How to release music as an independent artist in 2023

How to release music as an independent artist in 2023

Better be independent – control your success! We tell you how:

Here’s how to release music as an independent artist in 2022:

Releasing music as an independent artist in 2022 is relatively easy.  There are hundreds of platforms out there that offer great opportunities to musicians and allow them to release their music.  You just need to know that they exist. 

– Create a website (Use Wix, WordPress, Jimdo)

– Create a social media presence (TikTok, Instagram, Facebook & Youtube)

– Create YouTube content (Covers, Tutorials, Interviews)

– Sign up with a distribution agency (Distrokid, Tunecore, Sampleloader)

– Get on the playlist (make connections, dont buy followers: the algorithm will kill you)

– Contact small record labels.

– Get your music on blogs.

– Write to other musicians.

– Give away free stuff.

– Get your friends to share your music.


There is a lot of work involved in releasing and promoting your own music as an independent artist, and it can be a time-consuming task.  The most important aspect is to establish an online presence from the beginning so that when you approach record labels or blogs, you already have an established brand.  That way, they’ll be more inclined to sign you or feature your songs on their website or playlists.

Let’s take a closer look.

Build A Website

From wordpress to wix to jimdo to joomla – Which cms & hosting solution would be the best for you? Easy: keep it easy. You do not need a big vps server, simply go with an all in one template wordpress solution getting your music fast out there!

You’re probably asking yourself, “Should I have a website?” Well, the answer to that question is definitely YES!  The most important aspect of releasing music as an independent artist is your online presence.  You want your name to show up in Google search results as often as possible.  Creating a website is perfect for this.

Not only is it great for ranking your name in Google, but it’s also a great place to showcase your music, merchandise, social media, and YouTube channel.  This channel represents you as a musician, so you should make it as professional and clean as possible.

When you approach record labels, they will usually ask you if you have a website.  They will spend time looking through your website, and if it doesn’t look professional, they will think you are not professional. 

When people search for your stage name, you want as much information as possible to show up about you.  Google takes time to rank websites, so it’s important that you get your website up and running as quickly as possible.

It’s a good idea to keep your website as clean and simple as possible.  Showcase your music and merch on the landing page.  Show pictures of you making your music or playing live.   Have an “about me” section and talk about your hobbies and interests.  Show people who you really are as a person.  If they can connect with you, then they have a greater chance of identifying with your music.

Creating a website is quite affordable. This website uses WordPress and costs me no more than $100 a year. 

Things to remember:

– Create a website as quickly as possible so Google can rank it.

– Keep your website clean and simple.

– Paint a picture of who you are as a person/musician.

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Create a social media presence.

Social media is just as important as an artist website.  While the website shows who you are, your social media shows what you do in your daily life.  As I mentioned earlier, the most important aspect of releasing music as an independent artist is your online presence.  Without it, people won’t know you exist.

Post videos of you making your music from home.  If you can play the piano like a boss, record a video of it and post it on Instagram or Facebook.  If you love to drum with your fingers, show off your finger skills.  Whatever you’re good at, show it off.

Post music production tips or tricks you may have learned over the years.  Create content that helps and adds value to people.  If people get free value from you, they will be happy to follow and support you.

Try using Instagram stories to create hype around your music releases.  Add countdown timers for release dates.  Run contests and give away free merch to the winners.  All of this will draw people to your social media and increase your online presence.

I find that posting on Instagram one to three times a day, for both Stories and posts, is the fastest way to grow your social media followers.  People like to get regular content updates, so it’s up to us to give them those.

Things to remember:

– Create content that shows who you are as a person.

– Post valuable content that helps people.

– Try to engage your audience with polls and contests.

Create YouTube Content

YouTube is such a powerful tool and when used properly can promote your music, sell merch, create a brand, and be a place to show your viewers the helpful content you create.  There are a lot of people who make a living off YouTube alone, but as musicians, we’ll mainly use it to build our online presence.

– YouTube is the perfect place to get your music out there as an independent artist.  You can then link to your YouTube channel from your Instagram, Facebook or website and they will all help each other grow organically. 

– Create helpful content like tutorials or tips and tricks.  Once viewers get some kind of free added value, they’ll be more inclined to subscribe and continue watching your videos.

– Use YouTube Live to show people how you make your music.  You can even DJ a live set from the comfort of your home or practice your sets before you play live on stage.  YouTube can be a digital stage for musicians.

You may think that making videos for YouTube is a lot of hard work and takes a lot of time, and you’re right.  But there are things you can do to be more efficient.  When you have a song ready, make a video of yourself performing it live and upload it to YouTube.  Then you can use the same content for Instagram, Facebook, and your website.  You can even give the stems away for free in return for people following you on your social networks.  The possibilities are endless.

Things to remember:

– Create a personal brand that matches your website and social media.

– Be efficient with your content.

– Mention your website and social media accounts in all your videos.

– Be consistent with your uploads.

Sign up with a distribution agency.

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Have you ever wondered how artists get their songs on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes or Amazon Music?  The answer is simple.  They use a distribution agency.  These agencies are designed to help independent artists release their music.  Some agencies are free, while others charge a small fee.

To release a song on these platforms, the agency will ask you to upload your song and album art along with your personal information such as website and social media details.  For this reason, it’s good to have all of these things ready before you officially release your music.

The process is simple:

  1. create an account.
  2. upload your song and album artwork.
  3. wait 2 – 4 weeks for approval.
  4. you will receive an official release date for your song.
  5. start receiving royalties.

It’s that simple!  

The best part of this process is knowing when your song will be officially released.  This way, you can use your website, social media, and YouTube channels to create hype before the release date.

You can also earn an income from your streams on different platforms.  Currently, Spotify pays about 0.006 cents per play.  Your distribution agency automatically collects your royalties and deposits them into your account so you can withdraw them whenever you want.

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Getting on Spotify’s playlist

It’s quite difficult to build a large following on Spotify or other platforms if you’re only promoting yourself, so it’s important that you try to get your tracks on the playlist.  If you get playlisted by Spotify or channels with a large following, your music will be instantly heard by thousands of people.  There are several ways we can get our songs on the playlist, so let’s take a look at a few.  

– Spotify is a huge platform with over 200 million listeners worldwide. So if you can get your songs on one of the Spotify playlists, you have a chance to get a lot of exposure.  

– The time to request a spot in a Spotify playlist is before your song is officially released.  If you make it too late and wait until your song is released, you will miss it and Spotify will not consider it for a playlist.

– Other great ways to get your songs on the playlist are to contact smaller record labels.  We’ll talk more about this in the next chapter.

Contact small record labels.

There are thousands of small record labels with a few thousand followers who would love to have your music featured on one of their playlists.  The hard part is finding them.  The trick is to find the record labels that fit your particular genre.

Once you’ve compiled a list of your favorite record labels, it’s time to start emailing.  Send them an email with your social networks, website, and links to your released songs.  Remember to be yourself.  Show the personal brand that can be seen on your social media and website.  People will be more inclined to respond to your emails if they see that you are a welcoming person.

Some record labels like Mr. Suicide Sheep have options on their website where you can upload your song in hopes of being featured.

DM other musicians.

In the early stages of your music career, a great way to grow your fanbase is to personally contact other musicians.  This may seem a little strange at first, but you’ll be surprised at the responses you can get.  Don’t be afraid to contact people who have a larger fanbase than you do.  These people know the hard work that goes behind it and are happy to help aspiring artists.

It’s not easy to build a fan base.  It involves countless hours of contacting one person after another to gain follower after follower.  It all helps in the long run.

I find the best way to start a conversation with other musicians is to compliment them on their music and give positive feedback.  People like to talk about themselves and hear positive feedback about their work.  Once the conversation gets rolling, you can ask if they wouldn’t mind listening to your track and giving you some feedback.  If your music is on point, they should be happy to follow you.

Give away free stuff.

Who doesn’t like free stuff?  I certainly do! 

Merch is a great way to put a little extra money in your pocket.  T-shirts, stickers, bags are all cool ideas for merch and are cheap to make.  But sometimes it’s better to give some of this stuff away.  This can attract people to your social media and gain a few extra followers here and there.

You can even have contests and ask people to name your song or answer polls.  

The winner gets a free t-shirt! YAY! At first, this may not get you too many followers, but that’s exactly why it’s called a “grind.”  

Get your friends to share your music.

If your friends and family can’t help promote your music, what good are they?  Ask them to share your YouTube, Instagram and Facebook posts on their social media accounts.  I’ve had thousands of views from a few friends who have shared my songs.  

It’s also a great way to get feedback on your songs.  Just be careful here.  Your family and friends are usually biased and will tell you your song is great when in reality it’s a piece of crap.

Summary

Okay.  That’s pretty much it.  These 5 tips on how to release music as an independent artist in 2022 should give you a good understanding of what it takes to release and promote your own music.  It’s not going to be easy.  There will be times when you will be rejected by blogs and record labels, but you need to keep your chin up and persevere.  Eventually you will get a chance and the stars will align.

The most important thing to remember:

– Keep your personal brand the same on social media, website and YouTube account.

– Promoting yourself is no easy task and requires a lot of effort.  Stay strong.

– There are many ways to make money as a music producer.  YouTube earnings, merch, Spotify plays, info products.  The possibilities are endless.

We hope this has helped.

Good luck and have fun as musician and artist.