Many musicians come to me after they finished recording 5 songs or their first EP. Of course, the music comes first, so I applaud all the work it took to get to this point. Let’s also assume, at this point, you have found a domain name and you at least started a free version of Bandcamp or Reverbnation. Joining a social media platform is important, but the goal is having new listeners just google your name and point them to a website that has everything they may want to check out.
I know you are impatient just to throw those songs out to the world all at once but let’s do some music management housekeeping first.
- Have you determined your music image?
Meaning, do you know what genre of music you fit in? And do your photos, logo and graphics portray what your songs are saying. I know that may be tough for you, so you may want to explore a well-know band you feel your music resembles and study what they are putting out into the world. I am not saying to do exactly like another band, but take their lead as to type of photos and maybe even text font and colors. These famous bands have already done their market research on how to attract fans, so follow what has already been proven successful!
We are a visual world and music fans are always going to look for a photo and want to see cool graphics that makes them feel the music. You are going to need a graphic for your EP and for every single you send out to the world!
Music image may also include your clothing, your hair style, how much make-up you use or jewelry you wear. But you need to be comfortable with what you are sporting, because how you feel about what you are presenting to the world will immediately be seen by how you swagger into a room. Again, study other artists in your genre and then take hold of what YOU feel portrays who YOU are.
- Have you determined what stories you are portraying in your songs?
Write down a list of emotions or mood each of your 5 songs are presenting. (i.e. happy or positive, anger or frustration, melancholy, romantic or reflective).
Also, there music be a theme running through your songs… are you telling positive stories, expressing a love lost, running from your past, striving to change the world, or even as simple as making someone want to dance!) Knowing what you are trying to say to the world will help you when we start talking about finding your target markets. Knowing the kind of emotion you are trying to convey to a new listener, will help us find just the right groups of people to pitch to.
- Do you have a 15 second elevator pitch?
Here I am again talking about needing you to describe your music to a stranger. You need to create your own sound but realize that every musician has been influenced by musicians they experienced while learning how to make music.
Make a list of who, in music, influenced you the most and see if you can’t you’re your music comparison to those more famous will help the listener to be able to play a combination of music in their heads. (i.e. “We blend the energy of ACDC with a vibe more like My Chemical Romances” OR “Fans say I sound like a modern Jack Johnson with a pop piano sounds similar to Elton John”) Again, you get to choose your comparisons BUT don’t say you are the next Billy Eilish or can replace Whitney Houston. You are NEVER better than but similar to an already established artist!
- Enter into social media even before you release a song to the public!
Here I am encouraging you to pick a social media platform you would be comfortable joining. If you like doing and reading quick 30 second posts, you may want to try Instagram. If you are more comfortable just posting content about what you like or would like to actually sing your full song, without all the bells and whistles, you many want to have a personal facebook and a band page. Participation in TikTok or Twitter regularly? Start participating in at least one to start sharing the launch of your music to the social media world.
You can start sharing stories about the recording process…do a count down to your first music release. I did another blog and Facebook live earlier in the year that talks about what to say on social media….check it out!
- Are your songs Copyrighted and have you joined a PRO?
You can go to Copyright.gov to register and protect your songs. Gather your songs by the same songwriters and you can copyright a full collection of songs for one price ($55). If you are doing a song-by-song copyright it will cost you $35 a song. Save some money and gather those songs. If you are releasing your songs to the world, you need to make sure nobody steals your songs and says they are their own. Getting those songs copyrighted will protect your songwriting credits.
A PRO is a Performing Rights Organizations like ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. These organizations collect your royalties if someone else uses your songs for TV, film, advertising (any media that is out to the public). You will have to join as a songwriter and make a name for your own publishing companies. We will be doing some panels in the future to explain what are publishing rights and how to place your songs in TV, Films, advertising and gaming. But get registered now.
- Have you joined a distribution network?
Again, this is a digital world so you need to join a network that will get your music on as many digital platforms as possible. There are a lot of choices…I have supplied an article below to help you choose. Whether you choose CD Baby, Distro Kid or another distributor, it may take a week or longer to get your music up on sites so you need to plan this ahead. Just getting your music on Apple Music and Spotify you can reach close to a billion new listeners!
One note: You need to get a SPOTIFY FOR ARTIST page and make sure you list your new music with release date in the future so you can get possible Spotify playlist editors to be the first to review new music. Yes, that means you need to actually look at your songs and pick a release date for each song. Always pick a Friday and remember you will need a graphic for every single you release.
That should be enough for you to work on this week. In the next few blogs and FBLives we will give you easy step by step “To Do’s” what you need to do to release your first music projects to the world.
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