Written by Kristian Floate
So, you’ve dedicated an extensive amount of time towards mastering your craft in a local rehearsal room, taking these skills to a recording studio to combine each element into a final mix, all while you’ve built an audience across your social media platforms… That’s a lot of work! You may be questioning whether the time, money and energy you’ve injected into these tracks is worth it, especially with the uncertainty of not knowing how your audience will react - will they take the track(s) and add it to their playlists, share it onwards and book tickets to your next show? Or on the flip side, will they drift away from the love they once had for an artist if the new release doesn’t live up to their expectations? The entire process is full of different risks, but getting each stage ‘right’ can ensure that your work is received in the best possible way by fans, promotors, labels and potential collaborators. I’ve highlighted ‘right’ as it’s easy to get carried away and follow formulas here - but the ‘right’ way of doing things is dependent on the type of audience you’re targeting, and what you’ve released previously, which impacts your next move to ensure continuity and show that you’re still the same artist that everybody already knows and loves!
You’re sitting with mp3 files, ready to forward to a distributor of your choosing - but in a world where platforms like DistroKid, Ditto and Tunecore exist, each with different features on offer, it's easy to get overwhelmed. Now, I’m no expert, but picking the correct distributor and making the right decisions about what to do with your music before you’ve even uploaded the tracks is vital to a successful album/single release - so let’s begin to unpack some key parts of the ‘releasing’ stage…
Picking the right platforms
Distributors such as DistroKid can get your music on a large number of platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Deezer and Tidal - saving the time-consuming process of signing up for these platforms individually, and spreading your track to new terrains. It’s worth considering that Distrokid charges $19.99 per year for an unlimited number of releases, but there are additional hidden costs if you want to ensure the tracks remain online if you decide to change distributor or cease paying the annual fee. This is the ‘leave a legacy’ package, and you can expect to pay an additional $49 for this! Also, if you want greater freedom to select your release date, edit the ‘record label’ tag associated with your music or make greater adjustments beyond the standard DistroKid account - you may be surprised to see even more price tags for this. This distributor is one of the most efficient if you’re looking for an easy music release, but you may find more appropriate alternatives with a little bit more research. Spotify’s trusted provider list is a great place to start!
If you’re only releasing a demo, or don’t feel like your audience is large enough to warrant paying such large fees to release your music - you may wish to opt for free music distribution while you continue to grow your fanbase and record your final mastered track. Well-known platforms such as Soundcloud are great for this, and if you’re targeting a concentrated audience, it’s likely they’ll still check out your release even if it isn’t on mainstream platforms as mentioned previously - plus it’s FREE for them to use, so maybe a preferred option.
Now, while Bandcamp is claimed to be a platform no longer used by the majority, it’s still a worthwhile platform to engage your most loyal fans and introduce them to exclusive content - set up a FREE account and upload your tracks, direct your fans to the page and watch followers grow! Even better, some fans understand that Bandcamp is one of the fairest ways to monetise your music, with all profits going directly to your PayPal account, so don’t dismiss this platform as it’s definitely worthwhile to set up!
Building success and hype
You want to generate excitement for your new music, right? So before your music is live, why not pull together your own social media campaign to tease fans and build excitement for your next release? Local band ‘Snake Eyes’ did exactly that with their release ‘40 Winks’, this teaser started conversations and turned some heads - guaranteeing that people were ready to hit play as soon as possible! Check it out here
Once your track is pending on your chosen distribution platform, you can encourage fans to pre-save the track(s), giving you a great vantage point to see how your release will perform when it’s live.
Doing more than just ‘uploading’
When you have selected your platform, make sure you have access to Spotify for Artists and Apple Music for Artists - giving insider information that can help you understand how people are reacting to your releases in real time. You can even see the specific playlists that your track appears on! Setting this up is just one of many additional things you can do to boost the success of your track and push it to new heights…
Pitching your track to mainstream radio stations and press releases is a long process, but warrants a huge reward if your contacts are successful! Uploading your tracks to the obvious outlet ‘BBC Introducing’ is simple - Upload Your Music Here. Create an account, attach your music and give as much information as you can to help your track stand out from the thousands of tracks they receive daily. On a more localized level, contacting local journalists via email can help spread the word and help you collect some positive feedback too! A personal pick is Brighton and Hove News - who are actively involved with reporting on the local music scene and would love to hear from you!
Before your track is released, REMEMBER to pitch to playlist curators! This gives them enough time to listen, contact you and process your track, helping you secure your place on some of Spotify’s largest playlists. Local legends Snayx have featured on here - with over 400,000 followers to digest one of their tracks.
To go above and beyond, you could even look into piecing a Press release and bio together, to save journalists, writers and local reporters having to constantly chase you for information - this saves you time, and ensures that the information they have is consistent and as you’d like it!
Right, so that’s a lot to take in - but it’s vital to consider how you’ll approach the releasing process to ensure YOU and your fans can get the most out of the music. Make sure to check out our previous pieces in the ‘Do it the DIY way’ series, on the ‘making’ stage and the daunting world of social media!