Tuesday, February 5, 2008

10 Things To Do Before You Release Your CD

You have put in the work in the practice rooms, tried your songs in from of fans and peers at local venues and then put your entire life savings into recording your CD. This is typical of a local band cycle. The problem that most Orlando bands face after they record their CD is what to do with it when it comes.

Most bands that I talk to are amp’d about their new CD. “It’s the best thing since sliced bread.” “We’re going to get signed off this one.” And so the responses go.

Most bands go as far as having an impressive CD release party with a good number of fans who all buy the CD and take home the memory of a good show and a good time. Problem is, after those 200 or so people leave the band still has 800 or so CD’s in the backseat of the drummer’s car (see Discmaker’s and company traditionally hit you with the 1,000 CD minimum to see any bit of a pricebreak).

Then the band goes and takes a few weeks off, plays some more shows and before you know it 3-4 months have gone by and you still have 700 or so CD’s, little to no buzz and your parents want their money back.

So with all this said, I am going to share with you 10 tips to prepare before your CD release that will hopefully keep the stream of sales going and the publicity hot even after your big CD Release push. I am going to tailor this to the Orlando area but you can use this information anywhere just input your local spots in the place of the Orlando ones.

1. Create an ongoing mailing list and actually use it. This one is from Music Promotion 101 and it overlooked by most bands on a local level. Read: Myspace is not a mailing list! Put an online mailing list on your Myspace page, website, etc with a free widget from FanBridge. Take your laptop to your show and have people sign up there as well. The fans that sign-up for your mailing list want to hear from you, and they are more likely to follow what you are doing.

2. Promote the Album, not the Show. When making posters and placing them around town, promote your album. This will make the posters timeless and keep the buzz for your band longer than your show in a week.

3. Press Releases. Make and distribute. Send to every media outlet, print, tv, online, radio. You will be surprised by the amount of response you get from them, from incoming links to interviews to mentions in Orlando Weekly, the Sentinel and more. When sending online remember to submit to PRWeb and PRLeap.

4. Change your Myspace Layout and other Online Sites to reflect the theme of your album. Prepare your fans for the CD before it is released by shifting your Myspace image to that of the new album. With a new album comes a new image, embrace it and do not overlook the power of a redesign.

5. Pre-Orders. Start fundraising for the duplication of your album. Using PayPal is free and easy and allows you to create a database of the emails and addresses of fans who want your album before they have heard the songs.
6. Set a Tuesday release date and get into local stores. Setting your release date for a Tuesday will put you on the same schedule as all other music releases. When getting your CD in local stores like Park Ave CD’s and CD Warehouse, talk to the manager about getting your album put onto the New Release shelf at least for the initial day or week of the release. If you are lucky and make great music, they may even put you on the marquee of all releases coming out on that day.

7. Blog.
Blog about your album. Blog about making the album. Blog about the album cover. Blog about how you and the bassist fought it out everyday for how a certain song sounds. This is not only good for search engines, but as a diary for you to remember the process.

8. Make a commercial and market it on YouTube, Myspace and Facebook. Why can’t you have the next Soulja Boy? Make a quirky video, make it funny, make it short and send it to everyone you know. If its good and catchy, look for the traffic to come and pre-order your CD.

9. Start streaming your music to create a buzz. Get your music on Last.FM, Pandora and others. These sites will not only increase your fanbase but also pay your royalties for streaming your music.

10. Online Distribution. Cool, you have a physical CD coming in a few days. Did you know iTunes, Amazon and others take weeks to import your music if you are an indie musician? Get them your music ASAP to have it ready for your release.

There are a million tricks to get your music ready and become buzz worthy. These are just 10 that can make an impact locally when you are trying to break your CD.

-Greg Rollett


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