Reader Questions & Answers

Since starting the DIY Advisor column back in November, we’ve received a bunch of questions from readers. Periodically we like to share answers that we think other readers can find useful. This entry has answers to questions about album releases, videos, and radio campaigns...
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File Under: Reader Questions and Answers, Releasing and Selling your Albums, Making Videos, Getting Your Music Heard

Since starting the DIY Advisor column back in November, we’ve received a bunch of questions from readers. Periodically we’d like to share answers that we think other readers can find useful. If you have any questions for us here at the column, write us at

Greg Goebelt of the band Saint Sebastian asked us some questions related to marketing and timing the release of an album.

Q: I’m thinking of releasing my album on July 1st, is that a good time in the calendar year to release or should I target September? I’m thinking here when students are back in college. But, I don't want to compete with busiest months when other albums are coming out. Are there any guidelines? Pros / Cons?

The DIY Advisor: The date you choose to release your album should depend on the demographic you’re targeting. The only inflexible dates are for holiday albums. The actual release date tends to matter less than making sure that when you market your music, it's readily available for purchase within digital stores. Pre-announcing your album is usually a waste for most musicians because it's expensive enough to get a single message to folks, let alone two. And if it's not available when you get their attention, you've spent a lot of money and effort for no purchase. So, we generally recommend musicians simply pick a date, do a soft release and then do a series of marketing pushes knowing it’s available for people to purchase.

If you're aiming at a college audience, sticking to when they're back in school is generally best. You can do a soft launch ahead of that and then promote it as new starting in September and throughout the first 3-6 months. Another factor is how much money, time, and energy you have to do the promotional PR and marketing pushes. Once your album is out, you'll want to keep building on the marketing momentum you’ve created. This is especially true with PR since once you get your first reviews or coverage, you'll want to use that coverage to get more, and you'll want to move quickly when you do. Your timing may have to do more with your time and team than it does with your demographic.

Q: Should I release my best track first (the single) or release lesser songs first to gain a larger audience before release of album? Any suggestions?

The DIY Advisor: We're a big fan of always leading with your best tracks. Keep in mind when you try to get your music heard music reviewers, radio DJs, and other music “curators” are inundated with hundreds of tracks each week. They often don’t have the time to sift through all the music that they’re hit with. So when they do listen to your track, you want to make sure it’s your best one. Also, as we said above, make sure whatever you lead with is available for sale and people can buy it.

Q: I’m creating animation videos for all 13 tracks on my album. We’re also planning to have 4 professional music videos made. Any advice?

The DIY Advisor: Using video to promote your tracks is one of the best methods out there since video is the only real viral media there is. If you can release your tracks as a series of videos over the course of a set period of weeks/months, that's the best way to gain an audience. Content is really king, and if you have a lot of it, it can really help you. The internet rewards regular staged releases. If you are going to use YouTube, you might as well set yourself up to make money from it. Check out the Electronic Musician article, Five Ways To Make Money On YouTube to make sure you've got that covered.

Also, you can sell these videos to your fans. See this article we wrote about how to sell hi-def videos from digital distributors.

Q: I’m going to target college radio. What do you recommend?

The DIY Advisor: Radio is a one way to get heard, but we recommend going well beyond it including streaming services, social music discovery sites, podcasts, MP3 blogs. In The Indie Band Survival Guide, the “Get Heard” chapter goes into detail of all the possibilities. We’ve also written an Electronic Musician article that introduces 16 categories of places that you can get your music played on. And, we’ve just kicked off an on-going series here at the column where we’re breaking these categories down even further and will be outlining tips and techniques in future columns.

Q: I’d like to use Discmaker digipaks for my CDs. Is that a good idea to use when submitting to radio? Some people have advised we go with jackets.

The DIY Advisor: In the past, radio stations had music libraries that were based on the size and shape of jewel cases, not digipacks. Now, they often ask for music digitally (such as NPR’s All Songs Considered). I would survey your radio target list and ask what they're looking for now. If you don’t have a radio target list yet, the most inexpensive way is to use the Wikipedia directory of college radio stations. But you'd have to dig out the contact names from the websites. Other options include the Indie Bible.

If you have any questions for us here at the column, write us at


#video #cds #radio #marketing #getheard #pr

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