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Guidelines to writing and releasing an original album

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Hey guys,

I'm in the midst of writing a breakbeat electronica album (of various tempos and styles including DnB to more jazzy funk-ish) and I realized I don't really have a clue what kind of formalities to take care of outside of album artwork and mastering and making sure songs are consistent. Is it really as easy as posting the tracks on Bandcamp or is there more to it?

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Well.....there are several things to consider.

Will your album be available via download only or will it be on CD as well? If download only, you can just upload songs, art etc and get going usually.

If it's on CD, who is making the physical copies of these CDs? Do they take a share of the profit? Once you've got that figured out, who is actually going to distribute the CDs? How will your album reach places where people can buy it and what would that cost?

Some websites, I'm not sure about bandcamp though, do allow you to release your album on CD as well. Though what you can include for art is usually quite limited.

Other than that, I don't really know if there's "guidelines" really. Just consider what formats you will release it on and how people will have access to it.

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I'm planning on using CDBaby.com to release my album when the time comes. They take care of most of the formalities. It costs like $50 an album, and they keep some of the income. You can also use them to press CDs and sell them.

There's also Tunecore, but they are mp3 only. They don't keep any of the income of the songs, but it costs like $50 a year to have an album there. They also have a random art generator, and can use Amazon's CD on demand service.

As for mastering, what I do is, I import every song on a separate track in Cubase (formerly Sonar), order them, match loudness and apply other treatments, such as compression, limiting and eq.

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Facebook, getting friends to repost on their walls, twitter feeds, posting a thread on OCR (should net more than 10 people to at least read about it), getting people to do reviews (especially the people who have blogs that people read where all they do is review stuff), YouTube. Getting friends to repost on facebook walls seems like a great tool.

Especially because people have 500 friends on facebook.

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Since I've brought it up and OverCoat has emphasized it, I'm now curious. How do people here who have released albums go about promoting them, especially if they aren't touring or playing live at all?

Y'all know me. I don't spend a ton of time on promotion though outside of social media these days.

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try to get it picked up by a genre affiliated label if you can, having a release through beatport/juno/trackitdown is pretty important to being considered "legit" as far as electronic acts go.

lots of promotion comes through the blog world, if you do your research and send stuff off to the right people.

either way, it's a long, slow process. don't expect one album to make you suddenly known, it's all about the long haul, especially if you're not playing live.

keep releasing stuff anyway :)

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I'm not sure any labels wanna pick up 15 year old kids (I'm no Justin Bieber, I concentrate on music, not image). 0_o But I'll give that a shot too. Never thought of that, I was always on the assumption that DIY is best as far as easy management.

it IS. labels add a whole new dimension of pain and suffering to the process of music making. :grin:

but they have all the money, and until you're NiN or Radiohead, you don't have the resources or skill necessary to press your own stuff and have thousands of people even know it's been released.

as far as age goes, good music is good music. if you think it's good enough

*and other people agree with you (that are non-biased)*

then get on beatport and start doing research on breaks labels that have a similar sound to what you are working on

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True, but I have a hard time thinking labels would pick up artists like us, who do no live performance and otherwise have no "image to sell".

You'd be surprised - there are tons of smaller "indie" labels that are constantly looking for new music to publish regardless.

You're not going to make it to Ultra without a mousehead or something equivalent, but getting a release is not impossible.

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Additionally, look for podcast people and people to make reviews for your music. Reviews are great ways to get your name and music out there, but the trade off is music review people are swamped with submissions and unless you pay for one, you're not even guaranteed a review after you submit.

Still worth trying though.

I'm currently doing this with my album ESPERS, so I'll just share my list of people to send it off to with you.











I haven't looked through all of these yet other than to gain links, but that should be a good start. Just look for electronic music magazines/blogs/communities, and ask about reviews.

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