Indie Artist 101: Release Checklist

Below is a checklist I go through upon each and every album we release here on Santa Rosa Records. I hope this may be of help to some of you indie artists out there — wherever you are.

  • Submit album to digital platforms via a distribution service or an indie label.

    • Submit to Spotify and Filtr playlists.

    • Distrokid is a great distribution service, as is The Orchard. Honestly, it really all depends on you, and what you want from your distribution service. Or, perhaps get signed to an indie label so that you can focus more of your time and energy on what matters most — your music.

  • Submit album for release on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, YouTube, and Discogs.

  • Plan live release show — or perhaps go live on YouTube or Instagram on the day of release. Just do something.

  • The days following the release — periodically send indie music blogs and radio stations your favorite couple tracks off the album. Personally, I wouldn’t try to email more than 25 at a time — your chances of getting flagged greatly increase if you try and mass email many more than this. Also, remember to utilize the BBC for mass mailing blogs and radio. Keep it classy.

    • SubmitHub is a pretty nifty music blog submission service — we’ve been pretty happy with the platform so far. They make the whole music blog submission process pretty easy — although not always painless.

  • Post about album on your website (if you have one) and all of your social media platforms — for weeks. No, make that months — or until your next release.

    • Posting links to tracks on forums such as a genre specific subreddit can also help drive listeners to your tracks on YouTube, Soundcloud or Spotify.

  • Releasing your album physically can also stimulate sales and help solidify reputation. People crave the nostalgia of cassette tapes and vinyl records. In fact, both mediums have been increasing in popularity in recent years. You can’t go wrong with either IMHO. However, I’d steer clear of CDs for the time being. They seem to have really stagnated among listeners as of late. However, they’re so cheap, why not… They’ll likely be considered vintage memorabilia here soon anyway.

  • A music video for a particular track, or set of tracks is also never a bad idea. Release it on YouTube — and wherever else you’re able to reach viewers. YouTube is a whole nother animal of untapped potential. I predict we have only seen the tip of this megalithic video iceberg. More to come soon.

Note: I will update post regularly as new technologies and modes of music promotion emerge. Let us know in the comments below if you have any other ideas for promoting your music. Much love.

"We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever." — Sagan