Rebranding – My Band Just Removed Our Music From Streaming Sites!

Ever wanted to scrap your old material and start from scratch?.

In this episode, I’m going to share with you why my band decided to delete the majority of our music off all streaming platforms and what to do if you’re thinking of rebranding your music project as well.

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Show Notes

Today I’m going to be sharing with you why we just last night removed the majority of music off all streaming platforms. So just to give you some background in 2019, The Last Martyr released our debut EP, we released our first single mid- 2018. And that was kind of our first soiree into the public eye (we launched with a single and video).

That EP for context got extremely good reviews. It’s been streamed over 100,000 times on Spotify alone, which, you know, it’s good for our first release. It got really good reviews in press, mostly five-star reviews, just like really, really positive words.

Towards mid to end of 2019, we had a lineup change in the band and we released a standalone single called, ‘Like a Ghost.’ This was by far our most successful piece of music to date. It really launched us specifically into the public eye here in Australia, we got international and national radio play (such as on Triple J) and rotation on Triple J Unearthed and The Faction. The song was most definitely going to be the direction that we were going to be taking the band too.

For that song, we uploaded the full lyric video on Facebook and also had a focus on Spotify as we felt approaching the track that way in terms of marketing would enable us to have the most reach with our budget. But the YouTube video had incredible engagement for the number of views.

We had planned a follow-up single, but due to COVID, the video got cancelled and 2020 forced us to really take the time to think about our direction and next steps.

Throughout 2020, we recorded the rest of the new EP (mostly remotely) and we also had a lot of time to think about how we wanted to present ourselves as a band going forward. So not only did our strategy change but also our way that we were going to be approaching visuals and the aesthetics of the band and everything like that our market positioning and target market.

When to rebrand

As a general rule, I encourage bands to think about rebranding even slightly with every major release. So with every EP slash album, or in our circumstance, it is with a new EP, but also that came with a lineup change as well, so that they were the two catalysts for the rebrand.

Steps involved in rebranding

Step 1: Target Market

The first step in all of this is to discuss your target market and really get clear on who your listener is. Now, that’s not to say you’re writing music for anyone else. That just means that the choices that you’re making in the studio have to keep the listener in mind. Because if you’re treating music as a career, then you are developing a product.

Step 2: Visuals

Once we discussed our visual direction target market, the next step was really to get new photos. So we locked in a photographer and we also booked in with a director for the upcoming video clip that we knew was able to bring that aesthetic to life.

Next was the artwork. The video is very VHS-y. So we had to find an artist that could bring that to life. Not only did we use an artist just to create the actual artwork for the single, but we actually also got the same artists to design us a new logo, an emblem, which is going to be used on merch, etc. and a couple of merch designs.

We actually sent all the logos and the visuals to the video director and he’s actually incorporating some of those elements into the video clip to create cohesion. So don’t be afraid to mix your mediums.

You want to be able to create a world like you want to be able to create a universe around your band that is really the optimal thing.

Step 3: Implementation/Updating

Now comes the exciting part. The one thing that I was craving more than anything else last year was implementing the rebrand. So that means updating all of our social media, our EPK, even our fucking email signature. It felt like we’d been stalled last year and to finally implement the new branding felt so good!

In order to do this, I wrote a big list of every single platform that The Last Martyr was currently on. Not just social media, but Spotify, Triple J Unearthed, our EPK, Bandcamp and website, etc.

Timing the rebrand strategically

One of the things that we were also holding off on to rebrand was not just attaining the new assets, but waiting until we had something to promote. And the reason we wanted to wait until that is, I mean, we could have just updated our profile pics and be like, hey, like, “New profile pic, who dis?”

But we wanted to make sure that we had some sort of announcement, some sort of action that our audience could take because when you update your profile picture or when you update your banner on Facebook, the algorithm ranks that quite highly, so that will be quite a visible update.

So we waited until we were closer to the release date of our next single, but also used the rebrand to promote our newly launched email list.

Sign up to The Last Martyr’s email list here.

The decision to remove old music from streaming sites

The other major component of our particular rebrand has been deciding whether we were going to keep that old EP up on streaming platforms or take it down. There are pros and cons to both. As I said the EP had over 100,000 streams.

But because our lineup is different, because our new music is definitely a different direction (it’s still in the same sphere, it’s still rock and metal, but it’s definitely much more modern and has slightly different younger target demographic), we did make that decision, in the end, to remove our old EP off streaming platforms.

One of the songs we left was stand-alone single, ‘Like a Ghost,’ and the second song we decided to leave on there was ‘Fear,’ which is our favourite song of that first EP. It’s the song that that has had the most streams overall as a band and we also have a video clip for ‘Fear.’

One of the things that was quite confusing to us was another single, ‘Into the Black,’ also had a video clip and that video on YouTube has had nearly 8000 views and it’s got a lot of interaction on it. But in terms of the actual song, we don’t resonate so much with the sound of that song anymore. So we decided to pull, ‘Into the Black,’ down off streaming sites, but we are going to be leaving the video clip up, at least for now, on YouTube. So currently YouTube will be the only way that you can consume that particular song.

A still from The Last Martyr’s upcoming video clip for ‘Hindsight.’

Taking down a whole EP from streaming platforms was a big decision. But overall we feel like it’s going to make a stronger impact if people just go straight to those newer songs which are representative of where we’re at now.

Now I know that as a band, naturally, you’re going to grow and evolve and so this really is a personal choice as to whether you leave up your old music or not. For us, that was definitely a step up in the production value in the songwriting, and it was a slightly different demographic and a different lineup. So for us it just made more sense, especially because we did re-record, ‘Like a Ghost,’ and have the new EP version.

So that is really where we’re at with the rebrand the kind of high-level process that we went through. I will just note as well that we timed this rebrand pretty carefully, as I’ve already discussed, but you don’t want to rebrand six months out from the release of new music because, you know, there’s all this hype around, the wow factor of the new videos and you know, new aesthetics and wiping your Instagram, if that’s what you choose to da, and then there be a big gap and bit of a letdown. You want to keep building things.

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