You’ve recorded your music, gotten your masters, chosen your album artwork and you’re ready to release your music.
There’s a lot to think about to ensure you’re reaching the most possible people – But no worries, we've got your back with this ultimate music release checklist!
Here’s your step-by-step guide to making the most of your release:
1. Determine release date
Choosing the right release date is crucial for the success of your music. Don't worry, finding the perfect date is an exciting part of the process! When selecting a release date, consider important holidays and events that may affect the visibility of your music.
Additionally, check out the upcoming releases in your genre and find a date that doesn't coincide with another popular artist. And remember to give yourself enough time to promote your music effectively before the release date. With a well-timed release, you can generate buzz and increase visibility, setting yourself up for a successful release!
2. Choose distribution platform for streaming services
There are a lot of options out there for distributing your music to streaming services, like DistroKid, TuneCore, and CD Baby. Research the different features and pricing plans to find the one that works best for you.
3. Setup your direct-to-consumer store
While streaming has obviously stepped up as the primary way people consume music, there are still lots of folks that buy digital downloads – especially super fans that want to support you. Ensure you’re capturing that revenue by setting up a store to directly sell your music.
We’re biased because they’re our partner, but we suggest using Shopify. It’s the leading e-commerce platform, gives you full access to data about your customers, and offers fully customizable websites. With the Single app plugged in, you can even bundle your release with other merch or set your music sales to report directly to the charts.
Register with a performing rights organization
It's important to make sure that you're properly credited and compensated for your hard work. By joining a PRO like ASCAP or BMI, you can collect royalties for your music and ensure that you're credited as the rightful owner of your work. PROs also have partnerships with music users like streaming services, radio stations, and TV networks, making it easier for you to get paid for your music. So don't leave money on the table, make sure to register with a PRO!
5. Set up a pre-save & pre-order campaign
Pre-order campaigns let fans pay for access to music before it’s released and then have it delivered directly to them on release day. Pre-save works similarly except instead of paying, fans are saving the track or album to their preferred streaming service.
In either case, they give you more time to promote your release before it goes live so you get more of a splash on launch day. The more sales/listens you get when your release drops, the higher chances you have of making it to the charts, to popular playlists, or having your track noticed by the industry and shared by fans.
Read how to set up a pre-sale campaign here.
6. Promote. Promote. Promote.
Don’t be shy. Your music deserves to be heard by as many people as possible. And with the right promotion strategy, you can make that happen! Get your fans excited by promoting your music on every possible channel – especially social media and email.
I have so many Versions of so many songs lol. This version was right before trav called me out the buzzer beater ! https://t.co/UjpHqatnS8 open arms OG out now on digital only 🤍 pic.twitter.com/3L1ixNAh4Z— SZA (@sza) January 6, 2023
Use teaser videos, exclusive interviews, and behind-the-scenes content to build hype and anticipation. And if you're selling your music on Shopify, integrate it with your social media profiles to sell your tunes where your fans and followers already are.
7. Plan a launch event
Plan a launch event to celebrate and get your fans excited about your new tracks. You can do a live performance, Q&A session, or even a virtual listening party. The best part is, whatever you decide, you can host the event right from your Shopify store, alongside your music and merch.
8. Submit to media outlets
Want to get your music reviewed and covered by popular blogs, radio stations, and podcasts? You need to submit your music to these outlets! But before you do, make sure to read their submission guidelines carefully and personalize your pitch as much as possible. A little bit of extra effort can go a long way in getting your music noticed.
Releasing your music can be a complex process, but with this checklist, you'll be well on your way to success. Remember to take your time, stay organized, and have fun with it!