Release Schedule & Dates
Something you may wish to do right at the very beginning of your process, is set a release date. This may provide you with the motivation to get tracks done, and to push forward with promotion and suchlike, but there are a few thing to bear in mind.
If you intend to use a PR company, they prefer to have at least 4 weeks to work their magic, and more often work better with 6 weeks or more to run a promotional campaign. You may also want at least a month to do your own promo and chase up any contacts about coverage.
If you are pressing physical items, this will be your big time-consumer, since vinyl pressing can take up to three or four months and will almost certainly take at least 8-10 weeks.
Luckily, digital has no manufacturing time, however if you are using a distribution company, they may require a 4-week lead time, in order to be able to set up the release on all relevant stores in time, and if you use a self-managed option, you may want to allow a week or so, for the site to propagate to stores .
So, with mastering and artwork times, times for promotion and time for distribution, often you should give yourself at least 6 weeks to release your music but generally aim for 8-12 weeks .
Id like you to think now about which processes and systems you want to have in place for each release, and what youll need to do at each stage of the process.
Seven Effective Strategies To Get Your Music Noticed
Dont start there. Publications and media that cater solely to music are probably the hardest place to get your music noticed.
The competition for attention in music publications, music blogs, and promotional sites is overwhelming. For instance, National Public Radios All Songs Considered receives hundreds of CDs submitted every week. Out of those, only eight get featured. And those are sandwiched in between other songs, and played just once. The same is true with music reviews. Although they are good for getting quotes for your press kit, it probably wont get you many new fans, since its a music review in a pile of music reviews.
Instead of focusing on music publications and media, think in terms of audiences. Put your music where it will stand out from the crowd. As an example, consider one of the biggest sellers in the early days of CD Baby: an album about sailing. Instead of following the crowd and sending the album to a music magazine, the band instead cleverly sent their album to a sailing magazine.
But piggybacking on other bands or cover songs isnt the only thing that you can piggyback on. You can piggyback on anything that already has an audience.
Know Your Audience & Focus On Your Niche
Where and to whom you market your music can make all the difference. Thriving music subcultures exist in all corners of the world, some huge and sprawling, some small and dedicated. Finding, knowing and exploiting your musical niche is key to your promotional campaign.
It might sound obvious but if youâre a metal band, play metal venues, join a metal community and win metal fans. If youâre a rapper, find rap venues, join rap communities and win rap fans. And so on.
But niches arenât always defined by genre. If your music has more widespread appeal, start locally. People generally want to see an artist from their area succeed. Take advantage of this mentality and grow your fanbase close to home to before expanding nationally or even globally.
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How Can I Get My Music On Spotify
Youll need to distribute your music with a music distributor like DistroKid to get your music on Spotify and other streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Amazon, Tik-Tok, Instagram, and many more.
My mission is to help my readers become financially successful every day so be sure to check out my posts on how you can earn more money to reach a freedom like no other.
Some of my readers know when Im not working on my business ventures I enjoy writing music. I particularly compose indie rock music. You can check it out here.
Will My Songs Be Available To Stream At The Same Time
Your songs wont be published at the same time on all platforms but this is great because you can share your tracks whenever theyre available on Tidal and Amazon before its out on Spotify and the rest.
This allows you to let your audience know your song is available to them no matter what their streaming preference is.
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Benefits Of Using A Streaming Service For Music Distribution
First off, theres no physical inventory to manage. That means no costs to make that inventory in the first place.
Second off, theres no cost for the actual delivery itself. Sure, there may be some costs involved with streaming service accounts that have better feature sets, but those are minimal when you consider the logistics of actually shipping a package.
Third off, these services are essentially cloud based. That means the files are stored on their servers, and they handle all of the traffic bandwidth. For a new artist with relatively little exposure when first starting out, that may not seem like that big of a deal. If you are a more established act, then having those mechanics being managed for you is a huge deal.
Fourth off, you can simply not ever worry about having to deal with a record company. Ever. Many artists have moved towards completely independent distribution, some with amazing results and benefits that they may not have ever realized if they were under contract.
That means, ultimately, more $$$ in the pockets of the artists themselvesand thats kind of the whole point to begin with, right?
How To Promote Music In 2021
It should go without saying, but first and foremost, making great music needs to be your primary focus. You can follow all this advice to the letter, but if your track, EP or album isnât well-written, tight instrumentally and professionally produced, youâll fall at the first hurdle.
Now thatâs out of the way, letâs look at the best ways to promote your music independently in the modern music landscape.
You can watch our Unsigned Advice video or read on to learn more!
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Youtube Is The Biggest Streaming Service
While its true that MTV sure isnt what it used to be , youll find a modern day equivalent in YouTube.
YouTube is a great repository for any videos that you may wish to produce, be it a performance, a concept-based video, or even if you just want to have video messages for your fan base.
Creating a channel gets everything located in one place in the YouTube space, and you could target any other promotional materials to include the channel link as well.
Here is a great video on setting up a professional YouTube channel especially focused on music, check it out:
How To Release Music On Itunes
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Independent musical artists can often find it difficult to produce and release their music, primarily due to financial and networking constraints. Fortunately, the rise of the Internet and digital music distribution has made the process simpler, cheaper, and more accessible. It has even become relatively easy to release music through channels that consumers are most familiar with, such as the iTunes store. Even as a small-time independent artist, you can release music on iTunes by taking the time to follow a few necessary steps.
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Spotify For Artists Beta Closed
Yup, thats right. Spotify for Artists launched a beta program that allowed creators to upload music directly to the platform. Without any intermediaries like record labels or distributors. The beta was closed in 2019 though, but Spotify for Artists is still going strong. This means you will need a distributor or sign a contract with a record label that gives indie musicians a chance. Either way, your music is getting out there.
Approach Media Outlets With Your Music
Once you have great music, a strong web presence and a proper press kit, its time to start getting the word out there!
Research blogs, newspapers and other media outlets in your niche. Then, once you know a little bit about them, write them a personal message on why you think theyd be interested in covering you.
Including a press release is also a great way to increase interest in your music.;
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Get Your Music On Streaming Platforms
If you want people to easily find your music once its promoted, you need to make it easily accessible. In todays day and age, that means getting it onto streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and .
The secret to getting your music on these platforms is by using whats known as a digital distributor. Two of the most popular digital distributors are DistroKid and CD Baby, each with their own pros and cons.
However, there are plenty of other distributors out there as well. Check out our guide on the 8 Best Digital Distributors of 2020 to find out which one is right for you!
Word Of Mouth Is Important
As much as you may try to directly promote your music, some of the most powerful ways to gain fans are avenues that you have little control over.
Although slow at first, as your fan base grows, youll have more and more people discovering your music simply because someone they know suggested it. People who find you in this way will be extremely invested, as they learned about you from someone they trust.
You may think theres not much point in worrying about this area of promotion, since you have such little control over it. However, there are some things you can do to ensure effective word of mouth promotion and it all comes back to the first two tips in this article.
If you start with a well-written song and high-quality recording, your fans will want to share it and when they do, those who find you will be more likely to start following you as well.
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How Much Does It Cost To Distribute My Music With Distrokid
DistroKid only costs $19.99 per year to upload unlimited music on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music, Deezer, iHeartRadio, Tidal, and more!
They are offering our readers7% off when you sign up using the linkhere.
Who are DistroKids competitors and how do they compare?
Competitors include TuneCore which charges $9.99 per song and $29.99 per album. Theres also CD Baby, which charges $9.95 per song and $29.00 per album.
If you have a catalog of music this can become pretty expensive even if youre only uploading a few songs. The best value is being able to upload unlimited tracks year round whenever you want.
In the end, DistroKid has the best bang for your buck.
How To Release Your First Song
The general public is fascinated with how independent artists get their music on the biggest streaming platforms. Let’s face it; we love hits and singles as a society.
Are you looking to release your first single?
The idea of “getting your music out there” may feel a bit daunting, but releasing your first song can be simpler than you think.
Once you have your song recorded, the rest can come pretty quickly through the final stages of mixing and mastering, creating the artwork, sending the song to a distributor, and submitting to playlists.
Let’s discuss each step in detail!
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Can I Submit To Spotify Curators
Yes. When you upload a song to DistroKid, youll be able to pitch your tracks to Spotify curators.
If approved, your songs can get playlisted on massive playlists which can draw serious traffic to your artist page.
Being playlisted on a curated playlist from Spotify can provide you with some serious passive income.
You Should Also Weigh The Pros And Cons Of Releasing Standalone Songs
As artists, were dealing in attention economics. Gone are the days when you could disappear for three years to make your next album and expect fans to stay loyal. In our world of short attention spans, releasing music more frequently can play a significant factor in your success.
Platforms like Spotify and YouTube even reward artists who put out songs and videos on a regular basis. Obviously you cant bang out a full album every two or three months, so instead: singles!
The upsides of releasing a digital single:
- It costs less to produce one song
- You can release music more frequently, which drives algorithmic streaming activity
- You dont have to manufacture CDs or vinyl
- Modern listeners often favor singles/playlists
- Concentrating on one song at a time helps you focus your marketing, video production, etc., so you have the opportunity to turn each single into an event
- Its a moment to reconnect with or grow your audience
- Its a low-risk chance to experiment with promotion strategies and learn what works
- And best of all, putting out singles is fun
But theres still more PR power in releasing albums. So singles do have their drawbacks.
The downsides of releasing a digital single:
So lets dig into the best-practices for releasing singles. Im not sure if they all count as strategies, but theyre certainly all important considerations.
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Are Your Isrcs Sorted Out
ISRCs are International Standard Recording Codes. Each code is 12 digits long and identifies things like country of release, and the year the ISRC was issued. Theyre used to identify every unique recording in existence.
When a recording is distributed, most times an ISRC is created for that recording. Digital music distribution services will create ISRCs for you when you build your release.
The same recording shouldnt have 2 ISRC codes just because it was distributed in 2 different ways. If your music already has ISRC codes from a prior release, then the same ISRC code should be on it for all subsequent releases.
This could;happen if;you had a release distributed through a label and your contract expired so youre releasing the same recordings on your own, or maybe you are switching digital music distribution services and you have to transfer your info. Either way, the same ISRC code will apply that you were given the first time around.
ISRCs identify your music as yours, so theyre important. Make sure you get all your ISRC info in order from the start and keep detailed records of all your ISRCs for the future.
Distrokid Makes It Easy To Upload Music
DistroKid makes it super easy to upload your song to all major platforms. You also have an option to set your release date, allow people to preorder, and even set your own record label name.
You may upload several songs at the same time to release an album or one at a time for singles. DistroKid will send you an email once your songs are available in each store so you can share the links on your social media platforms.
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Build A Promoter Contact List
The first thing you need to do is build a contact list with every blog, YouTube channel,Spotify playlist, and Soundcloud network you can find . Youâll want to make sure your list includes the networks’ name, contact email, as well as the name of whoever the person it is youâre submitting music too.
So you sent your song to 3 networks and they all said ânoâ? Well, I just sent my track to 500 networks and 490 of them said ânoâ, but waitâ¦ that means 10 of them said âyesâ! If you arenât promoting your music harder than everyone else you know, someone is going to simply outwork you. The upside to this is that you can also outwork the next person in line; no skill required.
The majority of people make music because itâs fun, but stop when real work is involved. Take advantage of this and exploit it; the music business is cutthroat and the sharks are the ones that survive. The scale of your marketing campaign matters and the victories are a fraction of what you would expect. Plan big and expect moderate results. Plan bigger and expect moderately bigger results.
What Is A Cover Song
A cover is different to medley, remixes, and derivative versions of songs, and covering a song is also different to the process of sampling. A song is considered to be a cover if you have not made any significant changes to the melody or character of the original song, and you have used the same lyrics.
Anything that makes significant changes to the original song would be considered a derivative version, rather than a cover. You can learn more about releasing remixes and sampling here.
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