10 Steps On How To Publish Music And Make It A Hit

Contents show

Hello there! Have you been creating music for a while and want to take the next step? Do you have no idea where to begin with publishing your work? You are not alone. Many aspiring musicians struggle with the same question: how do I get my music out there for the world to hear? In this article, we are going to cover everything you need to know about publishing music to help you take your first steps in the right direction.

By the end of this article, you can expect to have a clear understanding of what publishing your music entails and the different options available. You will learn about the benefits and drawbacks of each option, allowing you to choose the best route for yourself and your music. Whether you are looking to release an album, single, or even a demo, this guide will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to take the plunge.

The solution to the problem of how to publish music is simpler than you may think. In this article, we will be sharing industry secrets and proven methods for publishing your music, from registering your music with a performing rights organization (PRO) to distributing your music to various streaming platforms. We have consulted with industry experts to bring you the most up-to-date and comprehensive information. You won’t want to miss this chance to turn your music dreams into a reality.

How to Publish Music Digitally

The music industry has undergone a significant change since the advent of the digital age. With the click of a button, artists can now share their music with listeners around the world. Digital distribution has made it easier than ever to distribute, sell, and promote music. In this section, we will outline the step-by-step guide on how to publish music digitally.

Step 1: Choose a Digital Distributor

Before you can publish your music online, you need a digital distributor. These companies distribute your music on popular streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Here are some of the digital distribution platforms:

  • DistroKid
  • Tunecore
  • CD Baby
  • Reverbnation

Each of the digital distributors has its pros and cons. For instance, DistroKid and Tunecore are popular options among independent artists. They offer affordable pricing and allow artists to keep 100% of their royalties. On the other hand, CD Baby offers additional services such as sync licensing, which allows artists to earn more money through placements in TV, film, and commercials.

Digital Distributor Pros Cons
  • Low pricing
  • Keep 100% of royalties
  • Simple to use
  • No marketing support
  • No CD manufacturing or distribution
  • Keep 100% of royalties
  • Offers a pubishing administration service
  • Higher pricing
  • No marketing support
  • No CD manufacturing or distribution
CD Baby
  • Additional services such as sync licensing
  • CD manufacturing and distribution
  • Takes a commission from sales
  • Higher pricing

Step 2: Prepare Your Music for Distribution

Before you distribute your music, you must prepare it for distribution. This means ensuring that your music is of high quality and following the correct format specifications. Here are some tips to help you prepare your music for distribution:

  • Ensure that your music is in the correct format – most distributors accept high-quality WAV files.
  • Add metadata to your music files, including your artist name, song title, and genre.
  • Get your music professionally mixed and mastered.
  • Create album artwork that meets the digital distribution specs.
  • Create an artist bio and press release that you can use for promotion.

Step 3: Upload Your Music and Create Your Release

After preparing your music for distribution, you can now upload it to your chosen digital distributor. The process is simple and straightforward, and most distributors provide step-by-step instructions. Here are the key aspects you will need to consider:

  • Select the platform or platforms you want your music distributed on.
  • Provide your release information, including artist name, release title, and release date.
  • Upload your music files and album artwork.
  • Preview your release to ensure it’s correct before finalizing.
  • Set the price and select the countries you want to distribute your music to.

Step 4: Promote and Monetize Your Music

Just because your music is available on streaming platforms doesn’t mean it will automatically receive traction. You need to promote your music to maximize your reach and potential income. Here are some ways to promote your music:

  • Create an artist website and social media pages
  • Collaborate with other artists or influencers in your genre
  • Create compelling video content on YouTube or TikTok
  • Collaborate with music blogs and playlists that fit your genre

As for the monetization aspect, make sure you registered for the rights and keep track or royalties. Some digital distributors provide analytics and royalty tracking, such as TuneCore, CD Baby, and DistroKid.

In conclusion, publishing music digitally is an excellent way to distribute your music and reach a vast audience. In order to do it successfully, you need to find the right digital distributor, prepare your music for distribution, and promote it effectively. By following the steps outlined in this section, you can increase your chances of success in the digital music industry.

Understanding Music Distribution Platforms

Music distribution platforms are key to getting your music to the audience. If you want to be successful in music, you need to understand the different distribution platforms and how they work. In this section, we will look at the different types of music distribution platforms, their pros and cons, and the ways you can use them to publish your music.

See also  Rock Your World With These Top Music Venues Columbus Ohio

Types of Music Distribution Platforms

There are two main types of music distribution platforms: digital and physical.

Digital music distribution platforms are online platforms that allow you to upload your music and make it available for download or streaming. Some popular digital music distribution platforms include Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and Tidal.

Physical music distribution platforms are physical forms of distribution such as CDs and vinyl records. These platforms are often used for selling physical copies of albums, which can be purchased in stores or online. Examples include Amazon, Best Buy, and independent record stores.

The Pros and Cons of Digital Music Distribution Platforms

Digital music distribution platforms offer many advantages such as:

  • Easy accessibility to a large audience
  • Cheaper distribution costs in comparison to physical distribution platforms
  • Real-time data and analytics on how your music is performing
  • Opportunities for playlisting, promotion, and advertising

Despite these advantages, digital music distribution also has its disadvantages. Here are some of them:

  • Less revenue generated from streaming than from physical sales
  • Lower quality of sound
  • Issues with copyright infringement and piracy
  • Difficulty in standing out among other artists on the same platform

The Pros and Cons of Physical Music Distribution Platforms

Physical music distribution platforms also offer their own set of advantages and disadvantages:

  • Higher revenue per sale than digital distribution platforms
  • Higher quality sound than digital platforms
  • Physical distribution may appeal to certain genres and demographics of music lovers
  • Collectible value that may increase over time

However, there are also some disadvantages to physical music distribution:

  • Higher distribution costs to produce physical copies
  • Less accessibility to a wider audience than digital distribution platforms
  • Less data and analytics on the performance of the music
  • Environmental impact and lack of sustainability

How to Choose a Distribution Platform

When choosing a music distribution platform, the decision should be based on your specific needs and goals. Here are some of the factors to consider:

  • Your audience and target market demographics
  • The genres and types of music you create
  • Your revenue goals and strategy
  • Your marketing and promotional plan
  • Your budget and resources available

Comparison Table of Music Distribution Platforms

The table below provides a comparison between the two main types of music distribution platforms, digital and physical. The information provided includes the pros and cons of each, as well as some popular platforms in each category:

Type of Distribution Platforms Pros Cons Popular Platforms
  • Easy accessibility to a large audience
  • Cheaper distribution costs in comparison to physical distribution platforms
  • Real-time data and analytics on how your music is performing
  • Opportunities for playlisting, promotion, and advertising
  • Less revenue generated from streaming than from physical sales
  • Lower quality of sound
  • Issues with copyright infringement and piracy
  • Difficulty in standing out among other artists on the same platform
  • Spotify
  • Apple Music
  • SoundCloud
  • Tidal
  • Higher revenue per sale than digital distribution platforms
  • Higher quality sound than digital platforms
  • Physical distribution may appeal to certain genres and demographics of music lovers
  • Collectible value that may increase over time
  • Higher distribution costs to produce physical copies
  • Less accessibility to a wider audience than digital distribution platforms
  • Less data and analytics on the performance of the music
  • Environmental impact and lack of sustainability
  • Amazon
  • Best Buy
  • Independent record stores

In conclusion, understanding music distribution platforms is crucial to a musician’s success. By considering the different types of platforms, their pros and cons, and how they fit your personal goals, you can make an informed decision on how to publish your music. With the right distribution strategy, you can make your music heard and reach a wider audience.

Steps to Release Your Music Independently

Releasing music independently means that you take on the responsibility of releasing your own music without the help of a record label or other third parties. While it may seem intimidating, there are several steps you can take to successfully release your music and gain a following.

1. Create Your Music

Before you can release your music, you must first create it. This involves writing and recording your songs, and you may need to work with other musicians, producers, or engineers to bring your vision to life. Here are some things to keep in mind as you create your music:

  • Write and record high-quality songs that resonate with your target audience.
  • Experiment with different styles and sounds to make your music stand out.
  • Collaborate with other musicians, producers, or engineers to create a unique sound.

Remember, your music is the foundation of your career, so make sure you put in the time and effort to create something you’re proud of.

2. Prepare Your Music for Release

Once you’ve created your music, it’s time to get it ready for release. Here are some things you’ll need to do to prepare your music:

  • Mix and master your songs so they sound their best.
  • Create artwork or other visuals to accompany your music.
  • Decide on a release date and create a marketing plan.
  • Prepare your digital distribution and gather all necessary metadata (i.e. artist name, album title, track titles, ISRC codes, etc.).

Preparing your music for release can be time-consuming, but it’s essential if you want your music to reach your target audience.

3. Distribute Your Music

Once your music is ready for release, it’s time to distribute it. Here are the primary ways to do so:

  1. Streaming and Downloads: This is the most common way of distributing music. You can use platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music to release your music to the world. These platforms allow users to stream or purchase your music, and they will also pay you royalties for each play or sale.
  2. Physical Distribution: This method involves manufacturing physical copies of your music, such as CDs, vinyl, or cassettes, and distributing them directly to fans or to retail stores. This method can be more costly, but it can be valuable for fans who prefer physical copies of music.
  3. Direct-to-Fan: This method involves selling your music directly to your fans through your website, social media, or other channels. You can offer digital downloads or physical copies of your music, and you can also offer exclusive merchandise or experiences to your fans.

Each method of distribution has its pros and cons, and it’s important to choose the one that best suits your goals and budget.


Releasing music independently requires hard work, dedication, and attention to detail. However, it also offers greater freedom and control over your music and career. By following these steps, you can successfully release your music independently and build a following that supports your art.

How to promote your music after release

Once you have released your music, it’s time to start promoting it to the world. Without effective promotion, your music might not reach the right audience, even if it is great. In this section, we will discuss various ways you can promote your music post-release.

1. Utilize social media platforms

Social media is a powerful tool that can help you reach a wider audience. It provides a platform for you to showcase your music, connect with fans, and promote upcoming events. Some popular social media platforms you can use include:

  • Facebook: Create a Facebook page for your music and use it to share updates, photos, and tour schedules.
  • Instagram: Instagram provides a visual platform that is perfect for sharing photos and short videos of your music performances, collaborations, and behind-the-scenes moments.
  • Twitter: Use Twitter to interact with your fans, announce new releases, upcoming shows, and retweet posts from other musicians in your genre.
See also  Rocking In The Queen City The Ultimate Guide To Live Music In Charlotte NC

It’s vital to post consistently on these platforms and engage with your followers to keep them interested in your music career. You can also use paid social media advertising to reach a broader audience.

2. Collaborate with other musicians

Collaborations are an excellent way to reach a new audience and showcase your talent. Collaborating with other musicians allows you to tap into their existing fan base, which can give you the exposure you need to grow your audience. It can also lead to new project ideas and creative inspiration.

One famous example of successful music collaboration is the Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake. They collaborated on the hit song “Where is the Love,” which became a massive commercial success globally.

3. Play live shows

Live performances are an excellent way to promote your music and connect with fans. It’s also an opportunity to sell tickets and merchandise, which can generate revenue. You can play at local bars, clubs, and festivals that cater to your genre of music.

To maximize the impact of your live performances, consider recording and releasing them as live albums or videos on YouTube. This will enable people who were not able to attend your concerts to get a glimpse of your music and live performances.

4. Use music distribution companies

Music distribution companies are third-party platforms that help artists distribute and promote their music across various streaming platforms. These companies take care of the legal, technical, and logistical aspects of music distribution, allowing artists to focus on creating their music.

Some music distribution companies include:

Company Name Pros Cons
CD Baby
  • Provides access to multiple distribution channels, including digital downloads, streaming, and physical distribution.
  • No annual fees.
  • You retain all rights to your music.
  • Charges a one-time setup fee for each release.
  • The company takes a commission on the revenue generated from your music.
  • Provides broad distribution services, including digital downloads, streaming, and physical distribution.
  • No annual fees.
  • You retain all rights to your music.
  • Charges yearly fees to keep music available on streaming sites.
  • The company takes a commission on the revenue generated from your music.
  • Offers unlimited distribution for a flat yearly fee.
  • No commission taken from revenue generated.
  • You retain all rights to your music.
  • Charges an annual fee, but the cost can be lower than paying for each release.

Using a music distribution company can save you time and money. It allows you to focus on creating your music while the platform takes care of the technical aspects of music distribution.

In conclusion, effective promotion is vital for successful music release. Use social media platforms, collaborate with other musicians, play live shows, and consider using music distribution companies. With hard work and determination, you can reach your target audience, grow your fan base, and achieve your music career’s success.

Legal aspects of music publishing explained

Publishing music requires the navigations of laws, rules, and regulations. Often underestimated by new or indie artists, publishing laws can be the make-or-break factor in their budding musical career. This subsection aims to provide a comprehensive guide on the legal aspects of music publishing for a better understanding of the legal strings surrounding music publishing.

Understanding Copyright laws

Copyright laws are the backbone of music publishing. Copyrights are like an umbrella that protects an individual’s artistic creation from being copied, sold, or performed without his or her permission. Let’s explore copyright laws in a concise manner.

  • Copyright protects original work: The law safeguards original music from the moment it is created, and it extends even to unfinished work that is written and recorded in some way.
  • Registration of copyright: Although registering copyrights are not mandatory, registration provides hard evidence in case of infringement.
  • Ownership of copyrights: Copyrights belong to the person who composes and writes the song initially. It is usually shared when more than one person contributes to the song.
Concept Pros Cons Comparison
Registration of copyright Provides evidence in case of infringement It is not a must-do Protects the rights of the owner
Ownership of copyrights The owner has total control over the song In-case-of shared ownership, agreements on songwriting credits/royalties can get complicated Helps establish the rightful owner of the song

Types of Publishing Deals

Music publishing requires agreements of written and legal forms. One cannot pursue music publishing without having a publishing deal, which is the core binding agreement between publishers and artists. There are several types of publishing deals, let’s delve into their definitions, and their pros and cons.

  1. Administration Agreement
  2. This agreement is a short-term agreement between the artist and the publisher. It occurs when an artist has already established themselves but needs a publisher for help in managing the songs’ licensing and placement. Essentially, it is a paperwork arrangement for the publisher to collect and distribute royalties on behalf of the artist for a defined period of time.


  • Provides considerable financial control and infrastructure for the artist
  • Short-term duration allows flexibility


  • Publisher takes a percentage of the artist storage fee
  • Artist does all the creative work


  • Allows for a longer duration of artist composing while receiving royalties
  • Co-publishing Agreement
  • Under this agreement, the publisher collaborates with the artist to create and manage the contents of the music. Together with the artist, the publisher shares the copyright and splits the revenue collected from the music sales and streams.


    • Provides financial support and infrastructure for both parties
    • Allows splitting of tasks and creative works


    • The publisher will own a percentage of the copyright
    • Artists lose some level of creative control and profit share


    • Provides the artists with the necessary resources and support, whereas the publisher gets to play a significant role in the creative process
  • Exclusive Songwriting Agreement
  • This agreement involves signing up an artist for publishing, representing, and promoting their music rights. In such an agreement, the artist relies heavily on the publisher for creative and business support.


    • Publisher provides a significant level of infrastructure and financial support
    • Artists gain access to publisher’s networks and creative team


    • The agreement can be lengthy
    • Artists lose total creative control


    • The artist gets to work with the accomplished pool of the publisher’s professionals and resources on a full-time basis, towards career development.

    Mechanical Licensing

    Mechanical licenses grant the right to reproduce and distribute copyrighted musical works on CDs, permanent downloads, and interactive streams. It’s essential for music publishers, artists, and anyone who wants to record or distribute another person’s musical work.

    When it comes to publishing music, artists should ensure that mechanical licensing happens before committing anything to a project. Lack of mechanical licensed music can lead to legal suits and deter smooth operations.

    See also  What Is Music Licensing And Why Should You Care

    Interesting Fact:
    A mechanical license costs nine-point-one cents per song for projects that sell fewer than 5,000 copies.

    Sample Clearances

    A sample is a part of a sound recording that is taken and used in another recording. It can either be sounds from drums, guitar riffs or from music beats themselves. When it comes to publishing music, an artist interested in using a sample that is not theirs, should obtain a license or clearance for its usage.

    Sampling other music is regarded as copyright infringement and is actionable in a court of law. A sample clearance is proof that the artist or publisher has every right to use the sample.

    Interesting Fact:
    “Amen Brother,” a track by the 1960s group the Winstons which comprises of just 6 seconds of drum beat, has been sampled over 200 times in songs since the 80s.

    In conclusion, artists who aim to publish music can benefit from having a team or individual with expertise in music publishing laws. Understanding copyright laws, types of publishing deals, mechanical licensing, and sample clearance provides legal guidance to make informed decisions. Should you have any questions, seek professional legal advice for help towards creating a music publishing contract.

    FAQs: How to Publish Music

    How do I get my music published?

    Getting your music published involves finding a music publisher who will pitch and promote your music to recording artists, record labels, film, TV, and other media outlets. You can also self-publish your music by using online platforms like DistroKid, TuneCore, and CD Baby.

    What do music publishers do?

    Music publishers handle the administrative and business aspects of music, including protecting copyrights, negotiating licenses, and collecting royalties. They also pitch songs to recording artists, labels, and other media outlets, and work to get songs placed in TV shows, films, and commercials.

    What are the benefits of music publishing?

    Music publishing provides a way to earn revenue from your music, whether through mechanical royalties for sales and streams, sync royalties for use in TV and film, or performance royalties for live performances. It also allows you to collaborate with other artists and producers and expand your reach within the industry.

    How do I copyright my music?

    You can copyright your music by registering it with the U.S. Copyright Office. This can be done online or by mail. You’ll need to submit information about your work, including the title, author, and date of creation. You’ll also need to pay a fee and submit a copy of your work.

    How can I promote my music?

    You can promote your music by creating a website, social media accounts, and email list to connect with fans and share your music. You can also perform live shows, collaborate with other artists and producers, and participate in music festivals and competitions. Additionally, you can hire a publicist or marketing agency to help you promote your music.

    What is music distribution?

    Music distribution is the process of getting your music out to listeners through various channels, including streaming platforms, radio, and physical distribution. You can distribute your music on your own through online platforms like DistroKid, TuneCore, and CD Baby, or with the help of a music distributor.

    How much does it cost to publish music?

    The cost of publishing music can vary depending on whether you’re working with a music publisher or self-publishing. Music publishers typically take a percentage of your royalties, while self-publishing can involve upfront fees for distribution and promotion.

    What rights do I have as a songwriter?

    As a songwriter, you have the right to control and record the first version of your song, as well as the right to reproduce, distribute, and perform your music. You also have the right to receive compensation for the use of your music.

    How can I make money from my music?

    You can make money from your music through various revenue streams, including mechanical royalties for sales and streams, sync royalties for use in TV and film, and performance royalties for live performances. You can also sell merchandise, offer licensing and production services, and perform at gigs and concerts.

    Do I need a music publisher to be successful?

    No, you don’t need a music publisher to be successful, but having one can certainly help you navigate the music industry and connect with other artists and media outlets. Self-publishing can also be a viable option for independent artists, especially with the rise of online distribution platforms.

    What should I look for in a music publisher?

    When looking for a music publisher, you should consider their industry expertise and connections, their track record of success, and their approach to promoting and protecting your music. You should also discuss their fee structure and contract terms to ensure a fair and beneficial partnership.


    Overall, publishing your music requires a solid knowledge of copyright law, music distribution, and music promotion. Whether you’re working with a music publisher or self-publishing, it’s important to have a plan for protecting and promoting your music, connecting with fans, and earning revenue. After reading this article, take some time to research different publishing options, register your copyright, set up a website and social media presence, and start connecting with other musicians and industry professionals. With dedication, hard work, and a bit of luck, you can make your mark in the music industry.

    Thanks for reading and best of luck on your musical journey!