How to Release Music: Guide to Launching Singles & Albums

Music Distribution
How to Release Music: Guide to Launching Singles & Albums

Releasing music is always a huge moment for any artist. But knowing how to release music effectively is important if you want your hard work to pay off.

If you’re wondering how to release music without record label support, the good news is that it’s never been easier for independent artists to release their tracks.

With some planning, preparation and a couple of tools, you’ll have everything you need to release your music and find success.

1. Create a final master of your tracks

The first step in releasing music is to make sure the album or single you’re releasing matches the loudness standards set by streaming platforms and radio.

This is a big part of the music mastering process—it adds a final polish to your tracks and, more importantly, makes sure your music sounds loud and clear on every listening medium.

So if you want your music to be competitive and stand a chance against other music on the radio or streaming platforms, you should master your tracks before releasing them.

🧠 Hot tip:

LANDR’s AI mastering tool and plugin are excellent, budget-friendly options for mastering your tracks without hiring a professional mastering engineer.

2. Finalize your track and album name

Releasing music soon? Watch this.

Releasing music soon? Watch this.

It may sound obvious, but you need a good name for your tracks and album.

If you have already thought up an album name or haven’t figured out what you’ll call your single, take some time to find a catchy, memorable name.

Pull a lyric that sticks out, or name it after a prevalent theme in your track or album.

Find something that speaks to you, represents your aesthetic and will connect with your fans.

3. Make your album artwork

Album artwork today is one of the most important parts of any musical release.

In our highly visual age listeners on streaming platforms do judge your music by its cover.

Before clicking that play button, your album artwork is the first thing potential listeners will interact with.

And, everything about your album art will send signals about your music’s quality and what it sounds like.

So you need to get your album artwork right—get an eye-catching design that represents your genre and showcases your art.

It’s also considered best practice to put your band name and album name on the album cover itself.

🧠 Hot tip:

Not ready to come up with a design of your own? Consider hiring a professional designer to help. Check out LANDR Network and connect with 100s of album art designers right now.

4. Pick a release date for your album and singles

A release date gives you a fixed point in time to organize around.

If you’re releasing an album, typically a good workback period for an album release is about three to four months.

But you should allocate time based on how many singles you’re releasing ahead of album launch day.

Releasing music can entail a few time-consuming tasks including:

  • Producing music videos for singles,
  • Designing art concepts for social media and merchandise
  • Organizing and producing a press photoshoot
  • Ordering vinyls, merch or cassettes

So plan accordingly and understand that releasing your music right might necessitate hiring a team.

5. Pick a digital music distributor

Now that you’ve got a release date in mind, you should find a digital music distribution service if you want to get your music on Spotify, Apple Music and every other streaming service.

If you have a specific date in mind, you’ll need at least two weeks to get your music delivered and scheduled for release on each streaming platform.

Giving extra time is smart since Spotify will allow you to pitch upcoming singles to its editorial playlist curation team up to two weeks ahead of release day.

If you come up with a good playlist pitch, you might get some additional attention from both Spotify’s all-important playlists and its algorithm-based suggestions.

🧠 Hot tip:

LANDR Distribution is an excellent and affordable distribution service, that offers premium support, powerful analytics dashboards and even a handful of branding and promotion tools.

6. Plan your music release on YouTube

YouTube is one of the largest platforms in the world for sharing content, and it’s a platform where many music fans discover new music.

That’s why uploading your music to YouTube is an excellent way to build your audience and increase exposure.

You’ll have to set up a dedicated artist channel focusing on your music.

Just like Spotify for Artists, customize your channel with a memorable profile picture and a compelling channel bio that showcases your music career.

When uploading your music, ensure the audio and video are high quality to give the best possible listening and viewing experience.

Also, use relevant keywords in your video titles, descriptions, and tags to make it easier for people to discover your music.

To monetize your tracks you must use YouTube’s Content ID system.

Content ID will tag your tracks anytime your music is used on YouTube, automatically sending you streaming payments from ad revenue.

To get Content ID for your tracks you must use a music distributor that offers YouTube Content ID.

7. Develop a release plan

Now that you have your release day set and you’ve uploaded your music for distribution, you need a concrete release plan for every communication you’ll make in the lead up to release day.

If you’re releasing an album with singles, you should release them at least two weeks before release day and each single release should also launch with its own video, if you made videos.

Consider dropping hints about your upcoming releases on social media too.

Even while you’re in the writing phase, don’t be afraid to post from the studio and let your fans know that something is coming.

As you get closer to release day start putting all those press photos you took to use on your socials to tease the release.

For release day itself, plan a show or at least some kind of listening party to celebrate the big launch.

Having a big show is another topic you can push on social media and it’s your opportunity to engage local fans and get people excited about seeing your live act.

No matter what, it’s super important to have a clear schedule that outlines everything in the lead-up to and after your release so that everyone you’re working with knows what to expect.

Keep promoting your release

One you’ve made it to release day, congrats! Be proud and enjoy the moment.

But don’t stop promoting your release, you’ve only just begun.

Keep talking about your new album on social media, connect with other artists in your niche and talk about collaborating on a remix.

Or, consider planning a small tour and take your music to other major urban centers in your area.

And of course, don’t stop making the music you love. Your output is ultimately why your fans show up for you, so keep writing and releasing music.

Ready to release your music?


Various contributors from the LANDR team of music mentors.


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