The ultimate check-list for your next release

This topic resonates with every artist who needs to release one or more independent tracks. Releasing a track is no walk in the park. From distribution and planning to promotion, the task can seem daunting and require a diverse set of skills. A poorly organized release could tarnish the success of a track. But fear not—with a little organization, it’s within everyone’s reach.

Build your identity

Before taking any action, you must first lay down solid foundations for your project. A well-defined identity, a unique vibe, and masterful communication are essential elements for long-term career success. While it may seem unnecessary when your project is still in its infancy, setting the right actions in motion from the beginning will set you on the right path.

A message and an identity that resonate with your audience will engage them and grow your fanbase. Your clothing style, logo, visuals on social media, and even your profile picture define your identity. Depending on the message you want to convey, feel free to create an identity that suits you. The key is to remain consistent and authentic, forging a strong connection between your music and your audience.

A strong and engaged audience will always pay off in the long run. By ensuring committed fans, you provide promoters with a dedicated fanbase, and labels will be more inclined to invest in you. It’s a curious paradox: showing labels that you don’t necessarily need them for a successful career is what piques their interest.

Establishing a brand identity allows you to identify not only who you’re addressing but also who won’t be part of your audience. This is crucial during project launch. With limited time and resources, you want to ensure your music reaches those likely to become devoted fans.

© Tomorrowland

Fine-tune your songs

It can’t be stressed enough: don’t release titles unless the result is excellent. Admittedly, it’s challenging to determine the optimal point where a title is ready, as there’s always room for improvement. Experience teaches you to recognize this point, and if you have doubts, it means the title isn’t quite there yet. Seeking additional feedback from friends and your team is essential. A good manager should provide honest feedback to help you enhance your title. That’s why building a strong team is crucial.

Prepare your release

Congratulations! Your song is ready, and you’re satisfied with the outcome, confirmed by those around you. Now it’s time to plan your release. While this step may seem daunting due to the workload, it’s simpler than you think. Let’s break it down with the ultimate checklist for a successful release:

  • Ensure that the WAV and MP3 metadata for your title are correctly set up. This simplifies sharing, especially for radio programming. Edit metadata as soon as you export your track from your music production software. You can also use tools like Mp3tag for configuration.
  • Design artwork for your streaming platforms. Consider a long-term vision here. Develop a consistent visual identity around your artwork that you can replicate for each release. This embeds your identity in your audience’s subconscious.
  • Generate content for promotion on your social media channels. If you’ve defined your identity beforehand, creating content while maintaining consistency becomes easier. Feel free to choose the most relevant channels and formats, all while staying true to your artistic style. Unleash your creativity!
  • Keep your press kit and website up to date. This simplifies communication with music professionals.
  • Send your release to fellow artists. Their feedback will be invaluable, and DJs might even play your track during their performances.
  • Create a Spotify Canvas Video: Titles with Canvas videos tend to attract more listens.
  • Ensure your smartlink contains all relevant links related to your release, including social media and website links.
  • Engage fans early by setting up a pre-save campaign. This ensures that your title will be available in their libraries on the release date.

Set a release date and schedule your tasks

Alright, if you’ve completed all these steps, you’re on the right track. Now it’s time to define a release date and establish a backward schedule that includes the following actions:

  • Once your title is finalized, register it with a copyright administration society (such as SACEM in France).
  • Schedule the Release Date via Your Chosen Distributor (e.g., DistroKid) and ensure that your title will be distributed on the right platforms.
  • Pitch Your Track to Streaming Platforms: A pitched title on Spotify has a better chance of appearing on algorithmic playlists.
  • Prepare the Ground on Social Media and Create Anticipation: Share the visuals you’ve created beforehand and build excitement among your fans.
  • Send a Press Release to Media Outlets, Journalists, and Radios.

Congratulations if you’ve reached this stage! The promotion of your title seems to be on the right track. If some actions haven’t yielded immediate results, don’t worry. Getting added to an editorial playlist or featured in media won’t happen with your first single. But by honing your skills, you’ll accumulate experience and confidence to rise to the occasion when needed.

To ensure a successful release, plan your budget in advance and choose a realistic date that allows for all necessary actions. Stay informed about major releases in the coming weeks to avoid selecting the same date and going unnoticed. I recommend releasing your tracks on Fridays—it’s the best day to appear on editorial playlists across streaming platforms.

The release day checklist

Today is the most crucial day. If all the groundwork has been done correctly, everything should proceed smoothly. However, make sure to carry out the following actions:

  • Publish the Music Video: If you’ve created a video, now is the perfect time to share it on YouTube.
  • Set Up a Fanlink: Ensure that listeners can easily find your title on their favorite platforms.
  • Continue Social Media Promotion: On release day, announce your title to the world. Encourage streaming, which will enhance its visibility through streaming platform algorithms.
  • Feature Your Title on Strategic Playlists: Playlists are an excellent way to promote your track and increase streams. Appearing on numerous playlists also signals to platform curators that your title is worth considering for algorithmic playlists. There’s no secret to playlist inclusion—either leverage your network or explore paid platforms (such as Submithub, Groover, or Playlistify). While I’m not a big fan of paid platforms due to low return on investment, they can be useful early in your career to reach new audiences.

Release day is undoubtedly critical, but it doesn’t end there. Now it’s time to focus on post-release tasks

Post release checklist

  • Sustain Social Media Communication: Prepare ample content in advance because promotion never stops. Share feedback from other artists about your title, behind-the-scenes production content, or live performances.
  • Launch Social Media Ads: Depending on your budget, create a campaign on platforms like Facebook and Instagram to generate streams and attention.
  • Follow Up with Media, Artists, and Journalists: If you didn’t receive immediate responses, don’t worry. Professionals are often inundated, so don’t hesitate to follow up.
  • Boost Your Own Playlists: Add your new title to your existing playlists. By including similar artists, your title will appear in the “discovered on” section, potentially reaching a new audience.

I hope this guide provides clear directions for successful future releases. Additionally, familiarize yourself with music rights—it’s essential. You can start by exploring the basics of music rights using this guide.

Awakenings ADE KNTXT

A Dream begins

I’m officially opening my personal blog to share my adventures and experiences in the music industry!