Congratulations! After months in the rehearsal room and countless nights in the studio, you're finally ready to present your music to the world. What do you have to pay attention to though, in order to make the most out of your release? In this article, we'll explain how you, as an independent artist, can best prepare for your release and what you need to keep in mind.
Timing is everything!
Timing isn’t only important for your drums! It is important to know exactly how long it will take until your tracks go live on each streaming platform. Keep an eye on the deadlines to get your music online in good time. As a rule of thumb, it takes about 2 weeks for most platforms. It's best to create a detailed plan to help you keep track of everything.
Before you upload your music, make sure that everything is in order. No one wants to find out that the bassline is too loud, the guitarist's cell phone is ringing in the background or there's an annoying crackle just before the big chorus. That's why it's important to listen to your tracks carefully beforehand, paying attention to every single detail and checking all instrument and vocal levels. Test out how it sounds on different hi-fi systems, in the car and with cell phone headphones. This will give you the opportunity to intervene and make any necessary adjustments in time.
Metadata and file formats
Metadata is important information about your track which makes sure it can be easily found. Platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube or Shazam use metadata to make your songs appear in their search bars. It includes information such as artist, genre, label, song title and album title, but also the ISRC code (International Standard Recording Code), which ensures that royalties are paid out to everyone involved (including you!). Since this code is unique worldwide, nobody will have the same code as you. It is of utmost importance to enter this metadata carefully and check it to avoid mistakes.
When uploading your release, also pay attention to the file format. Most streaming and download platforms require a WAV file with a sample rate of 44.1 kHz.
Update your social media profiles
For your release campaign, social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and TikTok are the ideal places to interact directly with your fans and let them know about your release. This is where you can really ramp things up to get the whole thing moving.
- Update and brand your headers with your latest cover artwork
- Check your bio and artist story and make sure they’re up-to-date
- Start posting pictures from the studio, rehearsal room, etc.
- Create teasers for your music video, reels, TikToks and shorts
If you can't create all assets by yourself, reach out to your network - friends, friends of friends, colleagues, acquaintances etc. Think about collaborating with other experienced artists who can help you put your promo material together. You should also launch a pre-save campaign on all social media channels.
Pitching to the media
To get on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, people need to know that you exist! Make a list of all important contacts such as music journalists, radio hosts, bloggers, playlist curators, podcasts, etc. Most contacts can be easily found on the respective websites, but other bands and artists around you can help you expand your network. Many magazines or blogs will write free, small features or album reviews. There are radio stations and TV stations that have special formats for newcomers in their programming. Especially internet radio stations and college stations, but also the state broadcasting stations of the ARD (Bayerischer Rundfunk, Hessischer Rundfunk, Mitteldeutscher Rundfunk, Norddeutscher Rundfunk, Radio Bremen, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg, Saarländischer Rundfunk, Südwestrundfunk, Westdeutscher Rundfunk) are a good place to start.
Your release day!
Finally, the time has come. You are nicely prepared, your social media channels are up to date and equipped with your latest cover artwork. Your music is live on all digital streaming platforms and you have pitched to all relevant media partners, as well as sent out your newsletter.
It's best to release on a Friday. That's the day the charts counts start for the coming week. Also, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and others feature their new releases on that day.
Check out which artists in your genre are also releasing on your date. This way you can find a gap and generate more attention for your release.
Pop the champagne and throw a release party - you deserve it and it should be celebrated! Watch your first bits of feedback come in and share them on your social media.