In todays world there are many more independent artists making a name for themselves. Independent Artists are recording their own music, shooting their own videos and promoting their own music. This can be a pretty simple task to the untrained eye but for indie artist veterans it’s way much more than releasing music to the public. Many new comers don’t know what it actually takes to release an original song. In this blog I’m going to go over with you the process I take before the release date of a new song or project. I do this myself and for my artists. In this blog I’m talking about Original Music Only. Not to be confused with Mixtapes or cover projects.
Before the Release Date
1. Copyright: The first thing you should do as soon as a song idea is born is copyright that song. In hindsight any original idea is automatically known as your own intellectual property. However, when you are going through the process of releasing original music you need to take it through the US Copyright Office. Doing this will assure no confusion if someone ever tries to claim your music as their own. When copyrighting your music you want to make sure anyone involved in the song as a writer receives credit. All of this will be laid out for you when you visit the US Copyright Office website. If you decide to electronically send your music through the office that date and time will be registered in the US Copyright Office system which means your music at that point is legally copyrighted. FYI: There is no such thing as a “Poor Man’s Copyright” mailing a cd to yourself and not opening it does not classify as copyrighting any form of intellectual property.
2. Registration: This takes place after the copyright process. To register your music you will need the names of writers and performers of the music. Registration happens through your chosen Performance Rights Organization. If you don’t know what a Performance Rights Organization is please refer to my blog “Blog Title” The registration process shouldn’t take any longer than a week but if you want to ensure your music is protected you wanted to start this a month prior to your chosen release date at the latest. I personally like to register my music as soon as the song is written and recorded. You don’t have to send a physical song in all you have to do is record the information in the PRO’s system so that they can know who get’s what royalty.
During the Release:
1.Choose a Release Date: Once you receive an email notification that your music has been registered through your PRO you are now free to choose a release date for your single or project. You want to keep in mind to still choose a release date at least 4 weeks out if you’re preparing for a Digital Store release like iTunes. In this case you will need to get together your artwork.
2. Choose your Platform: After Music is copyrighted and registered the next thing you want to do is choose what platforms you’re releasing your single or project will be released on. Your options can range from free outlets like your own personal website, soundcloud or bandcamp to name a few, or if you’re wanting to release your single or project to Digital Stores your options can range from iTunes and Amazon to Online Radio like Spotify and Tidal. In my opinion, I feel it’s best to start with Digital Stores and Online Radio because you’re going to need certain identification numbers for your release that are generated when you upload your music to your Distribution Center. The numbers that will be generated are your UPC and your ISRC. I won’t get into exactly what that is now if you don’t know but trust me these numbers are important and once you release your music to the free sites you have the option to enter those codes as well. These codes are used for tracking sales when people purchase your music.
3. Upload your Release to Digital Stores: When you have chosen a release date at least 4 weeks out assuming you are uploading to Digital Stores it is now time to gather your properly labeled music and your artwork at this point you can upload your music. After you upload your music you will receive your UPC and ISRC code from your Online Distributor. You should take note of these numbers for future reference.
The Waiting Process
It may seem like 4 weeks is a lot of time before your music can be shared with the world. But trust me you will feel a lot better when your music is available in online stores and it is protected against thieves. It may not seem like you're being seen and heard but you are and you never know who is watching and stealing from you so always stay protected. Here are a few things you can do while awaiting the release.
1. Write or have a press release written for your project informing radio stations, blogs and any connections you have about your upcoming release.
2. Begin the promotion of your release. You don't want to promote too early or too late. 2 weeks prior to the release is perfect. If you have chosen the option to let your fans preorder this is the perfect opportunity to spread the word.
3. Be sure your website and other free outlets are ready to go with all of the information about the release. On sites like bandcamp you can set the date to the same date as your release.
4. Perform singles from your release to spread the word about the Release.
5. If you use SoundExchange, get those spreadsheets good to go and uploaded to assure artist payments.
After the release
Now that your project is out you should know what to do. This is your favorite part. Spread the word! Share those links! Make that promotion campaign to reach more people.
This may seem like a lot of work, and it really is but knowing that your work is protected you will feel so much better. Other things that can make your release go a lot better is assuring you have a budget to promote your release. If you don't have a budget your project won't do as well no matter how many links you share on social media. Do radio interviews and blog interviews, pass out flyers or free copies of music. The more people you connect with the better you will do. Instead of so eagerly releasing music be sure to strategize to maximize your results. As always. I'm here to help! #CymphaniSpeaks