How NOT to Release Your Music

Digital Music Releases Need to Be Promoted

Here's a common story for the modern musician: You record some music. You're really pumped. You can't wait for people to hear it. You release your music.

Nothing happens.

Sound familiar? If it does, your music release wasn't really a music release at all. In these days of changing record label models, defining what actually goes into getting your music to fans has become a bit blurred, but there are still ways you can make sure your music gets the audience it deserves. Avoid these new music release mistakes and win big with your next single or album.

DON'T Confuse Distribution with Releasing

Man flipping through records
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Back when music had to be in a hard copy format, finding adequate music distribution was a big deal. After all, you had to be on store shelves if you wanted to sell. Now, distribution is not such a hard nut to crack. Physical distribution can still be dicey, but most self-releasing musicians aren't looking for that when they're starting out anyway. Getting your music digitally distributed is easy. Pretty much anyone can do it -- and that's where the problem comes in.

With physical music distribution, it's never enough to simply be IN the store. You need to let people know that your music is there, so you seek reviews, get radio plays, send the store posters, take out ads - and you know what, the same applies to digital distribution. Uploading your album is not REALLY releasing it. It's just making it available. Finding your digital needle in a haystack is WAY harder than finding that one copy of whatever album on the rack of a store with limited shelf space. Distribution is only part of the battle. More

DON'T Confuse Social Media with a Promotion Campaign

Some musicians don't just distribute their music. They'll then go to Facebook and say, "check out my new album!" and put a link. Even if you have a good fanbase on Facebook, this is a totally half-hearted way to promote the music you've worked so hard to create. You must take your music more seriously than that, or else no one else will.

Social media is a promotional tool. It's not the promotion campaign. You should definitely engage your social media followers when you release music, but don't overlook traditional routes. At least approach your local press and radio and some music blogs and try to generate a few mentions. Even if this is your first release and no one really bites this time, do it anyway. By doing so, you'll show yourself as a musician to take seriously so ears are more likely to perk up at your name in the future. More

DON'T Refuse to Make a Plan

Just because the old record label model is outdated doesn't mean that planning for a release is. There are lots of moving pieces that go into making a music release a success, and they aren't going to just do themselves. Set a release date for your music. Start pumping it up well ahead of the date to get people talking. Book a release party around the date, or plan a mini-tour. Building interest before the release is much easier than chasing it afterwards, when the news can feel a bit stale.

If this is your first release and you don't have a ton of things to line up, getting into the habit of planning is still a really good thing. Assuming things go according to plan for you, some day you'll have lots of interest from fans and media to juggle while making your music. Learning the ropes now will make it much easier for you in the future. More