On this page, we’re
going to reveal a detailed step-by-step of our proven process to help musicians
get their first album recorded and released.
…PLUS, as a bonus for reading this page, we’re also going to talk about how you can best position your masterpiece so it can go viral.
But before that, we’re going to reveal something that probably has been lingering in your mind since you decided you want to become a professional musician to make a living from your passion.
Yes, we’re going to talk about the music industry. Why? Because there’s something you need to understand before you jump into this industry.
This is probably going
to shock you…
The music industry is basically an advanced version of high school.
Yep, you read that right.
Here, everyone wants to be a part of the cool kids’ circle… the difference here is that to get into the cool kids’ circle you have to pay an astronomical amount of money to the ‘cool kids’ OR already be seen as one of them to be around them.
Sucks, but its true.
It doesn't matter how talented you are, if people don't know who you are, you are not a professional, you are a hobbyist.
(Anyway, did you know that Freddie Mercury and his band sold their van just to get their demo album recorded?
Talent alone won't cut it, even a talented musician needs a lot of resources to get noticed by the ‘cool kids’ and get into their circle)
As the wise man once said, there’s always a solution for those who seek.
See, just like in high school, as soon as you enter the cool kids’ circle, you’d realize that they are basically normal people just like you. In fact, they actually want to hang out with you. And once you’re in their circle, they treat you like you’re part of them.
You need someone who can introduce you to them.
…You need to have a friend who’d bring you with him to the cool kids’ party and then introduce you to everyone in their circle.
The same rule applies in the music industry. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to meet and work with many signed, platinum, touring artists.
But really we are more proud of being involved in projects that STARTED FROM THE BOTTOM, and have grown into careers that impacted the world:
At Artists Up Next, our team of experts wants you to be in the next success story. And to get you into the circles of top-level people in the music industry.
If that’s you, then we’d love to work with you. (click here to contact us)
But let’s talk about that later.
The preparation steps might look counterproductive. Because instead of going into the music studio to record the song, you’re going to do a lot of things that don’t even relate to the end result of your song.
But you can trust us on this…
The preparation step can help you increase your chance of success + avoid all the headaches and mistakes that you would otherwise have to deal with later.
Yep, before you start recording your song and get it released on music streaming and downloading platforms, we highly recommend creating an LLC.
How many artists do you know that have an LLC before they signed a contract with a major record label? None.
That’s too bad because the record label companies actually prefer to work with an artist who’s already had LLC—it makes the artist look legit to the companies.
Plus, with an LLC, you’re going to pay fewer taxes, so you can earn more from royalties.
In general, forming an LLC could be done by doing the following steps:
You’ll never know if your music will be a huge success, and that a lot of other musicians would love to perform your song on their gigs.
Now, without having performing rights, you’re going to miss out on a lot of money that you can earn from your song that is played by other musicians.
BMI and ASCAP are the two big names you should sign up for.
Oh, by the way, you should do right now… soon after you get your LLC.
The process usually takes a month and a half, so it’s important to do it long before you release your first album.
During the registration process, you can either register as a songwriter or as a publisher. (Do both) but, to make the process much simpler and easier, we highly recommend registering as a songwriter… that’s unless you’re planning to create your own record label company.
After you do that legal work you need to come up with a marketing campaign.
Why? Because just releasing your song will not guarantee success.
In today’s day and age, so many people are doing the same thing that you need to stand out from the crowd.
And you do that by having a great marketing campaign so before you get started you need to figure out what’s going to set this project apart—what will make you look unique and different from the rest of the crowd.
To figure out and plan your marketing scheme, do the following steps:
Once you come up with a marketing scheme that you believe in, you need to figure out who’s getting like this album.
The goal of this process is to find your first fan, someone who’s going to do more than just listening to your song and watch your live gig but will also be recommending your work to their friends and family.
For example, if you look at Kanye West, his music has grown with him over his career and his personal and spiritual journey. Part of that is because he totally understands his target demographic.
Even if you haven’t written a song, we would suggest figuring out your first fans before you start creating. That should make this process a lot easier.
If you can’t write songs on your own, this is the best next step after you’ve figured out who is your perfect listeners.
Yes, it’s going to cost you money—probably a lot of it. But the investment would be totally worth it if you work with the right person.
As stated above the industry is like high school and the cool kids get access to the higher-level people, as well as the opportunity to always get the best results from whatever they’re doing.
In the music industry who the songwriters are, plays a super important part in the end results. The radio will be more likely to be interested to play the songs written by them. And they already have a huge following who are always ready to listen to their latest work.
If you’re not ready to work with them right now, that’s fine.
But in the future, if you have never written a song that has been streamed more than 1 million times, we highly suggest going out and finding songwriters that have had success and recruiting them to help you on your next album.
A really cool and sneaky way to figure out the right person is by doing these steps:
Go to Spotify and go to artists that are very similar to you
Once you’re connected with them, tell them that you love their work. Praise their talent first.
Next, tell them what you’re trying to do and say something like this, “Hey, I think I can be the next big success for you.”
At this step, they should tell you whether or not they are interested to work with you.
If they’re interested, go over what they would charge you for each song, and what percentage is they will take for helping you write the music.
Once you got the songwriting assistance covered, the next step is to find a producer who can turn your songs into gold. The right producer who understands your genre and your target audiences can bring elements to the song in terms of sound, textures, and additional harmony that was previously missing.
So, how could you find the right producer?
It’s similar to finding a songwriter:
Once you have your contact, reach out to them and ask them whether they’re interested to work with you. If they’re interested, ask how much they will charge.
In addition, you should ask them if they will also mix and master, which could be a big plus for working with them.
At Artists Up Next, we’re a believer that producers play important role in the success of a music album. We know what we believe is right because almost any musicians who work with us, achieved massive success once they work with the right producer who understands them.
Of course, we’ve all heard about how The Beatles wouldn’t be the same without their producer George Martin. It’s an example of how big the impact that a producer can create in your career.
At this step, you should have found your songwriter and producers on board for your project. The next thing to prepare is figuring out a schedule that works for all parties to be present.
Yes, you want to make sure everyone is there when you’re producing your work.
This can be done anywhere—in a hotel room, a tour bus, or a multi-million dollar recording facility if you can afford the cost.
Don’t be too concerned about where music is created. With the right team, you can produce a million-dollar hit song with simple recording tools.
By now, you would have a general estimate on what the songwriters and producers would charge you, and how much it will cost to record at the location that you choose.
Another thing to consider is the cost of the mixing and mastering process, as well as documenting your recording process in photoshoots and videos that we’re going to talk about in a moment.
Now, this would be the time to lay out what you are going to do and how you’re going to get all those things paid for.
Make sure to spend your money wisely during the production process, because you’ll also need money to promote your work.
It makes no sense to create an awesome piece of art, and then not spend 10 times the amount of money and effort getting people to hear it.
Imagine getting an offer from a major record label company not because you’re begging them to work with you, but because they’re amazed by your professionality when producing music, which you share on YouTube or your website.
…Or imagine getting people lined up for your next release before they even listened to any of the songs in your album—only from a short clip they watched on Instagram.
That’s the impressive benefit of documenting your creative process and sharing it with other people. This is about telling an interesting story that would make people interested to listen to your music.
“But I have no audience, who would watch the documentation?” you might ask.
You shouldn’t worry about that. Just let the Internet do its magic!
See, YouTube’s algorithm is smart enough that it can show your video to people who’ve just watched a behind-the-scene video from other artists in the same genre as you… or to the music enthusiasts who are interested to see how musicians create their music.
What you need to worry about is the quality of the content and consistency.
And those are what we’re going to cover below…
If you follow the preparation steps, you should have a marketing scheme on your hands. What you’re going to do now is to do a photoshoot with your marketing scheme in mind and have that for content before your initial recording sessions.
As we see, these days music can be a multi-level and multi-sensory experience. If you listen to artists such as Kings of Leon, Rick Ross, or Kanye West you get a specific feeling and experience when you listen to their music.
The purpose of doing a photo shoot before you’re doing recording sessions is not only for marketing purposes and for sharing your story… but more importantly, to help your songwriter and producer understand the kind of experience you want to give to your listeners when they listen to your album.
This is the point now where you want to start creating and telling the story of your journey by creating a behind-the-scenes video that shows your process from start to finish.
Obviously, hiring a professional videographer, along with a video editor can guarantee your success.
But if you don’t have a budget, your phone should get the job done.
Don’t let money become an excuse for not sharing your creative process with the world. Remember, there’s always a solution for those who seek.
One thing to keep in mind during this step is to make sure you post your process regularly on Social Media and/or on your website. You want to get discovered, so post as often as you want to increase your chance.
You don’t need to post every day. Once a week should be enough, but make sure you cover each of every step during the recording process and put your personal touch into the content.
Share your story and let the world learn more about you!
Now that we’ve arrived at the step where the real work begins—it’s time to record your songs!
At this step, you should document every recording session and update your ownership paperwork.
During the recording session, try to be as clear and transparent with your team, especially the songwriter and producers. Let them know what you like and what you don’t like.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should always remember that there’s a limitation where you should put your faith in your songwriters and producers. Yes, you have to believe in your vision. But you should also realize that there are some technical parts that your songwriters and producers know better than you. So, trust them and let them do their best.
Also, you definitely have to record every one of the meetings and create that backstory that is just as vital to your success as the music.
Lastly, don’t forget to get the performing rights organization paperwork signed at the end of each session, just to keep things legally on track. Having to track people down after sessions and songs are completed is not fun.
Once all the songs have been recorded, the next steps are mixing and mastering that will make your songs complete.
In today’s digital age, you no longer need to hire a sound engineer to help you mix your song. This could be done by your songwriter and producer, or even by yourself if you have the necessary skills and tools.
It goes without saying that a song is considered incomplete if it still hasn’t been mixed—this process is so important and determines the end result.
In case you’re wondering, mixing is a process of blending individual things in a recording to come up with as good as a possible version of a song. This includes fine-tuning the sense or sound of each instrument using and EQ (equalization) and balancing pre-recorded track levels.
Do research on what Travis Scott did for Kanye West vs What Mike Dean has done for Kanye West and you will see two examples of what somebody who knows how to mix can do.
When you have the masters for your album, there are two types of masters there are the recording session stem files and then the two-track mix (just audio, just instrumental).
You sent that to a mastering company, and they will turn that out into a radio-ready product.
And yes, mastering could also be done by your songwriters and producers.
Mastering involves processing your mix into its final form to make it more polished and ready for distribution. This includes transitioning and sequencing the songs, adjusting the overall sound, so on and so forth.
Mastering is the final process in producing your album. The end result is a polished, clean sound that is optimized for consistent playback across different formats and systems.
At this step, you would have your album ready to be distributed.
But before that, make sure you’ve registered copyright for every track in the album. This process could be done by yourself, or with the help of a lawyer.
There are two ways to copyright your music.
1. Register directly with the Copyright Office at Copyright.gov.
The registration is simple and very straightforward, although you may feel the user experience on the website is a little bit confusing. The benefit of registering on your own is that you’re going to pay a lower fee.
2. Register through a third-party service
This could be done faster and easier since you’re going to ask an expert to do the job for you. However, you have to pay extra. Usually, they charge $100 + the $35 filing fee. They will ask the same question, and then register your music on Copyright.gov on your behalf.
Keep in mind that although you’re registering a copyright for your music through a third-party service, you’ll still have to wait for a few months for your certification of registration to arrive in the mail.
If you don’t have a record deal and haven’t signed away your publishing rights, at this stage we would suggest finding a company that can represent you for publishing,
If you’re just starting out you probably will have a hard time figuring this out, but if you created awesome music and you have legitimate songwriters and producers on your project, more than likely a publishing company will see you as a potential future star and work with you.
Keeping all the results of your work for yourself might look like a better option, but it may make more sense to work with a company to get an advance in this area.
Don’t worry—publishing companies usually don’t charge you as much. They usually only charge a small percentage of the royalty.
Remember, a smaller percentage of a bigger pie is better than having 100% of a smaller pie.
This is the most important step of releasing an album.
You should invest the most of your time and money on this part because let’s face it… regardless of how great your music is, you will not get famous and earn a lot of money if only a small number of people know about it.
To keep it simple, we’re going to separate it into two parts:
The preparation steps might take a lot more time and effort, but they are totally worth it.
Here’s the second Photo Shoot session that you need to get done. This one will be used in your album and for other marketing assets. To do this, you can either double down on your initial consult for the album or go in a different direction with it aesthetically.
Choose one to two songs that you’re going to put a ton of promotional efforts behind and prepare your team to push those out.
If you can’t decide, simply ask your potential fans or use survey companies to see what songs people respond the best to.
Having figured what songs you’re going to use as singles for your album, the next thing to do is to have single artwork created for them.
As you can see in Spotify and the music charts today, artwork and branding can have a massive impact on merchandise sales and how viral the songs will go.
You have photo shoots you have music; you can now create merchandise designs for T-shirts or anything that would relate to your music.
Merchandise is a great source of income. And unless you want to lose out on money, then you should definitely do this step.
Press Kit is a package of promotional materials which include your album photos, merchandise, the team you worked with to create the album, music videos, and more.
This step is super important because you’re going to use this to submit to festivals, as well as sending to press opportunities like TV and radio.
Write down all the lyrics to all the songs on a document. You will need this document to submit your song to lyric websites like Genius, AZLyrics, and other sites. Moreover, you might also need the document for promotional materials when you release your song in a music magazine, for example.
If you want to go one step further, you can also create a document of the chords of your songs, which you can submit to websites like Ultimate Guitars.
You’re going to need this document when it comes to distribution time and for legal and accounting records.
Just in case you have a phrase or a song concept, or thing that you believe will catch and go viral… make sure to get that trademarked to protect your future earnings and create more intellectual property.
To file a trademark application, you can simply go to USPTO, or work with an attorney who specializes in helping artists filing a trademark application. But keep in mind that this is going to costs you a lot more money than copyrighting your songs.
If you did not secure a publishing company to represent you, which we’re guessing you didn’t, then you should go to music licensing websites or companies. They can help you get your songs in film, shows, or commercials, which could be a great additional income.
With your marketing idea in mind, you would now take all of the video footage and the stories you have collected throughout the entire process and get them all edited into a single, long documentary that covers the entire process.
You should also reach out to every single person involved in your project and send them questions regarding the project and what they think about you. They could record the answer on their own and send it back to you, so you can save time. Add their interviews to the documentary to make it more interesting to watch.
At this step, pretty much have all of the bases have been covered, what you would want to do is to put everything you have prepared in one central location for your own records. We recommend using cloud-based storage like Dropbox or Google Drive.
The folder should include all these…
Those are the preparation steps that will make the next step easier and go smoothly while avoiding all the headaches that most artists have to deal with due to their lack of preparation.
Once you do all the steps above, it’s time to promote your music and get it heard by millions of people from all over the world!
Now that you have all the things you need to start promoting your album. The next steps are easier, but still, you have to make sure you’re doing all of them so that your album can get maximum results out of the time, money, and effort you’ve invested.
If you got a company to represent you for publishing, at this time you would send them the songs you created to start to fulfill your contract, and either have them placed the songs with the bigger artist or start to find licensing opportunities.
If you don’t, then you should start looking for a publisher first. To save time, you can contact us and work with our team if you see we could be a good fit.
Should you work with us, you would at this stage send us the entire album and we will distribute it based upon the date you choose, or we would release it immediately—whatever works best for you.
When it comes to choosing a release date for your album, you should know that timing is everything. While the right release date can contribute to your success, choosing the wrong release date can condemn your album to a lifetime of obscurity, or at least force you into doing one of those "re-releases" later in the future.
Choosing a release date is not a science, it’s an art so we highly recommend listening to what your publisher is saying since they should be more experienced in this matter.
There are some basics you need to consider before you set that release date in stone:
Make sure you have registered all the songs with the performing rights organizations, according to the percentage splits listed out in your agreements with the songwriter, producers, and record labels or any other agreements you have in place.
To avoid losing out on money, we highly recommend registering with SoundExchange which can help you captures royalties from sites like YouTube. You’ll never know if your songs would go viral, so make sure you get what you deserve from your work.
The registration process is simple.
You can either register online through their website (soundexchange.com), or register by mail, fax, or email by downloading and submitting the completed registration forms to their mailing address or by email to accounts@SoundExchange.com.
The registration form is available to download on SoundExchange’s website.
AllMusic and Discogs are music database websites that are not in traditional distribution channels. If you want to make sure your album receives maximum exposure, you definitely want to be on them. So, submit your album and get maximum results from your work.
The registration process should be pretty straightforward and could be done in one sitting. If you work with a publisher like Artist Up Next, the company will get the job done for you, so you can just focus on preparing yourself to do interviews and live gigs soon after your album is released.
Based on the release date you chose or if the item is already out you would now put out your press release to create more of a digital footprint about the upcoming or already released album.
The trick here is to create an album press release that makes the key people in the music publications, especially the journalists, want to listen to your music, as well as giving them something to write about. Include everything you’ve been gathered during the marketing planning process, such as your unique angle, a good story, and some info about the recording.
You did it!
At this step, you should have followed all the steps we wrote on this page.
So, what’s the next step?
Now, it’s time to start the album release campaign. Remember the marketing scheme you’ve created earlier? Now it’s time for you to put it into action!
Ready To Put What You’ve Learned Into Action?
We finally arrive at the end of this long and detailed step-by-step guide.
When you landed on this page a few minutes ago, you probably have no idea of what to do to record and publish your album. But now, you have all the basics and are ready to start recording your first album. Congratulations!
We wish you the best of luck. We assure you it’s worth the effort and time you’ll invest!
Just in case you don’t want to go through the long process on your own, we’re always here to help.
There are two things we can do to help you…
We actually have this process broken down step by step, with videos of each step and interactive worksheets so you can zoom thru it and be in control of the process. Once you do it, you will be one million times ahead of other people in the industry.
To access the videos, it’d only cost you $495. Yes, it’s not cheap. What you’ll learn is so valuable and ready to be used over and over again, so there’s no way we’re going to give this information away at a cheap price.
Your other choice is to get our team to do it FOR you. If you choose to do that, we’ll help you craft the perfect marketing scheme, prepare all you need, and do most of the hard work for you.
Then we’re going to get your song released through our network of music distribution, as well as get it introduced to higher-level people in the industry (we’re talking about promoters and key people from major record label companies)
That’s probably the best value of working with us. We’re not only going to bring in the skills and expertise, but we’re also going to use our connection to help you achieve massive success in this industry.
And if you choose to work with us, it’s reasonably priced. Depending on how you want your album release campaign to be, you can have it planned and executed by our team of experts for an investment north of $15,000.
Actually, you don’t have to make a decision now, you can do it later after you have a meeting with our representative.
If you want our team to work with you, we’d be happy to. But if you don’t, we’re fine with that.
During the meeting, we’re going to explain how our service works, as well as cover all the steps above in more detail.
This isn’t some “bait and switch” thing where you’re stuck trying to ward off some aggressive salesperson who won’t leave you alone.
Whether you end up working with us, following our step-by-step videos, or do everything on your own, the choice is yours.
So, think about it this way:
The worst that can happen to you for having a meeting with our representative is you get more information about this process.
…And the best that can happen is you decide to work with us, and then you’ll see exponential growth in your music career as a direct result.
So, why don’t you book a meeting with us today?
All you need to do is click the button below, choose the best date and time, and we’re going to get in touch with you very soon.
The information contained on this Website and the resources available for download through this website is not intended as, and shall not be understood or construed as, professional advice. While the employees and/or owners of the Company are professionals and the information provided on this Website relates to issues within the Company’s area of professionalism, the information contained on this Website is not a substitute for advice from a professional who is aware of the facts and circumstances of your individual situation.
We have done our best to ensure that the information provided on this Website and the resources available for download are accurate and provide valuable information. Regardless of anything to the contrary, nothing available on or through this Website should be understood as a recommendation that you should not consult with a professional to address your particular information. The Company expressly recommends that you seek advice from a professional.
Neither the Company nor any of its employees or owners shall be held liable or responsible for any errors or omissions on this website or for any damage you may suffer as a result of failing to seek competent advice from a professional who is familiar with your situation.