Tag Archive: Artists

  1. Release Checklist

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    When you’re ready to distribute your music, there are a few things you need to check to help speed up the release process.

    Release Checklist

     

    Metadata (Information such as the artist, release title, genre, copyright information etc.)

    Titles

    • Product titles and track titles should be formatted in title case. (e.g. This Is Title Case, This is sentence case).
    • The following should all be lower case, unless they are used at the beginning or end of a title: a, an, and, as, at, but, by, for, from, in, into, nor, of, off, on, onto, or, out, over, so, the, to, up, with and yet.
    • The following words should be abbreviated in the format outlined below: Featuring = ‘feat.’, Number = ‘No.’, Part = ‘Pt.’, Volume = ‘Vol.’, Versus = ‘vs.’.
    • Do not use generic titles such as Track 1, Track 2, or Instrumental, unless they are actual titles of the tracks. If a track contains more than one song, in the ‘title’ field these names must be separated by a slash (/). Note that you must place a space before and after the slash.

    Versions

    • Version descriptions differentiate multiple versions of an album and should indicate how the version is different from the original (e.g. Bonus Edition, Instrumental Version, Acoustic Version etc.).
    • Version descriptions must not include ‘Exclusive’ or ‘Limited Edition’.
    • Mix descriptions allow multiple versions of tracks (such as remixes) to be differentiated from each other. Silent, hidden and ghost tracks must be clearly labeled here. Information such as ‘Live’ or ‘Instrumental’ should also be labelled.
    • Mix descriptions must not include ‘Clean Version’, ‘Single/EP/Album Version’, ‘Original Version’ etc.

    Artists

    • Artist names, however, can be stylised, meaning they don’t have to be in title case.
    • The artist or artists must be credited in the artist field at both product level and track level. Input each individuals name on a new line. Bands or duos etc. count as an artist, it is not necessary to input each band members name.
    • Each individual credited in the artist field should also be credited in the display artist field at both product and track level. If there are multiple artists this should be formatted as ‘Artist One feat. Artist Two’ or ‘Artist One with Artist Two’ etc.

    Identifiers

    • The barcode can be left blank and one will be assigned to your release or you can input a barcode you have been given.
    • The catalogue number can also be left blank and one will be assigned to the release or you can simply create your own. Please note that this number needs to be unique and therefore should be relatively long and/or alphanumeric (you can use your barcode).
    • ISRC codes must be formatted as ‘AA-BBB-CC-DDDDD’.

    Format

    • The release format type must be correct. A single release is one of between 1-3 tracks, an EP is a release of between 4-6 tracks (or less than 30 minutes in total) and an album is a release of 7+ tracks (or more than 30 minutes in total).

    Licenses

    • Some releases may need licenses for certain areas (for example, cover versions will need licensing for the U.S), the ‘licensed territories to include’ and ‘licensed territories to exclude’ fields let us know where we are able to distribute your release(s).

    Rights holders

    • The (p) holder field is for the name of the phonographic rights holder for the release.
    • The (c) holder is the name of the graphics rights holder.

    Genres

    • The genres inputted must match the content of the release (we can be lenient to a point but we can’t submit a heavy metal track as an electro pop song!)

    Explicit content

    • Explicit content must be marked as such. This includes titles, artist names and lyrical content. There are certain stores that do not accept explicit content therefore this field must be correct.

     Services

    • The services field lets us know which stores to send your release to. Dance and electronic stores only accept dance and electronic music, karaoke and ‘sound a like’ stores will accept karaoke tracks, sound effects, public domain and excessive content whereas stores such as iTunes won’t.

    Album Artwork

     File sizes

    • The dimensions of the artwork should be square, 3000 x 3000 pixels minimum.
    • The image DPI should be 300 pixels/inch.
    • The image should be in RGB colour format.

    Artwork content

    • If there is text displayed on the album artwork it should match the metadata – the artist name and product title should be clear (however, you do not need to add text if you do not want to).
    • The image must be of high quality (must not be blurred, pixelated etc.).
    • Artwork must not contain pornography. Some nudity on artwork is accepted but the release may be marked as explicit.
    • Artwork must not contain pricing, references to physical packaging, references to it being a digital product, references to content that is missing (such as a DVD or lyrics) and must not advertise or up-sell another product.
    • The artwork must not be misleading (e.g. referencing an artist that does not appear on the release).

    Audio Files

    File sizes

    • Audio files must be 16 or 24 bit.
    • The audio file sample rate must be 44.1kHz minimum and 96kHz maximum.
    • The audio must be in stereo.

    Artwork content

    • The audio must sound professional (must be mixed). There should be no distortion, clipping or any other quality issues.
    • Any audio samples or unoriginal material used may need licenses.

    General/Misc.

    • Multiple copies of the same content will not be accepted (this could include repeated submissions of the same audio files with different titles or artist names).
    • Content may be hidden by some stores if if there are too many versions of a song that are available.
    • Compilations may be hidden by some stores if they contain tracks that duplicate tracks elsewhere in the store. Compilation may also be hidden if we or the stores realise that the tracks are not properly licensed or if the content has no editorial value.
    • Content must be legal and appropriate for the countries you own the license to distribute your content into.
    • Tracks on any album are not to exceed 99.

    If you have any questions regarding the release checklist please don’t hesitate to contact us.

  2. What is SoundScan?

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    A lot of artists are ready to take the next step in their musical career, with that career there are a number of factors you need to know before you can rise and take over the world with your music. One of those things is SoundScan.

    What is SoundScan?

    What is SoundScan?

    SoundScan signs up stores and has a tracking system that is operated by ACNielsen (sounds familiar?) Nielsen tracks your music and music video sold in retail in America and Canada. Billboard uses these numbers for their charts that you can check regularly on their website.

    How does it work?

    Any song, video or album or any music product carries an UPC or EAN and a ISRC (barcode). This code is needed to track your music in sales with this system. Their sales numbers get collected weekly so it gets updated very often. Which is a good thing because sales don’t stand still. It is not used or royalty payments, but instead tracks song data for use in the charts.

    Is this just for Physical sales?

    No, it isn’t just for physical sales. It also counts the music that sells in digital stores (like iTunes), but since 2014 they also include streaming into their tracking list. This makes it really easy, because everything comes from one source.

    Are these numbers accurate?

    In theory all the digital sales (streams and digital downloads) are completely correct. Because when labels and artists license digital rights to the seller, they need to report their sales to SoundScan. Digital is completely covered as you can’t really make up the streams or downloads that are shown.

    There are a lot of independent stores that aren’t signed up to SoundScan. If they are not signed up, there is no way in knowing how much of your CDs or vinyl gets sold in that store. Which means there is a blind spot in the industry sales on physical music. Unless you want to contact every store one by one, this is the most accurate sales list you’ll get for in America and Canada.

    How Do I Use It?

    To start using SoundScan to track your sales data, you need to register your tracks with Nielsen and wait for them to be approved.

  3. Is DIY the Way To Go?

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    Many artists are turning to labels in the hope they’ll become the superstars they dream of. But sometimes going for a label isn’t the best option. That’s what singer-songwriter Milow thought before he jumpstarted his career. He made the very wise decision to go DIY on everything. This is not only smart, this is also very positive for your career.

    Is DIY the Way To Go?

    Milow is pretty small compared to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. They started off DIY with the knowledge of how powerful the internet can be.

    The Good

    Distribution: You can use an online distributor to distribute your music to the digital and physical stores. This means that you maintain your rights as a musician and get a lot more income than in a label deal with royalties.

    Direct to Fan: You can also build a very close relationship with your fans. Just like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis believed that the power of the internet would be strong enough to build a fanbase. They connected to the fans through YouTube and Tumblr, which was their ‘label’ they used to do their marketing.

    Crowdfunding: This is connected to the last point above. If you’re willing to give your fans an exclusive view of what you’re doing, you can invite them to your crowdfunding website. Just don’t forget that crowdfunding (like Kickstarter, GoFundMe…) isn’t a charity. It’s a pre-sale of the actual work you’re going to deliver.

    Marketing: This can be a good and a bad thing. You have everything in hand if you do it DIY. In other words, you decide what you put out there and have full control of what you want to do. But this also means you have to invest into your own brand. Bear in mind that labels will see this as an ‘advance’ and would ask for the money back at one point.

    Making cover songs can help your career. Milow made a cover of ‘Ayo Technology’ by 50 Cent in 2008 on his acoustic guitar with a videoclip along with it. The Belgian artist got his international breakthrough and got in the top charts in like Finland, Italy, Germany and even Canada.

    Music Rights: With a label they’ll ask you to sign a contract where you have to part ways with your music (giving a piece of your music rights to them). They do this so they can distribute your music etc. You don’t have to do this when you go DIY.

    The Bad

    Funding (for recordings, videoclips…): If you are signed to a label, they will have a budget to promote you or to record your songs. You don’t have this when you go DIY. But then again, this is an opportunity to be very creative with your crowdfunding page.

    Marketing: DIY is a great way to go, but it doesn’t mean that marketing will be any easier. A label has the right connections to get your music to new potential fans. But, the thing about labels is that they won’t (most of the times) sign an artist that doesn’t already have an existing fanbase. If you look at the majors doing marketing campaigns, it doesn’t really feel human and feels more like a well oiled machine.

    Is DIY Right for Me?

    Labels are there to make it easier, but it’s really a choice you have to think about.

    Do you want to invest hours and hours into thinking of strategies to get your music to your old and new potential fans, and probably invest tons of your own money?

    Or do you want to get stuck in advances and probably get no royalties for the first years of your career?

    This doesn’t mean that all labels work the same way, but you have to be careful what you sign in regards of your music.