Today, we want to talk about how much it takes to record and promote a 5 song EP.
We start with looking at your planning stages, how much it could cost to record those songs AND what can you expect to pay to pro
mote those 5 songs to the world.
PLANNING YOUR FIRST STEPS
- First comes CHOOSING the SONGS! Do you have some songs already written and recorded? We are really just talking about 5 songs. THIS IS A SINGLES WORLD, but planning a 5 song EP and really promoting 3 of those as new singles will really give you the opportunity to build a receptive audience.
- Can I do a LIVE SONG or a COVER SONG? Yes, of course. Even if you have 5 great live recordings, you may consider a LIVE EP. Doing a COVER SONG is familiar to your audience, so consider this but make sure you go to Harry Fox Agency for your permission.
- You need a VIDEO for each music release. So which songs have the most imagery? Mix up the videos: do a live performance, then lyric video and finally a more produced OFFICIAL VIDEO. But keep your costs down!
- LEARN SOME NEW PROGRAMS! If you are doing this as a DIY musician, you can really just use a few iPhones to record yourself live. Consider learning iMovie or Descript for editing or check out Fiverr for someone to help you edit for under $100 a video.
- ENGAGE ON SOCIAL MEDIA. Just pick one you know you will post on twice a week. People need to know you are making music… so get into the game! Learn Canva and jump into Facebook Creator Studio to schedule posts on Facebook and Instagram.
- Choose a DISTRIBUTION COMPANY. Like CDBaby or DistroKid to get you music up on Spotify, Apple Music and 30+ other networks so everyone can hear your songs on their favorite listening network. It can take a few weeks to get the song up on all the networks…that is exactly why we need to do this kind of planning.
- START A WEBSITE. If that is out of your own comprehension, do a Bandcamp page. You can even sell your music on Bandcamp and continue using that service when you get your own website. Don’t you want to make it easy for people to find you?
- DELEGATE EP RESPONSIBILITIES. If you have a band, everyone needs to help. Yes, everyone. Someone can do gig research, one can post on your socials, another can contact music blogs or press….etc, If you are doing this alone, pick and choose the items most important that will get your music in front of as many listeners as possible.
- KEEP YOUR COSTS REALISTIC! See our recording and PR cost sheets below.
RECORDING COST ESTIMATES
Next, we need to discuss, how well do you need your songs recorded? Will a protools mix be OK? Do you need an engineer, producer or extra musicians?
If you are doing this all DIY with a VERY LIMITED budget, it is best to learn some recording or finding someone who will help work with your restricted budget. If you want to pitch these songs for another well-known artist to record or you want TV or Film placements, you need all the bells and whistles including mixing & mastering before you start any pitching.
Recording 5 songs could cost you $660 to $2500 a song to just record. These costs come from paying for music rehearsals, adding other musicians for the recordings, mixing & mastering a song, PLUS paying an studio, engineer & maybe a producer.
Let’s break this down.
Each song can cost between $500 to $1000 to for the studio and engineer. DIY total-$2500 and with money support-$5000 (to record a 5 song EP). If you need a producer. expect to pay at least $1000 a song or give them a 3% to 5% payment from your royalties. No producer is needed for the DIY – so that is zero expense.
If you want extra musicians or voices on your recording, you want to expect to pay for a few rehearsals and at least $150 a performer per song. Again, zero for using your own band and $600 to $1200 for more for extra musicians.
You want to do at least 2 rehearsals of the songs so you are prepared to go in and get business done in the studio. Remembering that every minute in the studio costs you money!
DO I NEED To MIX & MASTER THESE SONGS?
Next is mixing &/or mastering. We are really talking about how technical produced do you need these songs. Mixing can cost you $125 to over $250 per song.
That is how we got our totals….doing DIY all the way without a producer or extra musicians OR bumping production with mixing & mastering it could be $3,000 for 5 songs or with everything added: $2500 a song! Take a look at our FBlive on August 13th to actually see our charts!
THERE IS A COST TO DO PROMOTION!
I am hoping you are thinking about how to promote your music to the world even before you start recording. Putting it on Spotify is not releasing your music. Yes, spotify is important so people can listen to your music but you will have to do some DIY promotion yourself too.
You need a graphic for each single and having photos of the recording process; your bandmembers should help announce your songs on social media. You also will need photos, a banner for YouTube & other socials and thumbnails for your videos….check out Canva to look professional.
You can spend $200 to $400 for photos and graphics if you are not doing it yourself. Graphic technology is so great now, there is really no reason to spend too much to professional!
VIDEOS FOR EACH SINGLE
YouTube is one of the biggest networks for new listeners to find your music! So you really need a video for each music release. You can really mix it up: do a live production, lyric video, use images from your studio, do an animated video….make them fun!
You should be releasing 3 songs from the 5 song EP; a song about every 4 to 6 weeks. The 3rd single/video should have more production in it to call it an OFFICIAL VIDEO. An official video can cost up to $1200, but if you have some iPhones and good editing skills, it can be much cheaper. Personally, I don’t like to spend more than $1000 for all three, and less if we can get away with it! Learning the art of video making, will really become handy as your music career grows.
LOGOS & MERCH ITEMS
Don’t send lots of money on a logo. Look up free logos or a online print store, that will help you pick something clear and simple. Don’t go crazy…people need to read it from afar from a stage or gazing at your t-shirt.
Also, people love FREE stuff. But don’t go in debt constructing a T-shirt or hat! We go to the Party Store and but fun stuff like yo yo’s, kazoos, whistles, music shakers….etc … and put our logo on them and give those out for free if someone adds us to social media or buys some music. Get something FUN!
You will have to ask for an address to get stuff to your listeners, so make sure you have them fill out all their information, address, phone, email and birthday. Having their birthday is a great way to communicate with your fans. Don’t spent more than $200 for FREE stuff!
PROMOTING TO PRESS
There are sooo many music blogs, online magazines and podcasts, that highlight music….if you don’t know where to start, find a copy of the INDIE BIBLE or look at Submit Hub.
You can hire someone from Fiverr for $15 an hour to help you submit or make a list yourself and send to 5 PR outlets a day at lease 3 to 4 weeks before your release.
PLANNING AN EP RELEASE PARTY
I really would like for you to perform for an audience at least once a month….but especially around the release of that 3rd single because that is when you also will release a full EP.
If COVID is still keeping you from performing in-person, try planning a special ‘invitation only’ live performance online. It Is really OK to go all out with a cake, balloons, streamers and the works to celebrate your music release!
So you can spend $100 or $1000 a month promoting your new EP. Look at your wallet and if you are on a strict budget, go out and learn some programs and how to work Facebook Creator Studio to help you advertise your music on both Facebook and Instagram!
DIY artists are getting creative and doing everything themselves and finding some real success. You can do it too!