Even though I have been performing and writing songs for over 40 years, the reality is, this process of releasing songs and making that known is like starting my career all over. I have a presence on six social media platforms, but my numbers are modest at best. I do not want to focus my energies on being too concerned over those numbers…they will do what they do as time goes by. Social media platforms are important to nurture and they do help my organic audience know me better and to know what I’m up to…just as my email list is serving the same purpose, only that won’t vanish if a platform vanishes!

If you would like to sign up for my emails and the trio I perform with, (just not now, due to COVID), you can sign up in the pink area of my homepage or use this QR Code. I use MailChimp.

Onward…so, I had mentioned in my last post that I was planning on sending an AP style press release to Send2Press that was to be nationally released on the day of the song and video release. I submitted it probably three weeks before the release date. I can do a shorter window next time. Here are the results and links to view a few examples…

Broadway Worldhttps://www.broadwayworld.com/central-new-york/article/Singer-Songwriter-Sue-Larsen-Releases-Third-Single-You-Will-Always-Be-There-20211015

Music Industry News Wirehttps://musewire.com/singer-songwriter-sue-larsen-releases-third-pop-single-you-will-always-be-there-which-pokes-fun-at-not-accepting-relationship-ending/

WAND NBC17 News https://www.wandtv.com/news/national/sue-larsen-singer-songwriter-releases-her-third-single-which-pokes-fun-at-not-accepting-a/article_0284b198-46cf-5dc3-8629-f3d9e24e6831.html

The cool thing about press releases is that they are forever, unlike advertising that disappears after your campaign is over. Over 6,650 news outlets were targeted and 332 sites picked up the story with over 2,500 engagements. Remember, I am a new speck on the radar of this vast music business, so I am good with these numbers and will continue to utilize Send2Press to handle my local and national press releases.

Advertising…again, since I am a “new” entity, this is all about brand awareness (I am the brand). I decided to run my first campaign on Instagram. It was a ten day campaign that utilized a 30 second clip of various parts of my music video. My Facebook account is still disabled (the one I never set up) and may always be, since you can’t actually interact with any team member there. According to their data my ad reached over 4,100 and my Facebook interactions went up 1.97K%. I am currently running a campaign on Pinterest, also for 10 days. I am not using the video because I needed to change something they are not happy with…I’ll figure it out…so, I am using a pin that is the album cover that goes to my DistroKid information page. With three days left that ad has been seen by over 13,000. I will be creating another music video, a 15 sec. spot, to run another ad on Pinterest, an ad on Twitter and on TicTok. I will make that happen in the next week.

The other ancillary “stuff” that I needed to do on this website was done and also on my online Square Store. I am currently researching and submitting my song(s) to radio stations and internet radio stations that accept music from independent artists. That’s for another blog! Keep going and keep climbing…you are the maker of your reality. Sue

This is it…”You Will Always Be There” is born! You can check out the music video and song using this DistroKid link. My press release will be out as well nationwide. I will update any news opportunities that arise. My interview with The Examiner News went well…thank you Marin Wilbur for a great interview and article! Here’s the link to check that out: Decades Later, Singer Songwriter Returns to Recording Her Music. I will be gathering all the links where this single can be streamed to add to my hyperfollow Distrokid link. My website needs to have it’s EPK updated, the music video added to the sidebar, add the music track to my music page and EPK and also make a note in my event page. I have a 30 second promo trailer to announce the songs release to go out on all my social media platforms…I’m up to six that I focus on. I will be verifying my lyrics on Musixmatch and sending the song information to All Music. My second song never got posted and I sent it two times, which tells me, if you’re not famous anything and nothing is possible on their platform. I’ll keep trying! I’ll add the song to my store and shoot an email to my subscribers in the morning! Stay well…Sue

I had mentioned in my previous post that I sent out my press release to 27 local media outlets. I do have one interview set up and thankfully it is with one of the larger media groups in my area. I may not hear anything from any other news outlet, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get some web based write ups. I’ll check the websites I submitted the release to the week of the song release. My release can be found on ArtsWestchester if you want to check out an example of one. I also have another release written to go national. I am using a news wire service called Send2Press. They have been around for over 35 years and have an excellent rating. I will have my YouTube video embedded on the top and a head shot of me included in the write up. They follow the AP format so, you need to follow the rules of that road. That release will go out the day “You Will Always Be There” goes live, 10/15/2021.

I have used the trailers I created from the video as promotion on all my social media platforms and added a TikTok business account to my arsenal. I have one trailer that was designed to be used on and after the release date. Since my Facebook ad account, which I never created, is still disabled, I will be advertising on Instagram. I’m going with a 2 weeks campaign which will start the day of the release. As I have previously mentioned, I know my target audience. I have a business account on all my social media accounts which give me analytics. So between Facebook, Instagram, Google and MailChimp. I have a very good idea of my audience.

Of course, I am letting the folks on my email list know what is going on and asking them for their help in spreading the word.

My first two releases are now being played three times a day on an internet radio station called NY Talent Media. They feature independent artists who live in NY. If you are a New Yorker, they are accepting songs at this time. You can find them on Zeno Radio. Yes, there’s an app for that! This is their Zeno link: NY Talent Media on Zeno Radio. To submit your songs or to stream their stations without the app follow this link: NY Talent Media Home Page.

So, the next two weeks will be filled with promo cards and movie trailers going in all the directions I can make them go. That will also need to happen for 2-4 weeks after the release…and so the story goes…

Be well and creative! Sue

My next single release is happening on October 15th! A lot had to happen since my last blog. This is the link to check out the preview of “You Will Always Be There”. So, this time around I gave myself a two month window to do some promoting and my press release received the “thumbs up” from my editor friend. I sent my press release to 27 local news outlets and magazines. I kept the submissions in my own backyard, so to speak, as local papers and magazines (all on line and some do still print) may need more material and it might be easier to get an article or interview. If I get any press, I will definitely give them a big thank you via “a letter to the editor”. The music video, which is completed, will be released the day of the song release. It’s on YouTube and scheduled to post on Oct. 15th. I sent a private link to my song and to the video on my press release as well as a link to my EPK and webpage. I’ll see what happens…

I also made 2 – 15 second trailers, 2 – 30 second trailers, and 2 – 45 second trailers, from the music video, to use on my social media platforms. I’m trying to set up an Ad Account on Facebook and Instagram. I’m not sure why I’m getting messages like my Ad Account is disabled or the page isn’t available, or I don’t have a page admin…I never had an Ad Account to have it disabled! Of course, there is no one to really talk to, to get this figured out. I know my audience demographics from my Mailchimp account and from Google Analytics. So, I wanted to target some ads based on that data. No luck so far.

On other business side notes…my logo is now officially registered with the
United States Patent and Trademark Office so, my logo is federally protected! That process took 9 + months. So, if you need to do that for your business, plan on a good part of a year. Also, I found out why I never heard from AARC (The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies). They were collecting private copy royalties for featured artists and record companies, but when I registered my song with SoundExchange, I found out that SoundExchange took over that task since mid July. So, I just had to sign a couple of forms electronically on their website to give them permission to do the collection of royalties worldwide on my behalf and my record company. All good!

Well, I’ll keep you posted on my progress with this release. In the meantime, stay well and keep creating! Sue

I hope this post finds you well. In the process of learning the science and art of recording and releasing new material, I have read numerous blogs myself and have listened to dozens of webinars and “how to” videos from folks who have released albums themselves or who have toured. Consistently creating new songs and or recording them and all the added stuff behind the scenes, is quite the undertaking. So, if you are already doing it, or just starting the process, or you are deciding whether to throw your “hat into the ring”, my congratulations and admiration are with you. It is true that I have taken on each task myself. That may not always be the case down the road, but at least I will know what each task requires and entails and that is a very good lesson.

So, many artists/teachers recommend giving a free song to folks in order to have people sign up for your email. Well, that’s a great idea if you actually have an extra song to give away! Right now, I don’t. Many others recommend planning your releases a year in advance…so, that would mean you would have to have your entire album recorded and mastered, ready to go, and then plan each single release. I suppose that would also mean you have to have all the music videos ready to go for all your singles. Well, once again that is not my situation. I can’t imagine how much time it would be up front to have these pieces in place before you release anything. For myself, I believe it will be a two year process to release my 10 song album. I have even heard some “teachers” recommend to not worry if a song is incomplete, or not arranged the way you may want, or not perfect…just put stuff out there consistently and often. I have heard of artists releasing a song the same day they recorded it! I agree consistency is very important, but I want quality at the end of the day. I want to allow myself time to sit with what I have created, to step back from it and revisit it as needed. I am not interested in releasing something “less than” it could be. I know when we, as artists, are out of sight, we can be out of mind…but there must be a balance. I don’t think we should be producing music like machines because we are afraid of missing a window.

I believe the bottom line is this…if you enjoy recording and releasing your music with a quick turn around, then keep doing it. If you need more time…take it. The true creative process of creating something out of nothing with meaning and purpose happens differently for each artist. Also, an artist’s priorities may be completely different. One may be more interested in the financial rewards, or the accolades of others. Another may want to help others heal from their life experiences, and still others may view songwriting as healing for themselves. There will be an audience for all of us no matter what our style of music or how well it is produced. Whatever way you go, be true to yourself and follow your inner compass. It will always take you in the direction you need to go. There is no right or wrong although, there may be best practices in this digital music marketplace.

I plan on releasing my next song (“You Will Always Be There”) and music video in the fall…no date set yet as I need to finish editing my video…at least all the footage was shot these last couple of weeks. I did write my first press release and it is with a writer friend of mine. His command of the English language is far better than mine and he will let me know if I am missing something with my format or content. All the best to all! Sue

A lot has been accomplished in the last few weeks. I mixed and mastered my next single “You Will Always Be There”. I am waiting on one more assessment from a trusted pair of ears before I copyright the sound recording and set the release date. I received my ISWC number from ASCAP yesterday. The trademarking of my logo is going smoothly. It past the 30 day window of possible objections and now I need to wait for a notice from the USPTO that it’s a done deal. I have also created the storyboard for the next music video and I am lining up my “actors” for the video.

All that being said, I am being “smarter” about this release. I am giving myself at least a two month window before the release to write the necessary press releases and submit those to my local online news outlets or “papers”. So, that took a bit of research to find the news outlets and find where to submit the releases. I am also researching how to write effective press releases…there is always room for improvement. I want to send the press release 6 weeks out from the actual dropping of the song. I will also be able to “pitch” this song to Spotify in order to possibly get on one of their playlists with at least a 6 week window as well. I will also have a larger window to promote “Presales” and “Presaves” on Spotify, Amazon and iTunes.

I do appreciate how my social media folks support me and the folks on my email list…but, I believe it’s time to attempt to reach out to a wider listening audience.

If you would like to visit my social media platforms or sign up for my emails, please click on this link HERE.

All the best, Sue

There is much to keep track of before, during, and after a song release. I’m still discovering what links to share and how. As you may know, not all streaming platforms have an easy integration with all of your possible social media accounts. Sometimes you need to retool something to make it work. That being said you may be sharing your artist pages as well. Make sure you claim the pages that you have some control over and update your bio and photos as needed. Apple, Spotify, Deezer, Pandora, and Amazon all allow some personalization. Your digital distributor will have to submit your bio to Tidal and Napster. I didn’t find that out until after my second song release. It may take up to 6-8 to have everything there. Don’t be like me…take advantage of what your distributor offers and check their website for all their resources and tools. Submit what is asked of you for AllMusic as iHeart Radio gets their information from them. Even though I received an acknowledgement that they received my info. on my last release, it is nearly eight weeks and it is still not posted. So, get the information to them a couple of months before your release, if possible. I’m going to be doing that with my next song. My digital distributor, DistroKid, also sends my lyrics to to multiple platforms and search engines. Make sure you add yours where you can. I also suggest adding your lyrics to your music videos even if it is on a separate video. Maybe add them to the video description…I’m off to do mine! Stay well.

Now that it has been over a month since my second release “Hardly Hiding”, I can share with you the differences. In regards to YouTube…in order to become eligible for an Official Artist Channel, the channel needs to be about you, (the artist) or your band. It can’t be about a variety of topics. You need at least 3 videos and a Topic Channel. Your Topic Channel is created by your digital distributor. I didn’t even realize this happened with the first release! I did the process of asking for the Official Artist Channel through DistroKid and I had my response in less than a day. So, now my Topic Channel shows up on my Official Channel. Here is the LINK if you want to check out how it looks different from a regular channel.

In regards to Pandora, my second release went straight to having Premium Access and I didn’t need to submit it to be curated like my first song. AllMusic only took two weeks (1st song, it was about a month) to let me know that they received my information about my 2nd release, but as of yet, it is not listed on the site nor are any of my photos or album art there. iHeart Radio gets their information from AllMusic so, no matter the outcome, I will keep on submitting my data to them. Deezer has Backstage, which is an artist page that gives you analytics, which I applied for and I had to submit my information about my digital distributor and record label. You need to submit at least one UPC code as well. Amazon has Amazon Music for Artists. That page was approved in 15 minutes! I haven’t promoted that platform very much…I have a Prime account and my music is only available on their Music Unlimited tier.

Anyway, my next song is due to be released the end of August or beginning of September. I want to allow a couple of months leeway so I can better promote it. So far, I have just been using my social media platforms and email list. That’s probably going to be another blog! Stay well!

There has been a flurry of information recently about the MLC or the Mechanical Licensing Collective. The MLC is a nonprofit organization designated by the U.S. Copyright Office that was birthed out of the Music Modernization Act of 2018. Well, in 2021 it came to life and now is the only entity in the US that is administrating blanket mechanical licenses to digital service providers or DSPs and collecting those royalties. Harry Fox and Music Reports are no longer doing this and collecting mechanical royalties. So, if you are not using a publishing admin company you need to register yourself and your songs if you want to collect royalties from streaming services or from digital downloads of your music. Click HERE to go to the MLC. My publishing admin company is Songtrust so, I don’t need to become a member of the MLC because Songtrust registers all the metadata with the MLC. Just below is a link that explains the MLC and Songtrust’s part in this process. Any publishing admin company will do this for you…I hope. Click HERE for that explanation.

So, to recap, in order to collect mechanical royalties…register with the MLC, if you use a publishing admin company, they will register you and your songs. Your publishing admin company is collecting mechanical and performance royalties on your behalf and charging you a commission to do so. In my case, Songtrust is collecting royalties in over 130 countries and takes 15% of what they collect. I couldn’t possibly keep track of what happens globally with my music. So, it is worth it to me. Your digital distributor, in my case, DistroKid, is collecting master recording royalties. If you own the rights to your master, or the record company, those royalties would come to you as well. Keep creating and have fun! Sue

P.S. My logo is in the 30 day process of someone being able object to my logo encroaching on their logo. So, it is scheduled to be published in the Trademark Official Gazette in early June and if there are no claims against it, it will be registered! Pretty cool!

Wow, almost a month as flown by since my last post! So, what has happened since then? “Hardly Hiding” was in fact released on April 26th. As you may have read before, I use DistroKid as my digital distributor. If you haven’t heard it or watched the video, you can click HERE to check it out. I was interviewed and this song was featured on WHUD 100.7 fm on their program Hudson Valley Artist Spotlight hosted by Andy Bale. If you would like to hear the interview, which is a little over 5 minutes, please click HERE.

The trademark of my logo was examined, and the words MUSIC GROUP…well, I needed to do a disclaimer for those words as they are merely descriptive of the business type or structure and generally have no “source indicating capacity” as the USPTO had explained to me in a letter. Now, that doesn’t mean my logo as a whole can not be protected, it just means that my LLC can not have the exclusive rights to those words apart from my logo. That’s cool with me. So, it took 5 1/2 months to get this point and now they are saying the final determination may take an additional 2 months. If you have common words in your logo, you may need to give those common words the same treatment.

My online store is completed and if you are curious about how a free Square store can look like and behave, please click HERE. What is not there are events. After I record a few more songs, I will be doing some streaming and I will set up that section with products. I’m thinking of having folks pay what they choose for that stuff. Once I am able to perform live, I can do general admission seating with this store. If I use reserved seating and folks want to select their seats, I will need to use a Ticketer service. Since YouTube has integration services with 4 different Ticketers, I thought I would do some research with the ones they like us to use. The four companies that YouTube works with are AXS, SeeTickets, Ticketmaster, and Eventbrite. Ticketmaster had a whole bunch of fees and you can’t get a general quote for your event without contacting them. At least I couldn’t find a way on their website. SeeTickets is in Great Britian, not a good choice for the USA. AXS…I remember visiting their site and it appeared complicated to get information, so I gave up. Eventbrite was very upfront with the service fees and payment processing fees. You can have your attendees pay the fees, or the event creator can pay them. After doing the math a $20.00 ticket price at the premium service level would incur $2.29 in service fees and $.50 in payment processing fees for a total of $2.79. That sounds reasonable to me. So, I believe I will be using Eventbrite down the road. Now, you can only do this concert promotion feature and sell your tickets on an Official Artist Channel.

Which brings me to my last paragraph. I now have an Official Artist Channel on YouTube! You can click HERE to view it. To get the complete lowdown on what you can do with it please click HERE it’s from the Google support page. I haven’t read it all…so, I don’t know all the features. Maybe you can tell me! Anyway, stay well and keep on keeping on…there’s still much work to be done…Sue