Being a DIY musician is incredibly satisfying. Not only do you get to see your efforts pay off first hand, but you get to keep the majority of the money made. But it’s also a lot of work. There’s plenty of resources out there to help. But how do you know which ones work? How do you know which ones are right for you?
Assuming you already have songs written for your release, the first thing is to record them. However you do it, you need to get your songs recorded. While you’re recording, remember to share photos and videos from the studio, demo tracks, new song ideas and anything else you can think of to start creating buzz for your new release.
If you’re going to set up a street team, now would be a good time for that too. Have some good photos taken to use for publicity. You’ll want to start working on CD artwork and liner notes as well.
Once you have your songs recorded, mixed and mastered, it’s time to set a release date and get to work on promotion. You should look at a release date at least three to four months out to give plenty of time for your promotion campaign to take full effect and get maximum exposure for your new release. It’s good to go ahead and start a list with goals and deadlines on it.
Send your CD and artwork off for duplication. There are plenty of companies that do this and they’re all about the same, so the decision on who to use is up to you. While you’re waiting for you CDs, make a list of local media outlets that you’ll want to send a press kit to. This should include local print, radio, blogs, etc. Gather together your artist bio and any press you may already have to include in your press kit.
You should be about three months out from your CD release show at this time. If you haven’t done so, pick the venue for your show and book it. Find other bands or musicians to play with you for the show. Create posters, online event pages, digital flyers and any other promotional materials you might need.
At about two months out from your release, you should have your CDs back. Go ahead and assemble and mail your press kits to local papers, media and radio. Be sure to include a one-sheet (more on this later). Figure out what you want to do as far as distribution goes. Most local record stores have a consignment program. Also, start your digital distribution process.
One month out start hanging posters and handing out flyers and getting people interested in your new release and show. Email local music blogs with links to your new release and ask for a post about your release show and new CD. Continue your online promotion with posts about your new release and release show. Ask your friends to re-post or share your event page with their friends.
Don’t forget to practice and prepare for you release show! At this point, if you’ve kept to a timeline and done everything on your list, you’ll be relaxed and prepared for you CD release show.
This is a pretty quick and rough timeline of things that you need to do the create maximum exposure for your new CD. Each area requires a lot of attention and shouldn’t be glossed over.