• Philip Marsden

How to Gain More Traction With Every Release

Obviously everybody wants to do better and hit more of their goals with every release. In the independent music community, we’re always talking about momentum and how you should be building more of it with each project you put out, but how can you make sure this is actually happening? In this post I want to share a really easy technique you can use to make sure you’re gaining more traction, eliminating more stress and achieving more of your aims every time you release new music.



When you’re done promoting a song and you’re eager to crack on and share your next creation, it’s very easy to simply move on and start fresh, hoping or even assuming that this track will go even further than the one before it. However, to move forwards and progress, you need to start by looking back. At the end of every campaign, before you start the process of releasing your next single, schedule some time to reflect. Even just an hour of focused analysis on your last release is sure to give you more traction than if you were to just wing it. The best way to do this is to create four lists…


1. What went well?

What parts of your promotional campaign yielded the best results? Did landing in that work out playlist generate a ton of streams? Did one particular type of post get a ton of engagement? Where did your best feedback come from? Think carefully about these areas and aim to double down on them next time - clearly it’s working well for you and hitting the right audience, so make the most of it.


2. What didn’t go well?

Next, you need to figure out what didn’t go well. Which posts didn’t get much engagement? Which videos didn’t generate as many profile visits? What task took a ton of time, but didn’t generate many streams? Maybe you got into a playlist that just wasn’t the right fit for your music or target audience? These are the things you can start to cancel out next time. If they’re not moving you towards your goals, you might as well spend that time on the things that do. For example, if you spent loads of time pushing your music to a certain type of playlist or blog and found you weren’t getting any responses, perhaps you should try pushing to a different niche next time. Your audience might not be who you think they are! Or, if you’ve been putting tons of effort into tweets, but you're not getting a lot of engagement or Spotify visitors from Twitter, maybe it’s not worth doing and should focus that energy into another social media platform that you know is working for you.


3. What parts of the process did I enjoy?

Now, write down the parts of the promotional process that you most enjoyed doing. Was it creating video content? Gigging? Or maybe just chatting with your fans and followers? Whatever it was, double down on it next time. Even if it didn’t necessarily get you a load of streams or new followers, you should probably do more of it, after-all, music is a creative outlet and you should be enjoying the process and staying as creative as possible to keep your mind stress-free.


4. What parts of the process didn’t I enjoy?

Lastly, you should make a note of the things you didn’t enjoy about promoting your last release. Maybe posting everyday caused too much pressure? Maybe reaching out to curators became too tedious? Or perhaps your gigs didn’t go smoothly? Some of these things can be cut out if they’re not actually moving you forwards, but others will probably be crucial despite the fact that they’re not enjoyable. To overcome this, you just need to either systemise them as much as possible so that you don’t have to spend as much time on them, delegate them to somebody else, automate them or maybe just ease up a bit. For example, if you kept running into technical issues at your gigs, maybe you need to simplify your setup and work on some fixes ahead of time. Or, if you hated trying to put out new social media posts everyday, maybe you can start pre-planning them and posting every other day instead to take some of the pressure off.


By doing this little analysis, not only will you be able to make sure you’re gaining momentum with every release, but you’ll also be able to eliminate stress by freeing up more time to focus on the parts of your release strategy that are yielding the best results and giving you the most joy. It can also create a bit more time for writing, producing and just being creative. Put simply, if you can eliminate the bad stuff and double down on the good stuff, you’ll reach more goals and have way more fun being an independent artist!


Releasing new music soon? Download my free guide - 7 Steps to Getting Playlisted and Maximising Your Music on Spotify.