Michele's Album Release Checklist

Updated March 2021

I am a solo pianist and I release my my albums about every 12-24 months.  I'm in the process of releasing my twentieth 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 Stonebridge Printing)
  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 Shopify 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 Reverberation
  31. Add album to Soundcloud
  32. Add sheet music to MusicNotes
  33. Add sheet music to Sheet Music Plus
  34. Announce the album via all social networking and mailing lists
  35. Write a blog post to promote
  36. Schedule Radio promotion campaign with a radio promoter (I use Ed Bonk at LAZZ Promotions, Sherry Finzer at Higher Level Media)
  37. Make a one-sheet and album bio
  38. Send album to Whisperings
  39. Send album to SoloPiano.com
  40. Create and order promotional postcards (I use Overnight Prints)
  41. Send promotional postcards to entire physical mailing list
  42. Send album to the following reviewers:
  43. Kathy Parsons (send songbook as well for review)
  44. Bill Binkelman
  45. RJ Lannan
  46. Steve Sheppard at OWM
  47. Keith Hannaleck
  48. Dick Metcalf
  49. Do a complete OWM Radio Package for (featured artist, album show, album review, artist interview, etc.)
  50. Do a 3 month Advertising banner on ZMR home page at the same time as radio campaign
  51. Do a 3 month Advertising scroll on ZMR pages at the same time as radio campaign
  52. Sign up as a ZMR Sponsor
  53. Send album to all music friends and family (complimentary)
  54. Enter album and songs into the following awards and music competitions:
  55. HMMA Awards
  56. USA Songwriting Competition
  57. International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA’s)
  58. International Songwriting Competition (ISC’s)
  59. Just Plain Folks
  60. Global Peace Awards
  61. Indie Music Channel (IMC Awards)
  62. Independent Music Awards (IMA’s)
  63. John Lennon Songwriting Competition
  64. Grammy’s
  65. Work with my marketing team to promote the album (I use 12South Music)
  66. Set up radio interviews
  67. Do a Live CD Release concert
  68. Do an Online CD Release concert with tipping incentives
  69. Submit music for licensing in film and TV.
  70. Release album videos (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, etc.)
  71. Do Facebook and Google advertising campaigns for promotion
  72. Market and promote like crazy
  73. 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!



Alfred Davis

Alfred Davis

I am just discovering you in 2021 and find your compositions breathtaking. I have a lot of catching up to do adding your music to my collection.

Christopher Stewart

Christopher Stewart

Really love your music. Thank you.

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