Releasing new music can be an exciting endeavor. Working long and hard hours to create a new track, you understandably want to push it out to as many listeners as possible. But you really should take a step back and formulate a plan. Here are a few short tips and strategies that have helped me maximize my new releases. If you are signed to a label, this article can be used as a general guide to ensure your promo and schedule are advantageous. Those who are independent can take this information and directly formulate a release strategy to help your music reach new heights.
Finish Your Music
The first step in your new release should be to make sure that your music is up to your standards. Complete the final mixdown process, reference on different sound systems (car, home stereo, cell phone headphones, etc.), and get it mastered. These steps all matter in the finished product so do not skip this.
Give Your Release Some Time
You can move on to the next step of scheduling the release date. You should give yourself at least 3 weeks to 1 month at minimum to release the track. In case there are issues with your distributor or other factors, you then have plenty of cushion to properly deal with those issues as they appear. You also want to have enough time to promote your release. If you are independent, decide on what services it will be available on and pick a date. If you are releasing on a label you can always request a later date if their current date is too soon for your liking.
Make Sure Your Music is Properly Registered
This is a VERY important step that should not be missed. Your music can make you several different types of royalties besides streaming revenue. But you will only get this potential money if your track is registered with the correct organizations and collection societies. If you are US based, you should make sure at the very least that you are signed up with a Performing Rights Organization, or PRO, as a songwriter and register your songs. Signing up with Soundexchange and registering your songs can also help you collect your rights owner and featured artist portions of the sound recording royalty. You can take things further and register your tracks with several radio airplay and chart tracking services such as Nielsen Soundscan. This is one of the only ways to get your tracks on the charts as an independent artist. If you don’t tell them to watch for your potential sales and streams, you will miss out if your track sells well or goes viral.
If you do not want to deal with this step, you could find a publishing company to administer your catalog and handle all the registration for you. There are different types of publishing deals and you should figure out what works best for you. It’s also important to have a lawyer look over any potential contracts before you sign.
Develop Your Marketing Assets
This is a step that many producers neglect. It is rumored that over 40,000 songs are released on Spotify and 20,000 songs are released on Beatport daily. You will need some type of visual identity to help your tracks cut through the clutter of today’s releases. Anything from unique album artwork to an entertaining video will garner buzz and help people latch onto your music.
Video is almost a necessity in some form or fashion in today’s landscape. It is also wise to begin developing an email list (which I may cover in another article in the future). This way you have direct access to your core fans without having to deal with social media algorithms. It can also be advantageous to do a bit of research into social media advertising. For example, running a well constructed video views campaign on Facebook with your new video can help drum up early support and find you new fans.
Do Your Research
Researching press contacts, blogs, playlist curators, and DJs can be a full time job on its own. But it is vital to getting your upcoming release in the right hands and ears to get some effective word of mouth. Spreadsheets are your friend here. Figure out what DJs and blogs are supporting tracks that sound similar to your new release and make sure you send them a promotional copy. See if you can get an interview or premier feature done on your release by a blog in your genre. Even reach out to your local press or paper in your area. Any publicity can help bring new eyes and ears to your release.
You Need a Plan to Succeed
Having a strategy and plan can really make the difference in pushing your release to a new level of success. If you set yourself up for success and prepare, you can create clear paths to accomplishing your musical career goals. Every release and track is important as it will build and grow your musical skill and fanbase. If you have any tips or strategies you use, please share them with us in the comments below.