How To Sell & Release Music Online
Let’s set the scene.
You’re a keen musician who has spent months and years honing their craft, writing song after song about various chapters of your life. You now know each song off by heart and decide to finally book into a studio to get them recorded.
After recording each of them with a producer, and having them mixed and mastered, you are handed a CD featuring the final versions of your songs. At long last, you can finally show off your creations to the masses and, hopefully, make a bit of money from all your hard work.
However, when you get back home and load up your laptop, you realise you have no idea where to start, and begin questioning which websites you should be using…
This is where we come in. We understand there’s a lot of misinformation out there already about what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to releasing your music online. Therefore, we’re here to help cut through the jargon.
In our guide, we will take you through some of the key things you should think about doing to maximise the royalties you take from your tracks. Let’s get started.
Step One: Get your tracks ready for release.
First things first, if you haven’t already recorded your tracks, you need to head on down to the studio and get them produced in as high-quality a version as possible. Online music stores only accept MP3 and WAV files, so you will also need to make sure that your tracks are recorded, mixed and mastered into the right format as well.
Away from the music itself, you’ll also need to think about artwork you want to use alongside your track. Whether you’d rather design this yourself or hire a graphic designer to do it for you, this artwork will need to be at least 2400 x 2400 pixels in size. It’s often the first impression you’ll give to a potential listener as well, so it needs to be distinctive and relevant to your sound.
Plus, you can use this artwork to print marketing materials like flyers and posters, as well as merchandise and physical album versions of your songs. These materials and merchandise can then be used and sold on your own eCommerce website to generate even more revenue.
Step Two: Get the necessary license.
If the music you’re looking to release is all your own work, then you don’t need to worry about this step. Move on down to step three if this isn’t relevant to you.
If, however, you’ve recorded a cover song, remix or produced a track that uses samples from other songs, you’ll likely need to acquire a license before you can release it as one of your own tracks. To understand which license you need, take a look below:
- Releasing a cover song in only the UK? No license required.
- Releasing a cover song in the UK and North America? You’ll need a Mechanical License.
- Releasing a remix? You’ll need a Master Use License for worldwide distribution.
- Releasing a song with samples in? You’ll need both a Master Use and Mechanical License.
While this may sound scary, it really isn’t. It’s quick and easy to purchase the license you require online from companies like Songfile and Easy Song Licensing.
Step Three: Plan your release strategy.
OK, so you’ve got your tracks and your licenses, now comes the fun part: it’s time to release your music to the world.
In order to do this effectively, you need to plan a strategy in advance. Failing to do this can seriously impact the number of streams, downloads and exposure that your music achieves, so you need to make sure you’re properly prepared. Listed below are some of the best ways to ensure your music’s release is as effective as possible:
- Timing. Don’t just put a track out there and hope for the best. Start promoting your music’s release between six and eight weeks before the date it’s set to become live.
- Paid Promotion. If you have the money available, hire the services of a PR company or radio plugger to get as much coverage as possible for your latest release.
- Self-Promotion. Regardless of whether you have funds available or not, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the best weapons for unsigned acts to utilise. To attract more fans, make sure to regularly post great content and consistently engage with any of your existing followers.
- DIY PR. If you’re looking to go the extra mile, doing your own PR can be a great way to get your music heard – but it requires patience and persistence. By designing your very own electronic press kit and writing an exciting press release about your music, you can then use this to reach out to relevant bloggers and journalists.
Step Four: Do it all over again.
As the old phrase goes, you shouldn’t flog a dead horse, so it’s important to recognise when your music’s release has had its time. Once it’s been sent out here, there and everywhere, it’s important to keep your newly-found following freshly updated with relevant news, video content and – most importantly – new music!
Being seen and heard by the masses can take substantial time and effort but, with the right level of determination and perseverance, we promise it’ll be worth it in the end.