With 2016 coming to a close, it’s the perfect time to look forward to 2017 and plan your music goals. So, to help, here's our challenge to you as we head into the new year...

File Under: Creating and Making Your Music, Releasing and Selling Your Albums, Marketing Your Music, Getting Your Music Heard

With 2016 coming to a close, it’s the perfect time to look forward to 2017 and plan your music goals. So, to help, here's our challenge to you as we head into the new year:

  • Write Some New Music
    You've got a whole new year ahead of you, so plan at least one song, EP, or album release for this coming year. To help you create and get writing and recording, set a date so you have something to work towards. If you work best with through external motivation, make a promise to yourself to participate in this year’s RPM (Record Production Month) Challenge. It’s a free event that encourages you to create 10 songs or 35 minutes of original music within the month of February. By March 1st, you’ll have an album’s worth of music that you can build on, expand, or release. For extra credit, write 52 songs and create one for each week of a year.

  • Release Multiple Singles and EPs Throughout The Year -- Not Just an Album
    As we wrote in our Electronic Musician Magazine article, "Master Class: Make Spotify Work for You", instead of saving all your music for one album release the old-fashioned way, create a release schedule and drop music across the year. Break up the music on your album into singles and EPs. Then release these tracks at different times during the year, eventually culminating in your big album release that pulls it all together. The internet and streaming services reward consistency and regular releases, so align yourself with the reality of how people listen and discover music today.

  • Prep Your Music and Then Get It Up For Sale
    Prepare your music before you release it into the world. Make sure you protect your rights and register your music with your PRO so you can make royalties. Make your tracks available for sale. Also, as we wrote in our Electronic Musician Magazine article, "Master Class: Credits Where Credits Are Due" register who did what on your tracks -- who played what, who produced it, and more. Once you've prepped your music, then pick a distributor and target a date to get it into digital stores. Of course, before you do all this, prepare your music correctly prior to release to protect your rights.

  • Plan Your Marketing and Get Heard Strategy
    Determine how you will market your releases. Thinking through this process is an exercise in creativity -- just like when you create music. To help your planning, focus on a particular segment of your audience and market your music toward them. Figure out how you would target that group (websites, online forums, podcasts, mp3 blogs, etc.) and who you can tap to help get the message in front of that audience (podcaster, blogger, YouTuber, journalist, etc.). Follow this process to help build your plan.

    Also, when it comes to getting your music heard, focus on one or two of the 28 categories of places you can get your music heard. For instance, focus on streaming music stations or college radio rotation.

  • Act on Your Plan
    The goal for this 2016 challenge should be to see if you can get at least one blog, podcast, or other media outlet to cover your release and at least two to three plays of your music. And once you get some coverage, build on that success to get more.

Consider all the above as your 2017 music release starter kit, since there’s so much you can do to distribute, promote, and generate sales of your music. However, the goal here is to give you a handful of very achievable challenges for 2017. So, go on -- make some new music, get it out into the world, and promote it!

Also, keep in mind you’re not alone: we’re here every step of the way. Think of us as your DIY Advisors and check back every Wednesday here at the web column (and follow us @indieguide and subscribe to the Electronic Musician Newsletter) since we'll be sharing more strategies and techniques on how to get noticed, win fans, make money, and more throughout all of 2017.

Feel free to write us if you have ideas or questions. And, treat yourself or a friend to a subscription or all-access digital pass to the magazine too!

And most of all, have a wonderful, music-filled 2017!


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Photo Credit: william hartel