BEFORE YOU RELEASE MUSIC
There are many ways to ‘release’ music; I am going to assume it's via a distributor to Streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music for the purposes of this blog.
BEFORE BEFORE YOU RELEASE MUSIC!
I’ve seen this advice in many places; before you make your first important release of music to the world, release a track ahead of that to get all your accounts and profiles established. If there are any issues then they all get ironed out on this 'less' important release.
Remember you should be registering your music with your PRO Performing Rights Organisation - in the UK that is most likely to be PRS for Music. You will also need to select a music distributor - lots of choice for this option - from one time fees and your track remains on streaming platforms forever, or annual charges - cheaper, but if you are intending on keeping your music out there for longer maybe not the most economical option longterm.
Another reason to get a track out ahead of time is that next time you will probably have the opportunity to be considered for Spotify’s curated playlists and pre-save opportunities. You need that available for your important release.
The other great thing to be doing at this time is to start building an email list. Followers on social media is one thing, but you have no real control over how your social media is distributed or who it reaches. A email allows you to communicate directly to fans who want to know what you are up to. It doesn’t matter if that is only a small list, it takes you immediately into their inboxes, and most mailing tools allow you to see how many people opened the mail, and how many people clicked on any links you included.
Alongside your fan email list start building a list of potential places and people that might like your music; radio stations, reviewers, influencers. Talk about your musical journey on social media, let people into the story, your creativity. Give them the opportunity to come along on the journey with you.
AHEAD OF FIRST PROPER RELEASE
Obviously you need to upload your perfect track to your distributor. Get that done as early as a month before release date if you can. This gives them time to create Pre-save / Pre-Order links for you.
Picking a release date
Friday is traditionally the day of release as the official weekly charts are calculated from a Friday to a Thursday - so releasing on a Friday gives the maximum time period to catch the most downloads and streams. That said, you can release any day of the week you like, and you might do that to coincide with a special day if that is significant to you or the song.
Another important factor to releasing on a Friday is that it is more likely to get picked up on Spotify’s algorithmic playlist curated for each individual listener - Release Radar. Songs featured on this special playlist will generally get more attention.
Pre-order on iTUNES / Apple Music means that when the song is released, all those who pre-ordered immediately get it in their library, so it's like all those people buying it at once. This could have a noticeable effect on its iTUNES chart position - Remember though, that in 2020 only 7% of sales comes from downloads, so it’s not the whole story. Today I learned there is actually a chart for Pre-ordered songs. I guess that acts like a prediction of where it will land on release day!
Pre-saving on streaming platforms like Spotify - this again puts it immediately into the pre-savers library of songs, usually onto one of their chosen playlists. The most important playlist every listener has is Release Radar curated for THEM specifically. Having people follow your Spotify page really helps get your new songs added to this personalised playlist. If it’s on this list, then it’s more likely to get played. Every day 40,000 new songs are uploaded onto Spotify. It’s easy to understand why people don’t get the attention they might expect from their new release.
EPK - Electronic Press Kit
This is essential for every new release. It will include artwork, the story behind the song, who wrote it, your bio and successes to date. And of course an MP3 version of your song.
This is what you will send to potential reviewers, magazines, radio stations etc ahead of release day.
Build a Buzz
Up to release day you can start posting things like snippets of the song, images from the artwork. Use things like Instagram stories with the countdown sticker set to release day. Use Facebook stories, use Twitter and other platforms to talk about what’s coming. Try to bring your audience along with you on the journey of the song, maybe how you came up with the idea, and the story behind it. Making them feel part of the story gets them invested and eager to hear it when it’s out.
Make the pre-saves available much nearer the release day, once you’ve already got your audience engaged in the journey to release day. Maybe even offer them something in return for a pre-save (e.g. competition to win merchandise) and sharing that on their own social media. Use your mailing list to directly contact your most loyal fans
Today I help singers and songwriters explore their own potential. I encourage them to see new ways to view their creative ideas, working alongside to transform them into fully finished songs they are proud of.
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