It’s hard to know how much preparation to do before releasing a product for everyone to hear. With so many different ways to release content online, it feels like there are no rules to posting new music. We’ll leave the creative process up to you, but here’s a checklist of things to do and consider before a release that’s bound to help your music reach the ears of the fanbase you’re looking to connect with.
1. Make a timeline
How many weeks ahead of your release will you start posting about it on social media? If you break your plan down into stages, you can better work out which strategies you’re going to use at each stage to promote your single/album. This includes when you release the title, the album art, a teaser of the song/video, and the date that your audience should expect the product to release.
If you’re releasing an album, a common strategy for artists with smaller fanbases is to release a song or two off of the album every month or so, in order stay on the forefront of your audience’s minds. By keeping on the feeds of your listeners’ social media pages, you’re helping to saturate them with excitement and info about your upcoming release, and it pays off when the day finally comes.
How do you want your posting history to look when your product is released? Don’t downplay all of the work you’ve done: prepare accordingly.
2. Secure your distribution methods
Where will your listeners be able to hear your product when it’s released? If it’s through instant upload, non-subscription streaming services like SoundCloud, Bandcamp, etc. then you won’t need to plan much. But if you’re hoping to land your music on popular services like Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, etc. then you need to submit your song/album to these services weeks ahead of time. It can take up to 3-4 weeks for your music to be available on these services for streaming, so this isn’t something you want to wait to coordinate hours before your planned release!
Distribution services like CDBaby and Distrokid are some popular options for making your music available online. You can set a planned release date for your product on these services so it will only be made public on the date that you set, but by getting it through the distribution process and approved several weeks beforehand, you can rest easy knowing that on the day of your release, your audience will be able to stream your music on their favorite streaming apps.
Check out our guide: “How to Make Money on Spotify, SoundCloud and Apple Music.”
3. Have visuals and other marketing materials ready
If you’re releasing a single or an album, it’s smart to have your cover art ready as soon as possible before planning how to release your music. Not only do you need to submit your cover art to distribution weeks ahead of time in order for it to appear on streaming services, it’s a great way to capture your audience’s eye when they’re scrolling through social media.
There are a lot of options for making the most out of your cover or album art. Talk about what it symbolizes, tease certain parts, make cryptic videos that can pique the interest of your fanbase.
If you’re planning on making a music video (yup, you guessed it): make it as early as possible! In short, the more material you have, the more prepared you are during the weeks leading up to your release.