time I’m that old? Well, I’m 31 and a half (this very month, actually) and I fully intend on delivering on that promise.
Recently, I combed through my immense library of random noises, chirps, tweets and clicks. Much to my surprise I realized, holy shit…. I’d done it. I’ve got an album on my hands here. It needs some MIDI to bolster up the mix a bit. Some EQ’g certainly would not hurt either. But… I’m there. I actually hit my ridiculously random deadline (fingers crossed ** still mixing **). So, what now?
Aside from actually finishing the album, instead of writing articles about it here, there’s a lot to consider once you decide to just effin’ go for it all on your lonesome. Naturally, I need to get or create artwork. Which one of my friends would help me out with this? What theme are we going for? I could go on and on. How will I go about marketing this dang thing? What do I need to do just to get my stuff into your ears? What I found to be particularly interesting, though, was the notion of delivery. How will I release this?
Pressing a vinyl is out of the financial question personally, so that’s out. Friend of the site, Shelf Black, recently released his newest album, Heavy Things, on cassette. I find this to be awesomely retro of him and tape does have a unique sonic quality. However, I’d just be copping on his style by doing the same thing, so that’s out as well. CD’s are dead and if you think otherwise I welcome your debate in the comments below! It would seem that the only remaining option is a digital download. However …. DUH!!!! … Of course I’m going to do a digital release! I want people to hear this, not go in a time capsule to be exhumed a hundred years from now. It will be on Spotify, it will be on Apple music, Spotify, all that shit. That’s all too simple, though.
What to do?
Any shmuck can just take some ramblings and slap them up on streaming services with relative ease, Like me! Whether you make anything monetarily is extremely questionable, but if you’re releasing an album after 3-4 years of working on it, trust me – All you want is the tiny validation of your friends and family that you did something well. If your aspirations are higher at 31 ½, you really need to reconsider why exactly you are releasing an album in the first place.
Due to the availability of services happy to get you hosted on these platforms, I still feel like my release would be lacking. Most notably, there’s nothing tangible. There’s just some file folder I toss at you after clicking a button on Bandcamp. Quite unceremonious.
Finally, it dawned on me. Flash Drives! Thanks to advancements in storage capacity and capability these staples of your keychain from only a few years ago are relics in the same right that CDs now are. The difference here is that, thankfully, computer manufacturers have yet to do away with USB (Although I’m sure plans to replace it are in the works, if not already available). I have an outlet! A form of delivery that costs me next to nothing and quenches my thirst to provide something for anyone who cares to listen to what I’m putting out there.
A flash drive release would negatively impact the artwork, in my opinion. I know this is a bad habit of mine and I can’t be the only one, but sometimes I get so excited upon obtaining the file folder of the album I’ve been patiently waiting for that I jet right past the artwork file and head directly for those sweet, sweet audio files. I know it’s wrong of me. The artwork was carefully chosen to fit the album and probably helps in understanding the goal of the music found there. It is frankly rude of me to approach it the way I do and I can only hope that those who partake in my aural offerings are more polite than myself and peruse through the artwork as well as the tunes.
A flash drive is tiny, easy to lose. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I’ve owned approximately 4,386 flash drives in my life – Approximately.. You put them in a pocket. You’re certain they are there. There’s no doubt, it can’t be elsewhere. This is until that crucial moment when you actually need the damn thing, reach in your pocket and pull out only lint. I know I sound like an infomercial now, but it is true. One goes through flash drives like socks. A challenge I will have to face as the release date draws nearer.
Also, due to how tiny the drive is (in actual size, not memory) depends on whether you can add artwork onto the casing of the drive. I do intend on stylizing the drives in some manner but their size presents an interesting challenge. One I welcome. It will make the drives all the more unique to stylize them and people notice/appreciate that sort of infused uniqueness. It shows effort, passion and confidence in your work. In short, it makes them want to see what’s on that drive and maybe if you’re lucky they’ll even take a listen to your tracks.
Well, here’s the beauty in self releasing an album in 2019, I suppose. I have no deadline (other than turning 32) and no one breathing down my neck to get this done but me. I prefer autonomy, so no complaints here. Leave me to it, I’ll get it done. I’m not terribly worried about the tracks. The issue of the delivery continues to plague me. It’s something I’ll just have to grit my teeth for and hope I’ve made the right decision. It’s a complete trial and error, especially being my first album and rather than letting that thought fester and slow my progress, I’d prefer to just get down to business.
I can always listen to each of the tracks in each medium and make my decision from there, so nothing’s off the table. Just like when we were all learning how to be musicians, it’s a matter of sticktoitiveness. Some things I try will be completely stupid to the point where I later look back at the effort and say, “What in Lord’s name was I thinking?” Some things may land. All I can do is set up the dart board on the crusty wall of the old timey saloon. It’s up to the audience to wail 6 inch metallic darts at it.
What are your thoughts on releasing an album in 2019? What routes might you take which differ than mine? Please, as always, feel free to leave me some comments at the bottom of this very page here and never forget to keep on rockin’ and rollin’!