In order for a label to run a successful release campaign correctly there are certain things you will need to deliver to them before the campaign can even begin. A label needs time to plan, schedule and promote and therefore it’s important to deliver all of these items around six months before the proposed album release date.
Firstly of course, they will need your audio tracks supplied on CD or as .wav files depending on the label. They will also need the digital album artwork which should be at least 4000px square at 300dpi in .jpg format. Some accompanying promotional pictures that tie in with the albums theme should also ideally be delivered in hi-res so that labels have something to mail out to press and add to social media. Include a writeup and updated biography with your album that can be used in promotional materials, plus don’t forget to add lyrics and metadata for each track, i.e. who played what, who produced, who mixed, etc. – this is all vital information for a label to be able to do their job correctly. Video footage would also be useful – acoustic versions of some of the songs sitting in a studio are always good. The label will also want to sort some video interviews.
Next we need to look at the singles – ideally two, sometimes three. For each single you again need to provide the audio in the correct format plus artwork for each release. You also need to provide remixes for each track or if the label is sorting them, you must send the stems (something you should get for every song on your album anyway). Stems are individual tracks or groups of tracks exported as .wav files that can be used in future remix and remastering projects – they are vital, get them and keep them safe!! For each of the singles you’ll also need a decent quality music video and the written info – a brief synopsis, the lyrics and the credits. Any other promotional images and video is always useful.
Physical items – a label will need to offer CDs, merch and maybe vinyls for sale on the store so you need to provide the label with hi-resolution artwork so that they can get these items manufactured in good time. Ensure that the artwork looks good on light and dark backgrounds and provide variations so that two or three different t-shirt designs can be offered.
Of course the above depends on the individual label – some will carry out a lot of these tasks for you, including mastering, artwork, etc. However, it’s a good idea to have an idea of what you will both need to have ready before a release campaign can be scheduled.
- the album audio (ideally .wav 48kHz 24bit mastered)
- remixes or stems for the singles
- the album artwork (for Digital / CD / DVD / Vinyl) (3000px square, 300dpi)
- artwork for the singles (3000px square, 300dpi)
- hi-res artwork for the merch (include a couple of variations)
- videos for the singles
- a brief synopsis of the album and the singles
- an updated biog
- lyrics for all tracks
- credits for all tracks (including studio personnel)
- hi-res promotional photos (that can be cropped to square, portrait and landscape for social media, etc)
- promotional video – interviews, live performances, etc.
Although campaigns sometimes have to be fluid depending on external circumstances, having the above in advance will make the job of the label much easier as everything can be scheduled in advance of the campaign launch to improve your chances of success. Do not send incomplete items so that you have to send multiple copies – ensure that everything is correct and named clearly before submitting as it can be extremely time consuming and frustrating for a busy label to sift through lots of messages to gather the campaign elements together. Also, don’t make a label chase you for this stuff – a label is investing in you and working to very tight budgets and deadlines on your behalf. We recommend setting up a dropbox folder and sharing the link with the label so that everything can be found in one place. Also by preparing and sending everything together you have more chance of your artwork, images and videos harmonising rather than the whole project coming across as fragmented.
Be creative with what you offer – if you can think of any fresh ideas that would work well and that your fans would enjoy then include them too, it’s all about letting your creative personality shine through.