4th May 2021
Week 4 – The Song Is Released.
Pure-Horse have decided the world needs to hear The Song. After a lengthy discussion over a burgeoning number of Guinnesses, it was agreed that to sit on The Song would be unfair to, well, anyone who has functioning ears. There was a heated moment around the second pint mark where the bass player put forward a suggestion from his dad (who once appeared on an episode of Top of the Pops in 1978 when his band reached the dizzying heights of number 28 in the charts with a paint-by-numbers disco one hit wonder), who said that they should wait until a major label gives them several million pounds for The Song before releasing it. Thankfully, this terribly outdated notion was kiboshed by three votes to one and as the last orders bell rang, the group took themselves to the guitarists’ house to upload the track to their digital distributor of choice.
“Bosh. It’s done. The Song will be available to all and sundry come two weeks on Friday.” The singer confirmed the upload with a flourish, clicking the mouse whilst simultaneously standing to face the rest of the group who were scattered in various corners of the bedroom, “I tell you what; thank god Sentric Music wrote that fantastic blog about metadata, that really helped get our files in order.” At this, all four of them spontaneously broke into applause for thirty, no wait, forty seconds.
“So what now?” the drummer poses to his comrades in arms, after the moment of appreciation for Sentric’s blog died down.
“Now, we wait.” the guitarist mutters, somewhat sinisterly, “we wait for the phone to ring, for the paparazzi to pap, for the rest of our lives to begin…”
“No mate,” confirms the drummer, “I mean literally now, as in; ‘now’. It’s 3am and Uber is surcharging.”
“Oh I see”, the guitarist snapped back into reality, “well, let’s delve further into the Sentric blog, I’m sure there’s more for us to learn there, right gang?” At this, all four of them cheered and punched the air. Freeze frame. Scene.
So when do they get paid? – Approximately 9 months.
The publishing income from digital services such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube etc. usually take around three distributions to come your way from the date it was streamed. A bit further on in our journey, Pure-Horse are going to reach a milestone with ‘The Song’ and during that landmark we’ll take a deeper dive into digital publishing royalties. What a cliffhanger, hey?
Your Ultimate ‘I’m About To Release A Song’ Checklist.
A guest post by our friends at TuneCore
If you’re reading this, congratulations! You’re most likely to either have just released new music or have plans in the near future to do so. There are countless effective ways to get your music in front of fans and listeners–but with that, there are also plenty of pitfalls to avoid. Let’s dig into what an effective release strategy looks like, how you can implement one yourself, and how distribution services like TuneCore make getting your music out there simple.
Time is of the essence.
Whether you’re hiring a publicist or you’re doing your own press outreach, a good rule of thumb is giving yourself an eight-week lead time to promote your new release. So if you’re planning on hiring a publicist, it’s best to reach out at least three months ahead of your release. If you’re doing it yourself, make sure you give yourself that eight-week time as well, as there’s a lot to plan and editors/writers prefer a proper heads-up.
This is the most critical part of your release process! During this time, you’ll want to send your new music to as many prospective reviewers and interviewers as possible, so make sure you give yourself the time to do so. Use about 5-10 hours a week to focus just on the planning and promotion component of your new music. You’ll come to find that once your new release is out, it will be a lot more difficult to gain attention from the press, which is why using your time wisely is a must for a successful release.
Is your EPK up to date?
In case you didn’t know: EPK stands for Electronic Press Kit. An EPK is an industry-facing, pre-packaged set of promotional materials that includes your bio, photos, links to your music and socials, and any important shows or releases coming up. This is a presentation of who you are as an artist. Think about it as your resume for the industry.
Maybe you’ve got some really compelling streaming statistics. Or you have a quote from a blog – put it all into your EPK. Have you played with any big artists or festivals? Sell yourself. Don’t be afraid to get creative and make it yours.
The Technical stuff
In today’s music landscape, we’re fortunate enough to live in a time where you can make your songs available to fans in an instant.
That’s where music distribution comes in. Music distribution is what you do when you’re ready to share your music with the world. Specifically, music distributors like TuneCorecan help you get your music on streaming services and other music stores, like Spotify and Apple Music, giving people from all over the world the opportunity to discover your songs.
There are plenty of things to consider when getting ready to distribute your music. It’s a lot of legwork, but in the end, it’s totally worth the hustle. From mixing and mastering, to cover art, to technical requirements, to release strategy, make sure you’re confident that your music is looking and feeling its best. No matter how you’re distributing your music, make sure you know all of the proper audio file formats, approval times, and more.
Mastering is all about adding unbiased tweaks and adjustments to an artist’s song. It’s that final touch that makes the track stand out. If you need assistance and don’t have a local engineer, there are services you can look into.
Your artwork needs to be at least 1600 x 1600 pixels, but 3000 x 3000 pixels is recommended. JPG, PNG, or GIF is acceptable. Your artwork must be a perfect square formatted in the highest quality, even if it’s black and white. Definitely avoid blurry or pixelated images.
Do your research on copyrighting your music, too. Copyright makes sure that you are credited and compensated for your music. Copyright laws also stop people from taking credit for your work. Lastly, if you’re planning on releasing a cover song, make sure you’ve done your research. There are no restrictions in recording a cover of somebody else’s work, but you’ll need to pay for a mechanical license (if you’re based in the US, but not elsewhere in the world).
The Nitty Gritty
Without a label or a distribution service like TuneCore, there’s no way you’d be able get your music into stores. They bridge that gap and get your music where it needs to go, all over the world.
TuneCore checks all of your formatting, album artwork, while getting the best rates possible for artists. Because they work directly with digital stores, like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and more, they ensure that they get the most money possible. Artists like you get to sleep easy at night knowing that your music is being delivered accurately, to the right stores, and on time. Set it and forget it!
So how much does it cost? Artists pay a small flat fee for TuneCore’s services every year. But all the money that you generate from streams and sales is 100% YOURS. Some other distributors work with sub-distributors, who you can think of as middlemen, who also take a cut of artists’ revenue. TuneCore is lucky to have deals directly with the stores, so there’s no middleman. You keep 100% of 100%–no cut taken.
Make sure you have all of your bases covered when getting ready to distribute with TuneCore by checking out their step-by-step FAQ guide here.
Elevate your social media presence
Having a strong social media presence isn’t achieved by uploading an image and hitting the share button every few hours. It’s a wide spectrum that happens to be one of the most valuable tools you can use when it comes to content strategy. There are plenty of ways to set yourself up for success by finding the best practices that work for you when it comes to building your social presence..
First, you need to determine which platforms excite you. Think about your goals and what kind of audience you will resonate with. If you have a major release coming up, and you want to build up anticipation. Having a regular, consistent posting schedule helps a lot. A good tip is to work backward from the release date on your calendar. Think about what content you can post to build a story leading up to the release date. And always try to leave enough time to market your release–three or four weeks is recommended.
Social media is the secret weapon for connecting with fans and building your brand. If you get stuck, look up the 70-20-10 rule. It’s a lifesaver for your social media.
Create social-friendly videos
Creating 15-second videos for Instagram Stories, TikTok, and more can be extremely useful as well as valuable when it comes to promoting your upcoming release. If you’ve already created some of the long-form videos, that is great because you can easily break them down into short-form, 15-second videos for your social platforms.
Short-form videos can also be used to convert your followers into fans. They’re a great way to start a conversation between you and your followers and present yourself as an artist. Going live on Instagram is also a great way to drive engagement and let people know about your upcoming releases. Building relationships with your audience pays off because they will become dedicated to supporting your upcoming release – plus they’ll be more inclined to share it with their friends and followers.
Just like releasing singles leading up to your album, don’t drop all of your other content on the same day. Don’t release a video the same day as the song. Doing so is essentially asking your fans to check one over the other. Give them a reason to check out both. A better idea is to release the single and then drive those listeners to the video. Then you can drive new listeners from the video back to the single.
Get ready to pitch
Getting on that top playlist or receiving your first glowing review is what we all dream of. There are a lot of artists all fighting for those limited spots and you have to make sure you do it right to stand out from the crowd.
When you’re crafting that perfect pitch for press or playlists, you have to remember there’s only so much time in a day. These people don’t have all day to read your email or your bio. You need to put yourself in their shoes. What would impress them? And if they are impressed and they like your music, what information do they need from you to do their job effectively?
If you’re planning to hire a publicist, this next part won’t apply to you. But if you’re doing it yourself, be prepared to pitch your new release for reviews, interviews, and other features. It’s a great idea to create a list of media outlets you’re planning to pitch to–and remember to keep your expectations realistic. Smaller media outlets can actually be your most valuable resource. Be sure to craft your pitch, include links to your music, social media, and EPK, and most importantly, don’t be afraid to follow up! When you land a feature, being as responsive as possible and sharing the article when it goes live are extremely important for building relationships as well.
Planning your release show
Whether virtually or in person, planning a release show to celebrate your new music is an incredibly valuable tool for release strategy. Your new music is a celebrated occasion, so it’s a great idea to wow your fans with something they will remember.
Performing for an audience is the true test of how effective your release was, how effectively you have connected with fans, and how connected they feel to your music. Let’s put it this way, it takes a true, loyal fan to give up their Saturday night to see you perform.
The best piece of advice is to think about ways that you can help your new release stand out. Offering your fans exclusive merch, giveaways, whatever else can create an experience for your audience that they’ll always remember.
Strategize for the long haul
So far, we’ve focused mainly on strategies leading up to your new release. But once release day comes, it’s time to kick into full gear. While your chances at catching attention from the press might start to slow down, there’s still plenty of ways to continue engaging with your fans.
Strategize ways to keep the momentum going even months after you’ve dropped your new release. Music videos, demos, acoustic versions, and remixes are just a few ways to draw attention to an aging project for both fans and media outlets.
Another great way to keep the momentum going is by creating shareable assets for your fans and listeners to share on social media. It could be a creative graphic, a hashtag, a specific logo, or an image–any of these are valuable because they will remind your listeners why they like your music, plus it will create more engagement.
Whichever way you end up strategizing your post-release plan, remember to use a content calendar. There are so many opportunities to keep your music in people’s ears once it’s live. You’ve worked hard on your new release, now it’s time to make it work for you!
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