Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tips on Releasing music the DIY way!

Almost every week as I walk through Westminster Hall a student proclaims that they are releasing a mix tape, cd, or single next week or tomorrow or the day after. I always find it exciting when people have completed their creative process and feel confident enough to share that project with the world, there is no doubt this can pretty intimidating! When I worked at a record label our busiest days were weeks before the release of a record as our months of planning continue to unfold. Any student that has had my class in the fall knows my attitude with releasing music on your own, its a lot of work and best handled with a plan already in place. This is an extremely difficult task, just ask established artists that have teams already in place to help with their releases. I believe there is a misconception with most Do It Yourself artists that money and the backing of a label would help streamline this process, I would respectfully disagree to a point. Like the saying goes: more money, more problems, this can also be true. If you haven't done the basic research regarding your market or let alone how to release a record even with funding you will find yourself still frustrated with the process. Some people are lucky and their music will carry them over most hurdles but in this day with half the world trying to be the next big thing the cards are definitely stacked against you but at the same time they are in your favor. With the masses of artists pushing for that coveted position of number one, the proliferation of the world wide web, and the denigration of the old music industry many tools have emerged to fullfil this new need in the marketplace for DIY distribution, promotion, and marketing. Companies like Tunecore, CDBaby, BandCamp, Onesheet, and plenty more all cater to the DIY artist and give support in the way of information via articles and blog posts. I follow many of these entities on Twitter and have improved my knowledge base and kept abreast of changes as they come down the pipeline.
There isn't one 'correct' way to promote and sell music, but without a plan and the proper research you could be wasting a lot of time. The easy part, for creatives at least, is producing the product and then the real work begins. If you take the DIY route or are seeking funding or a record deal I suggest you educate yourself as best you can and make this business of music your new reading interest. This is only an investment in yourself and your intellectual property! So before you decide to release that new mix tape and spam your friends and family via email and Facebook and any other social outlet take some time to find your true audience and figure out how to find them, reach them, and garner their attention. Its always better to have an audience of 200 people that you targeted and know how to reach than an audience of 1,000 anonymous people that you cannot reach directly for your next release. There is a great article by CD Baby to help the DIY artist navigate a release and prepare properly. I suggest this as a good start for your research and good luck on your career!