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SPOTIFY! AMAZON! TIDAL! HOW THE HECK?!?

There are a lot of ways to release your music. This guide is intended to cut through the overwhelming amount of options and information out there. Once we are finished recording and mixing your tracks, you do not need me for anything below, but I am happy to assist you every step of the way.

THINGS YOU NEED TO RELEASE YOUR MUSIC

  • Your song must be mastered. I can do this with my AI subscription for acceptable results, but for the best outcome I will send your final mixes to Masquerade Mastering.

  • Your release title, song title(s), and artist name must be in title case, and you must only use standard keyboard characters.

  • Do not include featured artists in your track titles. For example, use "Love Song", not "Love Song (featuring Johnny Romance)". Featured artists are entered on a separate line when you submit your music, and will appear correctly in your track listings on digital music providers.

  • Cover art has very specific requirements to be accepted by major distributors.

  • Any collaborators (lyrics and/or music) must be spelled correctly and credited with their percentage of contribution. Know the correct spelling of the legal names of your collaborators, not their band names or stage names. They may want you to include their middle names, so ask exactly what they want.

  • Many services offer 30 second preview clips of your songs. Figure out which 30 seconds you want people to hear for each track, and note the start times (ex: 01:33).

  • Join a PRO (performing rights organization).

  • Upload your music to a distributor (DistroKid, CD Baby, Ditto Music, etc.).  When your release is complete and the distributor has provided you with UPC and ISRC codes, release your music again on Bandcamp with the exact same information and WAV files. Distributors put your music on Spotify, Tidal, YouTube, etc. Bandcamp is a separate entity.

  • Pandora is different. Their catalog is curated by human beings who meticulously listen to and analyze your music. After your tracks are live and you have confirmed they are streaming everywhere, you must login to Pandora AMP to submit your music for acceptance on their platform.

COVER ART REQUIREMENTS FOR ONLINE RELEASES

  • You need one image file.

  • The art must be high quality. Blurry, pixelated, or otherwise poor quality graphics will be rejected by distributors.

  • You must have full copyright or licensing rights to the artwork.

  • The image must be 1:1 aspect ratio (i.e. square).

  • The resolution must be at least 3000 X 3000 pixels.

  • Your cover art should be in lossless format (PNG). It can be easily converted to a lossy format (JPG) if needed at the time you submit your release.

  • The file size must be no larger than 25 MB.

  • You must have EITHER absolutely no text on your cover art, OR both the release title and artist name spelled exactly the same as your submission (this text doesn't need to be in title case).

  • Except as mentioned above, do NOT include any other text, symbols, logos, QR codes, or bar codes.

  • Failure to abide by the above requirements will likely result in your artwork being rejected.

  • I recommend avoiding artwork that includes nudity, gore, or anything likely to be considered tasteless. You might run into distribution problems.

ADDITIONAL COVER ART REQUIREMENTS FOR CD PRINTING

  • Do not put anything critical (text, bar code, key art elements) within the outer 1/2 inch edge of your cover art, as the duplication machines are not perfect and may cut off portions of that edge. That is known as the "bleed" area, as the ink is intended to bleed past the cut lines to ensure edge to edge printing.

YOUR PUBLIC ARTIST PROFILES

For most of the major streaming platforms, you will be able to create artist profiles. You can do this after you release your music. For Bandcamp, you need to set up your profile before you release anything. The requirements vary from platform to platform, but you should use the same information across all of them to establish your brand. This information will pop up in your listeners' streaming apps.

  • A high quality photo of you or your band is required on every profile. This photo should not have any text, codes, or logos—it's just a representation of what you look like. Your photo should be large enough that it works both as a full image, and also as a cropped down front-facing headshot.

  • Some profiles allow a header (banner) image. This is a wide rectangular graphic that can be pretty much anything, but again don't use text, codes, or logos; just have something cool that fits your aesthetic and aligns conceptually and emotionally with your profile photo.

  • You need a bio. This can be a brief history of you or your band, a description of your sound and influences, or something along those lines.

 

Here are links to the guidelines for Apple and Spotify. Apple is very serious about their guidelines, and it can take days for them to review and approve your profile photo. However, there is room for creativity—I used this AI generated image for my band The Husht and it was approved after about 48 hours:

I hope you found this helpful! I will continue to update this guide as the world changes and as I learn more. Please contact me with any suggestions or questions. Thank you, and may the Force be with you!

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