Thursday, November 29, 2012

Band 101: Releasing your music - CD/Digital? How Many Songs? Etc?

We received a lot of questions recently regarding releasing new music in this new age of the music industry. Such as: How many Songs? Do we need CD's or Digital? What should we do with the music to get it out there?

Below are based on my experiences and research, if you have other positive information to help your fellow artists please leave comments on this blog post!

The Music Industry obvious has been changing faster than the speed of light but also evolving into a DIY model for the artists. But there are some things every artist needs to do before they release their music. Hopefully I can provide some useful information.

I recommend any independent artist to release 5 song ep's rather than full length CD's. Each artist is trying to build new fans. Recording your 5 best songs is best direction. By recording 5 songs it keeps your fan engaged and their attention.
With doing EP's you can release them every 8 months or so to remain fresh. It also benefits your merch and CD sales by building a library of your music.

So your in the studio recording some smoking tracks for your EP release. its sounding great, awesome feedback from all in involved with the recording.

Artist/Band Rights:
The Artist/Band has to get all their rights in order before you release the EP.

1. The band needs to setup an artist agreement/partnership between themselves (if it isn't already) on who gets what percentage of the publishing, touring, merch, etc. Also who owns the band name and provisions if someone departs the band?
2. The Artist needs to register with ASCAP, BMI or SESAC for your publishing royalties.
3. The Artist needs to register with Sound Exchange for all of your internet royalties. SoundExchange is the non-profit performance rights organization that collects statutory royalties from satellite radio (such as SIRIUS XM), internet radio, cable TV music channels and similar platforms for streaming sound recordings

*** recommend talking to an Entertainment Lawyer and/or a Publishing Consultant

Okay were done recording lets get some CD's pressed up for our release show!
Hold on.... here are steps to do it right.

When you release your new 5 Song EP, you should set a release date and have it
correspond on the ITunes/Amazon for your digital download date. So how do I do that?

CDs/MP3 & Distribution:
1. I recommend right now using TUNECORE, its reasonable and best for selling your music online. They put your music on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and many other stores. They collect and give you 100% of the money from your music sales along with detailed streaming and sales reports.
They will give you a date when you material will be available online. It takes 3-4 weeks to go live.
2. Once you know that date, setup a release show the week of it being available online.
3. Recently a lot of successful touring bands have been selling Download Cards, USB Drives, Vinyl and CDs for selling their music. Fans still like CDs, but Vinyl and download cards seem to the favorites.
4. CD's I wouldn't go out and get 1000 CD's right away, most of the time they wind up in the basement collecting dust. I would do 300CD's to start, along with download cards to offer to your fans. Vinyl is cool and seems to sell well to diehard fans - maybe offer a short run as a limited edition. Set a budget on what you can afford for merch, you always can buy more..
5. Make sure you make it easy for fans to buy your music/merch from your websites. Have all the links to amazon, itunes, spotify and etc.


Using Tools like Topspin, Nimbit, Bandzoogle, Moontoast, and many others allow you to build a complete online store inside your website or Facebook. You can sell digital & physical music, plus merch, tickets, and lots of other stuff, directly to fans without a middleman. You also keep the vast majority of the money you earn  

How do I get my new EP out to the World?
The age old question.... promotion and creating a buzz!!!

Here are some tips and ideas for you to try....

The more people you meet, the more events your attend, developing relationships etc.
See past Band 101 topic:

Internet Radio/Podcasts:
This is a great way to get your music heard around the world. The best way to get on internet radio/Podcast is to find the stations that fit your style of music and contact the DJ directly. Don't go sending them MP3's. Just send and intro letter introducing the band, and a link to your music and great Youtube if available. If they like your band they will want a CD mailed or mp3 emailed to them. Two great sites with a lot of options are and There is a lot of research that can be done to find international stations; you just need to put the work in.

Music Blogs/Review Sites
The main issue here is that which blogs would be interested in reviewing my music. There are a lot of music blogs out there and a hard nut to crack. The best is to use the same approach as above. One recommendation would be approach the smaller blogs first. They may have a few followers but it will help you get into the larger ones. Also make sure you have an interesting story to tell that would attract someone to review your music. In the past I would look to see who writes the reviews and find out what they like and send them the music w/ a Starbucks gift card, free shirt, free cool merch. item. I sent a coffee basket to a radio DJ before. The band was played for 4 weeks on her show. It's a poor man’s payola but it does work if the music backs it up.
The Hype Machine is a great website in all, here is a listing of music blogs:!/blogs/tags/alternative

College Radio:
Is college radio still relevant, I would say yes, but it has shrunk. The DJ's are still playing music they like. They key is to find the stations that play your style of music, again try an make a solid contact at the station to submit your music. Also the College DJ's also are Bloggers trying to get new music out to their followers. Most of the stations also stream their shows also.
here are links to get you started:

Commerical Radio/XM Sirius:
All independent artists are limited to specialty local programs, still a form of promoting your music. Commercial radio is still run by the labels. You can hire radio promoters, they are expensive, but don't always meet what artists expectations are. They get you on new music shows for a play with the false hope of regular airplay. If you are in the metal scene it's a little different but still an uphill battle.

Reviews in Papers/Magazines
Most of your major magazines are extremely hard to crack, even for known artists. The first avenue I would try to do is go to your local neighborhood papers and sell them the story on the band, music release and gameplan for getting the cd out there. When you get to the city level of papers it really is a long shot. There is only a small amount for them to write about with a worlds worth of music.
Here are some cool sites to try and get your music reviewed on:
*** see our side bar for great music blogs***

Good Article:

Creating videos with your new music in them is also a very good promotional tool. I know making a video can be expensive. If you have creative types it can be down fairly cheap with a flip camera or something similar. Think out of the box, be creative and gain some interest.

Soundcloud is the easiest to use free music upload service. It takes just a couple clicks to upload a song and once you do, you can embed your music everywhere from Facebook to your Tumblr account. You can allow people to download it, stream it, and if you choose you can even allow people to remix it. It's also a free way to connect with other musicians, follow artists you like, and create a small community around your songs. But the biggest appeal? You can allow people to comment anywhere in the song. This means you'll get personalized feedback on each section of your song. It's hard to get used to all the criticism, but it will help you improve in the long run.

Bandcamp/Let your fans decide what they pay:
Bandcamp is free to use for musicians and allows you to set your price for your album or let people pay whatever they want. Unlike Soundcloud, you also get better (and more) options for tagging your songs and tracks so people can find you based on your location, music type, or even mood. Better still, people can download your songs in a number of formats and qualities, including high-quality FLAC files. If you're releasing a whole album, you get a nice, minimal landing page where people can stream or download the songs. Bandcamp has every stat you can imagine, including sales, streaming time, and details on when people stop listening to a track. As a tracking tool, it's a good way to see how people listen to your music. As a selling tool, it's a great way to let potential fans stream a song or album before buying it.

Tracking Down new Fans:
Once your music is on the internet you still need to track down fans. This is the hardest part, but the best thing you can do is make it so your music is accessible in as many places as possible. Here's a few simple rules to follow after you've uploading your music:
Tag your songs properly:   The biggest way musicians shoot themselves in the foot is by not tagging their music properly. Sites like Soundcloud or Bandcamp let you pick your genre or location because it helps people find you. Use genre tags properly and honestly.  Include your location too, because if anyone ever wants to write about your music, the first thing they want to know is where you're from.
Spread it out to aggregation and radio services: People aren't always going to come searching for your music on their own. You need to make it accessible and easy to find. Once your music is online, submit links to discovery engines like exfm and so people can find your music by accident.
Some music Directory Services:

*** Serveral People May Not like the Next Way of getting your music out there but it is an option to get your music out there***

Torrent Sites/Rapidgator/Mediafile File Sharing:
If your band is interested in getting your name out there without any potential CD sales there is the torrent/file sharing way. Release your music and sharing it on torrent sites could garner downloads over the world. I know it's falling into the Pirarcy World. But knowadays more than 80% of the population of the world gets their music illegally. A great torrent listing site is Pirate Bay. If you put your torrent on here it will be listed as "New" post and watch it go viral. People will download to check it out. It's a long shot but worth a look if your getting desperate

Hopefully some of the ideas I brought will help you in releasing your new music to your fans both new and loyals. By no means is this set in stone methods, every artist is different and want different goals. So good luck, keep your music alive and spead the word.

Jim Thorpe / Legendary Dobbs-DVT Entertainment

1 comment:

  1. Thank You!!! Thank You!!! You guys fucking rock at Dobbs. Jim/Vince I know you are the ones who make the club the best in the music scene in Philly. By giving bands information that truely can help their careers. I wish the rest of the venues gave a shit, but they don't get it. You should charge people for this information. Dobbs Forever!!!