For Soca Artists Soca Music

5 lessons soca artists can learn from a short carnival season

Photo Credit: The World Is Rich Photography

This 2018 Trinidad & Tobago Carnival season is officially over. It was filled with vibes, bacchanal and excellent music. Overall, the music was exceptional and we were happy to see that power soca made a nice revamp. With that being said, there’s a few things that soca artists can take away from this short season.

BEFORE WE START>> Note that soca music releases year round. This is specific to T&T carnival based on the seasonal approach to their industry. We also took into account how radio play can affect the season as well.

5. Plan accordingly

In a short season, tunes that release closer to carnival can and will get lost. If you know you are planning to bring out a song for the season plan a release date that compliments the season. Additionally, you should have a solid strategy on how you are planning to promote the song. There should be no reason why on January 2nd, Machel, Kes and Patrice individually released 6 songs for the short season and you haven’t released anything.

4. Power soca wins the race

Power soca riddims like the “Gwada” “Pim Pim” and “Road Rage” led the race this carnival. They were released early (mid November and early December) and revamped the power soca scene. Patrice Roberts’ “Sweet Fuh Days” and Iwer George’s “Agenda” and “Savannah” got significant radio play because it was one of the few power songs that came out early.

In a short soca session it is imperative that artists release their content earlier, especially for the road. The soca season usually consists of 70% groovy releases and 30% power soca tunes (estimate). The majority of power soca songs are released after Christmas Day and in January. These releases usually get lost during the carnival season. For Example, Voice’s “Perfect World” and Shurwayne’s “Celebrate.”

3. Marketing and distribution is vital

When you release a song you must do the GROUND WORK so that people can hear your song. From a digital perspective, artists should create an email list for DJs, radio, press and influencers. If you have the capability, publish your song on digital platforms such as iTunes, Google Play, FoxFuse and Radial. Blast your music out on Julianspromos, The Bass (Formerly known as Lee’s Designs) and Riddimcracker.

→ Make it easy for your audience to download or purchase your song.

→ Make sure that your song is easy to find across all streaming platforms like Soundcloud, YouTube, Radial and Spotify.

→ If you have the means try to use traditional platforms like TV, newspaper, magazines and radio too.

2. Visuals & music videos are important

Nothing compliments a good song with a great storyline like a music video does. YouTube is the second biggest search engine over Google and the largest streaming music service worldwide, so discovering new music videos is easier than before. Although your song may not be popular right away, it can still pick up traction online. Erphaan Alves took advantage of that this season with “Overdue.” Overdue was released in September of 2017 and to date has over 2 million views.

In some ways music videos have become just as or sometimes even more important than the artwork due to the way the general public consumes music. If you do not have the budget or ability to produce one, at least create a lyric video.

1. Lyrical content is more important than ever in soca

Singing about “bumpa” “wine” “wuk up” and “jook” will only get you so far. The younger artists have focused a lot on lyrical content and going outside of the norm for season. If we look at some of the successful songs of the season, it includes something different that isn’t recycled every carnival. Tunes like “Overdue” “Year For Love” “Full of Vibe” and “No Weapon” follow a different type of route.

Final Thoughts

No matter if it’s one release or twenty releases have a plan and execute it. Be prepared and plan out how you want to attack the season. Make sure you promote your song through multiple channels from digital (YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify, Radial and iTunes).

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