Releasing your music online can often be a time consuming and somewhat daunting task, particularly if you are new to the world of streaming. The purpose of todays blog is to provide you with an easy to follow resource that you can refer back to, in order to help you with that process. The following steps are based on the assumption that your music has already been recorded, mixed and mastered and you’re ready to go to the next step of putting your music out to the public.
As a starting point and the most important element, is to ensure you have a high quality mixed and mastered stereo WAV file to upload. Avoid MP3’s of any sort and it’s recommended to have a minimum specification of a 24bit 44.1khz WAV file. I also recommend having your music professionally mixed and mastered to industry standards and if you need help with that, I encourage you to visit my website. I often get questions from people asking what level should the masters be delivered at and my advice is to first focus on getting a great sounding master overall. Most commercial masters are generally delivered at between -7 to -8 LUFS. To use the Spotify example, currently they normalize all audio to -14 LUFS, which means if your master is louder than this, they will reduce the volume to meet this target. This is a very detailed topic and something that I will likely delve deeper into in a future video.
Cover artwork can be one of those elements that certainly captures people’s attention, so I recommend spending some time in putting together artwork that is both eye-catching and gives a strong indication of the vibe of your music. In terms of the specifications of the graphics files you upload, firstly it needs to be at a 1 to 1 ratio. It also needs to be a perfect square and in JPEG or PNG format. The pixels should be 1600 x 1600 as a minimum and aim to keep the file size under 10mb. If it’s within your budget, I definitely recommend engaging the services of an experienced graphic designer to assist and if you can find one that has worked on music releases in the past, that’s also ideal.
The next step is to register with an online distributor, the distributor will take care of pushing your release out to all the relevant streaming platforms. Some of the most well known ones include Tunecore, CDBaby and Distrokid. All of these distributors are slightly different and offer different types of additional services for music releases. They also have different payment structures, some with an annual fee, others with a per-release fee. I do recommend you take the time to research each of the available distribitors and read the fine print on their websites to gain an understanding of their terms and conditions. Another bit of advice is not to just go for the cheapest available, as this could potentially have implications on the success of your release and it’s availability on certain streaming services. If you stick with one of the well known ones that have been around for a long time, they are generally a pretty safe bet.
SPOTIFY FOR ARTISTS
Spotify For Artists is an excellent resource you can access once you have claimed your artist page. This will also get you the famous ‘blue tick’ on Spotify and will make you a verified artist. Some distributors actually include access to this as part of the package they offer you, but either way you can access it directly through Spotify. I recommend checking out some popular artist profiles on Spotify to get an idea of how you can best utilize this feature. As a minimum, I would suggest adding some high quality photos and a reasonably detailed bio to tell listeners your story and a bit about your music. You can also offer merchandise and create custom playlists to share with your fans, share tour dates, amongst other features.
PLAYLIST SUBMISSION/PRE-SAVE CAMPAIGNS
Once you mastered the art of releasing music on streaming services, you can then explore things such as playlist submissions and pre-save campaigns. Whilst you can definitely aim to get placements with your first release, it may be beneficial to have some music already released and gathered some monthly listeners to make it a more compelling argument when you do eventually make submissions. Playlists have fast become an essential way for new fans and listeners to discover your music and you can find playlists that best suit your genre to ensure your visible to the right group of listeners. Pre-save campaigns are essentially a pre-release campaign where people can pre-register to stream your music via a dedicated website link. Artists use this to build a buzz and can work really well when run in conjunction with single or album launch gigs.
All the best with your music releases in 2022!
Until next time,