How to Release Music: 5 Essential Strategies

By Connor McCoy, Spire Contributor | November 29, 2018

5 Essential Things to Do Before Releasing New Music

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.

new album

4. Send to blogs/reviewers/debut websites

One of the best ways to hype up the release of your product is by “previewing” it on esteemed music sharing websites before the actual release! For example, an acclaimed place to do this is billboard.com (here’s how to apply), but there are several other places where you can debut a single, album, or a music video so your more dedicated fans can listen/see it before anyone else.

By using websites like The Indie Bible and SubmitHub, you can find music blogs and premiere websites that will usually be very happy to review your song! Most blogs will be happy to preview your song with a SoundCloud link (just make sure that when you upload to SoundCloud, you set it to “private” so you don’t accidentally release your song while trying to get blogs to review it)!

Hype Machine is still popular among many indie and professional artists alike. It’s a website that keeps track of what’s trending among music blogs.

Here’s a list of 100 blogs that you can look through to find ones that follow your style of music - and how you can contact them!

5. Update your website/social media

If you’re prepping to release a new product, your fanbase is probably going to be clicking on any and all of the links to your social media pages and website(s)! Take new artist photos, update your bios—don’t leave any platform behind. Keep them updated and synced. One of the hardest parts about being a musician today is making sure the information your listeners look for online is consistent, that is, everything looks similar and stays up to date with your posting schedule for your release.

Hootsuite is an excellent tool for this—it helps keep all of your social media platforms synced up so you don’t have to worry about one falling behind!

Conclusion

Preparation is key when it comes to planning how to release music. It might seem daunting when you look at all of the things you have to think about before releasing your new music, but by following the advice on this short list, you can maximize the results of your release, increasing the interaction rate exponentially, in some cases.

As always, confidence and preparation pays off in the music world, and your fanbase notices when you take it seriously. And when it’s all finished and your music has been advertised, marketed, and distributed online, sit back, relax, and relish in your hard work (maybe even hold a release party...the marketing never ends!)