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Networking, music marketing, music PR, music formats, emails, and phone calls are usually activities that occur before, during, and after the release of a single, EP, mixtape, compilation, or LP. These tasks are time-consuming, they can physically and mentally drain artistes. If done right (between weeks to months), the artiste is rewarded with good streaming numbers and royalties. This article will take you through the steps in creating an achievable music release checklist.


HOW TO DETERMINE THE BEST RELEASE DATE FOR YOUR SINGLE OR PROJECT

Knowing the day, year, month, and even time to release your music is an important activity. An analysis of each track in a project; subject matter, topic, season, etc., can help determine the best time to release a song. A song that talks about exercising voting rights released during political campaigns will be well received; perfect timing. So also, it is a waste of time to release Christmas-themed music during easter. Knowing the right time to release can help push the reach and recommendations of your music to the audience.


PRE-RELEASE CHECKLIST

PICK YOUR RELEASE DATE

This begins after the song or project has gone through all the post-production process and edits. In order to allow for sufficient time for pre-release activities, I recommend a release date of 45 days – 60 days for singles, and two-and-half to 6 months for projects. This should be from the time you begin writing your release plans.

RELEASE PLAN BUDGET

The next step is to find out the cost of the activities written in your release plan. Knowing the total cost of the forthcoming plan reduces stress.

ALBUM ART

The timeline for the completion of the album art depends on the activities involved on the cover. Album arts with artist images would require a well-planned photo shoot. Outsourced album arts to graphic designers or 3D artists (Freelance, Upwork, etc.) should have a deadline for completion and include it in your timeline. Photoshoots could take 1-2 weeks, while outsourcing could take from a couple of days to weeks.

MUSIC FORMATS

This stage is important as the different steaming platforms require different audio formats. It is handy to have an audio converter tool to help make available all the necessary distribution formats (WAV, Mp3, etc.). It is also noteworthy to mention that radio edits or clean versions of your song should be made available in the different distribution formats and properly labelled.

DISTRIBUTION

Distribution of music is now easier. Have a folder containing the right music format, music version (Explicit and Clean versions), album art, music lyrics, and the music information for each preferred streaming platform. A little research on streaming platforms, music aggregators, and their business models should help with your selection.

Here are some aggregators/distributors to consider; Spinnup, VerseOne, OneRPM, CD Baby, Amuse, DistroKid, Fresh tunes, RouteNote, Awal, Tunecore, and Bandcamp.

PRESS KIT

This is the music information that accompanies your music. It includes artiste bio, artist image, press release information, streaming links, music file (for free download and music video), and album art. Ensure to update your artist bio with new career developments since your last release. This helps the audience know more about an artist and their art beyond just streaming.

Compile an email list of media, blogs, radio stations, OAPs, music TV stations, and DJs, you will be sending this Electronic Press Kit (EPK) to. Ensure to send it 2-3 weeks prior to the release date. This could vary based on the receiver’s EPK collection protocols. Never stop updating your mailing list throughout your career.

EPK TO RHYME & REASON®

R&R® offers free media and PR coverage to artistes, producers, urban fashion designers, hip-hop-related events, and other forms of hip-hop-related content production. All EPKs should be sent to our aggregator, Kulture with OBP via email. We feature all upcoming releases for 14 days (6 days pre-release and post-release ) on our weekly New Music segment.

We also write reviews for impressive works that stand out. For sounds that push the boundaries of hip-hop and lyricism infusing it with other genres. In a quest to create their own unique sound. We very much encourage and appreciate innovation and exploitation of style in hip-hop, lyrically and/or sonically.

NEW MUSIC RELEASE SEGMENT ON RANDR.ng

THE HYPE

This is the final pre-release activity to check before the release day. Inform fans on social media and your mailing list about the upcoming music release. Share album art, teaser videos, and audio with fans. These contents create discussions and anticipation amongst your fans. The more the buzz, the higher your impression and reach in new circles.


Source: RouteNote.com

RELEASE CHECKLIST

SHARE

The only place you need to be on the day of the release is on social media. It is time to share content with links to all streaming platforms the highly anticipated, music is available on. Engage every tweet, and post concerning the released music. Lastly, update your social media profile information.

YOUTUBE PREMIERE

You can make use of YouTube’s Premiere feature for your music release. It can be used to build anticipation amongst fans as the countdown progresses. This feature is great if you can determine the best time most of your audience are likely online.

PAID ADS

This move helps improve your sales and streaming numbers. Paid ads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Google can be employed. Google ads can run on YouTube, Google Search, and third-party apps. If you can afford to, hire an ads specialist for this bit. The use of influencers on social media is a form of paid ads that dramatically improve the impressions, and mentions all that concerns the released music.

Never rule out paid ads. The biggest artistes still employ paid ads campaigns for their music releases in other to reach new fans.

PITCH TO CURATORS

Now that your music is live in stores, pitch it to playlist curators that feature songs in your genre or a similar style. You will need to have done some research beforehand to have the contacts ready for release day. Spotify offers an opportunity for new releases to get featured on Spotify’s editorial playlists through the Spotify for Artists platform. You can only do this before the song’s release day, so you would want to get your song on Spotify early enough! 

Make use of DSP playlist curators available for different streaming platforms. A little bit of research would be involved to help you with playlists that feature songs in your genre or with similar styles. You can also make use of Spotify’s editorial playlist through Spotify for Artistes.

LISTENING PARTIES

A launch event or listening party for your project helps fans a unique experience and interaction with your new music. Make sure to have the physical copies and merchandise ready for the event. 


POST-RELEASE ACTIVITIES 

Post-release activities usually include repetition of some pre-release and release day activities. Weeks following the release, find new ways to share the music on social media. Use your promotional content and other creative ways to share the same message in different interesting ways. Try different ads campaigns, and pitch to more playlists.

FOLLOW UP

Reach out to media platforms and contact lists you sent your EPK to for their thoughts on the music. Avoid spamming and nagging. The recommended time to send a follow-up mail is 2 weeks after sending EPK. Engage, respond and appreciate the media platforms that feature your music.

TOUR

Going on a concert tour is the best way to promote new music or project. At the moment, the touring culture for hip-hop is low and not sustainable. This portion will be updated with the times.

MUSIC REGISTRATION

Register your music to recognised bodies; COSON, PMAN, MCSN, Award Committees, etc. This helps with royalties, copyright protection, and recognition.


SUMMARY

Music release can be frantic and time-consuming. A solid release plan is likely to succeed, so far it is written out properly with all the activities detailed, and goals. Remember to measure your success at the end of the campaign.

A good case study to research and understudy is Blaqbonez. The rapper plans and carries out all of his planned Music Release activities for both singles and projects.

Godspeed!

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