The Ultimate Guide to Knowing if Your Track is "Release Ready"
Great releases are comprised of a healthy balance between creativity, skill, and industry rules. Here are 7 questions to run through before you release:
1) Was it professionally recorded and mastered?
These days we are bombarded with free apps, easily accessible technology, and semi-professional software and gear. All great advancements for the world of music recording, but not by any means, a replacement to a final professional edit and master of a professional music producer or sound engineer.
It's clear that the funds may not always be there to easily fork out, so do your research and find suitable and affordable means to master. Find other music lovers out there that love to record and have the gear to do so.
2) Does your track sound great on stereo speakers, or bump the bass in the car (in a good way)?
What does this mean? Test your release on many quality sources for a real poll and feel of the power of your sound– it's also a great way to test your master version. Listening to your track on multiple sources is important and this includes not so state-of-the-arch sources as well like earbuds and cheap headphones. If your track is still sounding good on all devices then you are probably good to go! A good idea is to also ask your trusted fan friends what they are thinking because you are a bit biased to your own releases right? Which leads me into...
3) Did your track reach the ears of several trusted friends/family/acquaintances?
Opinions of others is not a make-or-break it moment for you, but it is valuable for feedback and insight that you didn't hear yourself. They could give you points that real fans will think or hear when they hear the track for the first time. In the end, your track is created for real human beings like the people you surround yourself with, right?
Guide your pre-listeners with some questions before they give it a listen. Questions like:
- Does the track sound complete?
- Did anything in particular stand out in a negative way? Like vocals being to overpowering, drum kicks placed wrong, a distracting effect.
- What was their first impression of the point of the track?
- Would they buy and share it?
Being open-minded to any and all feedback is important in the process of creating and perfecting a track.
4) Does your track leave an impression or lasting identifier?
On average we listen to around 4 hours of music every day, some even more! That's a lot of music. For your track to really stand out, it's important for it to have a defining moment. A moment that will stick in the head of the listener, but most of all be recognizable from the rest. Does your track have that defining sound or moment?
5) Could you have made the song any better?
After listening to your track a thousand times (you may already be quite tired of it), you probably have well identified what can go better. Maybe it's difficult to make that improvement, or maybe it's time-consuming, but it's important for you to feel proud of the track. Having confidence in your track means you have brought it to the perfect level where you don't hear any more areas for improvement.
6) Is your press release ready?
Press releases are the written information about your release that is, what you deem, necessary for listeners to know. Inspiration, release dates, price, influencers, future news... write up a professional press release that will be easy for, duh, press outlets to repost and share. Album artwork is also a major plus!
7) Do you have a marketing plan ready?
When all of the above is ready and checked off, the final piece to the puzzle is finalizing your marketing strategy. Create a detailed strategy and calendar of how you plan to promote and market your new release. Think of strategic times and dates to share your release on your socials, choose which posts to boost with a little bit of budget (well worth it.. even 5€ will go a long way to be seen by new and fresh eyes and ears), which music blogs you will approach, update your website and use all relevant widgets to promote your track... really pinpoint who your target audience is and find where they are at and how to reach them. Marketing is creativity, there are no rules or guidelines. Execute what makes the most sense to you and your sound and try everything!
My advice to you is to really write out all of your ideas and move them around in, what will create, a strategy. And voilà... there's your marketing strategy, now get to deploying!
This can sound all quite time intensive, but that's kind of the point right? Taking time to really spend a good amount of time to perfect your release which in the end can really turn out for the best for you. Is your track reaching the point you wanted it to be at when you first imagined it pre-production? Take the proper time to really appreciate the evolution of a track, don't just rush it. Rushed releases often sound flat, emotion and lifeless. Is your track pulsing? Is your strategy vibrating?