If you plan to release your album independently, know what you’re doing first!
I have a secret for how to release your album independently. And I’ve never seen anyone talk about this online before.
Releasing your album independently isn’t just about “putting it out”. Thats what everyone else does. And it gets them NOWHERE. Be strategic!
The truth is, you have some very simple steps you need to make before your album or EP has even a CHANCE at being successful.
You only get a handful of album releases, so make every one count!
Releasing your album independently is an incredible amount of work when it’s done right. If you’re the musician, you’re now also the record label, management, publicist, and (probably) booking agent. And every one of these roles needs to be done wholly and totally like each one is a full-time job. If you have free time on your hands during the rollout, and you’re attempting to do all these roles yourself, something is wrong. Or, even worse, you are disrespecting your own art.
Get a full understanding of what you need to do and when you need to do it. Better yet, know this stuff and get help. Ask for help from friends, family, fans, or everyone. It doesn’t need to be someone with experience releasing an album or EP independently but it sure helps! More than anything, you just need extra hands and minds. Find some!
Mike Mowery wrote an entire book on what a manager does and how a manager coordinates all the other people in the music business team. And it’s free! Click here to get The Music Management Primer so you can gain a better understanding of all the important roles in the music industry, including the manager – of course!
Know why you are releasing an album BEFORE spending the money to do so
So many artists release their albums because… well, that’s what musicians are supposed to do. Put out music. But this is sloppy and disrespectful to the music.
Know in advance exactly why you are spending the money, time, and resources to record and release an album or EP before you do so. Want to make money? Get a record or management deal? To tour? All of it? In what order?
Your reasons why you release your next album or EP define every decision you subsequently make. How much you spend in the studio. Whether you press physical copies. If you distribute it to media. All of these choices depend greatly on what you want to get out of your release. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you get there? Know exactly what you want out of your release and then make the choices to make that happen.
There are two steps to a successul album release. Do these in this order!
Build anticipation. And Generate momentum. You never get the second without the first. So don’t operate in a vacuum! Build anticipation in your fans by spending months feeding them content to whet their appetite for the main meal – your album! (Please forgive the food analogy, but it works.)
You need to be strategic about building this anticipation. If you don’t have a plan and need one, may I humbly suggest Release It Right as a great way to plan and execute a release rollout that works.
Too many self-released albums don’t build anticipation in the audience because the musician feels uncomfortable promoting their own stuff. I get it. Everyone gets uncomfortable telling other people how great they are. But if the music deserves to be excited about, you have to respect the music, close your eyes, and tell everyone how great it is! Remember, you are your own record label. If you can imagine a record label you would love to be signed to promoting your album by being on the phone and the internet all day telling everyone who will listen how great you are – than this is going to have to be YOU this time around. Be the record label you want to be signed to!
And as the momentum builds for your album release day, make sure you stick with it and carry it through. There’s nothing more important that release week itself. Be sure you have the energy, time, and resources to release your album the right way.
Sometimes you will release your album independently because that’s what you WANT to do. Sometimes it’s what you HAVE to do. But if you do it the right way, for the right reasons, you will have results better than you would releasing your album for someone else. So enjoy the process!