Some argue that the album release cycle is a thing of the past, and that artists have moved into an “always on” mode of promotion. Even in the studio, we blog, Twitter, and post videos of our recording sessions on YouTube. Some argue further that the album format itself is dead. Personally, I’d like to release another album, but I know better than to disappear for five years again. I recently wrote about the benefits of releasing a follow-up EP. Moving forward, I want to turn that concept on its head by releasing a series of lead-up EPs, which have many of the same benefits.
My plan is to record six songs – five originals and a cover (to draw in iTunes search traffic) – and release them as a digital-only EP. Then I’ll do it again, twice. At the end of the process, I’ll dump the covers and the weakest original from each EP, to create an album of 12 originals. If the physical CD format still has some life in it (or I win the next phase of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest – we’ll know tomorrow!), I’ll press 1,000 copies and promote it aggressively. A few months later, I’ll follow that up with an EP of the three rejected originals plus remixes.
The result is a near constant stream of five releases, all from one album’s worth of material! Perhaps the die hard fans who buy every EP won’t bother with the album, since they’ll already have the songs. I could always eliminate the third EP and save that material for the album and follow-up. Then again, the album versions of the songs might be different enough from the EP versions to warrant the purchase. I’ll make that call when the time comes.