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Strategies for Release

Updated: Oct 31

There are a number of things you can do to release your next single or album than just throwing it up on Soundcloud Or Bandcamp . There is also lots more to it than distribution your single worldwide VIA an aggregator

You need to first consider the strategy behind the release of your single.

Let’s dig into the best-practices for a release. I’m not sure if they all count as “strategies,” however, they are definitely all important things to consider..

Market Analysis:
  • How are you going to get listeners, push streams and downloads.

  • How is this release going to drive engagement with your audience.

  • How does a single release shape your story as an artist.

  • How you position the release for streaming tools and algorithmic traction.


Use tools like Fluence , Submit Hub, Reverbnation and Tunecore's Fan Review to guage your track's impact and get feedback on Composition, Production, Arrangement, Performance and Hit Potential.

Conduct an anonymous survey from your trusted community and have them rate your tracks and rank their favourites

Extensive Research is an invaluable tool that will help you greatly prior to your release

Distribution:

Get your music on major streaming platforms worldwide (Apple-YT Music-Spotify) using a distribution service

  • Very detailed revenue and analytics reports

  • Admin publishing to track down your royalties

  • Zero commission, you keep all the revenue

  • Daily trending reports

  • Zero commission, you keep all the revenue

  • Trending reports

  • Add lyrics to Apple Music

  • Cloud backup for your song in case you need them

  • Zero yearly fees. You pay upfront, your music is up forever come what may

  • Admin publishing service for royalties

  • Licensing opportunities for selected artists

Photo Shoot:

Who should you get to take your picture

Getting awesome picture to represent you as an artist is important, half a decent photo could work when you are starting out, however as you progress you would want to hire a professional.


Network Build a network of photographers in your local music scene, always be on the lookout to enhance and improve your image. Make sure your photographer listens to your music, if you are going into a new direction, then photos need to be indicative of that.

First impressions last First impressions are important and listeners will check out your photos and artwork before pressing Play, so make sure the vibe and energy is right.

Build a new bio:

An effective artist biography is necessary information to have as part of the artist's presentation to listeners and interested parties of their music. It is the single most important thing after the music obvs. Step | 1 : Straight to the point :

Basic info and stick to your highlight reel, most important items on your bio that make an interesting read are :

  • Where you are currently based.

  • Your instrument and any special techniques 

  • Inspiration and what you're passionate about

  • Your biggest achievements to date

Step | 2 : You Voice :

Most Bios are written in 3rd person, it should read as if someone else is writing about you, passionate about what you do, honest and authentic. More importantly, be proud of what you do and let the passion for it show in the Bio. Step | 3 : How Long : It is not uncommon to have multiple versions, each one will emphasize different achievements relative to where your bio is being read. Keep in mind many outlets will copy and paste your bio for their needs and don't for get to add pronunciation of the name in your Bio. Step | 4 : Give audience what they want : Make sure you answer the number one question people ask about your work!, process to inspiration which is the right starting point to engage with your listeners and help them connect with you. An easy way to start is by recording voice memos about why you started doing what you're doing and what keeps you inspired and then later on writing down the highlights. Step | 5 : Trim & Proof Read : Once you have the different version ready to go, send it over to a trusted friend who is highly literate to check on tone and grammar and make sure it's professional and approachable.

ASSETS:

Step 1 Define which assets to be used

  • Lyrics text docs

  • wav/aiff of songs/instrumentals

  • Album cover graphics

  • Stems

  • Promo Photos

  • Merch design

  • Press release

  • Album credits

  • Bios

  • Videos

  • Behind the scene videos and

  • Text of login info for any service you use frequently

Step 2

  • Have a sensible structure This really pays off when you work on a new release or re-visiting of a previous one

  • Try to keep our file system as narrow as possible; this means keeping the levels of hierarchy as low as we can, usually only a few levels deep

Step 3

  • I can not stress this one enough.

  • Backup frequently. Backup your backups. Keep backups separate, preferably offsite.

  • Don't rely just on cloud services; you don't control them and they can also break.

  • Make sure you can actually access the data on your backups.

Rebrand:

Considering you are planning a new release, then it might be a good idea to rebrand. It is also a good idea to rebrand your website every year or two. There are plenty of service that can help you do this that require no code knowledge, you would find templates that you can customise to your liking (Square space and Wix are common for artists).

Once you have your photo shoot, album graphics and bio ready, then it's time to use those to rebrand your socials

As you are bringing new music to the world with the right branding surrounding it

Licensing:

You might be interested to get your music in TV shows, ads, films, video games. Get a licensing company, sites like Music Business Registry have an invaluable info on nearly every publisher and licensing company. When your music is reproduced as part of the soundtrack of a film, TV program or similar media, the reproduction is called a synchronisation..  Depending if you are independant or with a label - For different uses, different kinds of licenses will be necessary. Also depending on the type of use, a license may be needed from the music publisher, the record label, or both. One of the challenges in the licensing system today is the identification of works. Collecting societies rely on metadata to identify works, so make sure you add all the releavant info needed before release.

Mailing list:

Get a mailing list, it the way you can let fans know about upcoming shows, albums releases, deals on band merch, band interviews, music videos, and more.

Email offers direct access to your audience, which isn't always the case when it comes to social media.  Once you have your list, you decide what you do with it.

You will need a way to manage and keep track of all those addresses and also a way to send emails in bulk.

Use an email marketing platform to do this.There are a ton of email marketing platforms out there and they’re all designed to help you to collect and manage email addresses. They will also allow you to send out emails to all of your contacts at once. MailChimp, FanBridge, iContact, Constant Contact, Benchmark and SendinBlue are some of best and most widely used email list services.

Merch:

Whether you are touring at the moment, your merch are a big part of your bottom line as an artist.  A new album or tour demands new merch. Get creative with your merch offerings. Depending on your fan base, merch can get really complex, if you are starting out whether you are a solo artist or a band merch often is as simple as it sounds.  Someone sets up a merch table at the venue and collects money from fans that shell out for the goods and pretty much the same concept applies on your website/FB using a shopping cart. Once you reach grows, you may hire a dedicated merch person to handle all of the setup, selling and accounting of merch. Merch extends your influence, a fan wearing a t-shirt promoting you is essentialy a walking advertisement for your music.  You can spend as much or as little as you like on merch, it comes down to the quality and creativity of what you’re selling. Smart URL: One of the best link-tracking services out right now is smart URLs, those will let you know how many people clicked your link, yet will also give you much more detailed analytics, like location, device used, referring domains and other. SmartURL are designed to help simplify the process of marketing online. Our goal is not just to make shorter URLs, but to create a platform that enables smarter marketing. By using this smart dynamic link routing, you can make sure that you’re attracting the right people to your website and provide them with a truly personalised user experience. Use SmartURLs to create "Pivot links" for landing pages where your fans can pick their preferred stream platform. PROs


Performance rights organizations, or PROs, collect fees from broadcasters and music venues, and then distribute those fees to writers and publishers. Once these distributions are calculated, they are distributed 50/50 to the writer and publisher of a work.  In the U.S, the 4 PROs are ASCAP, BMI, SESACand GMR. In Canada the sole PRO is SOCA. You may also want to register your single with Nielsen BDS  to track your spins. You might also want to register with Sound Exchange so you can get paid for Pandora and SiriusXM (and all other digital radio) playsi n the US and PPL in the UK. ALL MUSIC/DISCOGS: AllMusic and Discogs databases that provides comprehensive music info including reviews and biographies. Get recommendations for new music to listen to, stream or own. Both databses are quite comprehensive, your music should be registered on AllMusic.com and Discogs so people can find out who played what instrument on track 3,4 and 5 and who cowrote track 7, 8 and 9 , because most people won’t ever see your physical notes. You can check out how to submit to Allmusic by clicking here, you can also submit directly to Discogs It's completely free to submit your music to Allmusic, but they do have an editorial policy that all content must be written by their staff. However, they do encourage creators to send in biographies as this can help their writers with collecting information. Once you have submitted the information and they have received your music it will take about 4-6 weeks for it to appear on their website. blogs: Music blogs are an important part of the promotion process,  Hype Machine list most of top music blogs. Start by searching surrent similar artists to what you do and try to see how often they are written about. Make a list of those blogs with contact information and submission guidelines. Most blogs specifically list how to submit music. Make sure you follow their guidelines. You can also submit to blogs on Submit Hub and Fluence and lastly, make sure you know the site you're submitting music to. Sending a rap blog your new tech-house track is never a good move. Playlists:

The rumor has it has it that listeners often favour singles/playlists, the industry seems to be focused on playlists these days, and that’s fine; playlists can generate a ton of streaming activity. Keep in mind that not all playlist activity leads to real fan engagement though, do not game a popular playlist, I would still advise youmake the music YOU WANT to make. Keep the trends in mind :

  • No long intros and outros

  • Keep your songs under 4 minutes

  • Watch the expletives

  • Consider putting your hook right at the beginning

Make a comprehensive list of user generated playlists that your music would fit in, do your research and reach out to the curator and contact them when your track is released and ask to be included Videos:

Not every music video needs to be a fully produced music video.  TikTok, IG Stories, IGTV, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat, and other platforms are hugely popular and are a great way to engage with fans, you don’t have to make all your videos the length of the whole track. Every song you release should have an accompanying video on YouTube. There are a number of inexpensive apps out there that can easily create lyric video, make sure your videos fits the vibe and the music you make. Think how your music can inspire listeners to make videos of their own, think TikTok challenges, dance contests, caption contests...etc. Think of bunch of DIFFERENT video content for a 15 seconds part of your hook, reenforcing it and encourage engagement. Cloud storage: Producers, directors and music supervisrors need a quick and easy way to listen or download your music.  Some of which prefer Box.com or Dropbox.com where they can stream your song in the browser or download it if they want. The most efficient way to do this is to upload all your releases on one of those services, hit share and save the generated links in a text doc and put it in your assets folders. Google offers other services which includes other useful services like Docs, Sheets, Forms which are helpful cloud based apps can be shared with your team. Soundcloud:

Not only it is an active community like YT,t is the easiest way to send someone a streamable song. You can also put a SoundCloud playlist on your website and embed players around the Web. It also allows your fans simple, quick access to their favorite tracks, so they don't have to look up your page every time to hear your songs One of SoundCloud's great features is that it offers you the ability to comment on songs including leaving comments at specific times. Publishing:

Register your your music in all the appropriate places and sign up with an admin publishing company SongTrust, Tunecore publishing offer this service.  As a ‘publishing administrator’, they administer the copyright – protecting the use of songs as well as collecting royalties owed from use. The role of a publishing administrator is just that: ensure that compositions are earning royalties owed to them, being collected, and accounted for – then, ensuring that the songwriter is paid accordingly. This process is known in the music industry as “publishing administration Copyright:

Copyright of a musical work begins automatically once a piece of music is created and documented or recorded. As the owner of your work's copyright, you have the sole authority to:

  • Copy the music

  • Issue, lend or rent copies to the public

  • Perform, show or play the music in public

  • Communicate the music to the public (i.e. broadcasting it via TV, radio, internet etc.)

Whether you are in the U.S or in another region, make sure you register your songs and make sure the filing is correct, you can also hire a copyright lawyer to do this for you. Press: 

Press releases is an important part in any artist's communication strategy. Common uses for press releases include album launches, new gigs, label signings, or upcoming tours. Keep in mind that a press release is made to publicize something that is noteworthy, and while there is a grey area to that definition, it's still smart to use them sparingly Press releases are different from your Bio and doesn’t need to be posted anywhere online, just to any media outlets and remember DON’T SEND ATTACHMENTS Bonus tips: The number 1 independent music outlet is Band-camp and is completely self managed. You don't need any distribtuion service to get on Band-camp, it also offers subscriptions and a merch store. Think of forming an entity (LLP or similar) which will offer you legal protection Having a corp won't stop you from getting sued. But if you do get sued and have to pay someone, your personal property will be protected. Make sure you register your trademark and logo


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