The opening weeks of 2019 has seen American label, Dreamville generate excitement and fascination with the unique rollout ahead of their upcoming album, 'Revenge Of The Dreamers III.'
In 2019, with the rising impact of social media and the fast rate at which new music gets released, digested and chewed out, artists are fast abandoning the traditional albums route for singles or at best EPs.
But irrespective of how it is colored, albums would continue to remain revelant. They are the markers of time and the yardsticks by which the legacy of an artist gets judged over the years.
In the same vein, album rollouts have always been essential, perhaps even more essential now considering the above factors or how else do you amass attention towards your project in an industry where competition remains at its peak?
How well do you invite the audience into your world before the final unraveling of that you have been working on?
The artist can no longer assume that the audience will naturally sway towards his/her album upon release, so for a project that has taken months or even years to create, it is important that the artist and his team come up with creative means to make the album a moment and one that the listeners will excitedly gear towards.
An album roll-out is simply the promotional and marketing techniques deployed to creating awareness ahead of the release of a new project.
In the past, the process was elementary; release a single-grant interviews-hold a listening session (If possible) then album release, but the art has evolved over the years and it is important that Nigerian artists begin to wake up to this.
At the start of the year, J Cole‘s Dreamville announced the upcoming release of the third installation of the ”Revenge Of The Dreamers” project and instantly followed it up with an imaginative rollout that has gotten fans and social media followers talking.
The roll-out invites the featured artists, producers and even top industry curators to partake in the recording session of the project which will take a period of 10 days at an Atlanta studio.
This gives the fans a glimpse into the names of the stars that will be partaking in the projects while also revealing clips of studio sessions as they all gather to bring the process to life.
Since the roll-out began, there has been a buzz around their fan base as people are excited as each name gets revealed, there have even been controversies regarding certain names left out among the journalists invited, but the most important win with this roll-out is how every fan feels like they are a major part of the process that will birth the project.
While the songs and featured artists on an album are commonly opened to the fan after the album release or at best the release of the art-cover and track-list say a few days to the final product, this rollout creates for more mystique and there have even been the trend of fans recreating through PhotoShop their own names onto identical flyers.
This is one area that a number of Nigerian artists need to improve upon in 2019 and not continue to ‘dump’ their projects on the fans, like they were forced to create one.
In recent times, names like Adekunle Gold and Falz have stood out with how they paid attention to the way their projects are being released.
For Adekunle Gold, he set the bar high with the roll-out for his About 30 album. The fans engagement on social media months leading to the album’s eventual release was at an all-time high.
Then he shared the tracklist which was a numbered continuation from his last project with the artwork made available for his fans to use as DPs and Headers with incentives provided on Twitter.
He then set up a personalized website (about30.info) specifically providing a daily countdown leading to the day of the event with updates on what to expect.
This then culminated in the unique experience he provided, with the creation of a listening space for a one-on-one intimate experience for his fans who register through the website.
In this booth, fans could only listen to one song at a time, meaning to listen to the 15 songs on the album, fans had to go through 15 booths with lyrics provided and a camera crew on ground to capture on the spot reactions to the songs.
There were also listening sessions in the US and UK before the final show in Lagos.
Adekunle Gold and his team in their marketing and promotional ingenuity moved the listeners from just being fans into a community and when things like this happens, it naturally heightens organic expectations and boost sales/ good reviews for the project.
Same can be said for Falz who with his ‘Sweet Boys’ single, turned it into one movement that even sparked a variety of conversations on social media with various representations of what the association stands for eventually leading to the release of the video.
These are just two names in a pool of thousands. For the average Nigerian artist, their definition of a roll-out is a couple of unimaginative posts on their Instagram pages, the artwork/tracklist released on the week of the album and then the album itself, it is time they do better and it doesn’t necessarily have to involve you spending excess money.
The essence of a roll-out is to create awareness for the upcoming project and also form a connection with the audience that will make substance out of that creation.
They can be achieved either solely with a brilliantly conceived plan or done in partnership with a brand that makes it much bigger into a marketing campaign.
Create a story around your music, let the audience see you beyond the voice playing through their stereos and help them understand why the album is important to you as a person. People are in search of that spark that will excite them, you don’t have to wait till the album is released before you provide one.
While a good roll-out is no substitute for a mediocre album, many average albums have been saved by the effectiveness of its promotion, so you are near guaranteed a win-win situation if you put in some effort to handle your rollout with thought and ambition, the same way you treat your music.