How to Distribute Music and Get Your Group Noticed
Whether you’re in a band yourself, or are a music educator working with a group of students to form a tight musical ensemble, at some point you are going to start thinking about making that first album. Creating an album has many advantages. For the band member, it is a chance to get your band out there and connect with new fans. For the music educator, it is an opportunity to present students and parents with the results of a semester’s worth of hard work, as well as a chance to help fund your own music program and increase future opportunities.
Either way, you probably have the same questions:
- How do you record good music without a professional studio?
- How do you distribute your music?
- How do you get your group’s music into the hands of the people who need to hear it?
The Recording Process
Modern technology hasn’t quite made the professional recording studio obsolete, but it has given new artists the opportunity to record professional-quality albums in their own bedroom, garage, or classroom. Often, all it takes is a set of high-quality microphones; the rest of the equipment is already there, built into your laptop or tablet computer.
To get the recording you want, first prepare your space. Some classrooms, for example, have excellent acoustics and echoes. Others require a bit of manipulation to prevent your sound from bouncing straight into walls. Hanging blankets over the walls and windows, as well as turning off any air conditioning units, fans, and buzzing overhead lights, is often all it takes to turn an average room into a makeshift recording space.
For microphones: the Shure MS-57 is still the best bang you can get for your buck, so get one with a USB output and run it directly into your Garageband or Pro Tools program. If you’re a solo vocalist, you are going to want to sing directly into the mic; if you are recording an ensemble, suspending microphones over your group helps to capture the entire range of sound.
For more information about improving your recording process, read this list of tips from the University of Wisconsin. You’ll learn about different types of microphones, how to set levels, and other details that will take your recording from amateur to professional.
How to Distribute Music
Once you have your album recorded, mixed, and mastered — yes, those last two are important, and you can usually get someone in your city to handle the mixing and mastering for a small fee, unless you’d like to take the time to learn how to do this process yourself — you are ready to start distributing.
It is possible to simply burn CDs from your home laptop, but that isn’t how music is distributed these days. People want digital downloads that sync directly to their laptops and phones. That means you need to distribute your music through a service that will get your tracks onto Amazon, iTunes, Spotify and other sources where people listen to and purchase music.
You also need to think about profits. After all, people don’t start wondering how to distribute music without also considering how they’re going to get paid. Whether you’re a new band just starting out or a school music teacher hoping to raise money to get new show choir costumes, you need to distribute your music in such a way that you keep the maximum revenue. As music distribution service TuneCore notes: you want to keep 100% of the profits. Don’t distribute your music anywhere that doesn’t give you that basic right.
The music distribution process is relatively easy; simply sign up with a distribution service, upload your audio files and the respective title/credits information, add cover art, and you’re done.
How to Get your Music to Your Fans
So now you’ve signed up with a music distribution service, and your album is available for sale on Amazon, iTunes, and other locations. How do you get people to listen to it?
It’s at this point that you have to switch from being a musician to being a publicist. If you’re a music educator, you need to make sure that every parent knows that the school’s band is now on iTunes. If you’re an individual artist, you need to develop a mailing list of potential fans and use that list to let them know about the new album.
You also need to include a call to action. Let your fans and supporters know that this album helps to fund new show choir uniforms or helps your band go on its first tour. When people know that they are supporting you, as well as your music, they are more likely to take that next step and help your musical dreams grow.
**** For information on Los Angeles theatre, tickets to theatre in North Hollywood’s NoHo Arts District, theatre reviews, the NoHo Event Calendar, restaurants, news and local businesses in NoHo, bookmark nohoartsdistrict.com.