Planning for new releases is typically the focus of most artists and their teams. However, there’s great value in celebrating an artist’s existing catalog, too. Each album or single released shapes an artist and depicts their journey; more people join the artist’s community with every release because each album resonates differently with each fan.
An artist’s discography is an endless vault of emotionally-relatable art that can re-engage previous fans and reach new ones. The timing when a fan discovers an artist also plays a big role; fans can easily relate to a previous record’s story if it speaks to their current life experiences. It’s important to keep previously-released albums alive and accessible because you never know who they will impact and when.
To help jump-start promoting previous releases, we’ve compiled five tips to help revive your music catalog. These tricks aim at increasing album streams, using your discography as evergreen music promotion and reaching your fans throughout their music discovery.
Celebrate Album Anniversaries
Writing and releasing a record is a big achievement for any artist and an exciting time for fans. It’s important for an artist to commemorate an album’s anniversary and remind fans of the record. Set a reminder for the date in your calendar so you remember to plan in advance. Pen a message about what the album means to you, ask fans what it meant to them, and thank them for their support. Post on a social media with the cover art, this message and a link to stream the album. During the album’s anniversary month, share the singles’ music videos on your socials and include written excerpts about this time in your career. Doing this allows your fans to have a peek into your creative process and get to know you not only as an artist, but also as a person.
Tell the Album’s Origin Story
Music is a personal and relatable form of art that fosters a connection between the artist and the people who support them. Fans enjoy learning about your journey, what inspired you to become an artist and the origins of each album. Look back on a release of yours that is dear to you and tell the story of how it came to be, either through a blog or social media post or a YouTube or live social media video. Tie into album anniversaries and share the origin of the album when it’s hitting a specific milestone.
Recreate Previous “Era” Merch
Showing appreciation for your fans and fostering their excitement for your music through contests and exclusive merchandise also renews interest in your music discography. New fans would love the chance to win (or even purchase) merchandise from different eras of your time as an artist that makes them nostalgic or that they didn’t experience with you. Think back to sweatshirt or t-shirt designs from your debut album and bring the most popular of those designs back. Make an exclusive merch bundle showcasing specific albums, their lyrics and their logos from your music catalog. Fans love to own a piece of clothing, a bag or a poster for the release that resonated so deeply with them, especially if they joined your community years after the record came out.
A great example of this comes from Alkaline Trio. The band has t-shirts available in their store for three of their previous records: From Here to Infirmary, Crimson and Good Mourning. This merch is highly important now as the band recently released a new album (and new merch). Fans shopping for the new release will be reminded of their previous records and inspired to dive down memory lane. Some new fans may even experience these albums for the first time because of the merchandise!
Share Unreleased Music or Demos
In addition to merch from previous album cycles, unreleased music or even studio demos are of high value to fans. Demos provide more insight into the songwriting process. Hearing an unreleased song from their favorite album by their favorite artist is a big treat for fans. It is also a great way to encourage fans to go back and listen to the original album.
Make YouTube Playlists
As discussed in Stem’s YouTube Marketing Guide and YouTube SEO overview, playlists are an integral and valuable part of any music strategy. Make YouTube playlists based on album era, including music videos, behind-the-scenes looks and tour shots that relate to a specific record. Create an area where your fans can watch all video content relating to their favorite album in your discography and relive that time in your career. Remember to include links to streaming or purchasing options for the release in each video’s description.
An artist’s music back catalog provides an edge to reinvigorate old fans and consistently reach new ones. Fans discover music at different times in an artist’s journey, and each album resonates differently with each person. By continuing to support your discography, you can reach new fans and continue to increase your music’s streams.