Lead Single

A lead single is usually the first single released by a musician or a band before the release of its home album.

During the era of the grammophone record, all music arrived in the marketplace as what is now termed a single, one potential hit song backed by an additional song of generally less commercial appeal on a single ten-inch 78 RPM shellac record. After the launch of the long-playing microgroove record in 1948 and the arrival of the 45rpm single the following year, singles continued to appear separately from albums into the 1960s. For instance, the early rock and roll market of the 1950s and early 1960s was very much focused on singles rather than albums. Songs such as "Heartbreak Hotel", "Johnny B. Goode", and "Tutti Frutti" only appeared later on album compilations of singles. Even through the 1960s, leading rock artists such as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones issued songs such as "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Penny Lane," "Good Vibrations", "Positively 4th Street", and "Honky Tonk Women" as singles apart from any contemporary albums.

This changed in the 1970s as the popular music industry shifted to the album as its main profit center. Singles became advertisements for an album, the lead single conceptually defined as a foretaste of the album to come. On average a lead single will appear approximately one month before the album's release date. "Go Your Own Way" from Rumours, "Miss You" from Some Girls, and "The Girl Is Mine" from Thriller all roughly follow this pattern. This has become a common practice through the 21st-century for album-oriented recording artists.

Lead singles are often a deciding factor for consumers debating purchase of a still unissued album, and the choosing of which track from an album to be issued as the lead single can be crucial to the album's commercial success. The standard rejoinder for record company executives, when presented with an album of dubious commercial potential, is "I don't hear the single."

In the 2000s (decade), a common trend developed to release a lead single months in advance of the album release date. It has equally become common for a second lead single to be also released before the release of the album. Usher issued the lead single "Love in this Club" four months prior to the May 29 release of Here I Stand. The second single "Love in This Club, Pt. II" was released one month before the album release date. This has precedents in the past, however: "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" by Elton John appeared three months ahead of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. Rock bands tend to release a lead single one month prior to the release of an album.

Currently, in the US as well as many other countries, artists will choose songs that are more up-tempo as lead singles. Such songs are often catchier and attract attention, although the subsequent lead single might be slower in tempo to demonstrate the range of the album. Female vocalists like Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera often maintain a formula of an up-tempo first lead single with a slow ballad follow-up. This was a successful practice of 1980s heavy metal bands. However, not all artists decide to choose their lead single with the up-tempo criteria. Artists may release a lead single that has a message they want to convey to listeners over a song with more commercial potential, such as Fall Out Boy's choice to release "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race" over the radio friendly "Thnks fr th Mmrs".

Japanese artists such as Ayumi Hamasaki, Namie Amuro and B'z release may release four to eight singles prior to their albums in order to achieve record-breaking debut-week sales. The lead singles in Japan are very heavily advertised and promoted, in some cases even more than the album itself. With album sales declining year after year, record labels are taking advantage of a booming singles market, online retail stores iTunes and others encouraging record labels to release singles in advance as they are available to consumers in the United States for the small investment of only 99 cents. This trend has become increasingly popular in many markets.

Other articles related to "singles, single, lead single":

Leona Lewis Discography
... of British pop and R B singer Leona Lewis consists of three studio albums, twelve singles, one video album and sixteen music videos ... Moment Like This" in the United Kingdom and Ireland, which became the fastest selling single ever by a female artist in the UK ... Her follow-up single, "Bleeding Love" reached number one in 34 countries, and was the biggest-selling single of 2008 worldwide ...
List Of Awards And Nominations Received By Rihanna
... Rihanna's first single, "Pon De Replay" led her to win three awards, following her winning further awards for both herself and her debut album, Music of the Sun (2005) ... The lead single, "Umbrella" earned Rihanna her first Grammy Award in 2008, while the album's singles and DVD earned a further eight nominations ... Rated R (2009), Rihanna's fourth studio effort, produced the hit single "Rude Boy" which became the main provider of awards and nominations from the album ...
Chris Brown Discography
... studio albums, four mixtapes, seven promotional singles and sixty-four singles, including thirty-five as a featured artist ... The album's lead single "Run It!" featuring rapper Juelz Santana, peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, and spent a month atop the chart ... Internationally, the single either charted at the top or inside the top ten of several charts ...
Ciley Myrus - Life and Career - 2008–09: Breakout, Transitions and Film Career Launch
... Billboard 200 chart and its lead single, "7 Things", peaked at number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 ... In September 2009, she participated in the charity single "Just Stand Up!" in support of the anti-cancer campaign Stand Up to Cancer and in the City of Hope Benefit Concert in support of ... for which she recorded the charity single "Send It On" along with several other Disney Channel stars ...
List Of Songs Recorded By Rihanna
... other artists for duets and featured songs on their respective albums and charity singles ... The album's lead single "SOS" was written by Evan "Kidd" Bogart and J ... Don't Stop the Music", the third single to be released from Good Girl Gone Bad, contains a sample of Michael Jackson's "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" and attributes to Jackson as ...

Famous quotes containing the words single and/or lead:

    You behold a range of exhausted volcanoes. Not a flame flickers on a single pallid crest.
    Benjamin Disraeli (1804–1881)

    Horrible experiences lead us to wonder whether the person who experiences them might not be something horrible.
    Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900)