For Artists Releasing Their Own Music Or For Those Starting Their Own Label

So I just got back from the Southeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference that was held at MTSU and I was one of the three co-chairs. I will talk about the conference a bit later. Anyway, I was did a panel on Acting as Your Own Record Label and I just got an email from Carley Wolf asking about the same thing as she is about to release her new album on her own (BTW, she is great, check out her music at Carley Wolf, I saw her at Folk Alliance and SXSW this year).

Anyway, here is a bit of what I wrote (much credit goes to Al McCree from Altissimo Records, who I did a panel with at MTSU for Omega Delta Psi and he is world famous for this George Bush moment):

You have to put the same amount of energy, time and passion you put into marketing an album that you do writing and recording the album. So keep the same schedule that took you through the recording stage into the marketing stage.

There are three stages to releasing a record, think about it this way, just like you did when you made the record (preproduction, basic tracks, overdub, mix, master):

1. Creating Awareness – communicating the artist’s identity to an audience and that you exist and have a new CD out
2. Making The Connection – start and maintain relationship with fans, media and industry contacts. Two areas of focus – indirect (via the media and industry) and direct (fans / the public)
3. Asking For The Sale – create incentive for fans to spend money

There are eight areas of focus, think which ones you can afford and access then make the most of them, remembering job number one is connecting and communicating with your fans:

1. radio / TV
2. touring
3. retail price and positioning
4. publicity
5. the internet (blogs, streaming media, website, RSS, etc)
6. tradition advertising
7. direct / targeted communication with your fans / likely fans
8. creating word of mouth

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