FREE RESOURCES FOR MUSIC PRODUCERS

blog pic

Hey guys!

Covid-19 is causing worldwide havoc and many of us are in social-distancing mode at the moment. We are living in very uncertain times, and music producers, who are already in an unpredictable industry are now concerned about their projects and their income. Maybe you want to cut back costs or maybe you need something to boost your mood. So here is a carefully curated list of free resources for music producers. If you download all the free resources from this list, you would have a half decent studio set-up to keep you busy. So have fun checking out some of these brilliant free resources.

Be safe. But still be creative.

Aubrey Whitfield

FREE LOOPS AND SAMPLES:

Loopmasters – sign up and get 1gb of free samples from Loopmasters which is worth £50. Also check out the 136 free downloads they have on offer. https://www.loopmasters.com/genres/136-Free-Samples

Prime Loops – sign up and get 500mb if free loops and samples. from one of the industry’s leading loop sites: https://primeloops.com/free-samples/ 

FREE SYNTHS AND VSTS

Native Instruments Komplete Start this is a free production suite featuring over 2000 free sounds including synths, samples instruments and effects. https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/bundles/komplete-start/

Native Instruments Analog Dreams – this has recently become free following Covid-19. A free softsynth that will take you back in time to the 80s. Lush pads and synths with a modern twist. Link: https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/play-series/analog-dreams/get-analog-dreams-for-free/

Native Instruments Kontakt Kontakt is a sampler that hosts hundreds of Native Instruments VSTs but also tonnes of third party VSTs, including Output and Spitfire. When you download the free version of Kontakt you automatically download its factory content for free which includes 6gb content with 2000 sounds.  https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/samplers/kontakt-6-player/free-download/

Slate SSD5 drums FREE: Want real sounding drums? Then grab the Slate SSD5 which features a deluxe acoustic drum kit with full functionality.  Simply amazing sounding acoustic drum kits!  https://stevenslatedrums.com/ssd5/#SSD5FREE

Tunefish Synth: This is a free versatile synth which includes everything you’d expect from synth leads, pads, basses. Well worth a try!  https://www.tunefish-synth.com/index.php/download

Model E by Steinberg: This is an analog synth which is great for bass sounds, featuring 2 oscillators, 64 polyphonic voices, stereo spread and pan controls. It also has a low CPU load – bonus! https://www.steinberg.net/en/support/unsupported_products/model_e.html

Chamber Orchestra 2 by Versilian Studios (community edition): This is an incredible free chamber orchestra with 19 unique instruments, 1952 samples, 3gb content and basic articulations.  https://vis.versilstudios.com/vsco-2.html 

Dexed: Dexed is an accurate emulation of one of the most famous hardware FM keyboards ever, the classic Yamaha DX7. Well worth a download!  http://www.vst4free.com/free_vst.php?id=2026

The Grand by DSK: A Grand Piano VST which includes 4-6 samples per note and 4 velocity layers. it also includes a rather lovely reverb and ADSR envelope control. https://www.dskmusic.com/dsk-the-grand/ 

Synth1 by Ichiro Toda: A soft synth modelled on the infamous Clavia Nord Lead 2. It includes 128 presets, 2 oscillators, FM modulation, 2 LFOs, and an arpeggiator. The website is in Japanese so you may need a translator handy! But at least the download button is in English.  https://daichilab.sakura.ne.jp/softsynth/index.html 

FREE EFFECTS/MIXING PLUGINS

Valhalla Freq Echo: A free analog echo from the brilliant Valhalla.  So much fun and great sounding. https://valhalladsp.com/shop/delay/valhalla-freq-echo/ 

Izotope Vocal Doubler: A free vocal doubler that will add natural width and depth to your vocals. One of the best free plugins out there. https://www.izotope.com/en/products/vocal-doubler.html 

W1 Limiter by George Yohng: This is a clone of the amazing Waves L1 Limiter, identical to the original.  http://www.yohng.com/software/w1limit.html 

Protoverb by U-he: This is a natural sounding room simulator reverb with interesting characteristics. It’s an experimental reverb that offers a unique and innovative reverb sound: https://u-he.com/products/protoverb/

FREE ONLINE EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Point Blank: check out Point Blank’s YouTube channel for hours and hours of music production tutorials from one of the best music production schools in the world. https://www.youtube.com/user/pointblankonline

Equipboard – here you can see what studio gear and plugins your favourite producers use. Do some research and learn about the plugins used by some of biggest producers in the game.  https://www.equipboard.com 

Soundgym: Soundgym is an online audio ear-training resource. Improve your core listening skills, including detecting frequency ranges and compression settings. This is a great resource that give your ears a healthy workout!  http://ww12.soundgym.com/

FREE DESK GUIDES/CHEAT SHEETS

Aubrey Whitfield’s EQ Cheat sheet: in 2019 I devised a printable desktop guide for all your EQing needs. It features guide EQs for clarity and punch on vocals, how to clear mud in the bass, how to get guitars and synths piercing through the mix. Link: http://www.aubreywhitfield.com/guides 

OTHER USEFUL FREE STUFF:

Sonarworks True-fi: This app from Sonarworks calibrates your headphones so that you can experience what it would sound like in a professionally soundproofed studio. Put in your headphone make/model and the app does all the work for you. Link: Download from the app store

 

HOW TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL MUSIC PRODUCER – The Story of Aubrey Whitfield

“I’m a Music Producer” is literally the coolest thing to say to someone who asks you what you do for a living. It’s an impressive job and it comes with a lot of kudos. If you do well at it, the possibilities are endless.

You could say that being a Music Producer is one of the best jobs in the world….but maybe I’m biased. Yet take a look at just some of the reasons why Music Producer’s love what they do:

  • Most of us do it because we are music addicts, so producing feels more like pleasure than any kind of work. It never feels like we do a day’s work and that is something pretty rare;
  • Once you’ve really cracked it, the money can be really good;
  • You get to work with many talented artists, some of whom might be world-wide superstars; and
  • You get to enjoy the perks of being self-employed by choosing your own working schedule and picking who you want to work with, and when

But….it is for this exact reason why music producing is so competitive. There are thousands upon thousands of producers out there who are talented and who are desperate to get clients and break through as a producer. ‘Breaking through’ (i.e.becoming a mainstream success) is tough, and only a small percentage will achieve it. And as with any small business, getting yourself enough work to do producing as a full time career takes a relentless amount of work, skill and experience. But it’s not impossible.

I want to help. As you will see from my instagram, I like to share advice and tips to help develop aspiring producers. I’ve been where you are and if somebody had have offered me advice early on, then it would have made life much easier for me.

So for the first time ever, I’m going to tell you my story of how I got into music producing and what it was that has led me to being successful. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a super-producer (yet) by any means, but I earn a lot of money on a full time basis from producing, I’ve got some international hits under my belt and I have produced over 300 artists, with over 200+ five star reviews online. So I know what I’m talking about.

THE STORY OF ME, AUBREY

I’m a 38 year old British woman living in London. For the majority of my adult life I was working for the UK Government’s Home Office (interior ministry). I had a really good career there and took on many roles, from designing the country’s alcohol policies, travelling the world as a Private Secretary to a Government Minister (Jeremy Browne MP and Norman Baker MP) and advising the British Prime Minister on international threats to the UK. Needless to say, it was a well paid job and a good career choice. And I enjoyed it.

But it wasn’t what I wanted to do. I started writing and performing music when I was just 11 years old. My dad taught me to play the keyboard and guitar and before long I was using his Tascam four-track recorder to build demo productions for my songs. I was a prolific songwriter as a teenager, writing 500 songs by the age of 18. I was music obsessed. And whilst everyone else was hanging out at their mate’s house, I was in my bedroom learning how to bounce tracks, how to EQ and how to build productions.

I was very sure from a young age that I wanted to be a famous songwriter and singer. That’s all I wanted to do – be famous for songwriting and performing. So I joined a band and we got a manager and recorded a couple of EPs which I produced. It was during this time I learnt how to play as a band and how to produce songs. I thought my band would be the next biggest female fronted band, but sadly that didn’t happen.

So instead I set up a record label called Chromium Records (later E3 Records).  I worked from my home promoting local bands and putting on showcase gigs. After local success, I went wider and promoted national and international artists. I got a lot of money and was able to leave my job to run the label. But I was only 22 years old. I was inexperienced and had bitten off more than I could chew. So I started to struggle with the magnitude of the business I have created (one of the highest profile labels outside of London at the time) and I couldn’t handle the pressure. So I foolishly made the decision to close down my label at the height of its success.

That decision was one of the worst, and yet the best, decision of my life. This somewhat knee-jerk and naive decision to close down a huge business led to me falling into financial distress. I couldn’t afford to pay for anything anymore and I so I lost my home, my car and everything that was in my house. But what was much worse was that I had to sell all of the contents of my recording studio so I could get some money to live. The only thing that I didn’t sell was my old Takamine guitar so I could continue to at least write songs. But, simply put, I lost everything. And after that point I could see no way back, no music career, and no desire to ever work in music again.

Fast forward 12 years or so and I had returned to work for the UK Government. I had got myself back on my feet by moving to London in 2008 and working hard at my job so I could get promoted and earn more money. And I got promoted 4 or so times during my time in London. Every month for 3 years I would save my salary and buy a new piece of studio equipment each month. I started with the crucial stuff – an imac, then a midi controller, then Logic Pro 9, then a drum machine and finally a budget condenser microphone. I crammed it all into my small bedroom in Croydon and started to teach myself all about digital working and Logic Pro. After all, I grew up working on 4-16 track analog recorders and recording in analogue based studios. I knew nothing about Logic or midi or any kind of digital engineering.

homestudio2Image 1: The ‘original’ bedroom studio in 2009. All I had was this basic equipment to get me re-started.

So I spent endless hours in my little bedroom reading tutorials and playing around with my equipment and software. I then ended up writing and producing a new solo EP called ‘Code Red’. I stuck to what I knew best: pop-rock. It was great to be back in ‘the saddle’ again. The EP did reasonably well and a remix of my song ‘Every Cloud’ by upcoming producer ‘J.G.F (now Floria) generated a surge of interest in me, and the track got playlisted on nearly all of the major EDM radio stations and TV networks. It certainly got my blood pumping again.

I also signed a deal with Broken Music Publishing/Ripe Recordings. Even though dance/EDM was not my genre of expertise, they asked me to start remixing some tracks by other artists they had on their label. Now,  I urge you to check out my remix ‘Change Direction’ by Electron Love Theory which I did for Broken Music Publishing. It’s a good example of how much I have developed over the past 7 years or so. I didn’t know how to mix back then and my knowledge of mastering was zero, so all I did was produce the track rather than know how to mix it…..and I feel the track suffered – even though the label and the artist loved the remixes. You can hear how the hats and cymbals are shrill and how the overall mix is small sounding and lifeless – but the musical ideas themselves are pretty good, but my lack of mixing skills let the track down.

So I realised that I needed to get better at mixing. My ‘Change Direction’ remixes used just Logic Pro’s stock plugins. I didn’t use a single 3rd party plugin or VST. So I bought ‘Sound on Sound’ magazine and started researching what high-level record producers were using in their studios.

After a couple of months, I bought myself some Waves plugins, Modartt Pianoteq 4 and Spectrasonics Omnisphere. It was enough to improve my sound and massively expand my sound and instrument palate.

THE TRANSITION INTO PRODUCING FOR OTHERS

But things got really serious in 2015 when I realised I was no longer enjoying being an artist. Whilst I loved the studio environment, I suffered with my nerves when performing live and I was dreading gigs rather than loving it. So I made a decision to go into producing other artists as that would still ensure I could write music and be in the studio – both of which I absolutely loved. At the time, I just couldn’t believe how I didn’t think of doing it sooner. I was 33 at the time and I wished I’d have gone into producing much younger.

It was clear to me that I needed to up my game. So I got a bank loan and I invested in new studio equipment, including a Universal Audio Apollo Quad pre-amp, a Neumann U87 mic, some KRK Rokit monitors and more waves plugins, and UAD plugins. I felt this was enough to show artists that I am a professional. My only worry was that my studio was still based in my bedroom. I had a flatmate in my spare room and there was nowhere else to put my studio. I was worried that artists wouldn’t take me seriously.

homestudio1Image 2: The upgraded bedroom studio with increased software and hardware from 2015

So there I was – a home studio full of brilliant studio equipment, over 20 years songwriting and producing experience under my belt, and a good range of business and communication skills following my 10 years in the UK Government. Now what?? How do I get clients to produce? Will they pay me? What should I charge? Can I even do this?

WHAT I DID TO LAUNCH MY PRODUCING CAREER

I knew of this site called ‘StarNow’ from when I was looking to form a new band. It’s a music, acting, media etc online marketplace, which is quite well known. So I created a profile and started to look for any artists who might be looking for a producer. I found a couple of artists, but one of them really appealed to me – a young London-based Irish singer-songwriter called Mairead Furlong who had put out an ad looking for a producer to produce her award winning song ‘Love Obsession’. I listened to her music and just loved her voice and songs – plus it was the kind of music I knew I could produce.

I dropped her a message and offered to produce this particular track for free so I could build up a decent portfolio. Many of you will wince at the fact I offered to do this for free, but I wasn’t even sure if I was good enough at this stage, and I saw it as a free trial for both of us. Turns out this approach ended up working really well for me (keep reading!)

Mairead picked me to produce her song out of several or so other producers who had contacted her. It wasn’t because I was offering a free production as such- she picked me because I seemed passionate about her music and she liked the quality of the production on my solo EP. As a bonus, Mairead wasn’t phased by recording vocals in my bedroom.

She loved what I did to her song and, to this day, Mairead remains a loyal client of mine. She may have got that first production for free, but she went on to hire me to produce an album and a number of free standing singles. Sometimes it is worth the investment to keep such a valued client.

Things rocketed from this point on. At what seemed like fate, my flatmate decided to move out and my spare bedroom became free again. So I decided to use it as a studio room and do this producing thing seriously (the same studio you see on my Instagram posts).

If you are dozing off, now is the time to wake up. Because this is where I will list all the things I did from this point to market myself as a producer. This worked for me, and it worked fast. I would advise ANY aspiring producer to consider following the steps I did below. It won’t work for everyone, and you will need to be a brilliant producer and mix engineer to even get a look in, but with enough talent and hard work, it could work for you. 

STEP 1// CREATE A SUPER HOT SHOWREEL

You are a business. You need to showcase what your business can offer. After I worked with Mairead, I had a good song under my belt. I also had my own solo EP and a track I wrote and produced for James Demetris back in 2012. I put them all together into an mp3 showreel and used it to showcase the quality and standard of the productions and mixes I could offer. This is really important and I urge all aspiring producers to spend some time building a decent showreel and then using it to market yourself.

STEP 2// BUILD AN ONLINE BRAND AND PRESENCE – BE VISIBLE AND CREDIBLE

Credibility. Producers are nothing without it. If an artist likes your showreel but they google you, or search for you on social media and don’t find anything, or just see you sitting around smoking weed with all your mates, the chances of them hiring you will be crushed. You need to be credible, and you need to be visible. It’s as simple and as powerful as that.

In the last year or so my Instagram following has gone up by about 15,000 followers. At the time of writing my following is around 29k followers. This is a decent number which adds credibility to me as a producer. It hasn’t been easy building this following and I haven’t sat on my backside doing nothing and been lucky.

Every day I spend a couple of hours on Instagram doing the following:

  • Creating engaging content such as production and mixing tutorials, inspirational quotes and studio shots
  • Searching for like-minded accounts (search for the followers of your competitors and engage with them by liking and commenting on their posts and following their page – this will gain you more followers)
  • Hiring a social media engager to help grow my account organically
  • Using the best hashtags on each post to ensure my posts appear in the search rankings

As a result of having a decent following on Instagram, companies are starting to approach me and are giving me free plugins or VSTs, endorsing me, interviewing me for their blogs or magazines and asking me to test their new software. Here’s an example of what successes I’ve generated through building my Instagram following:

  • An endorsement from Warm Audio, including a feature on their website and able to get a hefty discount on Warm Audio products;
  • An endorsement from Ollo Audio where I received a free pair of their amazing headphones;
  • An influencer for LPC which allows you to customise the colour schemes in Logic Pro. My role is to advertise the software on my instagram and I get 15% of each sale received through my own ‘Aubrey’ link;
  • Free plugins from Cableguys;
  • Free software from Propellerhead and testing out their new app;
  • Reposts from the likes of Soundtoys, Tascam, Beatstars, Neumann thereby adding credibility to me and increasing my follower and engagement count;
  • An interview with Sample Magic 
  • Writing articles for the likes of Music Gateway

Without Instagram, none of this would have happened. Every single bit of this has contributed to my credibility as a producer. And being a producer is all about talent, communication and credibility. So spend the time growing your social media accounts.

STEP 3// GET LISTED ON MARKETPLACE WEBSITES

This was really the turning point for me. I set up profiles on a number of producer marketplace sites in the hope people that would hire me through those sites….and they did just that. As a result of the following sites, I ended up co-engineering a session with Little Mix and Kelly Clarkson, meeting Gaston Dalmau and forming The Utopia and gaining a hit record in 3 countries, and getting media attention through the likes of Women in Trade magazine. This is a brilliant starting place for any producer….

But remember….get that showreel sorted and build an online presence first.

Soundbetter – http://www.soundbetter.com 

A few years ago,  I applied to be a ‘premium provider’ on Soundbetter.com which is a curated marketplace of the world’s best producers, mix engineers, singers and session musicians. Artists go on their and scout for producers to produce their project.

Whilst it’s free to create a profile and ‘apply’ for jobs posted, the real advantage comes from being a premium provider….which isn’t easy. You have to have a good profile as a producer with a decent number of credits under your belt. I applied and paid a £300 annual fee for the privilege. But Soundbetter doesn’t accept everyone, and they have a huge backlog of applications to get through with a strict acceptance rate ( I remember seeing somewhere that they only accept 2% of applications for premium providers).

It was 3 months before I got a notification saying I’d been accepted as a premium provider. I know a few other producers and session musicians who have been repeatedly rejected by Soundbetter because they don’t have enough online reviews, producing credits or an online presence. So take the time to grow your credits and online presence before applying. I got accepted probably because I had released my solo EP with some success, I had over 2m streams on Soundcloud, I had produced a few artists and had a good showreel to offer, and my website was up and running with everything looking good. If you searched my name in google, lots would come up. So get your act together before applying.

Being a premium producer on Soundbetter means that I appear quite high in the search rankings, and with Soundbetter being one of the top sites under the google search term ‘music producer’ it can generate a lot of traffic! On average I get about 5-10 new job invites from artists each week through this site. To date I have earned over $66,000 through this site alone.

Airgigs http://www.airgigs.com 

Airgigs works similar to Soundbetter except that it’s much easier to get onto. I don’t recall there being any application process per se. You simply create your profile and off you go. It’s not as high profile as Soundbetter but I still get work through it, and now I’ve got a few 5 star reviews under my belt on the site, there is more work being generated each week.

Kollab http://www.kollab.co 

I love Kollab. They are a UK version of Soundbetter and Airgigs. They are a fairly new company but the quality of their clients is really good and they take on a lot of the communication work for you so you just do the work and get paid. They have recently stripped back the number of producers etc to focus on a small number of quality providers, but they might still consider new producers if you are top notch and have a good track record.

There are other sites which offer a similar thing which I’m not on – they are http://www.fiverr.com and Freelancer and Upwork. Well worth a look in.

STEP 4// GENERATE MULTIPLE INCOME STREAMS

Don’t just offer a production and/or mixing service, think about other things you can do to generate an income.

I do the following things which all generate some income for me:

  • Sell pre-made productions (AKA beats) online (I currently use Beatstars);
  • Create and sell your own soundkits (I currently have 3 drum sample packs available);
  • Produce some tracks on a royalty basis to generate regular income. For example, I produced a version of ‘Let it Go’ by J.FLA for YouTube which has got over 17 million streams. I produced this for no upfront fee but for a 10% chunk of any royalties. I get a royalty payment every month. It started off with a couple of hundred pounds and now about £50 a month. If you have multiple deals like this you can see how quickly the money could add up

STEP 5// NETWORK AND COLLABORATE

It goes without saying that working with other producers and networking with industry folk will only help your career. If there’s an opportunity to write and/or produce with a producer who is more successful that you – then go for it! You will gain access to their fans, their clients as well as learning about their strategy to success.

Networking can be tough when you’re so busy in the studio, but I try and get myself out to monthly networking events through royalty collection societies and musician meet-ups. Success in music is much easier if you know more people.

WANT TO BE A SUPER PRODUCER?

I want to be a super-producer, as do you I assume! A super-producer is usually one of the music industry’s most respected and in-demand producers. They have tonnes of hit records under their belt and they are shaping current music trends.

I know a few labels and management companies and they all say the same thing to me – if you want regular work from the major labels, and major artists, you need to already have hit records under your belt. But how can you achieve this without working with a major label artist?

Well, the way that most producer’s break through is by producing artists that are unknown and producing them. If they start to generate a following and that artist takes off, and you wrote and produced the song, then the doors with the labels will fly open and that’s your path to super-producerism.

Choose your artists wisely. Select a couple that you really believe in. Develop them, nurture them and let them take you with them.

FINALLY….

I hope this has been a useful insight into the world of music producing. I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I am a (rare) female producer. I could say that part of my success has been down to the fact that I am rare and stand out from the crowd – plus many people, the ladies especially, want to work with a female producer. But I like to think that I am successful because of my skills and the crazy amount of work I’ve put in over the years.

I am currently writing an ebook on being a successful producer and I hope that you will read that too when it comes out.

Remember to subscribe to my mailing list at http://www.aubreywhitfield.com to be kept up to date

IMG_1091Image 3: Me doing my thing in Los Angeles in 2017

Top 10 ways to promote your release

guitar

So, you have spent hundreds of hours working on your new single, making it sound the best it can be and putting nothing less than blood, sweat and (many) tears into getting it finished. You’re all set for the big release and excited about the reaction it’s going to get. But then you start to question whether this amazing song of yours might fall under the radar and not get the credit it deserves.  You are not alone.

Too many artists finish their records and then release them without a further thought, missing all of the opportunities that they could have seized to make their song stand out from the crowd and increase their fanbase. Remember, you have to have a decent sized fanbase before record labels will sit up and take notice and the best way to build a fanbase is to release as many songs as you can, as regularly as you can, and to spend some time promoting them to show the world what you are made of. So let’s get started…

BE PREPARED!

Before we look at how to promote your new record, you should do some pre-release prep to make sure your release runs smoothly and to maximum effect. So before you release anything, sit down and do the following:

– Write a press release: Make it short, sharp and informative with photos and social media links. This will tell the media all about your release in an attractive one page document

– Upload your single as a private download link on Soundcloud (or another platform) so that the media can gain quick and easy access to your song if they want to feature it (if you send mp3s attached to emails it’s likely to be deleted right away).

–  Pick a release date that is 2-6 weeks in advance (this approach is used by leading music promotion companies and record labels). There is little value in putting out your record the week after you finished it with no promotion whatsoever, it will just fly by the wayside with the zillions of other songs floating around in the unknown music realm. You need a couple of weeks to promote the record before its released so that it gains maximum impact on its release date.

– Request a ‘pre-order’ release from your digital distributor: when you are promoting your song before it’s released, you want to ensure you grab that listener’s attention straight away and get them to pre-order your release before they move onto the next song and forget about yours. In the modern world we have short attention spans and don’t have the patience to listen in detail to songs. Music fans now live in the moment so make sure you secure that sale by selecting the ‘pre-order’ release option via your digital distributor (Tunecore, Ditto, CD Baby, AWAL and Distrokid are my recommended distributors).

WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR NEW RECORD

Now that you are all prepped for your release, let’s take a look at the top 10 ways to promote your release:

1. Do a mini-tour: This is an artist’s bread and butter and one of the best ways to promote your new record is to perform it live at gigs, but many artists don’t perform live these days. Set up a few local gigs over your 2-6 week pre-release campaign and be sure to take some copies of your single or some flyers with the download link on it so that people can pre-order it.

2. Hire a promotions company: This is the most obvious thing to do, but also the most costly. Prices can range from £500 – £3000 for a 6 week promotions campaign focussing on media and radio. If you have the budget for it then shop around and find a promotions company with a proven track record and a clear plan of how they will promote your record. Or check out some lower-end promotional services via the likes of http://www.fiverr.com which includes targeted YouTube views or reviews and interviews about your new record. All for a very reasonable price of £10 per service.

3. Plug your music on social media: Social media is very powerful and if you are serious about your music then you should plug your new record across all social media platforms. Post regularly with the relevant download links. If you want to blow a small budget then turn one of your posts into a ‘sponsored’ post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can set your maximum price for the day and ensure the ad specifically targets the right age groups, in the right locations and with an interest in your genre of music. Run a sponsored ad campaign about a week before or just after your release date and reach thousands of new potential fans.

4. Get blog reviews: Blogs are extremely powerful when it comes to new music. If you are able to get your new single reviewed by a major blog, then your profile will increase massively. Remember though, only contact blogs that work with your genre of music as many of them are genre specific. Be sure to send them a downloadable link to your song and your press release. This is probably the most effective way of increasing your profile at no cost. So do your research and get mailing! Send them your cool new press release.

5. Get on a playlist: This is the new modern way of getting mass exposure. Getting on a Spotify playlist is big business and can really break an artist. It’s not easy trying to get on a playlist but it’s worth the effort. First of all find a popular playlist that is similar in genre to your music. Then find out who the playlist curator is and send them the link to your music and a copy of your press release. You will increase your chances of being play listed if you have more than 250 Spotify followers and you have an artist verified status from Spotify. An alternative approach is to create your own playlist of well-known songs (which are in a similar genre to yours) and then slot your single in the middle of the playlist.  TIP: you don’t have to be subscribed to Spotify to have an artist profile with them. The Spotify artist account also provides some incredible statistics and data about your releases and fanbase. You can gain access to your artist account by clicking on this link: https://artists.spotify.com

6. Approach your local media: The local rag love a local success story! Reach out to the editor or entertainment editor and send them your press release and single and ask for an interview or a featured article on the run up to your release date. You will be surprised at how many local newspapers support local independent artists and it’s a great way of getting the local community behind you. Use that press release and those Soundcloud links!

7. Get a remix done: A couple of years ago I ran an online remix contest for my single Every Cloud. I had hundreds of entries and picked 5 winners and made a special remix EP out of it and released it. Turns out that one of the dubstep remixes by producer J.G.F got play listed on some of the most popular mainstream EDM TV channels and thrust my profile as a vocalist into the stratosphere. Getting a remix done can bring in new potential fans and generate another stream of income for you. You can advertise your remix for free on many remix contest sites.

8. Get a video done: My clients often ask me whether they need a video to accompany their single release. In an ideal world where money grows on trees and flows out of taps, yes, you should. But with the average video costing £1,500 – it’s not always possible. But there are many alternatives. You can get a lyric video done, do an improvised low budget ‘mime along’ video from your bedroom, do a ‘live’ unplugged version of your song or get an animated version done. Having a video will give you more options and engage with many more potential fans who are likely to be more enticed by visual music.

9. Target online and college radio stations: Whilst you could spend thousands on hiring a radio plugger to get you on the radio, you might want to start small. It’s very difficult to get on national radio unless you are killing it on regional and online radio. There are thousands of online community and college radio stations that support independent music. Directories like the Unsigned Guide list all of the good radio stations. So take a look and send your new single en masse. I did this a couple of years ago and ended up being invited to sing live on both Croydon and Wandsworth community radio stations which both had thousands of listeners  – plus people can log on anywhere in the world to hear you! It’s all part of that plan to build up your profile as an artist. Keep chipping away at it!

10. Submit your song to BBC Introducing: If you are based in the UK then BBC Introducing is definitely worth a shot. BBC Introducing are responsible for discovering and supporting many of our biggest stars including George Ezra, Jack Garratt and Viola Beach. Simply sign-up and upload your song(s) which will be sent to a BBC radio DJ in your local region. The BBC guarantee that your song will get listened to and, if the DJ likes it, then it could get play listed on BBC radio and lead to national BBC Radio 1 coverage – which would certainly put a rocket up your music career!

TOP TIP: Don’t underestimate the unconditional support from your friends and family either. Make use of their enthusiasm and ask them to spread the word. It’s free promotion after all!

FINAL WORD

Finally, as a music producer who has worked with many artists, both signed and unsigned, if I could offer any words of wisdom, it would be to release songs as regularly as you can to engage your fanbase and attract new fans. The more material you have, the more fans you will attract. It is a gruelling and tough industry that requires fierce commitment and hard work. It’s just like building a business – it’s takes time and effort. So keep going and put out new songs to attract those new fans.

Now go and start preparing for your big single release!

About the author

IMG_1091.JPG

Aubrey Whitfield is a British Music Producer, songwriter and vocalist and is currently one of the highest profile female music producers in the UK. www.aubreywhitfield.com