The ultimate guide to releasing a single as an independent artist or small label

The ultimate guide to releasing a single as an independent artist or small label

Releasing a single can be a pivotal moment in your music career, allowing you to connect with a wider audience and make a lasting impression. However, for independent artists and small record labels, navigating the process can be a challenge. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to release a digital single and provide effective strategies for promoting it on major platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube Music, and Amazon Music. We’ll also explore the essential role of music distribution, and offer insights into crafting a social media strategy, with a focus on TikTok.

Releasing a digital single

Quality and preparation

Before diving into the digital music distribution process, ensure that your single is of the highest quality. This includes recording, mixing, mastering, and cover art. Presentation matters, so invest time in creating engaging visuals and artwork that resonate with your audience.

Selecting a release date

Choose a release date that allows for adequate promotion and anticipation. It’s common to announce the release date several weeks in advance to build excitement among your fans.

Digital distribution

The backbone of releasing a digital single is selecting a digital distributor, like Ditto Music, CD Baby, Horus Music or Kwettr. These companies help get your music onto major streaming platforms, manage metadata, and collect royalties. Examples of digital distribution services include Symphonic Distribution, Amuse and LabelWorx.

Promoting your single on streaming platforms

To effectively promote your single on popular streaming platforms, follow these strategies:


  • Pre-save campaigns: Set up pre-save campaigns to encourage listeners to save your single before its release. Use Kwettr’s smart link builder to create and share smart links, including a link to your pre-save.
  • Playlist pitching: Submit your track to Spotify’s editorial playlists and independent curators who specialize in your genre. Kwettr can pitch your track, and we can also get your song included in large user-generated playlists using Kwettr Spotify Marketing
  • Engage with fans: Interact with your audience through playlist updates, behind-the-scenes content, and artist picks.
Kwettr pre saves

Apple Music

  • Apple Music for Artists: Make use of Apple Music for Artists to access data on your audience and track performance. You can also use Songstats to get superb analytics on all platforms, including social media.
  • Connect with fans: Engage with your fans through Apple Music’s Connect feature, where you can share updates and exclusive content.
  • Playlist placement: Submit your music to Apple Music’s editorial playlists and strive for chart placements.
Apple Music for Artists Promote feature

YouTube Music

  • Official YouTube Channel: Create an official YouTube channel for your music and release high-quality music videos.
  • YouTube Premieres: Utilize YouTube Premieres to debut your single or music videos with a live chat, building excitement.
  • Collaborate: Collaborate with YouTubers for music video reactions, covers, or other promotional content.

Amazon Music

  • 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 single directly to Amazon Music users.
  • Use Kwettr pitch forms to submit music for playlist features.
Amazon Music for Artists

The power of a digital distributor

Digital music distribution plays a pivotal role in your single release. Here’s how they add value:

Global reach

Digital distributors have partnerships with major streaming platforms, ensuring your music is accessible worldwide. Kwettr started as part of a record label; we have a huge network of DSPs, licensing partners and artists.

Metadata management

Distributors handle metadata, ensuring your music is correctly labelled and attributed on platforms. Kwettr also delivers metadata to Audible Magic, for fingerprinting on social media.

Royalty collection

Digital distributors collect royalties on your behalf, ensuring you receive your earnings from streaming and downloads.

Promotional tools

Many distributors offer promotional tools and services to boost your single’s visibility, such as playlist pitching and pre-release campaigns.

Social media strategy and TikTok

An effective social media strategy is crucial for promoting your single. Here’s how to leverage TikTok and other platforms:


  • Create a challenge: Develop a catchy dance or challenge related to your single and encourage users to participate.
  • Influencer partnerships: Partner with TikTok influencers who can create content around your song.
  • Hashtag campaign: Create a unique and memorable hashtag to accompany your challenge or campaign.
  • Use Kwettr Distribution to deliver your music to TikTok.
Promotional opportunities for musicians on TikTok

Other platforms

  • Instagram: Use Instagram Stories and Reels to share teasers, behind-the-scenes content, and snippets of your single.
  • Twitter: Engage with your audience through Twitter by sharing updates, creating polls, and hosting Q&A sessions.
  • Facebook: Utilize Facebook Live to connect with your fans and promote your single through posts, events, and targeted advertising.
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