A big part of planning an album release is throwing a release party on the night of street date. Pulling this together can often be stressful and expensive. In a perfect world, most bands want their release party to be a live event at a good venue in their hometown. Bring everybody out to a huge show on a monday or tuesday night, play to a big crowd of fans, friends and family and hopefully a few key record execs who are there to “check you out”. Everybody has fun, you sell a bunch of albums and you get some good press from the event to boot.
The problem is that this can be extremely difficult to pull off for most artists. Without the help of a PR company or a well-connected manager, it can be nearly impossible. But more to the point, is this event really something you should be spending so much time, money and resources on? For the ever growing number of artists who are selling their music direct-to-fan through their website it probably makes more sense all the way around to host your next album release party right from the comfort of your own home, studio or whatever location you have easy access to, and broadcast it live online.
This is exactly what Clinton Curtis did for his party celebrating the release of his second album, 2nd Avenue Ball. Clinton’s album launch was last night (March 22nd) and it was broadcast live through a Ustream widget embedded on his website. This special event was Episode #4 of what he calls CC Radio, a bi-weekly live broadcast on clintoncurtis.com. The episode featured his whole band plus many other guest musicians, friends and a large group of lucky fans all singing and playing together for an hour long jam session.
Not only is this a cool idea that made for an incredible night of music, it also was an effective way to bring people closer to the album, to start up some buzz and ultimately to drive sales. By embedding the Ustream widgets into Clinton’s website, anyone who tunes in is just one click away from the store page where the album is being sold. And those widgets are easily shareable, and many people shared the event on their Facebook profile which enables their own network of Facebook friends to watch the live broadcast without leaving Facebook. That type of interconnectivity makes this a truly great tool for spreading the word about the release. Also, the video itself is recorded and stored on Ustream’s servers, which gives Clinton the opportunity to promote the video post-release date and gives people who were not able to tune in live to the event the chance to check it out on their own time. In fact, one of the best parts of this whole thing is that people from all over the world can watch. None of your fans will feel bummed because they couldn’t make it to your big night, and even if they miss the live broadcast they can still catch it on your Ustream channel.
And to top it off, Ustream is a free service so the whole thing was put together for the cost of a couple pies of pizza, chips and some beer!
So next time you plan a big release party, maybe you should consider hosting it at the very site where you are hoping to get people to go to buy your album—your own website.
Check out Clinton’s release party on CC Radio here: http://clintoncurtis.com/home/cc-radio