Thanks to the wonders of technology we all have the opportunity to record and produce studio quality music from inside our bedrooms. That's pretty neat. However, that means that all the promotion and release can be left onto your shoulders as well...not so neat.
It might feel overwhelming at times. How are you supposed to know everything that needs to be ready?
We called upon our friend Alex from GYROstream (your local Aussie distribution service) to give us 6 tips & tricks for distributing and releasing your own music.
Six tips from Alex Wilson, Distribution Manager at GYROstream.
1) Things you need to have prepped before release.
In terms of metadata (the data about your album) you will need;
Label name (this will be independent for most artists)
Songwriters and feature artists.
We provide ISRC codes as well as UPC codes for free when setting up your release. If you have your own you can use these as well.
In terms of assets you will need;
WAV files in 16 bit 44.1 kHz or 24 bit in 16, 48 or 96 kHz
Artwork that is clear in resolution - 300 DPi and a minimum of 3000 x 3000 pixels in a perfect square. The artwork must not contain any misleading text such as words that misconstrue what the artist name or release title may be! (The services, namely Apple, are very strict on this and it will save you a bit of time if you nail it first go.)
2) How many days before release date DO you have to upload everything?
GYROstream can process the release in around 48 hours to major services. However, we recommend giving yourself as much time as possible to ensure that you have plenty of time to promote the release and give it the best chance possible.
We recommend a minimum of 2 weeks so we can handle any technical changes you may want as well as creating new profiles (which can take a few days on services such as Spotify as it is done manually.)
We created this handy release checklist to give artists an idea of how they should be constructing their timelines. Check out the checklist.
3) Common misconceptions
Distributing music = automatically gaining listeners.
People put a lot of awesome work into creating their beautiful art, refining it and recording it. Something we see a lot is artists uploading their music to the services and expecting it to find fans all on it's own!
In very rare cases does the music get picked up by Spotify curators or find its way to the ears of a playlist curator by chance. We highly recommend putting as much effort, if not more, into promoting your releases. Social media provides a wealth of promotional opportunities as well as highly refined advertising platforms that artists should make the most of. We have an in-house digital marketing expert, Mike, who is always happy to guide artists through the experience of social media and how to best set up their ads.
Thinking that you can't pitch to Spotify yourself!
If you deliver your music to Spotify two weeks before release day, Spotify allows artists to pitch their music directly to curators. This is done through your Spotify for Artists account.
To claim access to your Spotify for Artists account you will need a profile URI.
If you are a new artist, click 'create new profile'. GYROstream can provide your newly created URI around 48 hours after upload.
OR if you are an existing artist you must submit your existing profile URI when uploading your release through GYROstream.
Upload your music 3 weeks before release date. This gives you at least a week to claim access to your Spotify for Artists account and time to pitch your music to Spotify!
Click here to find out more info + how to access your Spotify for Artists account.
4) Common mistakes
Not reviewing your artwork / data before submitting it. This will avoid any issues in the future. We understand that issues arise or things aren't ready in time and we're more than happy to help with any and all situations.
Uploading your music onto Soundcloud.
Soundcloud have an extremely robust copyright system that blocks any music officially distributed through GYROstream (to Soundcloud) from being uploaded by users. As an artist you may want to upload your own version as well as the monetized version. We recommend that you send us an email straight away so we can get your profile whitelisted for you. Whitelisting means it will be exempt from copyright systems on Soundcloud. This will allow you to upload your song to Soundcloud without any blocks once we have placed it on the whitelist.
5) A great piece of advice someone told me
As an artist myself I've always got questions about how we should be best conducting our social media approach / constructing our image and creating content. A great thing someone once told me was to look at other artists and see what awesome ideas they are coming up with and how they are best utilizing social media platforms. This doesn't mean make carbon-copies of their ideas in your image but take inspiration and work out how your image could benefit from such methods. Get creative with it and create as much as you can.
Create a schedule if you have to and have a giant bank of artist photos ready. This will save you scrambling for content when you need it.
You can also apply this 'what are other artists doing' to most other questions you may have. How do I get a manager? Well who is managing other bands/artists like ours? How do I get a booking agent? Well who is booking that artist/band like ours. Get in contact with them (the artist that is.) Don't be afraid to ask.
6) Get to know everybody
It never hurts to have met somebody and have them know who you are and what you do. You never know when it will come in handy. Meeting like-minded people can be a great way to collaborate, form ideas as well as share your experience and get ideas.
Setting up a release with GYROstream is super easy and we can help you in any and all aspects of the process. This means technical help, general release advice as well as any general questions about how best to operate as a musician. There is a fair amount of experience between the staff in the GYROstream office and we're keen to help everybody big or small.
If there are any topics you would like us to cover, if you have any feedback or you have a great idea to help the Sydney music scene thrive, shoot us a message over socials or email us!