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Releasing your music as an independent musician can be a complex process, and we understand the challenges you face along the way. Whether you're a new musician or an experienced one, it's easy to overlook important steps and encounter unfamiliar factors.
From determining the ideal time to deliver your music to stores and pitching your release to editors, to registering your songs for publishing and crafting an effective press release, there are numerous tasks that can feel overwhelming. To ensure that no step is left out and to help you stay organized and on track, we have developed a comprehensive checklist of tasks along with corresponding timelines.
We are thrilled to introduce our new plan templates, designed to take care of all the small details and simplify your workflow. Our ultimate goal is to make planning your next steps an enjoyable experience!
Our new release plans include:
Full Release: This plan covers all the essential aspects of releasing your music, providing a comprehensive and detailed approach to ensure a successful launch. For musicians who wish to pitch all DSP music editors on time, this is ideal.
Essential Release: If you're looking for a streamlined plan that focuses on the key elements necessary for a successful release, the Essential Release plan is perfect for you.
Fast Release: For those seeking a quick and efficient release plan, our Fast Release option is designed to help you get your music out there rapidly while maintaining a professional approach.
These new plans perfectly complement our existing popular options, such as our Music Video plan and our 5-step TikTok guide. So, if you have an upcoming release on the horizon, we encourage you to try our new planner and ensure that nothing falls between the cracks.
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Struggling to get your foot in the door? Recording and releasing music will only get you so far. In this incredibly competitive industry, a recording alone isn’t enough to showcase your musical identity. That’s where an Electronic Press Kit, or EPK, comes in.
An EPK acts as a calling card for musicians. They're typically used by independent talent looking to reach out to managers, booking agents, promoters, and live venues. Others use an EPK for artist management.
With an online press kit at your disposal, you're ready to get noticed by all the right people. Even if you're already using social media for self-promotion, you'll still need an EPK to showcase yourself in the best possible light.
A music EPK should be updated regularly. Alongside your music itself, you should include an artist bio, high-resolution photos, as well as additional video content. You can also think about adding career highlights, along with analytics that offer demonstrable proof that you're already making waves.
An EPK is an invaluable tool for musicians looking to make the right first impression and build their brand. Below, we'll break down everything you need to know about crafting a killer EPK that's bound to get you noticed.
Why Independent Musicians and Artists Need an EPK
Putting out great music is all well and good, but you'll need a first-rate EPK to promote yourself to a wider audience. Do you have a new single coming out? Have you spent months laboring away on a career-launching album? An up-to-date electronic media kit is going to set you apart from the crowd.
What is an EPK good for if you're already using social media? Many independent artists assume a website and social platforms are enough to get them in the spotlight. While these are indeed useful tools for promotion, they cater to a different audience.
Think of an EPK as your digital resume. For independent musicians, an EPK can be used to book gigs or as a digital press kit to engage with journalists and reviewers. You can use it to climb the ladder, helping you find a manager to partner with and attract the attention of label executives. While an EPK is useful for increasing exposure and making a name for yourself, the best press kits will boost your credibility.
How To Create an EPK
You can get creative when it comes to putting together an EPK. However, you want to avoid falling into the style over substance trap.
Music should be at the heart of your musician press kit, but you need to be meticulous when it comes to selecting tracks. If you're angling for live bookings, choose popular tracks you know are guaranteed to get a crowd going. If you're promoting a new release, you'll naturally want to include your most recent recordings. Your content needs to be instantly accessible, so choose a reliable music player or streaming service. Finally, make sure track titles are clearly visible.
Creating an Artist Bio
Next, work on your artist bio. Unless you're creating a press kit for a very specific audience, it's best to include both a short and long bio. This section needs to be compelling. Remember, this is your chance to take charge of your narrative. Include things like recent press quotes to bolster credibility or include recent performances to make it as current as possible.
Invest in Imagery
An EPK should also be visually engaging. If you haven't done so already, now's the time to invest in some high-resolution photos. Choose them carefully depending on what your goal is. Are you looking to secure live performance bookings? Include photos from recent events. If you're promoting a new single or EP, add high-quality promo shots or single artwork.
You can bolster your brand by adding videos to your EPK. Again, consider your audience. If you're trying to book live shows, include videos of recent performances. If you're pushing a new single, include a video along with it. You don't have to spend a fortune on high production values. A simple recording of a live performance can be used in a pinch.
Additional Album Information
If you're shining a spotlight on a new album, make life easier for our audience by providing all the information they'll need. This can be as simple as album credits and song lyrics. This section should be accessible, with users able to lift the text and use it elsewhere. You may need to update this section frequently, especially if your tracks are getting more airtime and you're attracting more press attention.
Once your music starts getting noticed, you'll have a wealth of press material to include in your EPK. Include things like reviews from music journalists or press quotes from industry insiders. Again, you'll need to keep this section regularly updated if you want your EPK to be current. It's fine to keep a glowing review of a debut single in your EPK, but you'll want to prioritize more recent press mentions showing that your career is on the up. For readability, avoid adding entire reviews. Single out the best line and link out to the full text.
Links to Other Platforms
Your social media channels and streaming links can be used to complement your EPK. When promoting yourself, you'll need to utilize these to help press and industry experts by building a clearer picture of who you are as an artist. However, there's no point in including links to your social media channels if you're not actively using them. If you're looking to get booked at venues, an agent will want to see that you're active on social media and can drum up interest.
It's easy to go overboard when creating an EPK. If you're itching to include an extended bio, extra images, or additional tracks, think about offering these as optional downloads. You can even create a downloadable EPK with all these extras included.
Updated Contact Information
There's no point in creating a first-class EPK if it doesn't include contact information. Your contact credentials need to be up-to-date so you can pick up inquiries. An email address is the bare minimum here. More established artists may also want to include contacts for publicists and managers.
Showcasing Past Successes
Your EPK should tell a story. Even if you've retooled it to promote new material, it needs to provide context and position you within the industry. Don't be afraid to showcase your successes here. It doesn't matter whether this is your first EPK or you've been performing for years, there's always something you can call on to show off.
If you're an independent musician, mention your performance history. Include a list of festivals you may have played at and any musicians you might have supported. If you have high-resolution photos to back up your claims, include them. You can also discuss the success you've had on streaming platforms. Has a video attracted a significant number of views on YouTube? This can be presented as a career milestone.
Get creative when presenting your achievements. A career highlights timeline graphic can be an effective way of summarizing your successes.
Keeping the EPK Up-to-Date
As with any type of portfolio, a music EPK should be regularly updated and populated with fresh content. As an artist, you want to show that you're relevant and responding to industry trends. However, an up-to-date EPOK also demonstrates that you're committed to the grind and willing to put in the work.
Look to update your press kit every time you put in a live performance or release new content. It's also worth carrying out regular audits for press mentions so you can edit your EPK accordingly. Aside from highlighting recent achievements and integrating new content, make sure the little things are updated. This includes everything from embedded links to social channels and streaming platforms to contact information.
An EPK should be a constantly evolving asset. However, if you've let things get on top of you, make sure you're at least reviewing it for improvement every time you plan on sending it out.
Tools and Resources for Creating an EPK
If you're not technically inclined, creating an EPK from scratch can seem daunting. The good news is that there are plenty of EPK tools out there you can put to good use.
Firstly, you'll need to get your assets in one place. Use Google Drive or DropBox to bring all of this together. As well as using these platforms as personal cloud storage, you can link directly from your EPK.
You'll also want to think about imagery. A good EPK should include a variety of image sizes that can be used for various purposes. If you don't want to spend a premium on software licenses, use free services like FastStone. You can also use Adobe Express for image resizing tasks, as well as graphic creation. Still need help? IndieFlow's EPK Builder takes all the hard work out of putting together a captivating digital press kit.
Boost Your Music Career with an EPK
An EPK is a key promotional tool that every independent musician should have in their repertoire. It's a showcase of your talent and an introduction to your persona. The best EPKs make it easy to access music industry professionals, even when you're competing in a saturated market.
Creating a standout EPK isn't always straightforward. Aside from the music, you'll need a rich slate of complementary content including video and high-res imagery. What's more, you need to work on your hook. If you can't write a compelling artist bio, you'll struggle to make the right first impression.
EPK management is important. You'll need to regularly update your EPK to include press mentions, new career milestones, and further proof that you're a talent worth investing in. Looking to streamline the creation process? IndieFlow's EPK Builder makes quick work of creating an electronic press kit you can be proud of.
A few years ago, accessing the latest music album meant running to the local record store to get a CD or vinyl. Alternatively, your fanbase would have to buy songs online, or a final option that artists will all agree isn't cool was downloading the songs illegally.
All that has changed thanks to the digital era. Today, streaming services have revived the music industry. In the UK, for instance, the music and streaming market study report found that music streaming services had 39 million monthly active users, and there were more than 138 billion streams that year.
Moreover, the music streaming market is growing, with a predicted yearly growth rate of 17.8 percent. So what does this mean for artists?
The Role of Spotify in the Music Industry
With millions of consumers paying subscription fees to music streaming services, tools such as Spotify continue to play an important role in artists' success on a global scale. Spotify accounts for 31% of the subscription market and continues to gain new active users every year.
Here are a few facts about Spotify and its impact on the music industry.
- In 2021, the service paid out music rights holders a total of $7 billion, the highest amount to ever be paid by a music streaming service
- Spotify's 2021 streaming sales exceeded the whole music industry's revenue recorded between 2009 and 2016
- More than 1000 artists generated $1 million from the streaming service
- Record labels using Spotify for artists reported increased revenues
Overview of Spotify for artists and its benefits for independent musicians
If you've been trying to understand Spotify for artists, you've clicked the right page. So, what is Spotify for artists? The music streaming service offers a free platform that allows artists to create and verify their profiles and, even better, access statistics related to their music and tools to help them boost their reach and income.
To create a Spotify artist account for free, you must first have an existing user account. Here is what to do next.
- Visit 'Spotify for artists' website
- Click your name on the top and go to 'claim your profile'
- Note that Spotify only allows distributors to publish music; therefore, you must be affiliated with one to continue
- Enter the artist name you wish to verify on the search bar that appears
- Login using your online distributor's details
- Send a verification request and wait
As an independent musician, you might ask yourself whether getting a Spotify for artists account is a good investment. The short answer is yes. And here's why.
- It provides independent artists with the much-needed exposure to increase the fanbase
- Spotify offers artists a chance to express themselves fully thanks to the Bio window on the artist’s profile that lets you add your personal story and any other information you wish to tell your listeners
- Getting a verified account builds more trust with your audience
- The data tools allow artists to gain more insight into listeners' habits hence better decision making
Understanding Your Audience With Spotify for Artists
Overview of the insights and data provided by Spotify for Artists
By using Spotify for artists, you can assess the impact of your songs across various playlists. Also, you can view the stream numbers, i.e., gauge popularity and the number of monthly active listeners and followers. Even better, the tool provides data on your demographic. Plus, the service keeps you updated on your position in the music charts.
How to use the data to understand your audience and their listening habits
As an independent artist, Spotify for artists’ app data can be useful in understanding your progress. By visiting the 'Audience' tab, you can assess how many listeners and followers you have gained. Taking advantage of the 'Source of Streams' section would be best. Here, you'll learn where your streams are coming from, typically from your profile and Spotify's editorial playlist. With this data, you can determine whether listeners manually search for your music or discover it from playlists.
The demographics chart, i.e., Age, Gender, Top Cities, and Top Countries, will provide a global view of your music. With this information, you can make wise decisions on marketing and partnerships. Another section that presents new opportunities is the 'Listeners also like' feature that can help you identify potential artists' collaborators.
Case studies and examples of independent artists who have used this data to grow their audience
Spotify insights data has helped propel certain artists to stardom. For instance, REI AMI, a Maryland artist who, thanks to the Spotify editorial playlist, gained over 50,000 streams, now uses the app's data to grow her audience.
Connecting With Your Fans Through Spotify for Artists
Overview of the personalized messaging and playlist placement features
Spotify uses algorithms to personalize listeners' playlists to shift how users discover new artists. This feature is an independent artist's dream as it allows you to appear in several playlists if it meets the element or vibe rather than hope for a human-curated playlist to discover you.
How to use these features to interact with your fans and promote your music directly
2022 saw Spotify's feature 'Spotify wrapped' grow in popularity than previous years. As an artist, this feature allows you to connect with your audiences directly through video messages. Here, you can give the listeners who have been loyal to your music a personalized shout-out, welcome the new ones, and plug your new music.
Examples of independent artists who have used these features to grow their following
Due to the dynamic world of digital music, many artists are enjoying a more favorable playing field as major labels yield some ground. You’ve probably encountered the viral Steve Lacy song "bad habit" on various social media platforms and stores. Thanks to Spotify Wrapped, the artist used the app's video messaging feature to connect with his audience by sending personalized messaging that resonates with his Gen Z and millennial following.
To support independent artists gaining traction across the Fresh Finds ecosystem, Spotify teamed up with Samsung to equip these musicians with solid resources and features the artists in ads within the playlist. For one, this allows the musicians to use their phones as voice recorders and take notes. As such, artists like Miami’s Elena Rose can take advantage of video calls to write music with the listener rooted to that call.
Monetizing Your Music With Spotify for Artists
Overview of the different revenue streams available on spotify, such as ads, premium subscriptions, and merchandise sales
A surefire way of earning money from Spotify as an artist is through more streams. However, this can be challenging if you are an independent artist. A few things you can do to increase your streams include using the playlist submission tool, collaborating with more famous artists, planning tours, selling merchandise, and releasing new music.
How to take advantage of these revenue streams to generate income from your music
The playlist submission tool is a unique Spotify feature you should utilize. All you need to do is click the app feature, submit your song, and wait for the Spotify editorial team to add it to playlists. That's not all. You could leverage Spotify data on listeners and overall demographics to plan shows in locations where you have a wide fanbase.
And use Spotify to promote your shows to sell more tickets. To achieve this, input the tour dates on the app, and the information will appear on users' accounts. Ensure also to use Spotify's 'Merchbar' to sell your merchandise.
Case Studies and Examples of Independent Artists Who Have Successfully Monetized Their Music on Spotify
More than 400 million fans globally connect with artists and enjoy their music on Spotify. That’s why the streaming solution is a powerful place for musicians to monetize.
Earn money on Spotify by driving awareness for your ticketed events—taking advantage of either virtual or IRL. Promote your shows on your artist profile, an exclusive in-product hub (search for “Concerts” on Spotify), plus send personalized emails and fan notifications.
Spotify for artists has helped artists like Natasha Noorani, a Pakistani singer-songwriter, earn from her passion. Using the streaming service's algorithm, she has managed to evaluate her reach and use Spotify to market her music.
The Future of Music Streaming and the Benefits of Using Spotify for Artists
Benefits of using the Spotify tool compared to other music streaming platforms
Unlike other music streaming services, Spotify has been upfront about how much artists make on the platform. Visit their Loud & Clear page to view this information. Moreover, in 2021, Spotify paid its artists more than any other service in the industry.
Master Spotify for Artists to amplify your fanbase
Spotify can be a goldmine for artists. Not only is it free to create an account, but it also allows artists to request verification. As an independent singer, widening your fanbase can seem daunting. However, taking advantage of the app's data allows you to gauge where you stand in the charts and the next steps, such as tours or collaborations. If you've been on the fence about getting that premium account for artists, how about you try out Spotify for artists to maximize your music potential?
Artist managers are among the most respected and sought-after professionals in the music industry. The best artist managers can turn an independent musician into a global superstar. However, there's more to this job than overseeing an artist's schedule and securing deals.
What does an artist manager do that makes them so important in the music industry? As well as being savvy spokespeople and administrators, artist managers can help chart the creative trajectory of a musician's career. They advise and encourage, helping musicians realize their true potential and make their artistic dreams a reality.
Interested in becoming an artist manager? Below, we'll outline everything you need to know about this rewarding role and how you can excel at talent management in the music industry.
What is Artist Management?
An artist manager is the key representative of a musician or band. Sometimes, you'll hear professionals in these artist management roles referred to as music or band managers. Other times, the term talent manager is used. It's little wonder that there are so many different names for this position. A typical artist manager has to wear many hats and fulfill multiple roles on any given day. What does an artist manager do exactly? As well as supervising day-to-day activities, a good artist manager has an eye on the bigger picture, helping take their clients to the top.
The Role of an Artist Manager
Artist managers take charge of public relations. During the early stages of an artist's career, they'll network with partners and field offers. Knowing how to manage an artist is all well and good, but a successful artist manager also needs to be proactive. At this point, it's the responsibility of the artist manager to make career-defining choices. Once an artist is established, an artist manager continues to hold significant influence. Along with the artists themselves, they often hold the casting vote when it comes to business-critical decisions.
Key responsibilities of an artist manager include:
- Career planning and development
- Booking and scheduling
- Financial management
- Branding and marketing
With the advent of social media and streaming services, many artists assume they can do it alone. Social media makes it possible for emerging talents to promote independently produced content themselves. However, even in the streaming age, the best talent needs great management. It's arguably the most important business relationship for any artist. What does the artist manager do that sets them apart from the likes of agents and promoters? These roles tend to come in late in the game once an artist is established. These people are usually fixated on short-term gains and taking a slice of the profits. The best artist managers are in it for the long haul, having helped shape the career direction of the artists they're representing.
Essential Skills and Qualifications
If you're looking to learn how to become an artist manager, you'll need more than a few skills under your belt. However, there are no strict criteria when it comes to qualifications, especially at the grass-roots level.
A successful artist manager needs to be an effective communicator and comfortable dealing with everyone from artists to music producers, and sound engineers to sponsors. As an artist becomes more established, leadership ability becomes even more important. An artist manager will need to liaise with people at increasingly senior levels, as well as learn how to delegate new arrivals to the team.
Having a handle on marketing is a key part of learning how to become an artist manager. A good artist manager should be able to design and deliver promotional campaigns, either independently or via PR teams. Artist managers should also have strong negotiating skills. Even in the early days of an artist's career, selecting the most lucrative sponsors and securing the best deals is pivotal.
Navigating the Music Industry
Artist managers enjoy a unique position within the music industry. A successful partnership can last for years, if not an artist's entire career. Because an artist manager needs to work on long-term campaigns and career-shaping decisions, they need a solid understanding of the music industry as a whole.
Understanding the Industry Landscape
The music industry landscape has always been complex, but in the era of digital distribution, it's become even more complicated. Artist managers need insights into every aspect, from the live performance and touring sector to recording contracts and negotiating at an executive level. Once content has been produced, managers need to take charge of promotion and distribution, publishing and monetization. Nowadays, most musicians rely on social channels for outreach. As such, artist managers need to be able to unlock the potential of social media marketing.
Networking and Building Relationships
An active social media presence can go a long way in getting an artist noticed. While a strong online presence is a good start, an artist manager needs to go the extra mile to propel talent to prominence.
An established musician relies on an extensive team made up of music supervisors, promoters, publishers, agents, and more. An artist manager will need to excel at networking to find the best possible people for each role.
Knowledge of Contract Negotiations
Contract negotiations are an important part of the music business. Independent artists tend to sell themselves short in exchange for a platform to launch themselves from. This is where a good artist manager comes in.
An artist manager needs to be confident dealing with executives and know a good deal when they see one. As with other business sectors, it's all about weighing up revenues and risk.
Understanding the Business of Music
Far from being static, the music business is an ever-changing industry. Today, many artists choose to bypass working with labels entirely. However, this presents unique challenges for both artists and management. An artist manager needs to have insights into the digital music distribution industry and streaming rights. A solid understanding of sync licensing, royalty management, and music law is also important. However, while the music industry is a global one, it’s an incredibly fragmented one, with legislation varying wildly between countries
Key Responsibilities of Artist Management
There's no one-size-fits-all remit for an artist manager in the music industry. In many scenarios, artists and managers share a personal relationship. However, an effective artist manager needs to be able to excel in a few key areas.
Career Planning and Development
Some artists may argue it's all about the music, but every musician needs to earn money. An artist manager will help shape the career of the musicians they're representing. It's a surprisingly creative role, with managers providing artist direction. There's a constant focus on the next steps, with managers looking for exciting new opportunities. A manager may suggest profile-boosting collaborations or a change in direction if progression is stalling. Music management platforms like IndieFlow can prove invaluable here, helping musicians and managers navigate the next steps.
Booking and Scheduling
If you want to know how to manage an artist, you need to excel at booking and scheduling. It's vital during the early stages of a musician's career. Managers need to make sure schedules are booked out with interviews, live performances, and PR opportunities. This input will continue long after an artist becomes commercially successful. Top-tier artists rely heavily on touring revenues, so a manager will need to work alongside booking agents and record labels. IndieFlow gives musicians and managers all the tools they need to manage bookings. What’s more, they create an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) to showcase their best assets to booking agents, promoters, and other industry experts.
As an artist becomes more established, their team will grow. This typically involves bringing in a finance manager, although some artist managers will take charge of this themselves. Financial management involves securing the best possible deal for the artist, requiring a firm grasp of industry-specific terms. Sometimes, the most lucrative deal isn't always the best and a good manager needs to be able to communicate this to the artist.
Branding and Marketing
For a musician, public image is just as important as the content they're putting out. A successful artist needs to keep up with current trends, making on-brand marketing essential. Whether it's putting together an on-trend tracklist or boosting brand awareness with merchandising, an artist manager needs to take the lead here. A lot of the heavy lifting can be delegated to PR agencies, but an artist manager still needs to serve as the go-between.
Challenges and Solutions in Artist Management
The music industry can be a cutthroat business. It's one of the reasons why so many independent musicians fall at the first hurdle. Artist managers aren't just there to represent musicians, they're there to help musicians traverse the many potential pitfalls they'll encounter during their careers.
Dealing with Difficult Personalities
There is no shortage of big egos in the music business. An up-and-coming artist may find it difficult to deal with probing questions on the press circuit. Others may find themselves easily led by silver-tongued execs looking to get them to sign on the dotted line. What does the artist manager do in this situation? A good artist manager can diffuse a heated confrontation or be the voice of reason when dealing with high-pressure negotiators.
Balancing Artistic Vision with Commercial Success
The best artist managers are committed to helping musicians realize their dreams. However, there comes a point when economics has to be considered. Managers need to be upfront with artists about what's working and what isn't. Sometimes, it pays to put passion projects on hold for the greater good.
Coping with Rejection and Setbacks
Every musician is going to encounter rejection at some point. Artist managers can help musicians look on the bright side. Rather than being a setback, a bad review or outright rejection can be used to retool a new project. However, artist managers also need to be comfortable in dealing out harsh truths.
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
Establishing a new artist takes work, but there's no sense in pushing an act to the point of burnout. Learning how to become an artist manager means knowing when to say no to certain opportunities. A good manager should be able to recognize fatigue in their artists and be prepared to reschedule their time when needed.
Artist management is one of the most important behind-the-scenes roles in the music industry. It's an intimate partnership with recording artists, with the strongest collaborations lasting for years. Artist managers need to be able to navigate the complex world of the music business. While they need to spin many plates, they also need to know when to delegate.
Confidence is key in this business. Establishing an artist and building a career relies heavily on networking. However, it's not all about contract negotiations and the bottom line. Artist management is an incredibly rewarding career that offers aspiring creatives plenty to sink their teeth into. If you have a passion for music and confidence in spades, you can help shape the entire direction of an artist's career and redefine the music industry.
If you have released music before, you are probably familiar with Spotify for Artists. Spotify offers a great, simple tool for artists to understand where streams are coming from , which playlists your songs have been added to and also gives you the ability to pitch to editorial playlists. But what about the other big streaming platforms out there? Did you know that there are more free tools offered to artists by other streaming platforms with hundreds of millions of listeners?
Take for example JioSaavn- the second largest streaming platform in India who claim to have 104 Million active users. You can pitch your music directly to their editorial playlists! How about discovering how many Alexa users asked to listen to your track on Amazon Music for Artists through voice recognition? Or how many people Shazamed your songs on Apple Music for Artists?
We covered some of the tools out there from major streaming platforms that can help you get a better picture.
Here are a few tools for artists that are very much worth exploring:
Amazon for Artists
Amazon releases its “Amazon for Artists”, giving artists a pretty standard overview on their stats with a few extras. After requesting to claim your artist profile, you can login through your desktop or download the app. Worth noting- if you have more than one project, it will take a while to claim since you can only send out one profile claim at a time and each artist claim takes a couple days to approve.
The stats on Amazon for artists are pretty much the same as what Spotify or Apple Music for Artists provide. What’s unique about Amazon for Artists is Alexa stats, which shows you how many people requested your song by voice recognition.These songs can be requested by the name of the song, artist or even by saying part of the lyrics!
Another cool thing about Amazon Music for Artists is that it can show you your superfans. Superfans are highly engaged fans that can’t stop listening to your music. The downside is that you won’t be able to engage with these fans. You will only see their numbers. Another cool thing to definitely take advantage of is the option to submit to editorial playlists is available. It can be a bit tedious though. Amazon encourages artists to submit to editorial playlists through their manager or label.
Alternatively you can send an email here: firstname.lastname@example.org and you will be directed to the correct department.
Anghami is the leading streaming service in the Arab world. It’s market is spread across the Middle East and North Africa. Anghami also has its backend tool for artists. You can upload your content directly to Anghami without a distributor involved (just like you would with Youtube). Anghami gives a full backend system for users to upload, distribute directly, promote on the platform , receive stream reports and audience analytics. Nowadays, artists can also create a donation page to direct their fans to and allow them to donate funds.
Deezer has pretty basic features at this point, allowing you to view streams and listeners stats as well as playlist additions.
Another thing you can do with Deezer backstage is edit your profile information, tour dates, and add your social media links.
AMP by Pandora
Pandora has acquired “Next Big Sound” in 2015 and from there launched AMP – a platform that helps artists grow their fan base by delivering insights on fan engagement, market to fans and to get to know them better.
A few interesting features that this tool will allow you to do:
- Connect your social media platforms to view stats.
- Add events manually through annotations in your “Reports” section. This allows you to note any events on specific dates and see how it impacted streams on those dates.
- Save and tailor reports depending on what you would like to see
- Data on how many spins you received, song skip rate, song completion rate, week by week comparison and more in depth insights.
In regards to Pandora’s way of to amplify your tracks and promote them, they are offering a few pretty cool options:
- Adding featured songs- you can decide which of your tracks are “featured”. Setting a song as “featured” allows you to get to a new audience based on the platform’s machine learning capabilities. Featured songs will “tell” pandora to play your song to listeners who are listening to similar songs. This is an 8 week process that can highly increase your numbers and it’s completely free.
- Set engaging audio messages to existing fans- You can record a short description about your track very easily through AMP. This will help give personal context to your listeners and can improve your click through rates.
- Add call to action buttons to help listeners engage with your content
Apple Music For Artists
Apple releases their answer to “Spotify for Artists” with an obvious upside on the user experience aspect as Apple knows to do best.
While information is pretty much the same (streams, locations, editorial playlist additions), what’s unique about Apple Music is that they present how many times your song was “Shazamed”.
Another cool thing about Apple Music for Artists is that they give you insights of milestones that your music has gone through. With Apple Music you cannot submit your music to editorial playlists unfortunately which brings us to one of the major benefits of the next tool.
Spotify For Artists
Spotify has become an ecosystem within itself. Thanks to the masses of users on Spotify and the game changing option to allow these users to generate followers through playlists, musicians are not only dependent solely on the good will of editorial playlists. This truly opens doors for independent musicians to get discovered by individuals who are completely loyal to their personal taste. The reason why we bring this up here, is because it is what makes Spotify stand out from the rest.
You could easily find influential curators (or submit to Spotify curators through tools like IndieFlow) and send your music directly to them. While an addition to an editorial playlist is pretty uncommon, getting added to privately curated playlists can be much more common and you can view exactly how many plays you got from each playlist. This can help in strategizing, building relationships with influential curators and track you how effective your last playlist campaign was.
Another cool feature that Spotify enables is the ability to use “Spotify for Artists” as a team with different roles and access permissions. You can easily share stats with your label, manager, team etc.
YouTube for Artists
In addition to presenting data such as: demographics, avg. view duration, subscribers etc. With YouTube for Artists you have many more features that could help boost engagement, sell live tickets, customize your channel, and more.
Here are some YouTube best practices which we recommend every artist performs when submitting music to YouTube:
- Consolidate all of your videos into one channel- You may have uploaded music to YouTube on your own, or through a distributor which could cause your content to be split across various channels and topics. YouTube for artists enables you to consolidate all of your content under one roof which helps gain control over all of your content. Heads up though, this can be enabled under the conditions below, and also be associated as a YouTube Partner directly or indirectly (through a label or manager).
- Own and operate a YouTube channel that represents one artist or band
- Have at least 3 official releases on YouTube delivered and distributed by a music distributor or label
- Connect with fans through live streams, engaging content such as: gifs, polls etc, sell tickets directly to fans, customize your artist page layout, read private messages or view your channel’s subscriber list
- With Youtube’s analytics you can view real time analytics, audience engagement, content engagement, revenue (if you’re in the Youtube Partner Program) and demographics of your audience. You can get all of this data on Youtube Studio both available on web or mobile app.
- Concerts and ticketing are available only in the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. In order to sell concert tickets you need to add your events to any of the following: Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, See Tickets and AXS.
Spotify is like an open source content machine in which both Spotify in-house editors and everyday users can curate content. Among the user generated playlists – some Spotify user playlists that have gone insanely viral and have a massive fan base of hundreds of thousands of users.
As time went by, these user generated playlists have become an excellent way for new music to be heard. Spotify playlisters became influencers and a new eco-system was born.
Along with this great new power that these private curators suddenly had, came also a handful of responsibilities. Playlist curators had to start organizing, branding, bringing in new music, taking out old music and so forth. So this playlisting hobby soon became a full time job, and this means money needs to be made.
Introducing – Spotify Playlist Placementing! Artists pitch their songs to playlisters and the playlisters give it a listen. Does the music fit in any of their playlists? Did it make an impact? Hey but I paid for this!
Services such as Submithub, Playlist Push, and Indieflow, have a network of playlisters to pitch music to.
The idea is always the same: Artists pay X dollars to get pitched to Y playlists. After a campaign that can take up to a few weeks (depending on the service), you get added to any playlist that liked your stuff. The playlist curators guarantee to listen to the track and if it fits they will place it in the playlist.
The purpose of this article is to reveal some useful insights about the benefits and the risks of paid submission to playlists. It’s a roller coaster of emotions, so it’s crucial you know what to expect!
The Big Trade Off: Playlist Curators & Musicians
As many of us artists would love to get into these playlists, there is a big debate about
the efficiency of playlist placements. Yes, it can get to a wide audience, yes you can get your song heard by thousands and sometimes even more, however, is this audience loyal to you or to the curator?
The general answer is: the audience is loyal to the curator. However the law of large numbers applies to music as well. Among the thousands of listeners – a small percentage will become your listeners. And in these numbers, a small percentage can be all you need.
Here are a few pointers to help you base your decision, the next time you consider playlist pitching.
The Listener to Follower Ratio
Your followers are most likely your true fans. These are the people that didn’t only listen to your songs, but who also want to follow your new releases, concerts etc.
Spotify’s algorithm likes this variable and defines the quality or the “hypeness” of an artist through this ratio. Listeners divided by followers. This ratio is an important factor of your quality in the algorithm’s eyes, and paid placement on playlists does not help you much with that.
A playlist curator’s follower base is there to listen to their taste in music. The audience will listen to the track but not in all cases become followers. Most listeners will do add to your listener count without actively following.
An artist promoting their music on paid placement playlists will likely have a high listener count, but a very low follower count, resulting in…. (drum roll) …. A very low listener follower ratio.
While this can be a minus – do not be alarmed. Getting your music heard is just as important as maintaining a high listener to follower ratio. Numbers are not everything.
The Spotify Save Button
Curated playlists allow listeners to click save on a specific song. Once a user has clicked “save” it means they liked your song. YAY!
Listeners like adding newly discovered tracks to their playlists, or just keeping these songs in their library where they sometimes shuffle play. Although this is not a follower – it is someone who clicked save on your music.
Releasing a song and getting it in several playlists can get your number of streams peaking. It is definitely fun seeing a new song getting thousands of plays through playlist pitching. But does it give you any meaningful results?
Depends how you look at it. Streams won’t get you anywhere in your music career unless it’s backed up by followers or listeners. It can give you a better look though. If you’ve pitched your hit song, and you want people to listen to this song, most users will go to your top popular songs and give them a listen. Also stream numbers stay there. They don’t change every week or month. You’ve probably experienced a situation where a friend has recommended an artist, or you decided to give someone a listen. When you go into their artist profile, you will probably take a look at whats popular in streams and press play.
Playlist pitching will give your hit song a good boost in stream numbers- a good way to make this song stand out.
Expectations and Understanding Results of Pitching to Playlisters:
Once you start a playlist campaign, a few things will happen. On average 5-10 percent of playlists pitched to will add your song to their playlist. If you pitch to 20 playlists don’t be surprised you weren’t added to one. If you do pitch to a decent number of playlists, your music will likely get added to at least a few and your listener numbers will rise. YES!
After the initial rise in numbers you should expect to see a slow down in listeners which will eventually result in a generated loyal fanbase.
How do you know if your campaign was worth it?
Always keep KPIs (key performance indicators) in mind. The most important metrics are:
Compare these numbers to your numbers before the launch of the campaign.
Playlist pitching can be a very powerful way to boost your streams. Paying for submissions is not the only way to do this. Spotting the right curators for your music and building relationships with them, is definitely something you can do on your own. Doing this properly is time consuming though, and is a whole topic within itself. In this article we’ve covered the main factors and measurable indicators that you should be aware of when starting a playlist campaign. Even if you had a successful campaign, it doesn’t mean you’re career is going to sky rocket. It’s another step towards building and growing your brand, so remember what to expect when planning your budget for this type of campaign, what to measure and always think long run.
What are performing rights organizations? How many are there in the United States? What are the type of royalties that performing rights organizations are responsible to collect and who can receive these royalties?
These questions do sound complicated however they can somewhat be simplified! Below is an overview of the key items to understand while registering with a performance rights organization.
Performing right organizations as suggested by their name collect a royalties called Performance Royalties and pay out these royalties to songwriters and publishers.
Each country in the world has a performance rights organization that is responsible for collecting royalties for songwriters and publishers . Any musical artist is eligible to receive performance royalties if you were the author (lyrics), the composer or a publisher of a work. In many cases independent artists are defacto all three!
Who are performing royalties collected from?
Performance royalties are collected from: streaming services, radio stations, TV stations, bars, venues, restaurants and more. Pretty much anytime a song is played in public the broadcaster of the song is legally obligated to report back to the PROs that the song was played and pay out a small portion for the right to play the song.
How can artists collect their royalties?
It’s pretty simple to register with a PRO and usually requires a one-time membership fee. PROs from all over the world work together in order to collect royalties from all of the different territories.
So if your song is registered with ASCAP and you have radio plays in Germany, GEMA (the German PRO would collect your royalties and transfer it to ASCAP). Just remember: PROs pay songwriters (authors and composers) not Artists who perform the song.
What performance rights organizations exist in the United States?
There are 3 main rights organizations in the US:
ASCAP – A non-profit organization managed by songwriters, composers and publishers. The board members and board of directors in ASCAP are elected by it’s society’s members. 750,000 members are registered as of 2020 and is one of the two dominating PROs in the US. You can join ASCAP both as a publisher and a songwriter for as little as $50 – one time membership.
BMI – Holds 800,000 members. Just like ASCAP, BMI is also a non-profit organization. You can join BMI for free as a songwriter but as a publisher it will cost you $150 or $250 if you’re registering as a company.
SESAC – The only for profit organization with 30,000 members. Not everyone can become a member of SESAC, you would need to receive an invitation.
Some important points to remember:
- Always remember that performance royalties are broken out into money that is paid out to both the songwriter and the publisher. We would definitely recommend to open both a writer and publisher account on a PRO to collect the two.
- Performance royalties are a completely different type of royalty then streaming royalties paid out to a distributor. It is important to remember that on top of streaming royalties that you receive from your distributor the streaming services ALSO pay performance royalties to PROs.
- To benchmark the above point for you – the royalty amount paid out to a PRO amounts to something in the ballpark of 7% in addition to what the artist receives from the distributor. So if in a given month an artist received $1,000 from his/her distributor, they should expect another $70 to be paid out to him through the PROs.
- An artist & publisher can only be affiliated with one PRO in each country & the publisher must be registered in the same PRO that the artist is. So in the case where a publisher, publishes a song on ASCAP but the artist is on BMI – ASCAP wll not be able to collect the royalties on the artist or publisher behalf.
Hope this helps in generally summarizing what performance rights organizations do and the royalties they collect on behalf of artists. Always remember that if you are an independent artist you most likely own both the artist and publisher rights and are able to collect both by registering with the organizations.
Please always keep in mind that in addition to performance royalties an independent artist is most likely entitled to receive other royalties from different organizations. More on this in our next articles!
That wasn’t THAT complicated, was it?
Social media is the ultimate source to leverage followers and keep them in the know. Staying consistent with post frequency, quality and engaging content is key to build and grow your audience. However, coming up with new posts over and over again can be daunting and stressful.
Most artists feel that the responsibility of creating engaging content on a regular basis and becoming a one-person production company does is not a skill they naturally have.
Things don’t necessarily have to be that complicated! Simplicity is key when it comes to social media, and as you probably noticed, there is not one secret sauce to make fans magically come running to your door. You will eventually find your authentic voice.
In the meantime, here are a few themes to help you step up your game:
The Making Of (Exposing Your Followers to the Creative Process)
The process of songwriting, producing, mixing and marketing is always intriguing!
Especially if you have some good footage, captures from the studio, other talents who participated in the process and so forth. Sharing your creative process to your audience and fans makes exposes the story behind the song and spotlights the building blocks, motives, ideas behind the song. This additional exposure to your audience deepens the connection between the creator and fans.
When creating Making Of content for social media make sure to save your videos, photography and behind the scenes footage for marketing material! Some ideas for useful Making Of content can be: videos of vocal recording sessions, raw takes of just you playing the song in a natural environment, sharing footage or the story of the inspiration behind the track.
Post a Lyric Video
Not every song needs to have a fully produced video clip.
There are literally hundreds of websites out there with royalty free videos like: pexels.com, pixabay.com where you can use a few cool atmospheric videos for your track.
Import the video into a movie editor software like i-Movie or Lightworks to add your lyrics. As a stand alone post it may not be the fastest post content you will create, but it could be an engaging, eye-capturing way for fans to interact with your music and also serve as content for your YouTube channel or other video outlets.
Share Nostalgic Styled or Throw Back Posts
Do you have any embarrassing moments from your childhood? A picture of you playing at your first concert? Post it!
People love seeing older photos of others. It’s not only a way to reveal another part of yourself or your background, but also can be a humoristic, nostalgic moment which is always easy to connect with.
Cover A Favorite Song or Artist
Cover songs have quite a few advantages. It really depends on how far you want to take this. Anywhere from simple guitar covers shot from your phone to a multi instrumental studio session.
Share a Playlists of Influential Music
Creating playlists and sharing with your fans is a cool giveaway as well as another nice way to create a deeper connection with your fans. People who appreciate the same artists have something in common.
Build Up Posts and Teasers of Upcoming Releases
Pretty much a no brainer. This comes naturally to most artists. You’re probably super excited about your next release, whether it is a song , an album, a video, a vinyl, new merch. Anything new is exciting! And anything new gives reasons to start a conversation.
Leverage this excitement and use it strategically by creating cool offers for early adopters. You can do a pre-save campaign for an upcoming track release, or start teasing with images of your new cool merch thats cooking, while creating discounted offers for whoever order in advance.
You don’t have to think transactional necessarily. This can be simple excitement about an announcement of a new gig date you closed. The point here is don’t just wait for the announcement of a new event. Build up towards the day of announcement and be generous with your fans.
Collaborations with Similar Artists
Do some research and find a few artists to collaborate with.
Collaborations on social media go way beyond just posting and the beautiful thing about it is that you’re expanding your music network – which is the number one thing you need to focus on if you’re building a music career.
There are endless ways to collaborate with musicians around you: You can produce a track with someone, do simple covers to each others songs, perform together, do a webinar on a mutual interest you both have and so much more.
Whats nice about music is that when it comes to fans, you’re not necessarily in competition. On the contrary, if a fan loves your music, and a collaborator makes music in the same genre or style the fan will be happy to discover the collaborator through you.
A collaborator’s strategy won’t only give you something to post about, it will help you grow and reach new fans.
It is now more than ever that live music streaming is being acknowledged by the masses. Self quarantine is leading more people to consume content at home, while artists who are forever creating content are looking for new ways to reach their isolated audience.
These content consumption needs are now being addressed by live streaming platforms. In this article we will cover ways to quickly utilize the different audio and video live streaming platforms out there and finally we have picked our 2 favourites for music performances.
These are downloadable softwares that allow you to manage your broadcast. Almost as if you were in a real television production studio. Definitely start from one of these to polish and upgrade content delivery.
These tools allow you to:
- Plan transitions in advance.
- Prepare your screen with graphics and text that can run on through the broadcast,
- Stream in HD
- Integrate and broadcast on the main live streaming platforms: Facebook, Youtube, Zoom, or custom stream keys (we’ll get to that one in a bit)
E-camm: (For Mac users only)
E-camm us actually an outstanding product. Its very easy to understand and intuitive. There are three main video modes your camera, “share screen” view, and an option to play a video from your computer.
E-camm also has a plugin that allows you to stream audio from your computer. This allows you to easily play audio from any DAW directly into the live stream platforms. If you are familiar with live streaming you already know that routing audio into your streams isn’t as easy as it sounds. Special tools like : voicemeter, soundflower, loopback were developed especially for doing this.
You can simply skip this with E-camm and just download the E-camm audio plugin.
This is a totally free tool that many YouTube broadcasters use. OBS is a bit less intuitive than E-Camm but in terms of features you can do the same.
First and foremost making extraordinary live streams is dependent on sound quality. Fans are seeking the intimacy of seeing you off stage but what will make them stay for the full show is the quality of your content. Sound is a very important factor here.
Unless you’re going for a spontaneous live solo session with your smartphone, a good audio interface is highly recommended. Assuming you already have one of these, the next step is to have an audio routing system that will allow you to control input / outputs from and to different applications.
Lets say you want to do a Google Hangouts session, but want the people you’re speaking with to hear what’s playing on your audio workstation, or on a video editing software. These tools will allow you to route through the different apps:
Soundflower (Only on Mac)
Social live streaming is another great way to connect with fans. Facebook and Instagram, for example, love giving you updates about who’s live right now. You can easily take advantage of this and connect with your fans on a more intimate and personal level.
Use Facebook & Instagram algorithms for your best interest. The thing to remember here is that your audience’s attention can be easily disturbed. It’s very likely that people on Facebook & Instagram won’t have the patience to stick around your 30 minute live streaming. If you have a decent following on Youtube, maybe it would be better to try and broadcast from there.
Below is a list of social streaming platforms:
Our staff pick platforms for live stream gigs
After researching we have found ZOOM and Crowdcast to be the most accurate solutions for musicians.
With ZOOM you can easily setup the audio to both go through your DAW and have a good sound quality. By default, ZOOM doesn’t deliver well with a guitar or keyboard playing, but if you make a few adjustments , you can generate a pretty good sound. We’ve found a video that explains how to setup your ZOOM audio setting to get the best results (make sure your version of ZOOM is up to date): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEAb4G063sM .
What’s great about ZOOM is that for the purpose of playing live, you wont need any extra programs like OBS or E-Camm. Upgrade your account and you will also be able to connect your stream to other platforms such as facebook live (you wont see the comments unless you open your facebook live session. Be careful though, opening more than one of your live stream simultaneously can cause feedback).
Crowdcast allows you to create an event, connect to OBS/E-Camm, collect donations, collect emails through a registration link and even connect attendees with your Patreon account to support you. If that’s not enough, you can also stream from Crowdcast to other platforms if you use one of the upgraded versions. The only thing to keep in mind is that you should use Crowdcast with OBS or E-Camm. The platform has its limitations and since audio quality is a essential to live streaming, we highly recommend getting familiar with E-Camm or OBS when using Crowdcast .
Crowdcast is growing rapidly now and they did have some technical problems because of this growth in demand. Regardless it is indeed a solution tailored for musicians (and other content creators) which you should check out if you haven’t already.
Live streaming is now all over the web. From meetings and webinars, to yoga classes and music concerts. People are craving for content and personal connection. There’s still a long way until streaming will be flawless and smooth.
Until than, there’s still a feeling that we are in the stone age of live streaming evolution. The tools above can help step up your game, but keep in mind that there are more factors which can affect your live streams (internet connection for example).
There is definitely still demand for live music, and the technical faults are part of this stage of the evolution. Maybe 20 years from now we will laugh at ourselves for having such an unstable experience, but for now, just go have fun with the tools above.
Play to your audience and you will eventually get better and better just like real gigging.amm
How did the music industry get so complicated? How can an artist be aware of what’s happening all over the digital streaming sphere? So many platforms & so many data points to track. Although the complexity – digital distribution is actually something we should be thankful for.
Not too long ago, physical stores were Spotify and Apple Music of the world. Distributing an album to a “Tower Records” shop, would not help your music much. It is about getting discovered and doing proper campaigns to stand out.
A distributors job is to make sure an artist’s music fits store requirements, and pay you back artist royalties. As complicated and non-transparent as it may seem, we’re actually in an era where an artist can both deliver their music to the masses and also get paid from one place.
When choosing a distributor it would be recommended to take into account the following considerations
Stores & Streaming Services a Distributor Submits To
Which stores (DSPs) does your distributor work with? Different distributors have connections with different DSPs. Yes, it is amazing to be on every streaming platform out there, but focusing on a few big ones can be more rewarding.
We have complied a list of the top 10 streaming services by subscribers in 2019 statistics. FYI IndieFlow’s platform distributes to all these streaming platforms with 100% of the royalties going back to the artists:
1. Spotify: 124 Million Subscribers
2. Apple Music: 60 Million Subscribers
3. Amazon Music: 55 Million Subscribers
4. Tencent Music: 35 Million Subscribers
5. YouTube Music: 20 Million Subscribers
6. Deezer: 7 Million Subscribers
7. SoundCloud: 175 Million Users (No subscriber data available)
8. Pandora: 6.2 Million Subscribers
9. Tidal: 3 Million Subscribers
10. Gaana: 1 Million Subscribers
Royalties & Pay Outs
As these royalties most likely won’t pay the rent (at least in 2020), you must be aware of two things:
How are your royalties provided and how often are they given to you?
Direct distributors often have the availability to receive payouts after a certain amount of funds ($5-50) are collected from the streaming services. These funds are usually distributed to your bank account.
Another useful stat here would be the average royalty per play on each one of the different channels. It is an interesting stat as the leading streaming service (Spotify) is actually not the top payer in terms of royalties to artists:
Here are the top 9 payers- their average payout per track and for comparison purposes the number of tracks needed to hit ~$1,500 in royalties:
1. Napster: $0.019 (Per Stream); 77,474 (Streams Needed to Reach $1,500)
2. Tidal: $0.012 (Per Stream); 177,604 (Streams Needed to Reach $1,500)
3. Apple Music: $0.007 (Per Stream); 200,272 (Streams Needed to Reach $1,500)
4. Google Play: $0.0067 (Per Stream); 217,752 (Streams Needed to Reach $1,500)
5. Deezer: $0.0064 (Per Stream); 230,000 (Streams Needed to Reach $1,500)
6. Spotify: $0.0043 (Per Stream); 336,842 (Streams Needed to Reach $1,500)
7. Amazon: $0.004 (Per Stream); 366,169 (Streams Needed to Reach $1,500)
8. Pandora: $0.001 (Per Stream); 1,106,767 (Streams Needed to Reach $1,500)
9. YouTube: $0.0006 (Per Stream); 2,133,133 (Streams Needed to Reach $1,500)
Costs, Exclusivity & Length of Deal
Cost, exclusivity and length of deal vary depending on which distribution route you choose to take.
Distributing completely independently through online services or software:
(IndieFlow, Distrokid, CD Baby, TubeCore & other independent distributors).
The costs for these services vary from (0-10% of commission on royalties) to subscription costs or just a general cost per track distribution.
No exclusivity is required here and there is no minimum deal length)
Distributing semi independently:
Services such as AWAL offer semi independent services. AWAL has gone the semi label route – where they choose the artists they would like to distribute, offer them a cash advance & ask for a higher % of royalties (can be the ballpark of 20-30%).
They offer exit points upon payback of the cash advance.
*Information above should be verified with services and is not based upon sources and dependent on artist.
Distribution through a label:
The old fashioned label route is the “traditional” way of getting your music on the streaming platforms. It is worth noting that for the sake of uploading to the streaming services many of the labels utilize online services described above.
Labels can ask for contracts giving them up to 50-70% of royalties and will ask for exclusivity.
Labels do offer networking, PR and services that are not in the scope of digital distribution.
A Distributor’s Support Team
Is there someone to talk to on the other side? There may be all kinds of terms you’re not aware of, questions you may have or corrections you need to make even post release.
“What is an ISRC code?”
“I can’t find my profile on one of the stores”.
“How do I transfer my track from one service to another”
In many cases , because the stores are in direct contact with the distributors and not with the artists themselves, you need a good support team to back you up on a rainy day!