Updated: Mar 2, 2021
So you’ve written your debut single, recorded it, mixed and mastered it (phew! this process is another article by itself). And now you’re ready to share it with the world but you have no idea how to go about it? Don’t worry, I’ve been in your position before. Earlier this year, I released my debut track and I know how daunting and overwhelming the process leading up to it can feel, so I’ve broken down the steps below. Hopefully, this makes it easier for up and coming artists to follow.
Before you start anything, figure out your ‘identity’ as an artist. How do you want people to perceive you? What is your story? What is your target demographic? Then, check off the following list of things as you complete them.
Artist Bio – Write an artist bio comprising of 5-6 sentences. It should include information such as your artist name, location, musical influences, musical genre, style, vocal timbre, quotes/reviews and an interesting backstory. If you are stuck, ask a friend to listen to your song and describe it for you. Often an outside perspective can be helpful in creating your artist bio. This really helps media sites in getting the gist of what you're about and potentially promoting your music
Promo Images – Take two high-resolution artist photos – one portrait and one landscape. These images should represent you as an artist and your single release. Make sure you clearly label the file name and always credit the photographer. If you don't have access to a photographer try a disposal camera - grainy film shots are all the rage now
Social Media – Create a Facebook and Instagram artist account to start amassing an audience, as these are the two most important social media platforms for musicians. Start creating and collecting social media content such as recording pics, studio shots, collaborations, lyrics, artwork, inspiration etc.
Single Cover Artwork – Create cover artwork that is both eye-catching and representative of your single. It could be in the form of a photo or something hand drawn, it’s completely up to you! Canva is a great website I used for making cover artwork that is both free and user friendly.
Press Release (Optional) - A press release is an awesome way to further attract media attention and blog coverage. I used this helpful guide on Ditto to write mine.
Music Video (Optional) – Recording a music video provides another great way for people to listen to your music. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money either! Grab a few friends and shoot a video at home or in the neighbourhood.
Music – While the aforementioned assets are all important, your track is the star of the show, so make sure your single is well recorded and produced. Consider what platforms you'd like to use whether it be spotify, apple music, bandcamp (which also supports merch) or soundcloud they have streamlined processes for getting your music online.
Now that you’ve figured out who might enjoy your music, it’s time to reach out to those media outlets that target this demographic. Google artists who are similar in genre/style to you, who are a few steps ahead of you in their musical journey, and perhaps even get into contact with them. Compile a list of where they have had media coverage. This could include music blogs, radio shows, podcasts among other platforms. These are now your media targets. Research them, keep track of them and work out the best contact for each outlet. You could set up a table with the column titles Act Name, Social Link, Media Link and Venues.
So you’ve researched and finalised your media targets. Now you’re ready to send them an email about your upcoming debut single. Make sure you include:
A Clear Email Subject Line – Some examples you could use:
NEW TRACK // Artist Name – Track Name
INTERVIEW // Artist Name
REVIEW // Artist Name – Release
Short Intro – Introduce yourself and perhaps mention something you've seen and liked that they've published recently.
Short Artist Bio – No more than 100 words. Add upcoming gig details if applicable but keep it concise as media may not have the time to read long emails.
Press Pics – Use a hyperlink (ie. Press Pics) that opens a google doc containing both portrait and landscape artist photos. Remember to credit the photographer in the file name.
Music Links – Include a public or private streaming link (ie. Soundcloud, Bandcamp or Spotify) and a free, high-quality, downloadable file that is 320 K BPS MP3 or WAV. Use hyperlinks for these too (ie. Soundcloud or Dropbox).
After a week or two, send them a follow up email asking for feedback and update them on any news about your release. Make sure you keep track of who you have contacted and when. Thank media for their coverage by sharing their links on your socials.
EXAMPLE SINGLE RELEASE TIMELINE
8 weeks from release
Choose single release date.
Research DSP (Digital Service Provider) distributors such as Ditto and submit track to chosen one. (What is a DSP? A DSP helps artists distribute their music on all major music platforms around the world as artists can not directly upload their music to streaming platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music.)
Contact your distributor for Spotify Playlist Pitching. The earlier you pitch your song to Spotify, the higher the chance an editor will place your song in a popular playlist.
Send short email to media targets requesting a single premiere. Suggest that they can play it a few days prior to release date.
Post on social media about the up and coming single.
4 weeks from release
Send longer email to media targets (attaching the press release in pdf form) requesting reviews and interviews and notify them of the release date.
Post about the single on social media including single title, release date and cover artwork.
2 weeks from release
Send follow up email.
Submit single to community radio and inform them of the release date.
Upload to Triple J Unearthed and AMRAP.
Service music video to Rage/MTV/[V].
Continue to post on social media about the upcoming release.
Other services include GYROstream and Submithub who can help get your music on playlists. APRAAMCOS and Sounds Australia are indepedent bodies that can help you get your music published, offer advice on grants and other issues such as royalties. If you are able to get a hold of some funding there are a plethora of boutique music PR services that can help get your music heard! But many artists have been able to get their music going through pure word of mouth, live shows or a strong online presence.
As an independent artist who released my debut single earlier this year, I have been through the entire process outlined above. It was a journey full of ups and downs and so many firsts, but a massive learning experience. What struck me the most was the amount of time and work I needed to put in that was necessary to promote my single, but not directly related to the music itself. Sometimes publicity feels like an uphill battle, but it is important to persevere. If you are looking to release your debut single soon, I hope this beginner’s guide has been helpful and I wish you all the best on your musical journey!
You can reach out to us at Livewire AU anytime for support regarding indepedent music releases and promotion!