DIY Music Releasing
As part of our series of resource articles for artists navigating their way through the haze of the music industry, IMC takes a look at some digital tools available to artists when releasing their own music.
As the author Gerard Murphy states, a tribe of indie diehards is currently trudging through the desert – surviving on weeds, puddles and their undying belief in music.
This encapsulates the position of so many artists in the music industry. A countless amount of musicians are committed to their craft and seek to produce the most meaningful pieces of music they can, exploring sonic boundaries and defying limitations. These artists are in it for the music, and aren't totally abide to their own standards as opposed to the commercial demands of the popular music industry.
When it comes to releasing music in the digital age, however, marketing is often considered part of the musician’s job. As industry expert Ann Harrison states, a good record is no longer enough on its own. Artists need to find ways to stand out from the noise of the music industry, with so much new music being released each day; for instance - in 2021 Music Business Worldwide estimated that over 60,000 tracks were uploaded to Spotify each day - a figure thought to have increased to closer to the 100,000 mark.
Many new albums or projects are released with a low-budget, limiting opportunities to work with the likes of PR companies, spend on advertising, or travel to areas where artists would like to promote their work. This reality often puts the onus of marketing activities on the artist, which can be time consuming and a difficult space to navigate. With that in mind though, developments in widespread digital technologies have helped to create an environment whereby artists can act as their own record label in many respects. We’ll take a look at some of the important areas and tools of releasing music in 2023 that can help artists reach larger audiences despite working with a small budget and without a team present to help.
Online Music Distribution
Digital distribution refers to placing your new release in online music stores and digital streaming providers (DSPs), for example, Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer.
Platforms like DistroKid, CD Baby and Tune Core are all user-friendly options for independent musicians which allow you to affordable release your music across all of the major streaming services as well as the likes of YouTube, TikTok and Instagram. Your tracks will be available to stream worldwide, and you retain any revenue generated from streams and downloads.
Playlist Pitching Your New Release
Streaming platforms often curate their own editorial playlists, which tend to boast very high audience numbers. After you have uploaded your music to a distribution service like DistroKid, you will be able to claim access to your designated Artist Profile on some streaming services, such as Spotfy’s Spotify for Artists tool, or Amazon Music’s Artist-centric platform. Claiming these profiles is important for customising your profiles on these platforms and adding your latest images.
Once your have claimed your artist profile, you’ll be able to pitch your upcoming release to the streaming platform’s editorial teams for consideration on playlists your track may be suitable for. We could spend all day looking through successful stories from placements on Spotify playlists. They can enable artists to exponentially increase their number of listeners. Make sure to use any pitching tools like Spotify for Artists at least two weeks before your track’s release date so that there is time for it to be heard and considered.
Press Release and Electronic Press Kit
An Electronic Press Kit is a document that should as clearly as possible outline what your band or music is about. It should introduce you to any potential promoter, programmer, venue, agent or marketer, and immediately display all of your best content to them.
Besides giving bookers an impression of your band’s music, an EPK is the best way to send marketers and venues information about your band after you’re booked. If your EPK is readily apparent on your website, there doesn’t have to be any back and forth with marketing teams, and everything can move faster.
Be sure to read IMC’s previous articles about designing your Press Kit here.
Submitting Your Music To Industry Personnel and Curators
We’ve already talked about the importance of standing out from the noise of the popular music industry when releasing your new music. Between press, radio, streaming playlists, song placements (syncs) and more, there are many online tools available for artists that can help with achieving this.
SubmitHub has a database of music bloggers, radio hosts, social media influencers, playlist curators and more. Artists can directly pitch their music to the different outlets on SubmitHub for a small fee per submission, which can lead to features and playlist placements which would have been hugely difficult to attain otherwise. Other platforms like Groover and Daily Playlists offer similar services, and artists should take a look at the media opportunities available on these platforms when choosing whether or not its worth their time and money.
SYNCR allows artists to directly send tracks to music supervisors who are working on different advertising campaigns or placement opportunities for music. Simply upload your music and find a brief that's suitable for your track. Placements for songs is a huge revenue area for artists, and can lead to new fans as well as giving artists the chance to earn money from their work. Its important to remember that there are no guarantees your track will be selected and these spaces can be competitive, however, there's no harm in availing of a trial account and pitching your tracks for different opportunities. You never know what could happen!
The Unsigned Guide
The Unsigned Guide is a database of contacts across all areas of the music industry. While this platform is centred on UK contacts, there are plenty of international contacts in its growing database. Subscribers get access to the entire database which is organised in a user-friendly way, as well as getting access to different funding and performance opportunities. Subscription prices are affordable as this is designed for independent artists, and its definitely worth considering signing up ahead of your next track release.