How to release music online
Want to sell your music online but not sure where to start? To help you plan your next release, we sat down with our Artist & Label Relations Managers to create a detailed timeline to help you know what to do every step of the way — before, while and after uploading your music on to streaming platforms such as Spotify or Apple Music. From when to create your album art, to building your press list for PR, booking your release tour, shooting a music video, or getting your merch ready, it’s all in this practical infographic timeline. Plus, we’ve even mapped out a few release strategies if you want to build momentum and release an EP or Album, or just want to see your streams grow on Spotify.
The stages of a release
Getting your music online doesn’t have to be hard. To help make the release timeline a little more digestible, we’ve separated it into stages. You can easily work your way through each stage or skip ahead to the ones that fit your strategy, workload capacity, and budget.
1. Get release ready
Getting your release ready is as easy as 1-2-3. Master your music, get your artwork ready, upload it to a digital distributor, and you're good to go! If you only have time or energy to complete one stage, this is it.
2. Build an EPK
An EPK (electronic press kit) is the foundation for all your press outreach. You can also use the photos and text for your social media, website, and more. Once you have this assembled, you can start pitching blogs and magazines, contacting playlist curators, or reaching out to TV producers for an interview.
3. Get press
If you want your music to get more exposure, getting press can really help give your release some legs. Back when people relied on phones to pitch, they used to say “Smile and dial”. Today, it’s all about spreadsheets and emails.
4. Get playlisted
Landing on a Spotify playlist can help you reach thousands of listeners. And the more streams you get, the more cash you make! Don’t worry about hitting it big at first. Start with unofficial editors, rack up those streams, and the algorithm will be your friend.
5. Boost momentum
Want to have maximum impact? You’ll need to promote your release. From setting up pre-sales and pre-saves, to building email lists and ad campaigns, for those who really want to have their release blast off, here are the key steps to build up momentum with your fans.
6. Shoot a video
The music video changed the way artists promote and visualize their music. In the past, you had to have a big budget and a connection to MTV. Today, thanks to YouTube, anyone with a smartphone can make and upload a music video to get seen by more fans.
7. Make merch money
Merch. It ain’t just for shows. You can also sell it on Bandcamp, Merchbar, or give it away. And what better time to share it with fans than the release of a new album, single, or EP.
8. Kick it off with a BANG!
You’ve almost made it. Lean in and set it off with a bang! Activate your fans. Share it on social media. Get everyone you know to like, stream, or playlist your new release. And finally, celebrate your accomplishments.
You'll know which skill level required for each step
Just getting started? No problem. Just look for everything with this symbol to do the basic steps you need to sell your music online or get your music on to streaming platforms
Whether it's your first release or your fifteenth, follow these steps to make sure you've got everything locked in to release like the pros.
Ready to go the extra mile? Look for these steps to blast your release into the stratosphere — perfect for labels, big budgets, or high volume artists.
A simple timeline
Every great adventure starts with the first step. To help you successfully plan your next release, we’ve mapped out all the major milestones and to-dos so you know what to do. From getting your release ready, to building a PR campaign or boosting pre-sales, it’s all here.
How to press vinyl
Building a successful release strategy
Now that you know the basics for a single, you can apply that same timeline and build a successful strategy for multiple releases over several months. Just follow the release calendar, below, to gain fans, build momentum, get playlisted, and make more money.
Explore for free
Create a free account today and see why more than 400,000 independent artists and labels trust iMusician to sell and monetize their music online. No credit card required.
Reach fans all over the world
Free, quick, and easy set up
Personal support in 6 languages within 1-2 business days
Sell and stream your music on 200+ online shops, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Beatport, Deezer, Traxsource, and more
Pay only once per release, no recurring fee*
Release with our label for free (or create your own label)
Promote your release with a power suite of tools
*This does not include our Pro Unlimited subscription plan, which is billed annually.