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How to Release Music Independently

Release your own music independently and you can be in control of your art.


  • Step 1: Ask fans, friends, and family to spread the word. You can multiply the size of your fan base by making arrangements with other musicians to put links on each other's sites.
  • TIP: Use blogs documenting your career, gigs, and band news to keep everyone updated and to publish snippets of work in progress or concert video footage.
  • Step 2: Create a compelling story angle to distinguish your creative arc. Research the best publications to handle your type of music and contact the music editor to get a review. Campaign locally for an interview in a paper or music circular.
  • Step 3: Create a publishing entity to handle getting songs played by others and eventually collect royalties. One of the best ways to get known is through TV programs who contract to use one of your cuts.
  • FACT: Online digital music downloads increased by 29 percent from 2008 to 2009, accounting for about 33 percent of all music tracks purchased in the U.S.
  • Step 4: Sell your music files online at music sites that will submit tracks to digital download sites. You are able to take in more of the money, and promote yourself on social networking sites or personal website with pictures, music, profiles, and links.
  • Step 5: Circulate your CDs in stores that will be more attune to your music instead of trying to land as many stores as possible. Sell your CD on consignment deals.
  • TIP: Know about mechanical licensing to alter or rearrange music, but also prepare for the possibility that a band or individual may cover your songs.
  • Step 6: Pick your strongest tracks. Master them for consistent sound quality worthy of a major label recording.
  • Step 7: Design an attractive cover that conveys the tenor and meaning of the music. Make the credits legible, include everyone who contributed, and list contact information, the publishing company, and copyrights. Register for a bar code.
  • Step 8: Develop a relationship with a college or other local radio station DJ to arrange interviews and live performances. At the more commercial stations, drop off press kits with info, CDs, and your background.
  • Step 9: Copyright your music to cover yourself when releasing music independently. Look into registering your songs with ASCAP or BMI.

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