Release Your First Single – Part 3: Submitting, Scheduling, and Selling Your Song

By Jason Stallworth

June 15, 2020


Your song is recorded, mixed, and mastered. And you have you’ve established your internet presence with your artist website and social media.

Now it’s time to submit your song to be released on all of those digital music platforms like:

  • Spotify
  • iTunes
  • Google Play
  • Amazon Music
  • Deezer
  • etc…

And you don’t have to stop there. You can also sell your digital track on your own website. This way you keep the majority of the profits. I’ll cover that, too.

I’m also going to show how to schedule your song for a future release date. You’ll learn why it’s important to schedule this and not release your song right away.

Important Notes:

  • This is Part 3 of my ‘Release Your First Single‘ blog post series showing you how to submit and schedule your song to be released, and how you can release it on your own website.
  • Some of the links I’m recommending are affiliate links and I do get rewarded if you take action on those.

***If you’re serious about taking your music to the next level so that it can be heard by the masses, or at least by the type of people you want to hear it, check out Savvy Musician Academy

(I’m actually an elite-veteran student and their programs have literally shaped my own music career.)

Register Yourself Here First

The first thing you need to do is register with a performance right organization like ASCAP or BMI.

Why do you need to do this?

Because it protects the rights to your music. If your music is performed, whether it be live or online, or anywhere, you have the right to collect royalties on that.

It would be close to impossible to collect these royalty payments on your own, much less track down every incident your song was used. These organizations do it for you.

Here are the links below so that you can research both:

  • ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers)
  • BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) 

If you were to Google both ASCAP and BMI and you may come across articles like ‘ASCAP vs BMI.’ It’s okay to read those, but I highly recommend that you go directly to source websites and do your research there.

I am registered with ASCAP (you can only choose one). That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better but it’s what I chose from the beginning. That said, I have no experience with BMI.

It’s also important to note that these organizations should work in conjunction with the service you use to release your music, which we’ll talk about next.

How to Get Your Music on Digital Platforms

The next step is getting your music out there to the places you want it to be heard.

There are a couple of ways you can do this. One is pretty intense but you would more than likely keep more profits. Maybe. I actually do not know that for fact.

The other way is fairly easy but you’re going to pay. However, pretty much everything is taken care of for you on the backend.

Method 1 – Submit Your Song Directly to Each Platform

The first way is you could submit your music yourself to all of the major digital music platforms. This means you would have to go to each individual platform and request for your song to be released.

You would also be responsible for collecting your payments from each of these. I’m sure there’s a lot more that goes into it. And remember, you’d have to do this for every individual platform you want your music to be on.

I’ve never tried this; I’ve always gone the second route, which we’ll get into below…

Method 2 – Use a Distribution Service for Independent Artists

The second method is use a worldwide digital music distribution service. This is the easiest way, and probably a lot less headaches.

Basically, how this works is you release your song or album through one service and they handle everything from releasing your music to collecting payments due to you, and you’ll receive a payout direct from that service, collective of all your earnings from the various sources. Of course, they take a cut but it’s relatively minimal.

Here are some services for you to look into:

Whoever you decide to go with to distribute your song to the world, you’ll simply follow their instructions. I’m not going to get into that in this post as each service is different, and I’m only familiar with one.

Plus, as with most things in or modern world, things can quickly change in regards to the process. So just follow their instructions and reach out to their customer support if you have questions.

Up to this point, I’ve used CD Baby for all of my releases. I can’t say their better (or worse) than any other service because it’s all I’ve used.

All I can say is that I’ve have never had any issues with anything, so I’m pretty happy and will more than likely continue to use them.

I just wish they had not done away with their affiliate program – I get nothing for recommending them to you!

Why You Need to Schedule Your Music Release

At this point, you may think you’re ready to release your song. Technically, you are. But there’s a caveat…

You’re not going to release it right away. Instead, you’re going to schedule your song release.

The reason you want to schedule your release is so that you have adequate time to:

  • Build a buzz
  • Promote your release
  • Prepare any campaigns or press release material

If you just release your song right away, no one is going to know about it. And if you think you can just post your Spotify or iTunes link on social media and get results, think again

Remember, we talked about this in Part 2 of this series. ‘If you book them they will come’ doesn’t work. And if all you plan to do is post links to your song on social media, you will be greatly disappointed.

You want to spend time building up the buzz and promoting your new release before it’s released. This way you’ll already have your audiences warmed up and ready to listen to your song.

One of the things you can do to promote your album is to post some ‘sneak peeks’ of the song. You can also take your audience behind the scenes in the writing or recording process. These are short videos you would make to post on social media.

You can also create a blog post about the making of the album like this: The Making of Masterpeace.

I’ll go into more depth the methods and more things you can do to promote your song in the next post (Part 4).

Releasing Your Song on Your Own Online Shop

Did you know that you can also release your single on your own platform?

You may not realize this, but people will pay to download your song or album directly from you. There are two reasons for this:

  • When you buy music from platforms like iTunes, Amazon Music, and Google Play, you may still be limited to how you listen to that song (with many, you still have to have the app for that platform to listen to your purchase). With a direct download, they have the song on their device.
  • You diehard fans buy your direct download (and any other merch you have which we will get into in Part 4), just to support you.

It’s no surprise that you’ll keep the majority of your profits with direct downloads from your website or online shop. And you may think it’s not worth it for a .99 cent song but remember, you’re going to be continuously building your audience, and these fans are going to want to buy directly from you.

TIP: You could schedule your song release for a specific date on the digital platforms we talked about, but you could an early release from your own site.

This would be a great way to drive more sales to your own digital downloads, which means you’ll keep more of the profits because you’re not sharing it with the other platforms.

It’s also a great way to build up that buzz for your song. People that buy and download your song from your site are still likely to listen to your track on their favorite streaming platform, which also means revenue for you.

How Do You Sell Your Music on Your Website?

I’m going to share three methods you can use to sell your music directly on your website. Of course, there are more than just three but I’m only sharing the ones I have experience with, which all of them are great options.

Use Woocommerce to Turn Your WordPress Site into a Shop

You can use your existing WordPress site with the Woocommerce plugin. Woocommerce is a WordPress product and turns your website into a shop.

Here’s how it works:

  • Go to your WordPress website Dashboard (yoursite.com/wp-admin)
  • Scroll down the left side and go to Plugins > Add New
  • Type ‘woocommerce’ in the search bar and that should be the first plugin you see
  • Install it, activate it, and follow the instructions from there

A good example of this is the website, which is another platform that own, TheMuscleProgram.com. Go to that website and you’ll see a ‘Shop’ button in the menu.

That’s built using Woocommerce on WordPress. There is some setup involved, but there are plenty of tutorials on how to use and setup Woocommerce.

Use Sendowl for Product Delivery

Another method is using a delivery service like Sendowl. This tool basically collects a secure payment from your customer and delivers your product to them via email (they send a link to your customer which goes to a download directly from Sendowl).

Here’s how this works:

  • Upload your product to Sendowl (follow the instructions to specify the details like product type, price, etc.)
  • You will get a link that goes to the product purchase page (they also give you options for buttons to put on your website)
  • Create a web page on your artist site specifically for that product, which in this case is your song
  • Paste the link (or code for the Sendowl product button) on that page with a call to action (CTA) for your customer to purchase

I’ve never used this for music downloads but I have used it for selling my own eBooks. It’s easy to setup and all of the backend stuff is setup through Sendowl. So once your webpage is up and you have the links going to your product on Sendowl, you really don’t have to do anything else.

Use Shopify to Sell Your Music Directly

You could also use a service like Shopify. In this case, you would create a separate URL for your online shop, which you can do through Shopify.

**This is what I use for my own music.

I don’t recommend using Shopify to replace your artist website in this case. And I don’t recommend using your Shopify store as your main artist site.

Shopify, and other platforms like it, are meant to be strictly an online shop. So make sure you keep (or create) your artist or band website and keep that separate. You can, however, and you should have a link on your artist site that goes to your shop.

An example is my own artist site (this site!). If you scroll to the top of this page, you’ll see a ‘Shop’ button on the menu. That will take you to my Shopify site.

You can then click on Music > Digital Music and you’ll see my albums and how that is set up.

Here’s the direct link to my digital albums: Jason’s Digital Music.

BONUS SECTION: Your Music and Merch

If you’re using WooCommerce or Shopify, you can also sell your artist-related merch on those platforms. This is another way to create revenue doing what you love.

Here are three ways you can sell your music and merch from your shop:

  1. You can sell digital products, like your songs, albums, or even eBooks
  2. You can sell your own products to ship from your home, like physical CDs, t-shirts, etc.
  3. You can use print-on-demand services to sell merch like t-shirts, mugs, hoodies, bags, etc.

That third option, print-on-demand, is cool beacuse you simply upload your logo to the product, set your profit margins (your sale price), and they take care of the rest. So you don’t have to carry these items or worry about shipping them.

Of course, there’s a cost for that. But I’ve personally found that using print-on-demand is less expensive than me getting t-shirts with my logo made at a local shop. Not to mention I would have the hassle of carrying inventory and shipping.

Questions?

I know all of this stuff can seem a little overwhelming. So if you run into any issues or have questions, the best way to get those answered is below:

  • Copy the link to this blog post
  • Go to my Facebook Page and create a new post
  • Paste the link with your question, and then click ‘post’

Like that cheesy Bon Jovi song, I’ll be there for you!

COMING SOON:
Release Your First Single – Part 4: Promoting Your Song

Keep it Metal,

Jason

P.S. If you’d like to jump ahead, I encourage you to check out Savvy Musician Academy.

I’m a veteran elite member of this awesome academy and it’s responsible for putting my music on the course it’s meant to be on! Learn more here.

Jason Stallworth

About the author

Hard rock and heavy metal recording artist, songwriter, and musician.

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