Michele's Album Release Checklist

I am a solo pianist and I release my my albums about every 12-24 months.  I'm in the process of releasing my sixteenth album, and in all the years I've been doing this, I've learned a few things about what needs to be done to effectively release a solo piano album as an independent musician.  I am the queen of making lists, and over the years I've created a pretty thorough checklist of things I do to release my music.  I have many musician friends who have asked to see my list, and so here I am, posting it on my blog for all the world to see.  Obviously, this is not a master key or secret formula for album releases, but it works for me.  

Solo Piano Album Release Checklist

  1. Write and compose the music
  2. Title the songs
  3. Title and theme the album
  4. Write the liner notes for the album
  5. Design the artwork for the album (I use Matt Strieby at NewLeaf Design)
  6. Design the artwork for the songbook (I use Matt Strieby at NewLeaf Design)
  7. Record the album
  8. Master and Engineer the album (I use Joe Bongiorno at Piano Haven Studios)
  9. Send recordings to transcriptionist to make the sheet music (I use Rebecca Oswald or John Zechiel)
  10. Have the transcriptions proofed for errors (I use Kathy Parsons at MainlyPiano)
  11. Set up the album on CD Baby (I prefer CD Baby over Tunecore)
  12. Send barcode to designer for final design
  13. Add ISRC codes to final master for manufacturing
  14. Send CD artwork and mastered files to manufacturer (I use Diskmakers)
  15. Send Songbook artwork and final PDF’s to printer (I use Shelton Turnbull)
  16. Add songs and artwork to All Music and Gracenote Database
  17. Setup pre-sale through iTunes, Bandcamp, Amazon and Website
  18. Add album and image files to Advantage Amazon account
  19. Add songs to PRO for both accounts (I'm with ASCAP)
  20. Add songs to SoundExchange Repertoire
  21. Send album to US Copyright Office (file online)
  22. Add album and all components to my business intellectual property database
  23. Create a pre-sale landing page on website for promotion
  24. Add album to website (I use 12South Music for my website design)
  25. Add songbook and sheet music to website
  26. Create website slider images for promotion
  27. Create promotion banners for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram
  28. Create banner image for email blasts
  29. Add album to Bandcamp
  30. Add album to Bandage
  31. Add album to Reverberation
  32. Add album to Soundcloud
  33. Add sheet music to MusicNotes
  34. Add sheet music to Sheet Music Plus
  35. Add to Earbits
  36. Add to Noisetrade
  37. Announce the album via all social networking and mailing lists
  38. Write a blog post to promote
  39. Schedule Radio promotion campaign with a radio promoter (I use Ed Bonk at LAZZ Promotions or Kevin Wood at New Vision Promotions)
  40. Make a one-sheet and album bio
  41. Apply with Pandora advocate about possibly doing a Pandora Premiers
  42. Send album to Whisperings
  43. Send album to SoloPiano.com
  44. Send album to Pandora (wait at least a month after it's released, selling and has reviews)
  45. Create and order promotional postcards (I use Overnight Prints)
  46. Send promotional postcards to entire physical mailing list
  47. Send album to the following reviewers:
  48. Kathy Parsons (send songbook as well for review)
  49. Bill Binkelman
  50. RJ Lannan
  51. Alejandro at RNA
  52. Steve Sheppard at OWM
  53. Stephen Cairns at Piano Heaven
  54. Keith Hannaleck
  55. Dick Metcalf
  56. Heath Andrews
  57. Do a complete OWM Radio Package for (featured artist, album show, album review, artist interview, etc.)
  58. Do a 3 month Advertising banner on ZMR home page at the same time as radio campaign
  59. Do a 3 month Advertising scroll on ZMR pages at the same time as radio campaign
  60. Sign up as a ZMR Sponsor
  61. Send album to all music friends and family (complimentary)
  62. Enter album and songs into the following awards and music competitions:
  63. HMMA Awards
  64. USA Songwriting Competition
  65. International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA’s)
  66. International Songwriting Competition (ISC’s)
  67. Just Plain Folks
  68. Global Peace Awards
  69. Indie Music Channel (IMC Awards)
  70. Independent Music Awards (IMA’s)
  71. John Lennon Songwriting Competition
  72. Grammy’s
  73. Do a 3 month online promotional campaign (I use CyberPR)
  74. Work with my marketing team to promote the album (I use 12South Music)
  75. Set up radio interviews
  76. Do a Live CD Release concert
  77. Do an Online CD Release concert with tipping incentives (I use Concert Window)
  78. Submit music for licensing in film and TV.
  79. Release album videos (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc.)
  80. Do Facebook and Google advertising campaigns for promotion
  81. Market and promote like crazy
  82. Tour to promote new album

So there you have it.  With every album release I modify and tweak this list and I'm always learning of new outlets, new methods, and new things I could be doing/trying.  As I said, this isn't the secret formula, and it's not a set in stone list for all musicians.  Every musician is different, and there are so many styles/genres of music out there.  This list works for me... an independent solo piano composer.  Just making music and sharing it with the world!



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