How Soon is Now: Has Streaming Services Ruined the Illusion of New Music Releases?

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Staying on trend and on topic is a hard feat to do. This is especially true working within the music industry. An industry that seems to change when the wind gets the same idea.

As we have previously talked about on here, the digital age brings about accessibility like never before. Everything is so easy to get your hands on. Nothing seems to be ‘secret’ anymore in the industry. Everyone wants it NOW, not LATER.

“Music is like air.”

– Rob Tannenbaum

This brings about our current topic to date – new music releases. Now, new music is terrific. It brings about singular originality, beautiful artistry and creativity. New is fresh. And it is exciting.

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But now, in this day and age, it seems music artists are skipping the magic of the reveal and throwing it out to their fans as soon as they get the go-ahead from their publicists. May that be straight onto streaming services or revealing the songs on their social media sites like Instagram. I mean sure, it’s direct and is delivered straight to your fans, but that’s not the point I’m making here.

Ruining the Moment

The point is that new music used to be an exciting build-up, a cheeky teaser ‘leaked’ to the radio or a playful cryptic clue displayed on a billboard. Ever since the UK charts began tracking streaming services as ‘legitimate’ plays in 2014,  it has allowed more and more artists to be encouraged to post their music almost immediately without warning, simply because services like Spotify, have allowed them to.

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An instant-access site like Spotify has allowed consumption and promotion to become one and the same, allowing artists to just instantly cut the surprise and pump it to the masses to bring the streaming numbers up.

It seems that the saying of “Oh wow! This is out now!” has been replaced with, “Oh wow! This is out already…” 

There has been no hype. No teaser of the sort.

It’s just there. Waiting for you to listen to it for the first time.

 

Killing The Radio

To me, this is somewhat sad. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the instant access to new music. It’s rewarding coming home seeing it waiting for you to be played. But, it seems to have lost its touch over the years. Records used to be played on the radio for weeks at a time, before they were available to the public for consumption. This not only ramped the listening rate on the radio stations, but also raised the intrigue and excitement for the damn thing to finally be released. This what brought the fans together more, I think. Sharing the same excitement for it to be released. Then, when it finally does come out, realising you didn’t have enough money to buy it in the first place.

We seem to have lost touch with that excitement surrounding new music releases. There was something gratifying for it to be finally released and to have it yourself. This brings about a whole new kind of satisfaction when listening to the music and if anything, makes it better from a listeners’ perspective.Unknown

Now, we are having everything thrown at us, and we are expected to take all of it in. New Releases this, and New Releases that. Hell, my Spotify playlist, Release Radar contains over 30 songs of new releases from every music genre ever from every music artist I have ever listened on the site, all slabbed into one playlist. All for me to stick in the background and to not really listen to it. 

Attention, Attention

I think this may be down to the fact that, because music is everywhere we sometimes take it for granted now. Because we do that, our intensity to lean in and listen to a new song for the full length has considerably dropped. This is perhaps why most music artists don’t amp up their music releases anymore, because the longer the build-up, the faster the music consumers will start losing attention to that band and be drawn to a band that have a release that is out sooner. This is not taking into account those die hard fans that will wait for anything, mind.

Same Day Releases

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In 2015, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) announced that Friday would become the “global record release day” for all artists to release their music. On the same day.

“Hits can come from anywhere and spread everywhere…. now all artists will be able to reach their global fan bases on the same day.”

– Edgar Berger, Sony Music Entertainment

Before this madness, new music from around the world were released on different days across the week. Now? It seems the hit factory has returned. The opportunity for being different and original as a music artist as long gone. Now, everyone must stick to the same deadline and same tight schedule. Simply because, the industry is changing to an environment where we need music ALL THE TIME. Every Friday to be exact.

But of course, not everyone stays in line.

This trend to release at the same time – like an assembly line for new music hits – allows some rebellion to surface within the ranks to remain original, current and above all, noticeable within the minefield of other music singles.

The Genius of Coldplay

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That’s exactly what Coldplay have done recently, with their recent marketing stunt to promote their upcoming album by releasing all the track names in a newspaper.

With the band shedding the skin of streaming services and low and behold, the Internet, for a global band to go back to their roots like that, is so amazingly satisfying.

 

 

Of course, it’s a marvellous way to get people talking about the band once again since their 3-year hiatus away from releasing new music. Not because it’s an original idea, far from it in fact, but because it’s different. Different to what these other artists are doing. Leaving out social media fandoms for once, and exploring new avenues to get centre-stage on the news. It’s a genius play, and I love it.

Trying such a creative marketing stunt like this, also sends a statement or message to their fans too. Releasing the new album contents in a newspaper, explores the ideas of originality from the band, and allows fans to be drawn in closer as to why they have done it. Of course, this inevitably draws not only their fans, but other music consumers too, to listen to their music. Simply because it has more to it, than simply posting something online about it. Others have speculated that it draws inspiration from the new albums’ title – Everyday Life. Nothing resembles this greater than a newspaper. An iconic template that is dying now in this digital age, and has since become a piece of nostalgia. Something that is “edgy” and “cool” when you relate to such an globally-iconic band such as Coldplay. Brilliant. I can’t wait for what the album has in store for us…

What Does This All Mean?

It is safe to say, that new music releases aren’t the same as to what they used to be. Creating a flurry of excitement over a new piece of recording is something of the past, now that music has never been easier to get a hold of. But, this doesn’t stop us from representing and promoting new music with bold ideas to stay iconic and ever-present in this ever-changing industry.

If anything, creativity and originality will thrive over constant repetitiveness when it comes to new music releases in the music industry, and that’s great.

 

 

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