Discover the secrets to a successful album release: a guide for independent artists and labels
Releasing an album is a thrilling yet daunting journey for independent artists and smaller record labels. In today’s digital age, the process of releasing and promoting an album has evolved, offering countless opportunities to reach a global audience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the steps involved in releasing a digital album and how to effectively promote it on major platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Amazon Music. We’ll also highlight the vital role of a digital distributor or music promotion company in streamlining the process. Whether you’re an indie musician or a small record label, this blog will help you navigate the path to a successful album release.
Releasing a digital album
Quality and preparation
Before you dive into the release process, ensure your album is of the highest quality possible. This includes recording, mixing, mastering, and album artwork. Take the time to create a cohesive and engaging album that resonates with your target audience.
It also involves A&R management. Selecting the right single releases, monitoring production quality and mastering audio files are tasks for an A&R manager. Having an A&R manager at your disposal means signing your music to a record label.
Selecting a release date
Choose a release date that allows for adequate promotion and anticipation. Typically, artists announce the release date several weeks in advance to build excitement. For marketing purposes, a 4-week lead time is perfect. For single releases, a shorter lead time is ok.
One of the most critical steps is choosing a digital distributor. These companies help get your music on major streaming platforms, and they provide valuable services like metadata management and royalty collection. Some reputable digital distribution options include DistroKid, TuneCore, and CD Baby.
Looking for the best digital music distribution platform? Start Kwettr Distribution today.
Promoting your album on streaming platforms
Now, let’s delve into the strategies for promoting your album on popular streaming platforms:
Spotify is probably the most well-known streaming platform. A great medium to bring music to fans. Spotify should always be included in your music marketing strategy.
- Pre-save campaigns: Set up pre-save campaigns on platforms like Show.co or Feature.fm to encourage listeners to save your album before its release. A solid marketing tool pre-release.
- Playlist pitching: Submit your tracks to Spotify’s editorial playlists and independent playlist curators who focus on your genre. Use Kwettr marketing tools to secure guaranteed playlist features. Reach the right playlist curator through Kwettr.
- Engage with fans: Interact with your audience on Spotify through playlist updates, behind-the-scenes content, and artist picks.
- Apple Music for Artists: Utilize the Apple Music for Artists platform to access data on your audience and track performance.
- Playlists and charts: Submit your music to Apple Music’s editorial playlists and aim for placements on the charts. Kwettr can also pitch your music to Apple’s curators.
Apple Music does not have a free tier; their royalty pay-outs are higher than Spotify. They offer music marketing services but they are hard to access for the independent artist.
- Official YouTube Channel: Create an official YouTube channel for your music and release high-quality music videos.
- YouTube Premieres: Use YouTube Premieres to debut your album or music videos with a live chat, building excitement.
- Collaborate: Collaborate with YouTubers for music video reactions, covers, or other promotional content.
Kwettr offers several promotional tools for music marketing on YouTube, including YouTube ads and Google ads. We can promote your video, run ads and advise on a release strategy.
- Amazon Music for Artists: Register for Amazon Music for Artists to access valuable data and insights on your audience.
- Amazon Ads: Consider running Amazon Ads to promote your album directly to Amazon Music users.
Amazon is a huge player with global reach. They have several tiers and also offer music downloads. An established name for new music.
The power of a digital distributor
A digital distributor is an indispensable ally in the modern music industry. Here’s how they add value to your album release:
Digital distributors have partnerships with major streaming platforms, ensuring your music is available worldwide. Kwettr has license deals in place with all major DSPs.
They handle metadata, ensuring your music is correctly labelled and attributed on platforms. Kwettr also delivers music metadata to DSPs such as AudioMack or Facebook Fingerprinting.
Digital distributors collect royalties on your behalf from music streaming platforms and ensure you receive your earnings from streaming and downloads. There are several sorts of royalties (mechanical, publishing, master) and most distribution platforms pay monthly income from major DSPs like Spotify.
Many distributors offer promotional tools and services to boost your new music, such as playlist pitching and pre-release campaigns. Some offer email marketing or can assist you in writing a marketing plan.
Not all distributors offer music promotion services. Normally, the most scalable solutions (music distribution platforms) don’t offer music promotion. They offer an easily accessible platform and most of the time very limited customer support. Kwettr offers its customers a dedicated account manager who will help them make the most of music marketing efforts. We run YouTube ads, social media and Google ads and operate as a music marketing agency. A unique combination in the music business. We help you connect with your fans.
Examples of digital distribution companies
Known for its affordability and simplicity, DistroKid offers unlimited uploads for a low annual fee. They provide quick distribution to various platforms and helpful features like hyperfollow pages for pre-saves.
TuneCore offers a range of services, including music distribution, publishing administration, and promotional tools. They charge a flat fee per release and have a strong reputation for their comprehensive offerings. A good option for an independent musician.
CD Baby is a well-established distribution service that also provides opportunities for licensing, publishing, and physical distribution. They offer affordable packages and exceptional customer support.
Ditto Music focuses on providing independent artists with comprehensive distribution services and promotional tools. They offer customizable release packages and have a presence in multiple countries.
Kwettr Distribution offers marketing services, fast delivery to DSPs, accounting and analytics. We can help you promote your album, advise you in making a marketing plan and give promotional support. Sign up here.
Releasing a digital album is an exciting journey filled with opportunities for independent artists and small record labels. By meticulously preparing your music, selecting the right digital distributor, and leveraging promotional strategies on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Amazon Music, you can maximize your album’s reach and impact.
Remember that building a successful music career is a long-term endeavour, and each release contributes to your growth. Stay engaged with your audience, continuously refine your craft, and adapt to the evolving music industry landscape. With dedication and strategic planning, your album release can be a significant milestone on your musical journey.