Executing an album rollout is a crucial process for musicians and record labels to ensure the success of an upcoming album launch. Especially as an independent artist, the process involves taking on various responsibilities, from planning and recording to promotion and distribution.
Within our very own Beats by Girlz community, Sadie Azersky is a prime example, releasing music successfully as an independent artist. Sadie is a composer, producer, and pianist based out of Phoenix, Arizona. She has conducted EP and single releases for herself, as well as making significant contributions to the local music community by assisting other artists in releasing and promoting their work. Her work ethic in the music industry bridges musicality and independent artistry together. Her collaborative spirit and dedication to fostering the growth of emerging talents have solidified her reputation as not only a gifted artist but also a respected mentor and advocate for women and gender-expansive musicians.
Want to learn how to release your own album independently? Here are a couple of tips and strategies:
The marketing process of releasing music can begin even before even finishing your album. Before you actually start to market your music online, make sure to do thorough research on your audience and how you’re able to reach them. How big is your audience? What are the key demographics of your audience? What platforms does your audience typically use to play and stream music? What is the purpose of your album?
After doing thorough research, you can use that data and information to utilize specific strategies that are tailored to your audience and start to build up a following. For example, there are many artists who utilize social media platforms, like TikTok and Instagram, to build up the excitement of releasing their new music. You can input snippets of your music into social media posts, post videos of your recording sessions, or drop teaser campaigns to your audience. It’s important to remember that creativity builds attention. The more creative you are with your campaigns, the more attention you’ll harness.
Additionally, once you finalize a release date, setting up a pre-order campaign is a great strategy to build momentum for fans and build that tease. Implementing a pre-order option on your social channels/websites will get people to save your music so that it is already in their library on your release date. Take a look at an example of a Smart Link from Sadie's website. The 'Music' button on the left of her page is a quick link for users to access her music on streaming platforms.
Setting Up Distribution
Another important aspect of a rollout is the distribution of your album. There is a wide variety of services you can use that will help you get your album placed on multiple streaming platforms, including Apple Music, Spotify, and Amazon Music. Some services that artists use include CD Baby, DistroKid, TuneCore, and AWAL. With a simple upload of your tracks to these digital music distribution services, they offer opportunities of more publicity between your music and audience.
Setting up the distribution of your album plays an integral role into how you are going to actually get your music out there in the world. Once you set up your distributor, you can move forward into the next phase of what singles you choose to release from your album.
Whether you’re a new artist or you’ve been releasing music for years, it’s crucial to release at least one or two singles to ensure that engagement with your fans continues. If you release a single, you are giving yourself bigger opportunities for more loyal listeners, new attraction, and keeping your artist momentum going.
There are other different and proper marketing strategies that go with releasing singles, but you can implement your own creative angles. Uploading lyric videos and visualizers are great ways to showcase your new music and who you are as a musician. If your single begins to gain traction on different streaming platforms, this would be the perfect time to begin the self-promotion process.
Start A Website and an Electronic Press Kit
You’re starting to release your music, but where will you showcase and begin to promote it? Once you start getting your tracks out there, this gives you leeway to start building up your platform online. Launch a website that revolves around you and your work. Design the website to highlight your character and personality as an artist. Provide all links to your social channels, your contact information, and ‘Smart Links’ that allow users to purchase your music and merchandise directly. Update it consistently to make sure it’s up-to-date with your work.
Additionally, create an electronic press kit to input onto your website. An EPK is a digital set of promotional materials that you can dedicate directly to album promotion. It is a collection of music, pictures, biographies, and relevant information assembled to inform journalists, media, blogs, festivals, radio, broadcasters, and promoters about an artist and their musical releases. This is an efficient and quick way for industry professionals to discover your work and help promote it. If you want to maximize the amount of press coverage for your album, an EPK will help you tremendously.
Launching Your Album: What’s Next?
There’s a wide variety of marketing tactics that you can conduct in order to push the success of releasing new music. First and foremost, promoting your album to your fanbase is the biggest pusher in maximizing attraction. Creating a music marketing plan will be your best friend in this situation, as you can begin to run ads on social media channels, create a content calendar, and start using mailing lists. When you’re communicating directly with your audience like this, it’s important to include the context & purpose of your music and add in direct links that will make it easily accessible for people to click on.
Continuing outreach outside of your circle is also a key step. As an independent artist releasing an album, you have to take the steps and reach out to local media, radios, and online reviewers. Before you start doing so, it’s important to conduct the right and proper research of who you want to outreach to. You’ll want to take into consideration the types of media outlets that fit your music style, the process of submitting your work and staying local at first. Start pitching your music to music bloggers, specifically ones who write about your genre of music and tailors towards independent musicians. The same goes with local media. Start off by reaching out and pitching to nearby TV shows, radio stations, podcasts, and newspapers that will interview and write about you for their content. (Use your EPK to assist you in this.)
Continuing Your Album Journey
Once your album launch has kicked off, keep that energy going and continue to promote your music actively. Organize an album release show at a local venue to kick off its launch. This is a great way to generate talk about your album, allow people to hear your music live, and lets you engage with your fans in-person. As you get your name out there more, try to book regular gigs at nearby venues. When approaching a potential venue to perform at, a new album launch is a great way to start off talking with them. You can also start creating your own merchandise to sell. Although this is a tedious process, there are many print-on-demand and graphic design websites that you can utilize to develop your merchandise and expand your reach.
Overall, releasing an album as an independent artist is a rewarding journey that allows you to have complete creative control and direct engagement with your audience. By following the steps outlined in this guide, from conceptualizing your project to planning your release strategy, you can navigate the complex music industry landscape with confidence. Remember, the key to success lies in meticulous preparation, leveraging digital platforms, and fostering a genuine connection with your fans. While the road may be challenging, the sense of accomplishment that comes with sharing your art with the world is immeasurable.
Written by Jacqueline Fermin
Edited by Nan Macmillan