To say the way we consume music has changed a lot these past few years, would be a gross understatement.
Today, when it comes to releasing albums, artists embrace the element of surprise, literally. Ever since Beyonce shocked the world December 13, 2013 when her highly-successful self-titled fifth album mysteriously became available on iTunes before the advent of Tidal, she changed the way music is released and marketed. No marketing has become the new marketing and for some artists. But that may not always be successful.
The majority of artists who have followed this growing trend, announce their albums will be a “surprise,” but fans already know it’s on its way, so, no shocker there. Surprise albums only work for a handful of artists and if you’re not in that handful, well, you might want to stick to what you know.
Let us break down all the reasons we’re over surprise album releases!
- There’s nothing wrong with having a release date
For some, announcing a release date may seem archaic, but it’s a winning formula many artists need, especially if they want to have successful first week sales. You can only debut on the charts once, so you definitely want to make it count.
2. Not all surprises releases are created equal.
What it takes to execute a successful surprise release is a fan base. But not just any fan base. Artists need a dedicated fan base who will buy whatever they’re selling just off principle even if fans haven’t heard any new songs in over a year. Heavy anticipation is also needed, but from casual fans as well. And if we’re being honest, not many artists have that.
3. Some record companies are just being lazy.
These days, depending on the artist and how successful they are, record labels just aren’t what they used to be. Some of them are doing surprise releases just to get out of having to execute promotion for artists who may need more development or may not be their top priority.
4. Fans like knowing they’ll get new music on a specific date.
Believe it or not, fans like knowing specific days they can expect to get a new album from their favorite artists. It builds up momentum and we all know how overzealous stans are online when it comes to the promo.
5. Album promo is good promo
Album promo that doesn’t include tweeting a pre-order or download link is needed! Just because an artist decides to drop their album out of thin air, that doesn’t absolve them from making their rounds in the press and giving their fans new interviews to read or tune into and television performances to watch.