iTunes Holiday 2017 Delays & Closures – Plan Ahead!

You read that right, folks! We’re already approaching the holiday season, and once again we’re here to remind you that it’s imperative to be prepared if you’re planning on distributing music during November and December. Like many of us, our pals at iTunes and other digital store partners take time off during the holiday, resulting in potential delays.

See below for some guidelines that’ll ensure you have a successful release just in time for the holidays:

  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Friday, November 17th and Friday, December 1st you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, November 7th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Saturday, December 2nd and Friday, December 8th you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, November 14th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Saturday, December 9th and Friday, December 22nd you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, November 28th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Saturday, December 23rd and Sunday, January 7th you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, December 12th.

In order to make sure that you don’t miss the release date for your song or album, plan ahead and distribute your new music as soon as you can to avoid getting caught in holiday closings/delays. The earlier you get your new music on iTunes and other stores, the more time your fans will have to buy it!

If you’re not ready to release that album just yet, we always recommend releasing a single early to garner some excitement!

Regardless of how your fans celebrate the holidays, give them the chance to use your music as a soundtrack – distribute your holiday music today!

Making That First Sale: 5 TuneCore Artists Sound Off

By Dwight Brown & Kevin Cornell

Jay Z, The Civil Wars, Nine Inch Nails, Ed Sheeran, Drake, Sara Bareilles, La Santana Cecilia, Joan Jett, Hunter Hayes, Boyce Avenue… What do they all have in common, besides having had their music distributed by TuneCore at some point?  They all had to sell their first single or album to start their recording careers.

Just like these successful musicians, you have to get started somehow. And when you finally make that first-sale, you’ll never forget it.

These 5 TuneCore Artists recently talked about their “First Time.” Check it out:

“I sent out emails to my fans letting them know if they set up a PayPal account and didn’t like my song, I would refund ‘em a dollar or $8.99 plus taxes, all to make my fans happy. I haven’t had to refund a song yet.”
KoBoogie (Hip Hop)

“I was a senior in high school and I had just released my first single. I remember anxiously checking my TuneCore account to see how many songs I had sold. When the report came in, I was blown away by the amount of support the community had shown.”
Dylan Russell (Country)

“I put my song “Dreamin” on iTunes. I was so excited, I told everyone at work. A sweet lady bought it. So exciting!”
John Scott (Singer/Songwriter)

“My first album sale made me feel like I was Michael Jackson… I ain’t a gospel artist, but when I saw that sale I was singing ‘Hallelujah, thank you Jesus & praise the Lord.’ It’s a good feeling when the time you put into an album gets rewarded with a sale.”
Great Grand Daddy (Hip Hop)

“Shortly after I began distributing music via TuneCore, I began performing at concerts, doing small tours, etc. After I finished my very first show, I was asked about my music, and it felt good to have people go in iTunes and have access to my records.”
Lmntry (Hip Hop)

When you sell your first single, EP or album it’ll be a euphoric moment you’ll never forget.

Making that first sale? You will get there. And if you remember that ‘first sale feeling’, whenever it was, share ’em with us below in the comments – don’t be shy!

How TuneCore Artists Are Using iTunes & Google Play Pre-Orders to Their Benefit

You already know TuneCore is your go-to resource for getting your music live worldwide in 150+ stores online, but what you may have overlooked was the option to set up a pre-order for your latest release on iTunes and Google Play. These two popular stores allow artists to put their album, single or EP available for sale in advance of their official release dates in order to build excitement and engage their diehard fan base.

Two great aspects of iTunes pre-orders are Instant Gratification Tracks and Pre-order Pricing. “Instant Grat” tracks are delivered immediately to fans who purchase the pre-order; these songs are also available for purchase as an advanced single. Pre-order pricing is an option to offer a release at a lower price in advance of release date, encouraging early purchases. Listen: we could go on and on all day about the benefits of setting up a pre-order for your next release and the facts you need to know about beforehand, but why not take it from your fellow TuneCore Artists? We invited a handful of artists, labels & managers to chime in and offer their thoughts on setting up pre-orders…

“TuneCore and YouTubers are the two mediums that makes it possible for me to be an independent musician. They give me the tools to build an audience and the freedom to connect with my fans in my own way.

Pre-order sales are key because they build anticipation for a release. Just like movies use movie trailers to build hype, an album pre-order gets fans excited. Also, the early release of a track or two on that pre-order gives expectant fans a taste of what this new album is going to sound like.

The hardcore fans – the ones that unite themselves under a self-proclaimed name (mine call themselves Stirlingites), or the ones who want to support your art just as much as they want to have the art – want to be a part of the experience as much as possible. If they feel they are getting an early piece of the album before its even officially released to the rest of the world, then they will be there to get it.”
Lindsey Stirling, Electronic

“Bottom line, you want to create awareness and excitement for your new album before it comes out so you can have a big first week of sales. And a big first week can generate even more excitement. Having your album on the iTunes Store as a pre-order makes it look the same as many of the major label artists, so to your fan base you will be perceived in a similar light. Sometimes it’s that perception that is enough to help create more awareness as people pass your music along via the iTunes links and word of mouth. Plus, the longer its up as a pre-order, the more potential pre-orders you’ll get which all count as first week sales. To me, it was a no-brainer doing the iTunes pre-order with Tunecore. It was easy and very cost effective.”
Brian Culbertson, Jazz/R&B

“Implementing pre-orders for releases have played an important role in evaluating the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns for releases. This allows us to adjust marketing strategies in real time.”
– Michael Cammarata, Manager, Heffron Drive, Big Time Rush, Jai Waetford

“We recommend for every independent artist to choose the pre-order option for their next single or album. For us, it generated momentum pushing our album into the Top 10 Hip-Hop chart on iTunes before we even released it, as well as giving our fans a gratis track as an incentive.

We do not have a label or a big budget for our album but with the tools provided by TuneCore, we were able to look like we did.”
Social ClubHip Hop/Rap

“The decision to use TuneCore for our Monstercat 019 – Endeavour album was an integral one. We’ve found that from the time we announce the release date, maintaining excitement all the way through the release day is key. Teaming up with TuneCore for our pre-order of the album allowed us to keep that buzz going which in turn had a clear translation into sales. Their effective and stress-free system to set up pre-orders allowed us to shift our attention to other key elements of the campaign, and consequently have a successful album.”
– Conor Systrom, Monstercat Records

“Setting up a pre-order through Tunecore was one of the things that helped my album’s first-week sales be as successful as they were. We released a single with the pre-order, and the excitement from that drove people to the iTunes store to pre-order the album. Thanks to TuneCore for always coming up with new things to help us indie artists.”
Thi’sl, Hip Hop/Rap

“A pre-order is a really awesome way to get your fans stoked for the record. It’s also a great way to gauge how your upcoming sales will look. It’s always awesome to give your fans a song or two before the album is out so you can get some feedback!”
Rajiv Dhall, Pop/Country


Setting up an iTunes & Google Play pre-order for your next release is easy and painless – we promise! Sales from your pre-order impact your release date sales and could drive you up iTunes sales charts increasing your presence. Learn more about how you can generate excitement for your next album, single or EP here.

Don’t be afraid to take this time during your pre-order to take advantage of the TuneCore SoundOut service to gauge fan reaction to your release. This might influence what songs you focus your campaigns around.

Utilizing Soundcloud to Drive iTunes Sales

[Editor’s Note: This blog was written by Janelle Rogers, the founder of  Green Light Go Publicity, a music PR firm which helps up-and-coming musicians reach their audience.]

 

There’s no doubt that convincing fans and music listeners to buy music in 2017 can be an uphill battle. For nearly 20 years the music consumer has been conditioned into downloading music for free. Services like Spotify, Pandora and Soundcloud have made it even easier, while making it legal.

You may think the only way to get your music heard is to give it all away for free.

Not so fast.

Like any legitimate business model, you should be looking at how you can market your product to drive sales. A single can be your product to market while iTunes provides the vehicle to drive sales.

How do you do that? Let’s dive into a simple five step strategy to market your music on Soundcloud to drive sales on iTunes.

1. Create a Sales Goal

Before you start marketing your music, you should set a realistic sales goal of what you hope to achieve. Note, I said realistic. If you only have 30 Soundcloud followers and 100 Facebook followers, chances of you selling 1,000 downloads of your album on iTunes within two months are fairly unrealistic. In that case you need to make a compromise, either extend the timeline to where you can realistically sell 1,000 downloads or decrease the amount of sales to reflect your current followers.

2. Offer a Track for Free

If you want people to buy your music, you need to give them a sample of your music to try out. It’s the equivalent of going to your local market, trying that new crunchy snack at the sample table and then buying the entire bag because you can’t get enough.

Determine one single you can give for free off your new album and set a limited time frame to download it. You’re offering a single for a limited time for three reasons. It allows listeners a chance to really hear your music and decide if they want to hear more. The limited time creates incentive to download before it goes away and it keeps fans from solely relying on free music.

Lastly, by only offering one single it gives incentive to purchase more music if they are interested or at the very least streaming from Spotify where you’ll be paid for each listen. If you were to give away your entire album, you’re essentially giving away the entire bag of chips without asking for anything in return.

3. Post iTunes Pre-sale or Sale Link

Next, you need to make it easy for fans to know where to buy your music on iTunes. Post your iTunes pre-sale link or sale link on your Soundcloud profile, any public tracks from the album, and your Facebook and Twitter profiles. You should also include the release date so fans know when it’s available.

4. Alert Soundcloud Followers of New Music

Soundcloud made notification changes in 2014, which make it difficult to communicate when you have a new song available. In the past, when you uploaded a song, your followers would receive an email notification with a link to the new song. Currently, Soundcloud offers no bulk email notification option to alert fans of new music. Without your fans receiving notifications of your new music, what can you do?

First, you’ll unfortunately have to take the time to privately Soundcloud message every follower on your list individually to notify them of a new song available. That’s the good news if you only have 37 fans. It’s very bad news, if you have 10,000. This would be a very time intensive process if you did this every time you released a new single. You need a notification process that is both efficient and in your control. The best way to do this is to also notify your Soundcloud followers of your email list with a direct link to sign up and receive notifications when you release new music.

If you don’t have an email list, that should be your first priority for two reasons. One, you control how your fans are notified and you also don’t risk losing fan contacts on a platform who owns the contact information or controls how information can be sent.

Lastly, keeping your iTunes objective in mind, you should also include that iTunes pre-sale link and call to action in your individual messages and newsletter announcements.

5. Increase Soundcloud Following to Increase Sales

In order to increase sales outside of your base, you also need to increase your following. The best way to utilize this within Soundcloud is to follow those who would be interested in your music and are current Soundcloud users. If you also factor in users who repost tracks regularly, no more than 2-3 times daily, you have the opportunity to grow your base exponentially.

First, think about bands who are similar to you on Soundcloud and follow them. Then take a look at their followers and start following those who fit the parameters in the above paragraph. Soundcloud does limit how many you can follow in one day, so I recommend keeping it to ten per day, which will also make it more manageable as you engage with those who follow you and comment on your tracks.

This brings me to engagement. You should also be engaging with those you follow or who follow you, by liking tracks they post (If you like them) and commenting. This is especially true if you are following a band or someone else in the music industry.

This is also the one area where I suggest NOT sending your iTunes link, keeping in mind you should have it included in your song description. You are building a fan relationship when increasing listeners so you need to make sure the listener experience is a good one. Once you have built that relationship, then you can repeat the above process by releasing another single to support the album and including the iTunes link when you privately message.

This method is the first step in increasing sales for your music. In this day and age, however, you need to be creative and adapt to a constantly changing industry. Album sales are just a portion of revenue for a band. You should always look at how you can build your audience and create an experience they want to be part of, so they will in turn support your every endeavor.

iTunes Holiday 2016 Delays & Closures – Plan Ahead!

You read that right, folks! We’re already approaching the holiday season, and once again we’re here to remind you that it’s imperative to be prepared if you’re planning on distributing music during November and December. Like many of us, our pals at iTunes and other digital store partners take time off during the holiday, resulting in potential delays.

See below for some guidelines that’ll ensure you have a successful release just in time for the holidays:

  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Friday, November 18th and Friday, December 2nd you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, November 8th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Friday, December 16th and Friday, December 30th you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, December 6th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Sunday, January 1st and Sunday, January 8th you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, December 13th.

In order to make sure that you don’t miss the release date for your song or album, plan ahead and distribute your new music as soon as you can to avoid getting caught in holiday closings/delays. The earlier you get your new music on iTunes and other stores, the more time your fans will have to buy it!

If you’re not ready to release that album just yet, we always recommend releasing a single early to garner some excitement!

If you are planning on submitting your new release via the TuneCore Feature Submissions Page:

  • To be considered for a feature for the month of December, fill out and send your Feature Submissions Form before Thursday, November 17th.

Regardless of how your fans celebrate the holidays, give them the chance to use your music as a soundtrack – distribute your holiday music today!

Copy of How to Not Get Blocked by Stores For Formatting Errors

By Jacqueline Rosokoff

The best part about distributing your music is seeing it go live in the digital stores, right? So there’s nothing worse than completing distribution, only to find that the stores didn’t accept your music because of some text formatting issues.

To make this process go smoothly and avoid distribution hiccups, we’ve put together some requirements to follow when it comes to formatting your artist name, release title, and track titles. Though some may seem like a drag, these requirements exist to help your music get to the stores as quickly as possible.  Smooth and easy distribution? NOT such a drag.

Let’s get started. Continue reading “Copy of How to Not Get Blocked by Stores For Formatting Errors”