How to release a single in 2020

Releasing your album, mixtape, EP, single or cover song is a moment in the making, so you might be wondering, how do I release my music? First of all, it should be a happy moment. As long as you get a few key things in place, releasing will be as joyous as laying down that first chord—the way it should be! We created the album release checklist to help you put the good vibrations back into releasing. And less stress. The bottom line? Album art still plays an important visual role for your music. So your art is important! Finding album art can be tough. Working within your network of creators, or taking time to make your own album cover is always the best way to find the perfect image.
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If you've landed on this article, you're more than likely wondering how to release a song. In the past 5 years, releasing music has drastically changed. Now it's easier than ever to release your music and to have your music heard from fans around the world.
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Do you have a plan for your next music release? This can be a single, a music video, an EP, or an album. This series comes from many years of collaborating with record labels and brilliant managers. What we noticed separate the best artists and teams who get results vs. Back in the day when labels were more focused on artist development they had entire departments dedicated to planning and growth. Sadly, today artists are expected to come to the table already fully developed with large and engaged fanbases and proof of growth. There are 15 elements to keep in mind when creating a music marketing plan. To check off the 89 elements we have further broken down for you download our Music Marketing Plan Checksheet as a companion to this series. Watch this Week timeline come to life in a special video musicians masterclass I gave in New Orleans. The three options in the U.

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You have also maybe posted once or twice on Instagram about the release close to the release date but is that enough? What about an actual music release schedule? Does that sound like you? Do not underestimate how invaluable pre-release promotion is and the difference it can make to the success of your new song. Contrarily, do not underestimate the contribution that a lack of promotion can make towards the all too common complete anonymity of your song. It is the reason why major labels and even smaller labels spend good money and invest in a big way in promotion and spend a good few months doing just that. I get. I really do. I know, I know. I used to have that mentality.

You write a song, or you find a song; the song moves you and you want it to move the world. So you record and distribute that song as a single to platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube. Once the song is available, anything could happen. The music could change the world, it could wow a few people, or it could go completely ignored. Of course chance always plays a part, but the outcome is partially in your own hands. In our world of short attention spans, releasing music more frequently can play a significant factor in your success.

Platforms like Spotify and YouTube even reward artists who put out songs and videos on a regular basis. So singles do have their drawbacks. So put out a single first. Plant your flag. Claim your accounts. And be ready to go full-force on the follow-up release. The music still needs to be compelling! What does that mean? Not every music video needs to be a fully produced music video.

But not every song needs to be a fully-produced masterpiece either. That being said, the dominant format of the day has always shaped music, and streaming is changing the sound of popular music.

I f you do want to make your singles more likely to get playlisted , you should be aware of these music trends:. People are impatient and can skip songs very easily. Get to the goods.

Consider putting your hook right at the beginning Speaking of getting to the goods, you could lead with the hook or chorus. The Beatles did it half a century ago, and Bruno Mars is doing it today. Under 3 minutes would be the goal for maximum playlist-ability. Choose the right distributor When you sign up your single for distribution to Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, and other digital music platforms, you should know that good distribution is about much more than pushing digital files from one place to another.

CD Baby has been paying artists weekly for more than 20 years. No point in talking about your new music if no one can DO anything with it, right? Set a release date at least a month in advance and use that time to generate energy for your song! Get your guaranteed Release Radar playlist placements! Submit the song for Spotify playlist consideration. Plan ahead. Do it right. Depending on the scope of your campaign, you might even need months of preparation.

Here are just some of the things you could do to promote your single, if you have enough time:. Before you go crazy trying to create anticipation, set up your pre-saves or pre-orders! Get the link, then share that link when you post updates about the release ahead of its drop date. It takes a lot to get us to pay attention online, so repeated messaging is crucial. The hook? I found a Public Domain image of an iceberg that intrigued me, and I decided that image would stand at the core of all my marketing for the song. It would become the cover artwork, the background of my lyric video, and an important element in more than a dozen Instagram posts.

The image was one of the first instances of supernatural photography, purporting to capture an iceberg in where a crystalline Virgin Mary rose from the water.

So,… there was the kernel of my marketing. From there it was just a matter of expressing it in soundbites. The first thing I did was set up my Spotify pre-save campaign. Once I had the link, I started to slowly tease the cover artwork by splitting it up into nine smaller images for Instagram. When a viewer looked at my profile at the end of the week, all nine of the smaller images formed a grid revealing the full artwork.

Every time I posted I would share the pre-save link. I then shifted to a more direct approach for the pre-save campaign, but with a focus on an emotional appeal….

Once the song was released I put out a lyric video on YouTube and Facebook with tons of buried text — posing as a letter from the 22nd-Century — referring back to the origins of the photograph:.

I then placed it inside a Show. Then I did the obvious things, like adding a Spotify player to my website announcement bar about the song. The next thing I did was to take a bunch of phrases from the letter portion of the lyric video and place them over the cover art for more Instagram posts, like so…. Lastly, I posted the complete text of the letter on Facebook.

But it always amazes me how long it takes to compose an email newsletter or write a Facebook post. And as I mentioned above, be sure to notify your distributor, publicist, any industry contacts, licensing experts, and so forth, way in advance. The song might be enough. The story and hook might be enough. When I ran my Spotify pre-save campaign, I made it a contest too. I would choose two winners at random from the list of people who pre-saved the song and send them a t-shirt.

In addition to sending this out through the usual means, I also ran a Facebook ad to a targeted group of people who like similar artists as me. Think of what extras might make someone push the save, buy, or play button. Video, of course, is one of the most sharable forms of online content, so if both the song and video are great, it might make sense to release them both simultaneously IF you can get a notable blog to premiere the video for you meaning you give them a limited-time exclusive to debut the video on their site , though premieres have gotten harder to come by as the number of relevant blogs shrinks every year.

Be sure to upload the video directly to Facebook too once the exclusive blog premiere is over , since Facebook favors video that is native to the platform. You can run that video as an ad on Facebook to generate interest in your music.

Effective radio promotion can be pretty expensive, and your average DJ is going to be more interested in an ALBUM release, but if the song is right and the promoter has a record of success, it might be worth the cost. You can still make a dent going the DIY route to community and college radio, as well as locally focused shows on big stations. Is the radio route still feeling like a pipe dream? If so, concentrate on getting your single added to as many Spotify playlists as possible.

In some cases, a song placement on a prominent Spotify playlist can net you more listeners than a whole radio promotion campaign. So think about what song will be most enticing. The playlist-friendly single? A deeper cut? Whether you offer bonus tracks digitally, or exclusively on CD and vinyl, this gives you a great chance to feature some extra content and drive sales and streaming activity. Live track? Alternate mix? An unreleased track? Acoustic version of a favorite song from your previous album?

The bonus track will appeal to fans who want to collect the whole catalog. Please comment below. Distribute a single worldwide. I live in Maine and like peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, a little too much. Releasing a single song: The 10 best strategies for By Chris Robley.

January 15, How to plan your next single release: promotion and distribution tips for a standalone track. It all starts with a song. The benefits and challenges of releasing singles in You need to first consider the strategy behind the release of your single: How are you going to attract listeners, encourage streams, and drive downloads?

How is the launch of this single going to enhance your relationship with your audience? How will this song help you get to the next level in your music career? How does a single help you tell a little bit more of your artist story? How do you position your single to capitalize on streaming tools and algorithmic traction?

You should also weigh the pros and cons of releasing standalone songs. Find the BEST moment in your song, then ask: How can this moment inspire listeners to make videos of their own such as TikTok challenges, dance contests, caption contests, duets, response videos, and other hashtag-driven community engagement? Can I shoot a short original video to this 15 seconds of music? Can I find good royalty-free or pubic domain footage to add to this 15 seconds of music? What will get people on Instagram Stories to answer questions or engage with a poll?

The bonus content — After the big album splash, you want to maintain momentum on streaming platforms. Both of you benefit from all the cross-promotion that ensues. Either way, it helps you get some extra attention.

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