If you’re reading this, you’re probably a musician. And if you’re a musician, you probably know that the good news is, it’s easier than ever to get your music out there. The bad news is, that it’s easier than ever to get your music out there.
Basically, what we mean by that is… everybody’s online. This means that it can be hard to stand out and be noticed in the sea of noise. How do you cut through the static and make sure people are actually listening?
We’re glad you asked! While there’s no one easy answer, we’ve compiled a few tips and guidelines just for you.
Before publishing your music as an independent artist, there are a few things you should think about. These will aid in the promotion of your song(s), allowing you to reach a large audience.
Tips and Guidelines on How to Release Music as an Independent Artist
Get the music recorded professionally
While this may seem obvious, it is often overlooked by artists in the rush to get their art out into the world!
You want to make sure your music sounds its absolute best before you start handing it out to anyone who crosses your path.
If you want to go pro, hiring a producer and renting some studio time will be well worth the investment. If not, there are plenty of tools out there that can help make your home recordings sound professional enough for your purposes (including [GarageBand]!).
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It is also crucial to take your time when making music. You should study the music industry to find out how you are likely to breakthrough. This is due to the fact that it is a large industry with numerous artists currently producing music. Find a distinct way that you can present your art to music lovers so that you stand out as an independent artist.
After you have your music ready to go, it’s time to establish your online presence before the release.
Document your music-making process
As an independent artist, you probably won’t have a massive following yet. The best way you can keep your supporters’ retention is by giving them frequent updates on your music-making journey.
Documenting this can be done in form of writing journals, taking pictures, and recording videos.
What you present to your followers will entirely depend on what you are comfortable with people seeing. It is however evident that most people have an interest in the raw behind-the-scenes content because it brings them closer to the art of making music.
For instance, you can record videos throughout the process, from the time you begin looking for a recording studio to the time you hire a graphic designer to work on your cover art, and so on.
The things you document can be shared on your website, on YouTube, and on social media and there is a potential that you can monetize them.
Create a website
It doesn’t have to be fancy. You can use a template and customize it for your brand, or design one from scratch.
Your website should include information about you and your music, (although obviously, this is also going to be true of all of your social media profiles), but also any contact information that you want to share with fans or industry professionals.
Websites create the image that something is formal and professional. Here are some reasons why an independent artist needs a website:
– You can sell merchandise and collect email addresses for your mailing list, and even take donations if you choose to.
– It will come in handy to portray professionalism in what you do when you start reaching out to brands and promoters.
– It will help with google ranking when people search up your website.
– A website can help you make extra income as an independent artist through ads
– You can host any other online content you create, like music videos, lyric videos, or blog posts about the creation of your album.
And that’s only scratching the surface. It’s up to you what you choose to do with it!
Design your cover art
To effectively market your music, you will need music cover art. This is important as it is literally the first thing that pops up before someone plays your song.
Your cover art can range anywhere from your picture to a graphic illustration. Ensure that it effectively sells the message of the song.
It’s a visual representation of your music. It should be captivating, and intriguing making the listener want to hear your music. It should also be appropriate for the style of music you’re releasing.
Before the release, it is also important to create graphics for your website and social media handles to engage your supporters and make them anxious for the upcoming misc.
It might be expensive to hire a graphic designer to work on your cover art and social media handles. However, thanks to freelance platforms like Fiverr where one can connect with freelance graphic designers to work on the graphics at exceptionally affordable rates.
A strong social media presence allows independent artists to advertise their music to millions of online users. It also provides as a forum for the artist to provide regular updates to their fans on their musical journey and upcoming releases.
There are many particular things that an independent artist can do to create a massive following on social media. The most essential one is to keep your social media pages alive. Make sure you post at least once a day and keep updating your stories as much as possible.
The social media comment section is also highly crucial. It enables an artist to directly solicit feedback from his or her fans. Make an effort to respond to some, if not all, of the comments in order to engage your supporters.
After you’ve established your presence, you may utilize social media to promote your merchandise or sell advertisements to earn extra money.
In simple terms, distribution agencies are companies that sell independent artists’ music to the public. A system of contracts and payments is used to make this happen between the music agency and the streaming platforms and/or music download platforms they work with.
An independent artist must sign up with a distribution agency in order to get their music available on major streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. After signing up with an agency, you must upload your song to their platform and wait for clearance. They will then contact you with a release date for your song(s) so that you can begin promoting it on your already established social media accounts and website.
You begin getting royalties when your song is streamed on the relevant streaming services. When you promote your music properly, you can earn a lot of money from your streams. Spotify, one of the biggest streaming sites, currently pays between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream. This may appear to be a modest sum, but when thousands of people start streaming your tunes, you begin to appreciate the outcome. Your distribution agency will collect your royalties and deposit them in your account, which you can withdraw at any time.
Note that even though there are free distribution agencies, it is best for an artist to invest in an agency that charges a small fee because these agencies are always able to meet the needs of their clients. The following is a list of some of the best distribution companies in the business.
Get your music featured by blogs, magazines, TV stations, and Radio stations
There are many music bloggers that would be interested to feature your music on their blogs. This may range from music reviews to interviews.
While some bloggers may offer their services for free, some may charge a nominal fee. It is critical that you assess a blog’s performance before paying to be featured. Having your music featured on blogs allows you to reach a large audience, as many people read blogs these days.
When it comes to TV and radio, an artist should make a concerted effort to contact stations that may be unfamiliar with, or have no interest in, rising artists. Write an intriguing pitch to radio stations about your future music and release dates.
If you have the opportunity, you should promote your song on a radio or television station. This may appear to be difficult at first, but after a few releases and your music doing well, radio stations in your area will be eager to host you.
Magazines are not exactly the talk of the town right now, but getting featured goes a long way to reaching the small audience that still reads them. Every strategy that gets you a step ahead is worth it.
Reach out to brands and influencers
You don’t have to be best friends with someone to turn them into a brand partner. Brands by nature are not your friends—they’re what you need in order to get what you want. And they’re going to want something from you too: your talent, your persona, and your ability to drive sales and build hype for their products or services.
Reaching out to brands and influencers is a great way to get exposure for your music and build connections that could pay off later in terms of further opportunities or collaborations. Of course, it’s not always easy to contact these people.
You might be wondering what the point of contacting brands even is if you’re an independent musician with no brand affiliations at all. But that’s where you’re wrong!
Brands don’t necessarily want to work with someone who has 1 Million followers—they want artists who are on their way up. They want someone who is passionate about their sound and whose fans are dedicated.
Tiktok is a great way to get your music heard by millions of people. It’s also a great way to make money while doing so! You can partner with content creators and have them promote your release on their pages for a small fee. This might seem like a lot of effort, but if you want to reach millions of people, this is one of the best ways to do so!
Get your music featured on playlists
Most up-and-coming artists would kill to be featured on a Spotify playlist. The problem is that there are thousands upon thousands of playlists, and each one has its own vibe. The worst thing you can do is send your album to every single playlist you can find—because not only will they ignore you, they’ll probably block you from sending more submissions.
Instead of spray-and-praying, focus on finding three or four playlists that fit your brand and style best, and then target them specifically with the right materials.
For your song to have a high potential of being featured on a playlist, you need to consider the following
– Avoid long intros and outros. People are impatient and long intros can make them skip the song easily.
– Consider putting your hook right at the beginning of your song. This will capture the attention of the listener.
– Keep your songs precise. Let them be under four minutes.
– Watch out for explicit words in your songs. This might not necessarily hinder you from being featured on playlists, but it will limit the number of playlists.
Publishing Licensing and Copyrights
If you haven’t in any case signed away rights to your music, then all the copyrights default to you. It is important that you formally establish rights to your music so that other people do not use it without getting royalties.
Acquiring rights to your music can be done by registering your “music compositions” and “sound recordings” with the United States Copyright Office. This is quite affordable as it can be done together, in one application, for $35. The second step is registering with a Performance Rights Organization (PRO) as both a Writer and a Publisher. This again will cost you somewhere from $100 – $150. The final step is registering as an Artist with SoundExchange which is absolutely free.
Once these tasks are complete, you’ll be covered in case anyone ever records, performs, plagiarizes, or wants to pay to license your songs.
Giveaways work because they create a sense of urgency and scarcity, which leads people to make more of an effort to win something than they would if they were just given it for free.
This can be in form of merchandise like printed T-shirts, stickers, caps, and key holders.
Make sure the merchandise you give out shouts your name or really represents your brand
Plan a release event
Planning a release event can help you to promote your album and get your fans excited about it.
It can be tempting to try and book a venue in your local area, but remember that there will be costs associated with this—and, if you’re just getting started, they can be prohibitively expensive. Instead, consider having a house party or gathering at a friend’s place. If you’re comfortable with it, consider throwing it at your own home—it will be easier for you to arrange everything.
If you are on a budget, try to think of creative ways to promote your event for free.
Here are some of the platforms one can host events online;
Make your release event unforgettable by including a surprise. For example, have a surprise guest drop by.
Take time to appreciate yourself
It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of releasing music as an independent artist, but it’s important to take time to appreciate yourself. You’ve created something that’s truly yours—you own the rights to it, you can do whatever you want with it, and no one else has any say in how you present it. Take a moment and celebrate that fact!
Now that you have read through all the above information, its time to go out there and release your music to the world. Good luck!
How often should an independent artist release music?
If you want to stay relevant as an independent artist, you should release music every month. The ideal frequency of music releases will vary from artist to artist. An established artist like Janelle Monae can afford to take a year or more between albums and still retain a strong following. If you’re newer on the scene, though, you’ll need to release music consistently so your audience doesn’t forget about you and move on!
What is the best day to release music?
The best day to release new music is Friday. The Friday release is a tried-and-true practice for most artists and record labels releasing new music.
But why is Friday the best day to release music?
Research has found that Fridays are the best days to drop new albums because they result in the highest number of downloads and streams. Starting on Monday, there’s an enormous amount of new music released every week, but once you get to Thursday, that number starts to drop dramatically. And by Friday, there’s usually only a small fraction of what was released at the beginning of the week.
This means that if your album comes out on Friday, it will be competing with very little other new music for attention from listeners. So if you have a big single and you’re planning on releasing it midweek, consider waiting until Friday so it can benefit from the fact that less new music drops then.
We hope this article has given you some insight into how to release music as an independent artist. It isn’t easy, but it can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. The satisfaction (and ego-stroking) that comes from seeing your name in light is enough to keep us all motivated, and our love for music is what makes it all possible.
If pop stars and indie artists alike have taught us anything, it’s that if you’re having fun, then you’re doing it right.