Your Album Release - hardcopy

by Siphesihle Msomi


img cd replicationThe music industry has proven to be very turbulent, so much that you cannot predict the most likely operative trend by merely copying successes of the past. In its creative nature, this industry has shown that you do not only need to know about music creatively but also about its business practices. As an example, marketing has had a direct impact on methods of releasing your album, because you need to think about how you release it and to whom- your target market.

 

 

In releasing your Album to the public, one has to invest thought on how it will be received by the general public and your fans. Many of you may wish to be the new artist emerging from a well known record label and others may seek a more independent entry into the market so as to preserve your creative control upon entry. Needless to mention that these two options are very important because content distributed to the various media platforms has proven to have a direct relationship with the success of the musician. You can say people buy the musician or the brand. This is where you may observe that the music does not just end at the studio by recording, but it also plays a critical role in reviews, social media platforms, interviews etc. Choosing the DIY route in releasing your music can be a daunting task, but it does open your eyes and you learn more about the industry and about yourself as a person. Although DIY does not refer to working alone, but it does allows you to pick your own team and examine progress as you go. A thorough budget will have to be prepared for releasing a Album. Consider all costs to be incurred in making promotional copies for interested partners and media, the cost of designing a cover, photography, pressing, bar code, obtaining a distributor, promoting your music and even the transportation that might be necessary for registration of your music with important organization such as SAMRO etc.

As a start when you have your master Album, thesteps to take are:

STEP 1: to submit your musical work to Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO).
It is important to be fair and have clarity when doing this submission in order not to have any disputes arising in the near future. One such way is preparing contracts that will be signed by participants who were involved in the production of the music in the studio. To help you further you must be acquainted with the terms mechanical right, performance right and needle time rights. This can help you negotiate with the role players in your recordings as an example you can negotiate the prices in relation to the amount of ownership of rights (in percentage) you will also be giving to the producer etc. When you have applied to SAMRO with your ID copy, banking details and list of songs to be registered you can thereafter await for an acknowledgement letter to be given to you by SAMRO via your provided email address. You can use this to show that you are a member at SAMRO and the media can utilize your music because SAMRO will be handling the administration of royalties for you.

STEP 2: Choose the cover design and/or the packaging
This allows you to gain some brand positioning amongst the market. If you have not realized, people have a high regard for how they see things. Methods of packaging things with a design are attempts to place a particular product in favourable section of the mind so that that product itself becomes favourable. This shows the profound impact of visuals on perception. In here you can see that a continuous concept of this CD release will have to be felt from the music to the literature, pictures, cover design, music videos etc. If you are familiar with your marketing techniques you will come to realize that this planning is a touch on your promotional strategy i.e. creating various representations of your brand to be fed into the media on what is called an integrated marketing communications strategy. Even though the design of the cover may be called an artwork in some circles, remember that a CD shop is not an art gallery where spectators are sipping on red wine with all the time in their hands. I am not saying go co-operate and dull but there is something practical about design in its method that communicates message with great simplicity and eloquence.

STEP 3: Pressing your CD
The production phase is not over until the fat pressing machine sings. Many musicians get stuck in choosing a CD manufacturer because they don’t want to be ripped off, are scared of piracy and want to maintain a quality standard. In ensuring a quality standard it is important to note that manufactures can do replication or duplication of CD’s. Duplication (copying CD's) maybe cheaper and save you some money but replication (pressing CD's) is the international standard that is used by professionals worldwide. Most CD manufactures may require that you submit your cover design with master CD and make an order of no less than 500 copies. You must note that the unit cost is reduced the higher the number of copies is being made. Do not hesitate to negotiate. With an additional cost, some manufactures can provide you with a bar code for your CD or you can purchase a GS1 bar code on www.gs1.org. A list of links for manufactures can be found below the article. Now that your packaging is done, you can register you CD with RISA (Recording Industry South Africa) and also POSA or SAMPRA for needle time rights.

STEP 4: Distribution
Lastly when you are approaching a distributor it is good to have some important aspects covered, like how you would like to be perceived in the market, is your music registered with important bodies, how much have you invested in your product and what are your expectations for this CD? Distributors are generally prone to striking deals with musicians that are already known, they can be persons who were in a record label before and now they are independent. It is important for you to note that this just a safety net for them so you have to bring something to the table. This can be your promotions strategy, database of fans you interact with, previous media coverage and planned performances in various places. With all being sad, releasing your CD with a distributor is a sort of partnership where both parties agree on tasks be it physical or online distribution. The musician must ensure top of mind in its market and the distributor must ensure availability and good placement of the CD in relation to the prescribed market or fan base.

Links:
www.ndtsa.co.za
www.cdt.co.za
www.ctp.co.za
www.digitaldirect.co.za
www.dmpro.co.za

 

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