Welcome to this week’s instalment of the Marshall Street Studios Blog. Glad to have you here! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Alex Carpi, a singer and songwriter from here in Melbourne, and I’ve been writing this blog for the boys over at Marshall Street for a few months now. I’m also getting coached there, which has been such an amazing boost to my music career so far, and what I’ve learnt has been invaluable (which sounds like it should mean ‘not valuable’, but actually means ‘extremely valuable’ ????????♀️).
For a while now, I’ve been planning my next single release, and while it’s felt like an uphill battle at times, release week is finally here! So in this entry, I’m going to break down a few key things you should know when planning your release.
1. The song itself
The first thing you need is a track to release. Sounds obvious, right? I write all my own stuff, and I’m lucky to have Nick Mason who I work closely with to produce what I’m imagining. If you aren’t a strong songwriter, or you’re still building skills in this area, look to collaborate! There’s heaps of writers out there who aren’t singers, and want to get their material heard. If you know someone, reach out and see if they’d be willing to work together. Otherwise, you can ask other musicians if they know anyone, or you can put a call out on Facebook groups such as Melbourne Musicians.
Then you’ll need to find a producer so they can make the track sound the best it possibly can. Studio time will cost a bit of money, but it’s definitely worth it to get the track up to industry standard. If your song isn’t on par with others out there, you’re limiting yourself straight away. If you don’t know where to start when looking for a studio, give us a call at Marshall Street, we’d be happy to help you out.
You now need to get all of your other ducks in a line, and you’ll want to be doing this around 6 weeks before the release date. This is when you do the photoshoot and music video that will go with the song. Now, not all songs need music videos, and if you don’t want to do one for this particular release, that’s okay. Think about doing a lyric video instead. This way, you’ll still have something to promote on YouTube.
I reached out to my good friends Jayden and Sarah, who shot and directed my music video, respectively.
I will stress the importance of doing a photoshoot. Have a big brainstorm about what look and vibe you’d like to accompany this song. With my track Veins, I wanted the mood to be dark and seductive, but with a fun, playfulness about it. I worked closely with photographer (and friend) Britt at Simply Photographz, and we achieved the exact look I wanted! Don’t be afraid to speak up when on your shoot, as it’s for you, and the purpose is to achieve your vision.
After this, get your album cover ready to go, and make sure you have an artist bio and a track description at the ready. You’ll need these for Steps 3 & 4.
3. Distributing your song
So you’ve got your song, and it’s a banger. Congratulations! I would love to say the hard part is over, but I would be lying to you. And I don’t like lying to my loyal readers (all three of you). Once you’ve got your track, you need to get it into stores. But how do you do this? You find a distributor, of course!
There’s heaps of great ones out there, including Ditto Music, CD Baby, Distrokid… the list goes on. Do some research and find the one that suits you the best.
You’ll want to send the song out to your distributor at least three weeks in advance. I would personally recommend four, just for safety, but don’t stress if this isn’t achievable. The reason you want to get it out so far in advance is so the distributor has time to send it out, the stores have time to process it, and in the case of Spotify, so you have enough time to submit it for playlists! All of these things will give your song the best chance of being heard by as many people as possible.
4. Press Release
I don’t even know where to start on this step. This was probably the most difficult part for me, but it’s very important. Using MailChimp or another similar service, you can now go and make your press release. I am not an expert at PR, and nor do I claim to be, so I recommend researching Press Releases and finding the format that best suits you and your new track. Make sure to include photos, social media links, and an opening paragraph that captures the essence of your song (I got a PR goddess friend to write mine – don’t be afraid to reach out). And of course, LINKS TO YOUR TRACK! This is what people will be looking for.
Queue up these emails and schedule them so that they send on the day of the release.
Time for the fun stuff! This bit scared the hell out of me, but as Ben and Stu say “don’t look at the big picture”. You’ll just freak yourself out. I’m honestly getting overwhelmed just writing this article.
Once you have your photoshoot, your video, and all of your assets, it’s time to email that shit out to everyone. Radio stations, publications, artist managers, you name it. All it takes is the right person to listen to your song, and your whole life could change.
I recommend emailing local radio stations and publications a week or two in advance, with a minute or so clip of the track. Introduce yourself and ask if they’d like to premiere your song. This worked for me; Veins premiered on Joy FM last night and it’s getting another spin on Casey FM on Saturday!
If you don’t hear back, don’t freak out. It might be a while before they notice you, but keep trying and you’ll become a familiar face.
5. Day of release
Congratulations! You’ve made it! Your song is out into the world, and hopefully getting mighty streams or downloads on each platform. Today is the day the emails with your press release attached should be sending. If you’ve already scheduled all of these, you shouldn’t have anything to stress about on the day.
Are you going to do a launch party for your new song? I’ve added this as a bit of an afterthought in this article, but really it’s something you should be thinking about the whole time. If you do want to do a launch show, plan it for either the day before, of, or after the release drops. I’d need to do a whole other article if I were to talk about what goes into throwing a launch party, and maybe one day I will. But today is not that day.
Not every single launch needs an accompanying gig. If you’re launching an EP, I would highly recommend it, but don’t do one for every single. Choose the best ones and do big releases for those select few, and use the others to support and fill out your collection of material.
In summary, you’ve put a lot of time into making this song, so put a lot of time into planning the release as best you can. You want to give it its best opportunity to do well, because once it’s out there, it belongs to the world. You have no more say.
So good luck, keep calm, and if you have any new music you want me to check out, send it through to firstname.lastname@example.org
My track, Veins, is out in the world from TOMORROW – so make sure you give it a listen and share it around!
See you next time,