Welcome to the Sell More Singles Roadmap
Press play to watch the video on how to get started
Day 1 - Start Here
Kudos to you for taking this step. In a few days you will be rocking and rolling your way to more buzz, more fans and more sales.
Here’s the first thing you need to do today.
Download and read the “Sell More Singles” ebook. That way, you will get a solid overview of what it is you will be working on over the next few days. It’s only 20 pages so you should be able to whip through it pretty fast. Read through the ebook.
We'll see you tomorrow for day 2. We will be starting the preparation phase of the release.
Action Plan Recap
- Read “Sell More Singles” ebook
- Check out the Day 1 Extra Credit tab
Day 1 - Extra Credit
You can use the Roadmap as is to promote and sell your music. But to maximize the results you get from the Roadmap I highly suggest you do the following:
- Get crystal clear on who your audience is (if you don't know already)
- Set up an email collection system and start collecting emails (if you aren't already)
- Figure out how to find more fans
These are some of the biggest things musician miss and are a big reason why they feel like they aren't getting anywhere. Knowing who your ideal fan is, how to keep them around and how to find more ideal fans is extremely important. Those skills are going to help you build momentum so that results for your future releases gets bigger and you get to where you want to go faster. There is one resource that will help you learn each of them:
This is one of the first courses I took. It was the first of its kind that combined music promotion with online direct response marketing. This is pretty in depth. From building a website from scratch to building an email list to a handful of strategies for find more fans. It is worth every penny Since taking it I have come to know the creator John personally through email and Skype conversations. He is a great teacher, great marketer and an indie musician like you and I. He has a proven track record. He has also seen the music industry as a signed musician (on a well known label in the 90's). He's sees things from both an old school and new school perspective. Click here to check out Music Marketing Manifest
Action Plan Recap
- Check out Music Marketing Manifesto
Welcome to Day 2
Today and tomorrow we will be getting stuff ready. If you read through the ebook, you will know that this is the “Preparation” phase. We will be doing the following:
- getting audio files ready
- creating videos
- compiling credits and lyrics
- Creating album art
- Creating a blog post
We will organize these up front and centralize them in a single folder. That way, when you get to uploading and song/album data entry, everything will be in one place. Nothing slows you down faster then having to stop everything to dig around for stuff. Get started:
Step 1: Get Organized Create a folder on your computer named something like “New Release – [Your Song/Album Title].” This is where you are going to store all the info we create and compile over the next few days.
Step 2: Get Codes You are going to need ISRC codes for individual songs. And if you are going to be releasing an CD, Album of some sort of physical product you will need a UPC code. Here's a post that explains all you need to know about ISRC Codes and how to embed them in your song files.
Step 3: Album Art You are gonna need album art. The sooner that you get going on this the better. It might take a few days if you are starting from scratch. You can either create it yourself, have a freind or fan create one OR hire a professional. Here are your options.
No Budget? Created it yourself using the graphic design software of your choice. Or use Canva. I love Canva. They have a templates specifically for album art that will help you get something professional looking in minutes. They also have templates for tons of other things like Facebook posts, Twitter posts, blog post and so much more. I find myself using Canva more and more for a lot of things.
Got a Budget? If you have a budget and are looking for high quality, you could hire a professional. But check out 99Designs or Fiverr for a few inexpensive alternatives. 99designs lets you use the power of crowdsourcing. You create a “contest” of what you are looking for and dozens of graphic designers through up their idea. You choose a winner. You will get a high degree of quality with no risk but it will cost you in the hundreds. You could also use 99designs for t-shirts and other merch. Fiverr is more inexpensive. I had a pretty solid cover made for $5. But it is a hit or miss deal.
Image Specifications When you create the images, make sure you have a few sizes ready to go. 1000 x 1000 px and 300 x 300 px should have you covered for most places like Bandcamp, iTunes and other music distributions sites.
BONUS IDEA: If you really want to go all out, you could swap out some of the artwork on all your social media locations too. Click here for a handy breakdown of all the image sizes and specifications for all the popular social media sites.
Step 4: Audio Files Next, its time to get your song files in order. Make sure to have both wav and mp3 files ready to go. This means that you need to make sure all your mp3’s have all the ID3 tags embedded – including ISRC codes. Put them in the folder. Make sure you add your meta tags. It is extremely important to have this info riding along with your track for a few reasons. 1) so your data shows up in a player 2) so people know who to credit if your track gets used somewhere. I use a free tool called mp3tag.
Step 5: Credits and Liner Notes This is one of those things you can easily overlook. But it is pretty important. Forgetting to recognize someone who helped you out can be a real buzzkill and may even screw with future releases. Start a file with a document creator, like Word, Google Doc’s, or even a something like Evernote. Then just create a nice organized list with the following information:
- Who played on the song?
- who wrote it where did you record it?
- who was the producer/engineer?
- who do you want to thank?
- who’s the hot blonde that let you stay on her couch the last time you were in town?
- Etc, etc?
I think you get the picture. If you were a geek like me, who used to read through all the liner notes on albums, cassettes and CD’s, this should be pretty self explanatory. If you are stuck or looking for more content ideas, just take a look around on a site like Bandcamp to get an idea of what other artists are doing. Oh and remember, save this in your main folder. Take A Break That should give you plenty to do for today. I’ll be back tomorrow with a few more “Preparation” related tasks for you.
Action Plan Recap
- Get Organized
- Get Codes
- Create album art
- Prepare audio files
- Create credits and liner notes
Day 3 is here.
Are you ready? Let's get to it. The file you created yesterday should be filling up. Let’s add some more and finish up this Preparation phase.
Step 6: Create a Blog Post Today you are gonna start a draft of your blog post. You are going to want to include text, video, album art and the song (can’t forget the song). Some of this stuff will not be available quite yet but the idea is to have it ready so you can just drop stuff in right before hitting publish. For text, you could tell the story behind the song (which also doubles as a script for a video), add the lyrics, add links to merch, describe any promotion you have, encourage sharing and whatever else you can think of without blabbing too long and boring the hell out of them. Other than text you should try to involve as many types of content as possible. Use some audio, video and text. Not everyone likes to read or watch a video. The goal is to improve the chances I am catching them on their terms. It also lets you engage your fans through a variety of senses (I read somewhere that that is a good thing). For inspiration, here’s an example of one of my new release blogs click here. NO BLOG on your website? No problem. Create one free using WordPress. WordPress is very versatile and pretty easy to get the hang of. It will do for now but you could use it as your website if you don’t already have one.
Step 7: Create Videos Now it is time to whip up some video. I recommend that you create two videos for maximum effect.
Video #1 Videos #1 will just be you talking to the camera about the song and asking them to listen and download. If you did the work on your blog post, it will be pretty easy to do since you kind of have a script already. I think this adds a personal touch and is step toward strengthening relationships with your fans.
Video #2 Video #2 is the actual music video. Feel free to make the next Thriller if you’d like. But if you don’t have the time, know-how or budget, a simple album cover or lyric video will be sufficient for now. The bottom line here is to get your song on the 2nd largest search engine on the planet. First, start by getting your video notes ready for when you upload. The first line of the notes should have a link to your blog post or to the main place you want them to buy your music (for me it is usually Bandcamp or a landing page). After that I add link to all the places they can get the song (Spotify, iTunes, etc). Not everyone wants to use itunes or Bandcamp or wherever – even if they have to pay elsewhere. And not everyone wants a download but will want to stream your music. Give them a chance to experience your music on their terms. This has really bumped my sales and exposure on many different platforms.
For a living, breathing example of how I set up my video notes click here.
Break Time Whew! That is probably the toughest portion of the whole release process. From here on it should get easier. Take a break and get ready for tomorrow because tomorrow it is time to start working on “Distribution.” Almost there man! See you tomorrow.
Action Plan Recap
- Create a blog post
- Create videos
Day 4 is here.
OK, now that we have all the preparation out of the way. Lets start uploading our stuff. If you did a good job, the distribution should be pretty quick and painless. Lets get started.
Step 1: Upload Songs If you are going to use the same method I did, now is the time to upload your song to Bandcamp and fill out all the necessary information. Go do that now.
If you are not doing the Bandcamp thing, keep reading. If you know what digital distribution service you are going to use, go there now and get started. If you need a little more info, here's an overview of the service.
Here are the links to the 4 I listed:
If you still don't know who you are going to use, go back and read through the distribution portion of the ebook, pick one out, sign up and get started.
Quick note about digital distribution. With Bandcamp you can keep your track hidden until release day (which will be tomorrow). However, with the digital distributions sites, once you upload your songs, it may be live in many places (except iTunes it takes a little longer). Not sure that matters all that much, other than you will find out who your hard core fans are (i.e. the ones that noticed your tune before it is releases… congrats if you do) but just thought I'd point that out. If necessary, grab any links or embed codes and paste them into you blog.
Step 2: Upload Videos Go upload your videos now. On YouTube, select “Scheduled” in the Privacy drop down and set the time and date for a time right around when you think you will have your blog live tomorrow. Then, add a title, add some tags, fill out the notes section, etc. Grab the link or video embed code and paste that into your blog Side note: I am not up on how all the video services work so I am not sure if they have a schedule option. Just be on the lookout for it and be aware that a link to your blog post won't be live until tomorrow. That might be confusing to the fans if they catch your call to action in a video that is published before that blog. Just sayin.
Take Break Almost there man. Tomorrow is the big day go get some rest. 🙂
Action Plan Recap
- Upload Songs
- Upload Videos
Welcome to day 5.
Today is the big day. We are gonna post your blog and start telling the world about your brand spankin' new music.
Quick note before we get started Be aware that the day of the week could be a factor in the success of your release. Weekends are generally known as a time when people are disconnected. That said, take that with a grain of salt. It is changing more and more because everyone has a smartphone in their hand these days. Also, without having a better understanding of your fans or genres online habits, I can't say foresure. Do your own testing.
For me, I avoided releasing Friday's, Saturday's and Sunday's because, through experience, I learned that my people were less likely to be online on those days. Basically I am just saying consider the day of week and, if you feel you need to, hold off on your release. Not a big deal, just come back to this point on the day you are ready.
Step 1: Publish Your Blog If you have following directions and been adding stuff the past few days, your blog should be ready to go. Before you hit publish, be sure to look it over to make sure everything is spelled correctly. Make sure links are workings. Make sure audio and video embeds are working etc. When everything is good to go, hit publish!
Step 2: Send Out and Email Now head on over to your email marketing manager (the place you keep your fan list). Type up a short email telling them about your release. The email only needs to be a few lines with link to your blog post. Let your blog do all the work.
Need to start an email list?
Here are a few options for you (I use them both):
Its free, very solid and better than nothing. But you are missing useful time-saving features like autoresponders (that you need to pay for anyway).
My go-to email service provider. It is the one I use for this website. I made the switch in September 2019 and I LOVE it. There are few reasons I would strongly suggest you go with ConvertKit.
First, if you don't have a website, they have easy landing page templates that you can customize and use to collect emails.
Second, they have excellent training. They walk you through every thing you need to know about setting up your email list through to how to build your email list.
Third, they have excellent support. Support is a “live” chat box. They will actually migrate your list for you if you are on another platform. That saved me tons of time.
Fourth, its very visual. It can be difficult to visualize how your emails go out when you are setting stuff up. But they have a great interface.
Step 3: Share on Social Media Now, this is where all the networking you've been doing over past few months and years comes in handy. Get on every social media site that you have a presence on and start sharing the good news. Make sure you pay attention to the best times to post. Here's a nice infographic to help you with that. Also, make sure you understand the best kind of content to post. Large images are some of the best ways to post on Facebook and Google plus (remember, Canva can help you create these fast). Post more than once!!! As long as you are not a whore about it – and make an attempt the intertwine other relevant content in between self promotion – feel free to post a few different times with different types of content. Between your two videos, your blog and numerous places like iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, etc you have a ton of content to share. Share it and spread it. While you are sharing, keep an eye out for hashtags relevant to your songs to add to your posts and tweets.
BONUS IDEA: Online Release Party Anyone!!!
If you noticed in the ‘Sell More Singles” ebook, you could have what I call an “online release party” (catchy huh?). Just schedule a Facebook event containing a link to your blog post and send out invitations to everyone in your network that might be interested. You could schedule a Facebook, YouTube Live or whatever live streaming video event. Chit chat, answer some questions, play the tune or whatever.
That's it for Today Hopefully you are starting to see some people checking out your blog posts and videos by now. And you should start to see a few downloads and sales. If not, don't worry, there's more we can do tomorrow. And if it is your first release, it may take a few releases to build this thing up. Good work today. I'll see you tomorrow.
Action Plan Recap
- Publish Your Blog
- Send Out and Email
- Share on Social Media
Day 6 Already!
Where does the time go? 🙂 OK, we released the tune and stoked the social media fire yesterday. Feel free… actually scratch that… I encourage you to keep stoking that fire for the next week or so. But before you do, lets go through a list of things you can do to continue to amplify your release.
Step 4: Reach Out to Bloggers, Podcasts and Radio If you've been in the game for awhile you should have a nice network of bloggers, podcasters, radio DJ's and other media types. Now is the time to reach out to each one and tell them about your new release. Don't be pushy. Just mention that you have some new music, tell them where they can hear it and how they can get it if they want it.
If you don't have a network, or are looking to expand this network, I highly recommend that you get a copy of the Indie Bible. It has contact information for over 7000 radio stations, music blogs, magazines and more that will feature your music. Here is a list of all the other places you can submit your music.
Step 5, 6, 7 and the list goes on… There are always other things you can do. The list seems endless. Here's a few off the top of my head:
- You could do a press release. Here are some free services. And there are people who will help you for $5.
- You could purchase spins on sites like Jango.
- You could post flyers around town at clubs, record stores, books store, wherever.
- You could hand out download cards or flyers outside other shows in your city.
- You could reach out to other artists in a genre similar to yours. You guys could work out a cross promotion agreement. Basically each of you share each others music with your fans via email or on social media.
I could go on. Important: DO NOT kill yourself trying to do all of these things. Just do the basics in step 4. When those are complete, and if you have some time, try adding 1 or 2 from the list above. Keep the methods that work. If none of them work, try 1-2 more during your next release. Again, keep the ones that work and stop using the ones that don't. Keep testing and you might just strike gold.
Almost done I'll be back tomorrow with a few final thoughts as well as a trick that will help you get the most out of your email list. See you then.
Action Plan Recap
- Reach Out to Bloggers, Podcasts and Radio Contacts
- Pick 1 or 2 methods from the list above and test them out.
Fiverr (search for “press release”)
Check Musicgoats “Submit Your Music” page (always getting updated)
You made it to day 7.
You are waaaay farther along than 90% of the indie musicians out there.
Today I wanted to finish with an email tactic that will help you get more out of your list. And then we can wrap this up.
This tactic is gold. You could add another 5% – 25% opens which will result in more exposure and sales.
Step 1: Send out another email
It has been two days since you sent out your original email blast to your fans. Odds are there were a bunch of people who missed it.
Go back into your mailing list manager. Filter out all of the fans who did not open the first message, change the subject line up a bit and resend at a different time of day that you sent the first one.
I can almost guarantee you that you will get more people to open this email.
Step 2: Send out yet another email
Then in a few days, do this again, and you will get even more.
I release on Monday morning, send out another email Wednesday evening and then hit them again on Saturday Morning.
Filtering and sending out another email is up to you. I only did it 3 time because to seemed to cover most of the list.
If you still have a bunch of people that aren't responding, you might want to think about removing them from the list.
Inactive users aren't healthy for an email list. They cost you more if you are paying by the mount of subscribers and it may even affect your SPAM score with certain email providers – If they see a high percentage of their customers NOT opening your stuff.
Step 3: Rinse, tweak and repeat
At this point we are pretty much done with the initial release. Keep pushing it when you can, then start prepping for your next release.
Make this entire process a habit.
All along, make a note of what worked and what didn't. You can constantly be improving this whole process.
You can make things faster and more efficient so you have more time to promote.
You can increase the amount of time you spend on certain types of promotions. Ramp up the focus on the ones that work good and dismiss that ones that do not.
Bottom line is, now you have a system to help you monitor your progress and continue to grow your fanbase and sales.
Oh and one final thought
Before I go just wanted to mention one thing concerning sales. If you do not see a ton of sales on sites like iTunes or Amazon (or plays on sites like Spotify) don't worry. Most of those services do not have “real time” reporting (might take weeks or over a month to see anything).
I didn't notice a lot going on on those site at first either. But with a consistent effort on a regular basis I started to see money start to trickle in on my CDBaby account manager (it is pretty cool getting a check every month).
The immediate feedback and reporting one of the reasons I use Bandcamp for the initial release. When you make a sale the money goes straight into your Paypal account and you get an idea of how things are going.
Now, take a break, breathe a little and pat yourself on the back. Then start thinking about your next release.
What To Do Between Releases…
Want to super-charge the results of your next release by learning how to build your fan base the right way.
Check out one of the following:
- How to set up your own website
- How to set up email collection
- A to Z direct to fan marketing system
Action Plan Recap
- Send out another email
- Send out yet another email
- Tweak, Rinse and repeat
- Start thinking about your next release
Day 8 And Beyond
Join THE Most Exclusive Music Marketing Group
Want to keep up on the latest music marketing strategies? Want to be a part of a community of musicians who have been there, done that and are willing to help you advance your music career? My friend John Oszajca has created a community of indie musicians dedicated to proving that you can make money as a musician. The community is called the Insider Circle. Insider Circle will be teach you ADVANCED music marketing strategies, and keep you on the cutting edge of the rapidly changing music industry.
“Stay informed about the latest music promotion strategies to build your fan base and sell more music!”