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CHECKLIST/BLUEPRINT - Everything You Need to do Before Releasing your Music

Where can I register my song?

Do I need an EPK?

What should I post on social in preparation?

Which distribution method should I use?

Just some of the many questions this blueprint will answer for you.


 

Releasing new music? Lets make sure it is a release to remember! One that brings in streams, followers, recognition and so much more.


To help you, we have compiled everything you need to do for your release in a simple checklist (blueprint).

Before reviewing the checklist though, be sure to take advantage of our free perks to help with the success of your release.


FREE PERKS


Draw attention and build hype for your release by getting a feature on two of our blogs, (one is shown to all our members and the other is shown to everyone else - our social followers, our website visitors, and many more).

Give your fans an opportunity to get to know yourself better and continue to build hype before your release.

We will provide you some questions, in which you can record or type your reply and send it back to us.

It will be edited to make sure it best represents yourself, before being published to our social pages and/or website, resulting in hundreds of views within the first week and thousands over time.

At a later date and closer to your release, we would like to post a sneak preview of your music on our social pages to further help build hype before your release.

 

CHECKLIST (10 Items)


1. Register Your Work

When your song becomes a global success, there is no doubt that you will want to be compensated for your hard work. The best way to efficiently do this, is to register with a royalties collection company.

In essence, these companies will keep track of everywhere your song is played and collect royalties for you. This includes from audio, video, live performances and basically anywhere else your music appears.


There are different institutions for different countries, however most (at least the big companies), will collect your royalties when your music is played in other countries too.


Here are a list of some of royalty collection companies by country:

Canada: SOCAN, CMRRA, SODRAC

USA: ASCAP, BMI, SESAC

UK: PRS, MCPS & PPL

If your country is not listed here, send us an email with your country and we’ll get back to you with some collection companies in your country.

One important note is these companies generally have a reputation of not being the best communicators (quite slow). Therefore, if you need to directly contact them, you could be waiting quite some time for a reply.


Not to mention after the reply, it will take some time to get everything set-up, (registration and approval). Furthermore, after being approved, you will then have to register your new music. This is not to scare you, but rather to inform you and encourage you to start this process as early as you can.


For more information on royalties, check out our mentor, Michaela D. Jordan’s video tips under "Video Tips" or have a 1 on 1 video call with her. She can walk you through all your questions and help you set up with one of these companies.

 

2. Get Your Single, EP or Album Artwork

Many artists overlook the importance of artwork, however the role it plays is quite significant for many reasons. The most obvious, is that the age old saying of “judging a book by its cover” is quite prevalent in people’s minds.

Whether they listen to the song or not could ultimately come down to the album artwork, but beyond that (and on a much deeper level), the artwork provides a glimpse into what you (as the artist) want the listener to feel (specific mood, feeling or emotion).

There is no doubt that music can come across very differently to many people. To increase the chances that your song is heard with the lens you would like people to hear it in, the artwork, (despite how closely analyzed by the listener), sets the tone and the perspective, through a visual means.

In order to actually get the artwork done, you may need to hire a photographer or a graphic designer. A local photographer would be your best bet (and even one starting out who may be willing to work for free to gain experience) and as for a graphic designer, you can find many on fiverr.com (not an affiliate).

 

3. Prep Music Format

Not all platforms or distributors require the same format of your music. Be sure to identify which services you will be using to ensure you have music in that format well in advance.

For example, if you’re sending your music over the internet to a blog, .mp3 files may work better due to a generally smaller file size. If you’re looking to maintain the quality of the music however (which you should be looking to do wherever possible), than .wav files would be a good idea.

If you’re releasing your music on physical copies, you will need to prepare for reproduction for copies such as CDs or Vinyl albums.

A music converter could help with some of these issues, but if you're not sure which format you are needing, email us with your questions or connect with one of our mentors for guidance.

 

4. Distribution

Distribution is critical to the success of your music and so understanding which channels to use is of the utmost importance.

Choosing the right distribution channel(s) ultimately depends on your budget and whether you will be releasing audio only or audiovisual (audio and video - a music video for example) work.

Other things to keep in mind are whether you want to set a release date (and time) or whether you want your music to be pre-saved or pre-ordered. For example, while pre-save features are present on popular streaming services, other channels like radio stations cannot offer this.


Whatever channel(s) you end up using, it is important to take note of timelines. For example, not only how long each distributor needs to setup the release, but also how long before the release you would like to use the features that come with it.

As an example, if you decide to use a service that has the “pre-save,” option, it would be best to not release your music for at least two weeks to one month after this feature is “set-up.”

Be sure to learn about and get in contact with the distributors you will use as early as possible, so you can learn about the time frames and plan accordingly.

Not sure which distribution channels are best for you? Email us with your questions or connect with one of our mentors for guidance.

 

5. Update (or Claim) Your Artist Profile and Social Pages

Several platforms allow artists to claim what is called an “artist profile.” If you haven’t claimed this already, be sure to do so on popular music services such as Spotify, YouTube, Amazon Music and Apple Music.

If you do have an artist profile, ensuring it is up-to-date before you release your new music is important. This includes updating your bio, banner, picture, social media links, etc.

This not only makes your profile look professional and maintained, but also helps those that want to connect with you, find out where they can.

Want to get a second eye on your artist profile? Email us with your questions or connect with one of our mentors for guidance.

 

6. Update (or Create) an Electronic Press Kit (EPK)?

An EPK is ultimately a collection of everything you would like the media, event coordinators and others to know about yourself. It usually includes a collection of your music, pictures of yourself, a biography, past performances, contact information and any other relevant information about yourself (and your music).

Your EPK can be displayed on your website, a newsletter that you can send out, or through providers. They are used to generate interest about many things, but in this case, about your upcoming release.


Not only have EPKs become almost an expectation in the music industry, but they also make it much easier for bloggers to write about you, as all necessary information is easily bundled together for them (less research and less work for them).


Confused about your EPK? Email us with your questions or connect with one of our mentors for guidance.

 

7. Create a Social Media Posting Plan

It is recommended to begin promoting your music on social media at least two to four weeks before a single release and at least four weeks before an EP or album release.

In order to best promote your music during this timeframe, you should plan out your social media posts to build and maintain hype around your music.

Great ways to do this include a countdown timer on your Instagram story, weekly posts (or even a couple posts a week) sharing sneak peaks, (such a behind the scenes of recording the song or music video, a quick preview of the music and what your followers can expect from it - including whether it features another artist).

Knowing you put your heart, soul and a heck of a lot of time into your music, we want to ensure it’s a success. Therefore, here is a rough plan of which you can model your posts after.


Note: For this plan, it will assume the release of your music will be in four weeks.

4 Weeks to Release:

Let your fans know that you’ve been working on new music, but do not be too specific here. Maintaining a little bit of a mystery is not a bad thing. Ever heard the quote, “the magic is in the mystery?” It’s true.


Keep people on the edge of their seats during this week.


3 Weeks to Release:

This is where you share more information about your music and start to promote your single. Good ways to do this including sharing the artwork for it, mentioning blogs that have featured you, sharing comments from professionals or celebrities that are excited for it and so on.


Ultimately this is where the hype starts to really build.


2 Weeks to Release:

This is when you not only tell your fans that they can “pre-save” or “pre-order” but also be very personable and reachable on social media. Make video shout outs (not just text posts) and let people know how excited you are and how much you appreciate all their support.


This is when the hype continues (as now your fans can "pre-save" it).

1 Week to Release:

This is when you should be running countdowns (to remind your fans when the release is) as well as releasing previews of the song(s), behind the scenes and what fans can expect from it.


You should be very involved and engaged with your fans during this time, by replying to comments, holding live chats (such as on Instagram) and releasing daily content.

Release Day:

The day has finally come. Let the world know your music is now out.

After Release Day:

Your work is not done now. Post-release content (or follow-ups) are extremely important that several artists neglect. This will be explained in item #10 of this checklist.


Also, if you would like some personalized help on creating your plan, our mentor Hudson Moore actually provides a service where he will analyze your social pages and provide a personalized strategy for you.

 

8. Create a Pitch for Playlists & Blogs

Getting featured on blogs or playlists will result in continuous streams for yourself, however it can be quite hard to get features (especially for free).

Prominent playlists and blogs receive hundreds to thousands of emails a week from artists wanting features. Due to this, they are not able to feature all artists.


Thus, it is all about the pitch, (which is usually done via email). To distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack, you need a perfectly crafted email, which luckily we have a workshop on, which you can read.

While the workshop will go into more detail about why the layout works, it is ultimately as follows, (the following email layout is to blogs):

Hello _______,

I have an opportunity for you to share your blog with my loyal fanbase, which in the past has brought about 500 monthly readers to blogs for free.

I just read your blog post titled ‘tips to succeed as an independent artist’ and loved it, especially the tip about staying true to your style. I always thought I had to change my style, so that was refreshing to read.


Allow me to introduce myself, my name is _____ and I have been growing my fanbase and sharing my music for ten years. Throughout the journey, I’ve collaborated with amazing, hardworking and loyal musicians and music professionals.


I saw you featured artists and I think that is so amazing. I would love to inquire to see how I too can be featured?”


I actually had my song reviewed by (one of Musician Guidance’s Mentors) and they loved it (or provided such great feedback) that I am confident it will be widely successful.

Looking forward to your reply,


Instagram_________________

Spotify____________________

Phone number_____________

Website___________________


NOTE: Never lie or provide false information. The numbers and examples in the above email are just that, an example.

Confused about what to include in your email? Email us with your questions or connect with one of our mentors for guidance.

 

9. Set Your Release Date

After you have checked-off everything above, only then publicly share the release date for your music.

Even if you believe you just need one more week for something, or someone has guaranteed you it will be ready by a certain time-frame, do not share the release date publicly.


Things always take longer than expected, especially in the music industry and especially if you’re dealing with royalty collection companies.

The last thing you want is to change the release date last-minute, after already planning your marketing, setting up release dates on distribution channels, etc.

In terms of picking the actual date, "new music Friday" is usually most recommended unless your music is about a particular date (or time period/holiday). For example, if your song is called “Monday,” releasing on a Friday wouldn’t make sense.


If your song is about an event or holiday, your first instinct may be to release it on the day of the event or holiday, however that is probably not your best move. Hype can die extremely quickly and especially after the event or holiday passes.

For example, if you release a song about Christmas on Christmas Day, as soon as December 26th comes along, Christmas is in the past and therefore your song is now no longer relevant.

To combat this, releasing your song weeks (or even a month) in advance of the event or holiday can help. Not only will your song be “relevant” for longer, but also it will gain hype of its own as the holiday (or event) approaches.


Having trouble picking a release date? Email us with your questions or connect with one of our mentors for guidance.

 

10. Have a Post Release Follow-up Plan

Once your music is released, your job is not done. Instead, you should conduct follow ups.

By follow ups, we mean taking the time to thank all of your fans for streaming your music, personally reply to anyone who may have purchased a CD (if you sell them), reply to media platforms that featured you and/or your music to show how grateful you are, etc.


Also, take the time to follow up with contacts that you may have sent your EPK out to. See what they thought of your music. They may have opportunities for you, you never know and you never will know without a follow-up.

Confused about your post release follow-up plan? Email us with your questions or connect with one of our mentors for guidance.

 

Be sure to implement all these steps before releasing your music. As always, we're here for any questions you have.

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