How to Release Your Music Independently
We’ve written this step by step guide of how to release your music independently so that you would not have to go through time consuming pain-in-the-brain like we did.
So, if you do find this information useful, please support us and make a donation of ANY ammont, even if it is £1, it would be appreciated- we spent loads of time pulling this together for you!
If you choose to donate £11.50 or more, you will receive a FREE MuHa CD- the one I am talking about below- you will actually see the product, see what you can achieve!
Okay, you have your music recorded, mastered (or nearly finished) and can’t wait to officially release it.
To release any music you need to complete the steps below. Most of them are free or, if there is a charge, the it is very low .
a) Have the name for your release and the name (or numbers) for all
b) Create 5 digits catalogue number for your release - which is usually 2 letters from the name of your label/band + release number. For example, for MuHa's latest album we have the catalogue number MU0004.
c) I think these days you don’t have to be a record label to release own music and you CAN release it as an artist, but I am not 100% sure as we went on a route of a record label registration, I’ll explain how to do that. Don’t panic- ANYONE (or almost anyone) can register a record label. You need to email PPL UK (www.ppluk.com) at
firstname.lastname@example.org with the request to register your own record label. They will send you various forms which you need to fill in, sign and post back. As far as I remember it was free.
d) Set a release date. All releases must have a release date. It is up to you to choose a date. I would suggest to choose a date at least 2 months ahead from the moment you start all the paperwork.
e) Obtain official ISRC codes for each of the tracks on your album, it is free. To obtain ISRC codes you need to email to PPL at email@example.com with your Record company name (please use your own name or band name if you do not have a record company name) ;postal address; telephone number; contact name and email address. They will provide you with your ISRC registrant code that will look something like GB A5D 10 00001, which will be the code for your first track. Each consecutive track will need to be assigned the following number, i.e GB A5D 10 00002, 03, 04 etc.They will also give you your username and password to log in to their system, along with the
documentation how to use their online system to officially register your release in their database.
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f) Embed IRSC codes, along with all the other information- artist name, album and tracks names to your Master CD, which can be done with any mastering software- Soundforge, CD Architect, etc.
g) Get the artwork for your release, even if you are not producing physical copies of your release, you still need artwork for digital distribution. Find a graphic designer who can do it for you. Prices vary considerably and depend on what you want and who is doing the work for you. I would recommend Chris Merton- he designed www.muha.co.uk and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. When working with designer make sure you put your ideas across clearly, let him/her know exact artwork requirements and agree on a deadline of the artwork delivery.
h) Decide on how you are going to distribute your music- digitally only ( Itunes/ Amazon, etc) or are you going to produce a physical copy of the CD? To distribute your music through Itunes and other various digital music shops, you need to sign contract with the digital distribution company. This is fairly easy to do. There are a few companies that provide this service for up front small fee ( like Revebnation) or for % of your sales. We are using Artists Without Labels http://awal.com.
i) If you decide to produce physical copies of your CD, you will need to duplicate or replicate your CDs (a product). I would also advise to get a GTIN number ( or bar code) that allows you to put your product on a shelf in shops if you ever want to do so. The website to go to is www.gs1uk.org . If you are a musician or record label who turns over less than £10,000 and is only going to release a single track or album then you are now eligible to licence a single bar code number (GTIN) from GS1 UK as little as £25 + VAT for each number annually. Email them about it as on the website they charge much
more! When you obtain 13 digits GTIN number, your CD duplication company will
be able to ‘translate’ it into lines of the barcode for you.
j) Decide what packaging you want for your baby and find CD production company that will duplicate (small quantities) or replicate (larger quantities) your master CD and put it in packaging for you. Make sure you send your MASTER CD to them with all the IRSC codes and other information already embeded as they will simply multiply a copy you provide to them. There are hundreds of companies out there- find the one that
is quick to come back to you with the quote, will be answering all your questions promptly (even the stupid ones), and are competitive in pricing. Depending on the number of CDs and packaging, the prices can be anything from £0.50 to £2.00 or more per unit. The more CDs you produce, the less price per unit there should be. Make sure you ask about turn around time and artwork requirements. We used www.rivieramultimedia.co.uk . They are reliable, quick and very competitive. We thought the colours of the print on cover could have been better, but they were not completely wrong- after all, when you get a
cheap deal, you don’t expect a prime quality.
k) When you get boxes of your precious CDs derived to you, you may want find the means of selling them, apart from live shows. Using https://www.paypal.co.uk will allow you to create BUY NOW buttons, which you can embed to your myspace or other website and collect money from online payments. We did not try to secure any big
shops distribution, so I can not comment on that, but we did drop a few of your CDs to the local music shop http://www.themusicexchange.org.uk .
l) You may also notice when you put your new CD to your computer music player- Winamp or Itunes will say ‘unknown artist, unknown album’. This is not good, is it? These programs read information form their database, but NOT from your CD. To put your information to their database you need to use Gracenote. Read up how to do it here:
http://www.gracenote.com/about/faqs/ , look for the question ‘How do I submit (upload) CDs to Gracenote’
m) As independent artist you will need a lot of support from your friends and fans. Remember to give a credit to all the people who helped you along the way, it is good for your karma as well.
n) If you find this information useful, please make a donation using
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