Putting out music this year and you’d like some ideas of what you should be doing before it goes live? Well here’s 21 tips. Oh yes, this is a mega lis of what do before releasing music.
Table of Contents
Got Music Coming Out This Year?
So, you’ve either finished your new album or whatever or you’re in the midst of getting it done but are thinking “hey, maybe I should actually try and promote this one?”.
We’ve all been there. In fact, with my last band’s release we literally just threw it out to no fanfare at all, so basically no ears, and it hit me, never again!
So, I decided to list out 21 ideas as a sort of checklist for the next release that I thought I’d share with you guys. I’ve also created a YouTube Playlist containing all of the videos I refer to in the list to act on before releasing music, so do check that out afterwards. But for now, let’s dig in!
1 – Choose Blogs
If you’re looking to get your new release reviewed and you’re not like, say Radiohead or Ed Sheeran, then it’s probably a good idea to tell some reviewers ahead of time.
Now, don’t just go and send your requests to any old music blogger. A reggae blog for example, is probably not that interested in your post-rock EP, well maybe they might be, but you get my point.
Check out this post – Choosing Which Blogs to Send Your Music To
2 – Email Blogs
So now you’ve created this list of these bloggers for your music niche you obviously need to go and contact them. What you don’t want to do is just copy and paste the same message for each and every one, you need to treat them like human beings.
Check out this post – How to Email Music Blogs and Promoters
3 – Book Gigs
If you are thinking about booking shows to support your new release then it’s so important to plan this way ahead of time. You see so many bands (myself included) release some music and then go “we should do some shows to celebrate this new album!” and then getting like one or two, which basically works out as a trip around the corner.
If you know your album is going to come out in say 3 months, plan those shows now. Even if the opportunities don’t exist yet, you can tell promoters to keep you in mind for that time.
Check out this post – How to Get Gigs
4 – Online Events
Nowadays I don’t actually gig that much, I’m more of an ‘online musician’ which is probably because I just don’t want to lug big amps around anywhere. That doesn’t prevent me from streaming shows online though. You can use Facebook or Songkick or whatever to schedule your event and just perform it from your rehearsal space or your bedr… I mean home studio. The great thing about that is everybody around the world gets to see you and it’s easier in principle, to set up.
Check out this post – How to Live Stream on YouTube and More with StreamYard
Also this post – How to add Shows to Spotify, Bandcamp and Facebook with Songkick
5 – Social Media Assets
A massive one most of us totally forget about until day of release is our presence on social media. If you’re releasing an album or whatever you’ve worked absolutely ages on, then make sure it’s reflected in your facebook banners, twitter banners, Instagram posts etc. A link might not be enough to stand out and changing your facebook banner for example, might be a message to your fans to say, hey this must be important.
Check out this post – Manage Your Social Media Profile and Banner Images
6 – Be Active on Social Media
Talking about Social Media. There’s no point posting just when you have a release out because there are thousands of other artists out there releasing every day and you’re just going to get lost. What makes you unique is that you’re out there.
I don’t post enough and that’s something I’m gonna address ASAP. What can you post? Milestones, throwbacks, thoughts, recommendations, what makes you YOU.
Check out this post – Celebrate Your Music Milestones
7 – Be on Podcasts
Podcasts are massive right now. Everybody is starting one. It’s like when everybody used to say ‘there’s an app for that’, there’s now a podcast for everything. I think it’s because people are appreciating long form conversations over say, short form TV interviews. It’s way more compelling and intimate. That’s why I think it’s a good idea to start your own around what you do as it’s not only a great way for people to know about your projects, but also about you too. You can also ask to be on other people’s podcasts too and utilise their audience.
Check out this post – How to Start a Music Podcast and Get it on Spotify for Free Now
8 – Create Bandcamp Download Codes
If your music is on bandcamp and you’re sending it out to bloggers, friends, family, pets or whoever then make some download codes so they can grab it and listen to it at their leisure before its actually release. The great thing about that is that if they have a bandcamp fan account their fan squares will show up and it’ll look busier on release day.
Check out this post – 5 Things You Can Do with Bandcamp Download Codes
9 – Think About Ads
If you’ve been thinking about dabbling with advertising on facebook then my best tip here be to just look at what the other guys are doing. There’s a lot of trial and error which is not great when there’s money involved but at least you can look at what the competitors are doing to get an idea.
Check out this post – How to View Facebook and Instagram Adverts Coldplay Are Using to Promote their New Album
10 – Create an Instagram Link Menu
You may have found it frustrating to talk about and link to your projects on Instragram because they only allow you one bio link. Well you can actually create a whole menu within that link with a service called Linktree so you can include things like latest album, social media profiles and an email list signup.
I’ve found it to be really helpful, especially as I not only have this music to talk about but the youtube channel too. I think it would be really clever to get people used to that service way before you actually release the album. That way you can also include, say, a link to a music video etc.
Check out this post – Make an Instagram Links Menu with Linktree
11 – Make a Music Video
If you’re planning on putting out a single first to promote the main release or maybe you’re gonna make art track videos for youtube etc then you might want to try putting together a proper music video to make it stand out a little more. I did this in a guide for my band, using public domain footage and it turned out pretty well.
Check out this post – How to Make a FREE Music Video with Public Domain Clips
12 – Get on Spotify etc
This is probably a no-brainer, but I had to put it in the list. Ahead of time you need to upload your music to your chosen distribution service so it can appear on Spotify, iTunes and Amazon etc. Doing that ensures you can iron out any issues ahead of time such as problems with artwork or track names.
Check out this post – Using Distrokid to Upload Your Music to Spotify, Apple etc
13 – Sign up for Spotify for Artists
Talking about Streaming services, do make sure you sign up the Spotify for Artists website and app. With that you can track your analytics so you can for example see where your music is doing well. That’s vital information for planning tours or advertising campaign. You can also submit to Spotify playlists with that too.
Check out this post – How to get Your Spotify Profile Verified and Manage Your Page
14 – Sign up for Apple Music for Artists
As with with Spotify, you can also do the same with Apple with the ‘Apple for Artists’ account. As well as the usual analytics stuff, you can also see information on which tracks of yours have been shazammed.
Check out this post – Apple Music for Artists App OUT NOW with Shazam
15 – Use Social Stories
If your music is available on the likes of Spotify, you can share it to Instagram and Facebook stories. You might not think that’s a big thing but my most popular video on YouTube says otherwise! People really like doing it so encourage them to use your music, especially for any leading singles to help promote that upcoming release.
Check out this post – How to add Spotify Music to Facebook Stories
16 – Upload to Soundcloud
Nope I did not forget about Soundcloud. Even though I think it’s losing the battle alongside other services such as Bandcamp or Spotify, I do think it’s still a great way to find music. So, if I’m thinking about that with my ‘fan hat’ on, other potential fans probably still are too. For me, I like to just post the leading single or whatever from my release as you have to start paying when you run out of time.
Check out this post – Getting Started with Soundcloud in 2019
17 – Claim your Knowledge Panel
The Google Knowledge panel gives your artist persona a little more weight or authority when someone searches for you on google. You’ve bound to have seen one when you’ve searched for a public figure. It’s the panel that appears on the right hand side. If you’ve already put music out on Spotify etc, chances are you already have one that you can go claim.
Check out this post – How to Claim Your Google knowledge Panel
18 – Copy Others
You’ve probably heard that “good artists copy, great artists steal” saying and it rings true on social media. I made a long video detailing what the band MUSE were doing all across social media to promote their latest album. I figured that bands like that are hiring social media agencies to do all that stuff for them so let’s steal some secrets.
Check out this post – How Muse Use Social Media to Promote their Music and Brand
19 – Create a Spotify Playlist of all Your Music
If you’re on Spotify already and have a good few releases on there, a good tip would be to create a playlist which features all of your music. Not only will that bring in the pennies when people binge listen but they’ll also get the latest releases straight away.
Check out this post – Why you should make a Spotify Playlist for your whole Back Catalogue
20 – Start a Blog
With a blog you’re creating something you own so no matter what social media changes happen, it won’t affect your content on your website.
This is somewhere where you post about the behind the scenes stuff such as photos, live sessions, the recording process, anything to do with your upcoming release and it’s yours.
Check out this post – Why Every Band Needs to Blog
21 – Start a Newsletter
This one goes in tangent with your blog really as it’s easier to collect email addresses there, BUT you can also do it with Bandcamp.
The great thing about putting out your newsletter is that as with the blog, it’s something that you can control. You can email out about ultimately about your new releases as well as shows, blogs, podcasts you’re on, anything.
Check out this post – How to make Email Newsletters for your Band with Mailchimp
Bonus Tip! – Keep Going After the Release
Last minute tip and it’s not really about what to do before releasing your music, it’s about making sure you carry on ‘after’ it’s released. How many times have we excitedly put out music only to put our hands in the air the next day to say, ‘what now?’ and we just share the link again. We’ve all done it.
We have to look at the tips I’ve mentioned earlier and apply them to the ‘after release’ part too. That means, keep writing the blogs, sending the emails, planning the shows, staying social – keep it all going like a train that doesn’t stop. That way, when you are planning the next release, you know exactly what you’re doing.
I hope that’s been of some use, I think it has for me. This year I will be taking on my own advice, as I’ve definitely forgot about doing a few things or just got lazy, but hey we’re only human, that’s ok!
I know there’s a lot to take in there but I do think it’s worth having a go at these. Even though in some cases it may seem just a micro-step forward and you’re only seeing a little traction, it’s still a step forward and over time that’ll build up.
Join me on Patreon!
Want to get early access to DIY Musician Guide video & posts, as well as behind the scenes content? Get all that and more for just $1 a month when you support what I do and become a patron.