The moments before you release your material
can will be incredibly busy. With so many moving parts, at times it can become difficult to see the forest for the trees, or for that matter, the trees for the forest. But before you collapse into a ball of rage tears and give up, we have some advice for you: Don’t.
The gargantuan task of releasing music, either it be a single, an EP, an album, a music video, or anything else, can be broken down into a series of extremely manageable (and dare we say enjoyable) tasks. Tasks that will lay down solid foundations for future releases, and arm you with vital industry knowledge that could otherwise be unobtainable.
To help break down some of those steps, we tagged in Tim Price, the spearhead behind Collision Course PR and a known industry figure. Over to you, Tim!
1. Be organised
Seriously. I have said it before in other blogs and pieces I have done: Once you have your mastered material back, whether it be a single, EP, album, whatever, only you know it’s finished. Don’t feel you need to rush it out the second you have it back from mastering. You control what your fans know, and you can hype them when it’s right. Despite what you will feel is “pressure” to get something out right now; you don’t have to. Stop. Slow down. Be strategic, but above all, be organised.
Get your assets together:
– Cover art
– High-resolution promo photos
– Biography and information about the release
– Tour dates
– Video clips
– Planned but unannounced release dates for singles and announecments
– Distribution and ISRC codes
The more you have organised before you release, or even announce anything, the better. In fact, if you slow down and don’t put your music out as immediately as you have the tracks, it allows time for those long conversations you’ve been meaning to have with labels, publicists, managers and industry people about your upcoming music, which you can now demo for them.
2. Retain your data where possible
When you release music digitally these days, it’s pretty much impossible to not contribute to someone else’s data farming – whether it’s Google, Apple, Spotify, Bandcamp, anything else. It’s kind of something you have to accept is part of putting music out these days. However, there are some things you can avoid – but it’s entirely up to you. Some bands give their videoclips or streams directly to Youtube channels to upload using their channel – which is fine for clicks and views and maybe someone clicking over to find you and become a fan, but the Youtube channel owners are the big winners there, not you. They are getting paid per click and view and you aren’t.
It’s still your content, but you are definitely giving away a fair whack of your control and potentially lining other pockets where you didn’t have to. Like I said, it’s up to you whether you do this, I am simply saying that data is one of the best currencies you have in this digital world and don’t give it away willy-nilly without considering why you are doing it (and perhaps not just because other bands do it!).
3. Hire a publicist (but don’t rest on your laurels!)
Another advantage of that whole “slowing down and being strategic” thing I brought up earlier is that you can bring a publicist on board to help you with the rollout and to help with the building of a plan around what you are doing. But it isn’t Hire Publicist = We are Huge now. The equation is Hire Publicist = work as hard as we always have and making sure our fans know about all the great stuff people are saying about us and good things happening to us!
4. Make it easy to “get”
Make sure that your fans can “get” your music easily and however they want it. iTunes, Spotify, Deezer, Bandcamp, Big Cartel, JB Hi-Fi/Stores, Shazam, Youtube/Vevo/Vimeo, make it available for radio airplay. If a person can’t identify your song and “get” it to stream/play/buy/own/however they want to access it, you’ve potentially lost them.
5. Don’t be discouraged by bumps in the road (be resilient, essentially!)
Things will go wrong. Your distribution will go wrong in transition to the store (not the distributers fault 99% of the time) and it will be up underneath another band’s account with the same band name. You might not get written about by the blog or magazine you wanted, you might get a bad review on it, your fans might not like the new direction you’ve taken with the new single…It needs to be taken in stride.
Fix what you can, don’t let the other stuff get to you (I know anxiety and mental health issues make this hard, but it’s a continuous journey for everyone to be able to wear some of this feedback a little bit better every time it rears its head).
For real, things get better – keep at it and keep going. It’s worth it!
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