How to Release Your First Song | 4 Main Strategies for Artists

    Edit, Mix, and Master your first single

    The general public is fascinated with how independent artists get their music on the biggest streaming platforms. Let's face it; we love hits and singles as a society.

    Are you looking to release your first single?

    The idea of "getting your music out there" may feel a bit daunting, but releasing your first song can be simpler than you think.

    Once you have your song recorded, the rest of your promotional efforts can come pretty quickly through the final stages of mixing and mastering, creating the artwork, sending the song to a distributor, and submitting it to playlists.

    Let's discuss the release strategy in detail!

    Table Of Contents

    What to Do Before You Release a Single?

    Polish the Music

    Edit, Mix, and Master your first single

    Once your song is recorded, it is time for the mixing and mastering.

    Mixing a song refers to getting all of the levels and sonics to work well with each other.

    This will include EQ’ing, adding effects, and really making sure each part of the song has its place. Essentially, you want to make all the different tracks sound like one cohesive song.

    Mastering, on the other hand, is where the song comes to life.

    Some people master their own songs, but the more complex the song, the more it should be mastered professionally.

    There are some songs you can get away with mastering yourself, but getting a really BIG and tight-sounding master is worth the money.

    Mastering engineers do this specific job for a living, and some of the studios they work in have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment that can't be matched at home.

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    Create Album Artwork

    As the creator of the song, you will have a strong grasp on the backstory and meaning of the lyrics. This should make the idea for your artwork come pretty naturally.

    However, conceptualizing your idea isn't always easy. Thankfully, there are many websites that you can visit to create compelling visuals for free. A great example is Canva.

    What is a single in music | Canva Artwork

    These websites will usually provide templates that you can start with to get inspiration going. This may include digital artwork with a simple background or a design that looks nice with a particular text.

    On the contrary, you can hire someone to make the artwork for you if you are having trouble. If you don’t know many artists, websites like UpWork make a huge difference when it comes to finding freelance graphic designers.

    Be sure to make your artwork pop and catch the audience's attention.

    With so many songs coming out daily on each platform, users swipe through songs quickly, so a good piece of art can make them stop and listen to your debut song for a bit longer.

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    Can you release music without a label?

    Two of the biggest third-party distributors are CDBaby and TuneCore. They are both great options for unsigned musicians to distribute their songs and music to the world.

    CD Baby for Music Distribution

    Submitting to these distributors couldn’t be easier.

    Once you make an account, you can upload your artwork and your song! Something cool that TuneCore lets you do is submit credits for the following:

    • Songwriters
    • Performers
    • Producers
    • Whoever else was a part of creating the track.

    After this, you’ll be prompted to select any and all of the stores and streaming platforms you wish your song to be available on.

    As exciting as a single release is, a good tip is to set it for release 3 weeks away from the day you’re submitting.

    If this is your first song, sometimes these distributors will upload your music to a different artist’s profile who may have the same name.

    Setting a release schedule for a few weeks out will give you time to make sure it gets set to be released on the correct account.

    The process of moving a song to the correct profile can take up to 15 days, so this is why it’s crucial to make a release plan that gives you some headway with your single release.

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    Submitting to Playlists & Blogs

    Spotify has a platform called “Spotify for Artists,” which makes it really easy for artists to submit their music to curated and editorial playlists.

    Your music will show up as unreleased once it gets approved, and once this happens, you are in the clear to submit to playlists!

    Playlists are one of your best shots at getting more streams than usual. These playlists are listened to by millions of people and if you land a song on a popular playlist, expect to see your streams start going up!

    Music blogs are a great way to gain more exposure as well. This route will take extra hands-on work and research but can prove to be very beneficial.

    You’ll want to find music bloggers who post about music similar to yours. The last thing you want to do is contact a blog and tell them that your music will fit perfectly when really you’ve never even visited it.

    They’ll know you’re lying and won’t want to support you as an artist. This is where the “work” comes into play!

    Go digging and find some blogs that have excellent content and music that is similar to your own. Find out who writes the blogs and be active in learning a bit about the website.

    As much as we always want to reach a larger audience, sometimes it’s more challenging to get a hold of them compared to a smaller blog. Create a promotion strategy that includes reaching out to blogs with large and small audiences. Anything helps!

    How to Release Your First Single

    Fast-Track Your Music Career

    By polishing off your music, having nice artwork, distributing, and submitting to playlists and blogs, you’re on your way to releasing your first song!

    This is an exciting time, so be sure to stay inspired, even if a blog writer doesn’t get back to you.

    Are there other ways to make a promotional plan? 

    If you're dedicated to your music passion and want to develop a successful career in the music industry, you need to consider enrolling in an accredited music college.

    The Atlanta Institute of Music and Media offers what no other music college in the country does. AIMM's program intricately combines recording aspects and instrumentation.

    This way, when you leave AIMM, you will be a prepared and well-rounded independent artist or music producer.

    Don't delay your dreams any longer!

    Click the link below to learn more about AIMM and how your music career can be fast-tracked today.

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    Damon Fonooni

    Damon Fonooni

    Damon Fonooni is the Director of Music Production and Audio for Media for Atlanta Institute of Music and Media. He is responsible for academically advising students in the Music Production Certificate and Music Production and Audio for Media Degree programs. In addition, Damon is an Instructor for various classes throughout these programs. He has been featured on BBC Radio 1, Kiss FM, Triple J Mixup Australia, DJ Mag, and URB. Damon has also received numerous awards including Creative Loafing's Best Electronic Musician in Atlanta. As a Musician, Damon has toured the globe and was featured in the Toronto Film Festival. Damon attended Georgia State University. He is an Electronic Musician and Sound Designer and has released over 100 songs, originals, remixes and collaborations, and continues to work on various projects including film and television.