Single, Album Or Mixtape?

Single Album Or MixtapeThe type of product you put out can affect the time you spend on each project, how you are received, the cost, and generally everything else. Here are the pros and cons of releasing a single, album and mixtape:

Singles Pros:

  • Releasing a single can be very quick compared to the other two options as you don’t have to spend loads of time writing and recording 15 or so tracks.
  • It’s a lot cheaper as you only spending a fraction of time in the recording booth.
  • You can get quick feedback, and any mistakes can be rectified in the next project.
  • Singles can be used to test the waters for how well you could potentially do with say an album.

Single Cons:

  • People only get to see one side of you as you haven’t got other tracks to show what else you can do (Unless there’s bonus tracks that come with the single).
  • You’ll normally have to follow up with another project quickly to stay fresh in people’s minds.
  • It’s hit and miss, pick the wrong single and you will get ignored or receive negative press (The first being the better of two bads as it’s easier to bounce back from. Receiving bad press can be very hard to come back from).

Album Pros:

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  • People generally take the idea of an album more seriously than a mixtape.
  • As an album is meant to be all your own material (Rather than using beats and vocals you haven’t got permission to use), you can make money from royalties when your tune is played on legal radio and TV etc.
  • People get to see many sides of you as you’ll have different types of tunes on there. If they don’t like one track you get to try and impress them with another one.

Album Cons:

  • It’s a lot more expensive and time consuming then putting out a single.
  • If your album doesn’t do well you can receive negative press which could tarnish your image. If you release a poor first album, people may not even bother to listen out for your second one, even if it is good.
  • Unlike mixtapes all your instrumentals have to be original, so there’s no using other people’s beats. This can take time finding the right backing track, finding the right producer to work with, or making your own beats if you produce or play your own instruments.

Mixtape Pros:

  • It is generally seen as being ok to use other people’s beat and sampled vocals on your mixtape, as the main aim isn’t generally to get rich off it, but instead promote your music.
  • Using instrumentals other people have already made big tunes with can help people warm to your music quicker. Having a familiar backing track means you have something people already like in your tune, and are more likely to listen to your vocals.
  • Mixtapes can be a good way of building your fan base and get your name around before your ‘big release’.
  • You can tap into a different market, a ‘underground’ scene that only buys material that isn’t in mainstream shops and is still seen to be ‘cool’.

Mixtape Cons:

  • People have a habit of thinking ‘It’s just a mixtape, it doesn’t matter if I don’t put as much effort into it’. DON’T MAKE THAT MISTAKE! At the end of the day, what you put out will represent your music, and people will always judge you on that.
  • If you do use other people’s beats or vocals, you can’t claim royalties on your tunes as you don’t own the full copyright. This means you won’t get paid if you tune gets played on legal radio or TV.
  • Some people don’t take mixtapes seriously due to there being a lot of poor ones out there (See point one of ‘mixtape cons’ for one of the main reason why).