music industry advice: 26 things to do before you release your song or album

Music Industry Advice: 26 Things to do Before You Release Your Song or Album

16. Create a Bandcamp Page
Bandcamp is the No. 1 independent music store. It is self-managed by you. You don’t need to use a distributor to get on Bandcamp. You can go to and sign up for free. You can offer “name your price” downloads. A fan once paid me $200 for my album (set at $5 minimum). Bandcamp now offers subscriptions and a physical merch store as well.

17. Create (or Rebrand) Your Website
A new album demands a new website. It’s a good idea to rebrand your website every couple years regardless if you have a new album or not. Bandzoogle and Squarespace are website builders that require no design or coding knowledge. They have beautiful templates to choose from and are very simple to use.

Read More: Executive Profile: David Dufresne of Bandzoogle

18. Create (or Rebrand) Your Social Sites
Now that you have new photos, album cover and bio, use these assets to rebrand all your social sites. You are bringing an entirely new package to the world. Make it shiny, sparkly and tasty. And put a bow on it!

19. Get a Mailing List
If you don’t have a mailing list yet, start one. This is the most important fan engagement tool you have. A McKinsey & Company study recently concluded that email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined. MailChimp, FanBridge, iContact, Constant Contact, Benchmark and SendinBlue are some of best and most widely used email list services.

20. Submit to Pandora
Pandora is the No. 1 Internet radio station in the United States. You can submit at

21. Create New Merch
A new album or tour demands new merch. Get creative with your merch offerings.

Read More: 10 Reasons Why Your Merch Doesn't Sell

Music supervisors want a quick and easy way to listen or download your music. Most prefer or links because they can stream your song in the browser or download it if they want to use it. Get all of your songs, mp3’s and wavs—full versions and instrumentals—up on either Dropbox or Box. Click the Share button and grab the link for every song. Put that in a text document in your Folder of Assets.

23. SoundCloud Profile
You’ll want to get all of your music up on SoundCloud. Not only is it an active community, like YouTube, it is the easiest way to send someone a streamable song. You can also put a SoundCloud playlist on your website and embed players around the Web.

24. Links
SmartURL is one of the best link-tracking services out right now. Like Bitly, SmartURL will let you know how many people clicked your link, but will also give you much more detailed analytics, like location, device used, referring domains and other stats. You can also decide to point users to different destinations based on their device. Like, a “download” link could send iPhone users to iTunes and Droid users to Google Play or Amazon. Boom! SmartURL is one of the only ways to post iTunes links that actually send people to iTunes (and not Apple Music). Create SmartURL links for every link you save.

25. Register Your Trademark
For your band name and your logo.

26. Form a Corporate Entity (like an LLC)
It gives you some legal protection and enables you to open a band bank account (and get paid).


ARI HERSTAND is the author of the best-selling book How To Make It in the New Music Business: Practical Tips on Building a Loyal Following and Making a Living as a Musician, a Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and the creator of the music biz advice blog Ari’s Take.


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