Album Release Checklist - 7 Things You Must Do Before You Release an Album
**Guest post written by Nicholas Rubright of Dozmia.
"Releasing music requires a huge amount of work, which makes it easy to miss something important. In addition to promoting your new release – sending it to radio stations, getting bloggers to write about it – there are some important things to take care of on the administrative side.
Here’s a checklist of all the boring things you should take care of when releasing new music.
• Trademark your artist or band name (if you haven’t already)
The last thing you want is to discover that another band in another city or country has the same name as you after you’ve released your first album. To protect yourself from this, you want to check to see if your band name is taken. If it isn’t, you want to trademark your band name to protect it from being copied by someone else. Trademarking your band name can be complicated to do DIY, so I recommend hiring a music attorney for this one.
• Copyright your songs
While it’s true that once you record your song or write down your lyrics that your material is considered to be copyrighted, this doesn’t offer you any protection from the U.S. courts. You need to actually register your music with the copyright office to be able to leverage the courts. If you need help understanding how to copyright a song, it’s best to speak to a music attorney, but this is something that is simple to do yourself with little room for error.
• Affiliate with a PRO
If this is your first release, affiliating yourself with a PRO can help you earn money every time your music is used in a public setting. To help you decide which PRO to affiliate with, check out this ASCAP vs. BMI comparison table. If you’re already affiliated with a PRO, be sure to add your new track information.
• Add the album to SoundExchange
ASCAP and BMI pay songwriters for public performances of their music, but SoundExchange pays for digital performances of the masters. Registering your music with SoundExchange can help you earn royalties from services like Pandora and iHeartRadio.
• Add the album to SoundScan
SoundScan is a tracking system operated by Nielsen that tracks sales of music and music videos in the United States and Canada. You can add your new music here.
• License any cover songs
If your album contains any cover songs, it’s important to get the mechanical rights to the original song so that you’re legally aloud to sell your cover version. Some distributors can help you with this, but you can also use services like Easy Song Licensing to quickly get the appropriate rights to a song.
• Get Distribution
Without music distribution, you don’t have sales. Services like TuneCore and CDBaby can help you get your music into all of the major digital stores, but don’t forget to also upload your music to services like SoundCloud, Pandora, and Dozmia which accept music directly rather than from digital music distribution companies."
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