Sales are done. If you want to sell merch at your gig, your best item is vinyl, since it can't be replicated digitally. People don't need turntables to play it, many don't play it at all. It's a SOUVENIR! From now on think of physical items as souvenirs, not as music.
We live in an on demand world. It's why cars replaced railroads and trolleys. You want to go where you want whenever you want. Anything that inhibits this process is to your detriment, not the customer's. Don't establish artificial roadblocks to sustain income, customers will just get pissed and find a way around them.
Continuity is king! (After distribution, of course, if you can't hear it it doesn't exist.) You want to be in the marketplace all 365 days a year. It doesn't always have to be new music, but it has to be something. Meanwhile, when you're on tour, playing to adoring fans, most of your fanbase is being ignored, There's publicity about opening night, and then local press, and then you're a non-story. Always think about keeping in touch with your net friends and keeping them satisfied.
It's not about an album, IT'S ABOUT A BODY OF WORK! When I hear a track I like, I go to Spotify and I see what else has the most plays. That's what I listen to next, it does not matter whether they're from the same album or not. You want to keep on adding to your body of work via singles. An album is irrelevant online. Furthermore, you blow all your publicity in one shot. An album comes out and is over in a day. Your goal is to make your career have traction, by causing fan adoption of one track, which will lead them to more.
If one track is sustaining, don't hold back from releasing another track. Disengage from the publicity paradigm. Forget about radio, think about fans. Fans want more, keep them interested.
Playlists are king. Spotify kept Taylor Swift's latest track "Call It What You Want" off Friday's new release playlists and it took days for the track to gain traction and hit the chart and still, it's middling at best, today on the way down, at #44. The point being if even Taylor Swift can get lost in the shuffle, what are the odds for you?
The streaming companies are the new gatekeepers. Play nice, or they won't play with you. Swift's window of retail only will only prevent Spotify from helping her down the line. The key is to play nice with all, once again, distribution is king, DON'T EVER FORGET THAT!
Reaction is everything. If they playlist you and people don't save your track, if listeners skip it, they're not gonna grow it to more playlists. Data is triumphant, turntable hits are history. Don't blow your shot. But if you do blow it, get right back into the game as soon as possible.
And the game is not simple. Are you aware of the Supr New Music Friday chart? You should be, it's here: http://superfri.com/chart.php, the point is there are so many of these tools, the music business has completely changed, you must have someone on your team who knows where the data is buried and how to interpret it.