How can waiting years to release new music affect an artist's fanbase?

Finlay Holden talks how waiting too long to release new music can alter peoples careers

Finlay Holden
23rd February 2020
We’ve all had that artist who we follow as they release new release, each time getting more and more excited until it climaxes with an LP, which we rave about for months. Eventually, after a while of listening on repeat, we get bored of the same tracks and yearn for more - but, alas, no more seems to come.

At this point we move onto new bands, finding fresh sounds and developing our taste over the years. We completely forget about the artist we were once in love with as we discover recent content to replace it. Then, years down the line, the old favourite rises once again with a sudden announcement of a new record. How to react can be confusing - are we still as excited as we used to be to hear more? 

Whatever material is presented years later, it is important that it doesn’t just invoke a feeling of nostalgia, as this is a short-lived emotion that is not the same as genuine appreciation of the artist moving forward, and can often result in brief success before another relapse period. The artist has to reignite interest in their music career going forward, while at least honouring their roots.

Taking on some specific ‘case studies’ as it were, the hype around returning artists tends to be biggest for bands that are reuniting from a long-time split, with My Chemical Romance being a prime example of this. Their 2019 shows brought the group back together for the first time since their 2013 split, exciting the teenage emo in all of us.

Bombay Bicycle Club went above and beyond for their first album in 6 years dropping last month, followed by a flurry of shows including a sold-out gig at Newcastle’s 02 Academy. After splitting for years to pursue solo projects, there were no complaints that they rebranded and produced a plethora of great new content in the same vein of their classic tracks.

Both these groups latest actions are examples of a comeback done right, and a lot of that is down to the hugely positive fan reaction. For certain musicians, things might not have gone so smoothly.

It is genuinely difficult for artists to make a comeback after a long period of absence - they may lose old fans for one reason, or gain new ones for another. It’s a difficult minefield to navigate, and those that slip may lose some integrity, but those that succeed can triumphantly return to the forefront of the music industry, rejuvenating their discography and performances.

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