A music release budget can be hard to come up with. In the first place, you need to decide if you want to press physical products.
Or on the contrary, only want to release digitally. Then, you need to figure out what songs will make singles.
Also, having enough of promotional content is important to create. No matter if you have your YouTube videos, cover art, artist photos or an SEO optimised biography.
All those things cost money, even if you source them as DIY as you can. Of course, recording your music also comes with a price. Even if you can record most things yourself, there is still a need for a super crisp mastering.
In order to not get overwhelmed by all of this, it is wise to really take your time. I know, once you’ve written enough songs you probably just want to release them.
However, having a proper plan can really save you money in the long run. Here are some things to keep in mind when drawing up a music release budget.
What to think about when making a music release budget
The first thing I want to encourage you to do is to check in with your resources. This doesn’t need to be just money. By all means, if you have a talent for photography then this can be a valuable resource.
Furthermore, if you have a friend who is really good at cutting video you may enlist their help. Of course, if you ask a friend for a favour always make sure to return the favour yourself.
Don’t let anyone feel like you are taking advantage of them. If you can’t pay them in money make sure you find a valuable alternative.
Next, really lay the foundations first. This is so easy to brush over when you are all enthusiastic about the new music release. I get it, you’ve written those amazing tracks and now you really just want to get them out.
However, if you haven’t done so already, now is the time to think about you or your band as a business.
Here is a post about business advise, give it a read:
Music Business Essentials Every Musician Should Be Aware Of
Also, it could be really helpful for you to do a Business Plan Canvas. Here, you can really figure out the detail of your business.
Want to know the best part? The Business Plan Canvas is happening only on one big poster. No need for you to write 20 or more pages of a traditional business plan. Try it out!
Creating a solid content plan is key for a successful music release budget
This one is a no brainer. If you want to release music you need a proper content plan. In other words, you really need to know when you will post what content on social media.
When are the music videos to the singles being uploaded to YouTube? When will you go live on Instagram/Facebook/YouTube/Twitch?
Why do you need to know that? Firstly, it’s important for any third-party experts you might hire like a Publicist or a Radio Promoter. If you are signed to a record label, you need to communicate your promo plan to them. This way, they themselves can inform any experts they might be working with as well as their distributor.
Next, with a solid content plan, you exactly know how many social media posts your graphic designer needs to produce. Also, you can tell your videographer the number of videos you need. Likewise, from the videos, you need ad snippets for Google True View Campaigns.
One danger with not having a proper content plan is to just start and figure the content out along the way. However, this approach can be much more expensive.
For one, you can often times get a cheaper price with a freelancer if they can work in bulk. Secondly, it can cost more if you need the content really quick because you’ve forgotten that you need more YouTube videos, for example.
Be on the save side and do a proper content plan first. Then you can ask all freelancers and third-party experts for quotations.
This way you have concrete numbers to work within your budget. Don’t guesstimate!
Know what kind of campaign you are aiming for
One thing to really think about when doing a music release budget is the type of campaign you want to run. Again, if you are signed with a record label make sure to communicate with them properly so you understand the narrative.
What does that mean? It means figuring out where you see your music happening. Also, are you strong on Spotify and co?
This all influences your campaign and therefore your budget. For example, let’s say you run a ‘modern-day streaming heavy campaign’.
Then it is already clear that you are working with a different timeline. For once, in streaming, it is best practice releasing a new track every month or at least every 6 weeks.
That means you are looking into having more singles or tracks that will be running well on Spotify, for example. Hence, your mastering will be different then if you simply have the whole album mastered as one entity.
One important step to having done right in your budget. Also, if you run a longer streaming lead promo approach, you might need your Publicist for longer. Those are all factors to keep in mind.
Budget around 70% of your budget for after the release!
Important to realise, in traditional music promotion you would spend around 70% of your budget before the release. This was needed in order to amp up support from magazines and journalists, for example. You wanted to create as much buzz as possible before the release. Also, getting your single into radio was not coming cheap either.
However, nowadays you are actually looking into spending 70% of your budget after the release. The absolute brilliant Amber Horsburgh touches on this in her new and free webinar ‘5 Keys to Win Release Day’. Check it out!
Basically, the idea now is to get a new buzz every time you have a new track in the streaming platforms of this world. That means needing much more budget for running ads on social media, for example.
There you have it. Things to keep in mind when drawing up your music release budget. Of course, this was just a quick and easy read up. However, starting small can be a great way of tricking yourself into looking at the big picture!