As an artist in this modern-day, releasing your music and making it available online is very important. In fact, refusing to not make it available on online platforms is almost the same as you not creating anything. As we all know most people now listen to music on digital platforms making it mandatory to put your song online in order to be discovered and stay relevant.
A lot of artists didn’t know how to go about this thus making record deals with labels the dream of almost every artist.
Artistes had to struggle or maybe get a record deal someday in order to become successful. Most artists will record songs, put them on CDs and maybe perform in their localities, gaining little or no attention/money! While some took a step in putting their songs on the internet but ended up being cheated by bloggers or distributors due to the lack of knowledge about the music business.
However, since the beginning of the second decade in this century, Uploading music online has become easier than ever. With Blogging becoming a popular thing, local/international digital music platforms like sound cloud, mdundo, mynotjustok, reverbnation, audiomack, youtube, etc. Making it easy for musicians to sign up and upload music anywhere anytime for free!
A lot of artists took advantage of these opportunities, putting their songs on these platforms and sharing the links to their friends/family.
Till date, A lot of artists still don’t know all that should be done before releasing music. It is absolutely okay to not know much about the music business as an artist after all, your main job is to compose/produce good sounds, and not everyone will find the business aspect interesting. But, having at least little knowledge about the basic ‘WHATS and HOWS’ will be of great benefit to you, so even if you’re under a record label or paying professionals you won’t get cheated.
There are four major steps to be taken when releasing music online.
The first is UPLOADING which can also be called distribution. A layman will refer to this as publishing but actually as simple as what it is, uploading! This is when you sign up on music platforms like audiomack, sound cloud, etc. To upload your music, pay bloggers to feature your music on various blogs to be available for streaming or downloading.
A professional that can be hired for this step is a BLOGGER.
The second step is DISTRIBUTION. Music distribution is just what it sounds like! This is the process of distributing your songs to those music platforms that won’t allow you to sign up/create accounts to upload directly. This is where music distributors come in. A professional that can be hired for this is a trusted MUSIC DISTRIBUTOR/COMPANY like Pushprom. They will distribute your songs to various digital streaming platforms and also help in the collection of royalties made from streams/sales on these platforms.
The third step is PUBLISHING.
This step is based on copyright, which is the rights you have for your music. A professional that can be hired for this step is a PUBLISHER/PUBLISHING COMPANY.
Music Publishers will help you license your tracks out to be used in the media including Tv, films and adverts. This is called synchronization (sync). The publisher’s role also includes collecting the income from uses and licenses that they issued.
Copyright is split into two main sections: copyright in the song (known as publishing rights) and copyright in the sound recording (known as master rights). The publisher only deals with the publishing right, which is the songwriting side and includes the music and lyrics. Therefore, you or your record label will own the master right, which is basically the right to use a particular recording of that song. In this step, there will be a PUBLISHING AGREEMENT, you will assign the publisher your publishing copyright, to use and license your songs on your behalf. This means you are no longer allowed to do this yourself.
The fourth step is PROMOTION. This step can begin even before the song is fully produced and released. It is simply the act of pushing and promoting the idea or concept of a music project or even the artist as a brand.
This is the stage where you market and sell out the product (music) that you spent lots of time and money on. This is
A professional that can be hired for this step is a BLOGGER/PROMOTER or a TALENT MANAGER.
To conclude, releasing music online is not as complicated as it seems, though it requires special skills and knowledge to be done properly.
A lot of artists are paying bloggers for ‘promotion‘ meanwhile they are only paying for ‘uploading’ simply because they don’t understand the business. Another mistake can be seen where an artist pays unprofessional/unregistered music distributors to handle distribution for them, taking the risks of losing their royalties and even copyrights.