Producer Experience - BPM Supreme Contributor - October 20, 2021
Preparing for Your First Release: 10 Actions to Take

Gearing up for your first release as a musician is downright intimidating. It’s challenging enough to muster up the courage to release your art, but to also manage the marketing around it? It can be overwhelming, to say the least.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of 10 essential steps to prepare for your first release. You can use this guide as your release rollout checklist to make sure that your music gets heard by as many people as possible. Let’s dive into it!

1. Set Up Your Artist Music Pages

After you’ve submitted your release to your distributor, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready to sign up for Spotify and Apple Music for artists. Unfortunately, you can’t claim these accounts until after release day, but in the meantime, you can make sure you have your artist bio, photos, and social media links ready for when the time comes. 

On release day, claim your respective artist account so that you can take ownership of your page, and most importantly, your data. These free services provide valuable insight into the demographics of your listeners and playlists placements. It’s a great resource for tracking your release over time, and you can even use the service to compare and contrast with other similar artists.

Moving forward, you’ll also be able to submit a future release to Spotify’s editorial team for free using the interface. Keep in mind that it usually takes a couple of weeks or so for tastemakers to get to your song, so you’ll want to plan on submitting it to your distributor at least four weeks ahead of your release date. Pitch your song as soon as possible for the best chance of getting placed on an editorial playlist.

Below you can see examples of how Spotify for Artists provides free data and insights that can be extremely useful for future marketing campaigns and pinpointing your true fans.

2. Share Your Pre-Save Link

Pre-saves allow your fans to “save” your songs on Spotify ahead of release date so that your track will automatically appear in their library on release day. This can help the algorithm recognize that your release is performing well, and can also create anticipation for your fans. 

You should have a pre-save link from your distributor that you can share with your fans. This is also a good time to clean up your social media links. It can be helpful to create a conglomerate link through a service like Linktree so that you can keep everything organized. 

This way, when a fan clicks on the link in your social media bios, they’ll be able to access your pre-save along with any other content you have to drum up the hype. You can also track how many clicks each of your links receive, which is another great data point. Place your pre-save link near the top of your Linktree or other similar service, but also, don’t be afraid to plug it directly!

Often the best way to gain pre-saves (especially for a first release), is to text it out to those who might be interested in your music. You can also share it directly on Twitter and Facebook. However, don’t share anything about your release until your audience can take action.

A lot of momentum can be drummed up from the first mention of a new release, so don’t miss out on the opportunity to capitalize on it—you want to give your audience as many chances as possible to make that pre-save conversion.

3. Prepare Social Media Assets

You’ll want to make sure you have plenty of social media assets and promotional material ready for release day. Take some time with an artsy friend to shoot some photos that live in the same creative universe of your song. It’s also a good idea to start thinking about what you can share about the creation process: What inspired your song? How did you create the cover art? What does putting out this song mean to you?

Answering these questions ahead of time will make it much easier for you to promote your new project past release day. Fans can also get more excited about a release if they know all that went into creating it.

4. Craft an Artist Bio

While most musicians don’t jump at the thought of describing themselves over text, it’s essential to craft an artist bio for pitching to blogs and representing yourself across the internet. If you don’t have a lot of musical history to harp upon, try to think of what you aspire to be.

At the very least, this exercise will help you fine-tune the direction of your branding and solidify your idea of who you want to be as an artist. Allow yourself to write your own artist bio regardless of whether or not you plan to use it. Worst case scenario, you find a copywriter to do the talking for you, but finding a way to describe yourself as an artist is essential to your marketing efforts.

5. Reach Out To Blogs For Coverage

Blog coverage isn’t everything, but it can definitely expand your credibility as an artist and get your music to new ears. You can use a service like SubmitHub to send your release directly to blog curators or reach out to compatible blogs directly. Keep your pitch simple, respectful, and to the point. 

You’ll want to include a private streaming link to your release (this could be on SoundCloud or a Google Drive link), a press photo, and a short bio blurb on yourself and your track. Personalize each email to the needs of the blog, and make sure you take the time to listen to what each blog covers to make sure your music could be a potential good fit. 

6. Create Video Content For Release Day

Creating video content doesn’t come naturally to all artists, but it is essential to learn since this type of content is so much more engaging than a photo or text post alone. Whether you create a DIY music video or lyric video, make sure you have it ready for release day! You can also cut your video up into smaller chunks ahead of time for promotion on other social media platforms.

You should also get on TikTok if you’re not already. This app is single-handedly changing how we discover music, so figure out a way to create content on the platform that’s authentic to you. Creating videos for your content can enhance the listening experience for your audience, just like album art. 

7. Craft Your Song’s Story

Having a story for your song is crucial. It will make it easier for potential listeners to connect with your song, especially if you don’t have previous releases to draw them in. Write up what your song means to you and have it ready to share with your followers.

Come up with different versions of your song’s story as well. You should have a more in-depth description to share with blogs and fans, but also an “elevator pitch” to share with anyone you may meet in passing. Decide on what will connect others to your music and make that the centerpiece of your song’s story.

8. Network With Potential Fans and Other Artists

No one automatically has fans. Fans need to be found, in one way or another, which can be tricky, especially if you haven’t put out a release yet. However, you can still build excitement for your release using your pre-save link and leveraging the audience you already have (even if that’s your Mom and your cousin).

It can also be fruitful to link up with other artists! You can use networking chats through services like Discord, Clubhouse, Reddit, or even SubmitHub. Plenty of artists are willing to support you if you’re willing to show some love in return. Plus, this is a great way to scope out future collaborators for your music.

For example, below you can see the “Rooms” on Submithub are completely free and are great for receiving feedback and meeting other artists. 

9. Have A Release Day Plan

Release day is exciting, but it can also be stressful. It’s a great idea to have a release day plan to make sure you have all of your bases covered. Your plan should include what social platforms you plan to post on and fine details like what your captions are going to be. This way, when release day comes around, you can simply plug your pre-made content to your social sites and focus on getting your music out to new ears.

If you have any video content, see if you can set up a scheduled upload. Do as many things as you can ahead of time to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks.

You’ll want to make sure you send out your new song links to any blogs that promised coverage of your song on release day. Playlist curators can also start considering your track once it’s released, so it might be wise to prepare your pitch.

10. Don’t Stop Promoting After Release Day

Don’t forget that promotion should extend far beyond release day! In fact, keeping all of your promotion strategy condensed into a couple of weeks can feel overwhelming for your audience. Find ways that you can promote your releases regularly. This could be as simple as using your music in the background of your TikTok, or pitching to a playlist curator a couple of times a week.

Above all, remember that your audience is out there, you just need to find it. Large artists are built upon small incremental changes spread out over years of hard work. Find a way that you can further your art and career every day, whether that’s diving into your technical skill set or working on outreach.

So, take the 10 actions before your first release, but don’t stop there! Oftentimes, music marketing (or any for that matter) boils down to trying as many strategies as possible and seeing what sticks. Stay consistent in your efforts, but don’t be afraid to seek out new ways to market your music in a way that’s authentic to you. 

Also, take your first release for what it is: your first release. You will have plenty of time to refine your art and strategy, so don’t get discouraged if your release day doesn’t go as planned. Take it all in as a learning experience or as inspiration for your next single. Happy releasing! 

About the Writer
Kate Brunotts is an audio engineer and music producer from New York City. When she’s not writing about music, producing music, or singing and songwriting, Kate helps others realize their unique sound, whether through a fresh mix, new instrumental approach, or total rework of a particular sound.
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