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
I just saw that three weeks have gone by since I last added to my blog. In that window of time, I mastered the song, shot the video, edited the video and submitted everything needed to ASCAP, DistroKid, SongTrust, SoundExchange, Sound Scan ISRC registration and Sound Scan Title registration. I still have All Music, Mediabase, and BDS Virtual Encode left on the submit list. I also “pitched” this song on Spotify to be curated for a playlist. Thankfully Spotify sent me an email to let me know if you submit your song or if it is submitted by your digital distributor at least one week before it’s release date, you can personally pitch your song. It isn’t hard to do at all. It may have taken me 15 mins. It’s cool that you can do this now. I did not get this email with my first release. The music video is already on YouTube, you can check it out HERE. I used some “green screen” techniques and learned how to reverse clips, speed clips up, and I used a comic look throughout most of it. It’s on the playful side. I need to create a “Canvas” for this song on Spotify and set up a playlist and featured artist on my page. I need to learn more about Spotify and Pandora AMP and work on using the features that make sense. Most streaming services give you some tools to advertise your song on your social media platforms. That can be a full time job unto itself!
“Hardly Hiding” is set for release on all the major platforms on April 26th. The link for my DistroKid Hyperfollow page is HERE. I really like this feature by DistroKid. This link can go everywhere, it’s good looking and it’s a forever kind of thing.
I also have my own on line store. I use Square to handle my transactions and they give you a free “store front”. You can have more features if you want to pay for the service. I’m not sure how much traffic I will get, so for now, I’m keeping the free version. It is set up to handle events and to download the mp3 of this song and ” Sleeping Alone Again” and, of course, future songs. I will make that live and promote it all over approximately 7-10 days before this song release. That’s it for now. Good luck with all you are doing and being! Sue
Hey there, I am in the middle of getting my next song “Hardly Hiding” released. I am looking at mid to late April. So, I have been thinking about writing this and trying to but, I’m knee deep in shooting footage for the music video and will start mastering the track tomorrow. I did want to update you on a few lingering items with my first release. First, I was sending a request to Virtual Encode “Sleeping Alone Again” to an outdated email address, therefore no response. The Virtual Encode is for the Nielson BDS or Broadcast Data Systems. The service tracks radio, internet, and televisions plays of your track and is what feeds Billboard it’s data. I “stumbled” on the VirtualEncode log in page and used the email link below the log in area. Within one day a very nice representative sent me all the info. and instructions I needed to have my song encoded. Here is the link to that page VirtualEncode. Obviously, I have submitted it.
Secondly, As you may know, your digital distribution company may submit your songs to Pandora, but Pandora is a curated platform and may or may not utilize your song. Even though DistroKid had submitted it, I hadn’t received any update so I decided to submit my song manually using my UPC code and then received an acknowledgement that it was going be reviewed by their staff. It was and I received an email that my song was available on their Free Pandora Radio Service. Then I went searching for claiming my AMP page. I submitted an email to their customer service email and received a response that AMP or Artist Marketing Platform was only available to artists with songs on their Premium Access platform but, that being said, they would be reviewing my song and expected it to be up and running in a few weeks. Well, it took a little longer than 3 weeks but, I went to claim my AMP page and sure enough I was able to be verified in one day! Very cool! I have not dived into all that can be done on that page to help promote “Sleeping Alone Again” on Pandora…but, I will. If you would like to check out “Sleeping Alone Again” on AMP:Fresh Cuts click HERE. Thanks for listening and reading! Stay well, Sue
Hi there, Even if you are not planning on recording all of your songs, if you are performing them in a venue or streaming them on Facebook, YouTube, or another platform you are due royalties. If you have your own publishing company then that entity is also due royalties. If you use a publishing admin company like Songtrust, which is the one I use, you can register your set list of your songs with them and they will handle the collection of royalties through your PRO. In my case, ASCAP would collect performance royalties from my performances, whether in a live venue or live streaming on the platform I choose. I just need to submit the data via their website. Most PROS have an online submission system in place for you to enter the song information and the venue information of your performance. If I perform in a venue that has a “blanket license” with ASCAP, and I may need to ask, then I should only perform songs in the ASCAP catalog (currently around 11.5 million) because the blanket license that the venue purchased gives performers a license to perform ASCAP songs. If the venue also has a blanket license with BMI, then I would be able to perform BMI songs as well. If you are streaming other writer’s songs, make sure you stream on a platform that also has blanket licenses with the major PROs. With YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, you are covered. But, you will need to get a synchronization license for all the songs that are not yours. It is best to contact the publisher and record label directly to get that license. So, for me, I will not be streaming other folks songs for now.
On another note, I recorded the tracks of my next planned release “Hardly Hiding” so, I’m back spending my evenings in my studio! Stay well!
As you may know, I edited my own music video, “Sleeping Alone Again” using Final Cut Pro X. Yes, I am a Mac person when it comes to creating “stuff” for this music career. So, I used two cameras and not knowing that there is capability within FCPX to do multi-cam edits just like you would for a live TV show, I visually scanned frames, cut them or trimmed them, and inserted them onto the timeline as I saw fit. I then added the effects I wanted in between the cuts. Well, I recently watched a very good tutorial on YouTube about using multiple camera angles and set ups. I will use the multi-cam editing feature in FCPX on my next music video. We will see which looks smoother and which one took less time to edit. Here is the link for the Thurston Community Media tutorial on Multi-cam Editing. I hope you find it helpful and it saves you time and energy!