Record, mix and master
Cover the basics first: you’ll need to have a song that is mixed and mastered. Let’s break these down real quick: Recording your song sounds obvious, but you’ll need to have a Microphone, an Audio interface, a computer and DAW (Pro Tools, FL Studio, Cubase, etc). Any DAW will work , it really depends on your preferences and experience. Mix the song as best as you possibly can (this means volume levelling, panning, EQ, compression, reverb, etc.) If your song isn’t passing the car test, or you are struggling to get good mixes, consider hiring a mixing engineer to mix your song. It’ll save you a lot of TIME. I’ll be honest, this is the toughest part and will take the most patience and the most work. You might spend a while just getting the recording and mix sounding good, but don’t try and skip ahead and master a song that doesn’t sound good. If you can’t get it sounding close to perfect here, then mastering won’t fix anything.
Mastering is no longer a mysterious art, you can get pretty good results using Plugins and by referencing similar styles of music. If you don’t know how loud to make your song, go check out Youlean Loudness Meter
If you are looking for something simple and effective and don’t have the patience to master the song yourself, just use a professional Mastering Engineer. If you can’t afford that, use an online service like Landr. Landr is now offering distribution too. Pretty convenient for artists… and saves you time and energy that could be focused on songwriting and recording.
If you are an independent artist, the next thing you’ll need to do is sign up with a Distribution service like DistroKid.
This is the most important part, otherwise your fans can’t even find you on Spotify….
DistroKid will help you keep 100% of your earnings, distribute to all the major online streaming services. You can even set up “splits” or percentages that are routed to different people, like your Producer, or collaborating Artists 🙂
It’s only $19.99/year (as of February 2021) to upload unlimited albums! That is CHEAP. There are more features than I can go into detail in a single blog post…so just go checkout DistroKid. You can also check out competitors like CDBaby, Tunecore, United Masters, etc.
These services are really a huge benefit to being an artist in 2021. 20 years ago artists really needed a big label or needed to somehow land a distro deal, which wasn’t easy!
Promote your Music
Social Media is an effective and free way to promote music. Just don’t spam peoples DMs. It doesn’t work. We know it doesn’t work in 2021!
Here’s what I recommend in 2021:
- Start a small ($1 – $10 a day) paid ad campaign on Insta/FB (Think about where you might already have an audience, and keep building there). Make sure you are targeting the appropriate demographic for your music (what ages and interest groups they are in).
- Use that campaign to promote your song and also to build your Audience & Email List (MailChimp, GetResponse, ConvertKit are all good Email marketing services).
- Regularly check back in on your campaign and see what’s working (We could write an entire blog series on campaigns, but thats something I’ll save for another article).
- Release music frequently and email your list + post to platforms
Take advantage of YouTube Shorts, TikTok and IG Reels. These promote your content to new people that you would not normally be able to reach by just doing regular Photo/Video posts!