As you probably know, I have a new CD coming out next week, New Traces of the Old Road, which was previously released as Traces of the Old Road. But I redid some of the parts on eight of the eleven tracks and then remixed and remastered the entire CD, hence the name.
In any event, releasing a new CD requires some planning and some forethought. First of all, I like to have the CD in my hands before I do anything. You never know what can happen to delay things; shortage of CD material, printing problems, lost shipments. You really can't conceive of all that might go wrong.
When Beachwood was distributed by Capitol, I was on the road with Steven Wright. We booked a tour for the entire summer and into the fall. The tour ended in October. My plan was to have this CD for the entire tour and to have someone working it at radio while I was touring the country with Steven. Nice spin, I thought.
I turned the CD into Capitol in mid April. The tour started mid May. I figured that I might miss a couple of dates, but overall it would be released during my national tour, everything would mesh and work perfectly.
Capitol did not get the CD released until October. Which meant that I didn’t have my brand new CD for any of the tour. No CD sales at the tour, no radio and promotion in tandem to my being in every major city in the country.
The entire opportunity was lost because of the delay. I did everything that I could to take advantage of being in those cities. I called the radio guys and did as many radio shows as I could, but I didn’t have the CD. That notwithstanding, when I finally did release the CD, we charted it nationally, but that’s another story.
So the first thing that I do now is to get the CD into my hands. THEN I start to put together a plan. With regard to New Traces, I am delivering the CD to my distributors in December for an early January release. And there will be a radio mailing to coincide with that release and we will send the CD to all the publications that might review it by mid October with the caveat that this CD has a January release date.
I also set up touring before the official release date, so that I can make back the money that I spent recording and manufacturing it. Then I can use that money for national promotion.
I already know that I cannot compete with the major labels in terms of promotion budget, etc, so I am targeting what I can impact. The NPR stations, the college stations, any acoustic shows that might play what I record; any publications that would actually review my work; any journalist with whom I have a friendship or at least a relationship. And I am doing this first in all the areas where I already have some celebrity.
Then I will move out to the adjacent areas and try to increase the awareness of my work with new people.
I have also already done one contest and will do several more to engage the people who nurture what I do; and to demonstrate to them how grateful I am for their support.
And this time, I am going to make an effort to engage the local media in the CD. As it becomes more and more expensive to travel and to tour, I am hoping to increase awareness within a given radius of where I live and concentrate on that area.
If I can turn that into a larger awareness then I can afford to invest time, energy and money into places where I am less known.
On Friday we’ll talk about a CD release concert and what we can do to make that successful.