PODCAST: Ep1. S1. self releasing music

PODCAST: Ep1. S1. self releasing music

This episode will cover

  • Releasing music without a label
  • Planning and budgeting
  • Engaging professional services
  • Validating and promoting a release

Welcome to our first ever show notes for Thirty Plus One for Music Managers. Here I will summarise the contents of the show and add links to websites and resources mentioned or that I later think will be helpful.


About me

I’m KD Campbell

Music manager for the last 3-4 years

Previously had a 10 year career in stakeholder engagement

Stakeholder engagement is identifying the group of people that you want to engage, cultivating the right message, delivering it using the methods that best guarantee it reaches the group identified and most importantly getting the group identified to take the desired action.

In the music industry stakeholders are everyone who could play a role in the artist journey (fans, labels, publishers, music PR, streaming services, artist managers)

The message becomes the artist and their music

The call to action becomes buying music, attending gigs, buying merchandise, offering a contract etc

Why I started Thirty Plus One

When I first came to music management I realised that I had some key skills (good communication, love for music, enthusiasm, negotiation skills).

I also noticed that there were some things I was missing (a network of music managers, industry contacts and industry knowledge).

I had limited resources relating to time and finance too. More experienced managers had taken years to develop their contacts and find all the best people to work with and I didn’t have that time. That’s why I started Thirty Plus One. To save time developing my network, identify the best professionals and resources to work with and to save me money through the discounts.

Members bring their skills to Thirty Plus One and in return membership gives you access to:

i. A network of music managers

ii. Industry contacts

iii. Professional services (including accountancy, legal, registered address)

iv. Business development resources

v. Artist development discounts (e.g. studio time, rehearsal space)

Podcast format

Episodes will be 30 – 45 minutes of content.

There will be resources to support music managers in the development of their business and their music artists but also the basis of an interactive space for members and listeners to discuss #musicmangerproblems. They will be posted on social media.

Discussion will be encouraged in our online community.

Why self release

There are loads of reason but some key reasons:

  • Because it’s possible with label services, Youtube, online distribution
  • Better deals and splits
  • Getting music out there
  • Not hearing from labels

Release V Successful Release

Is self-release right for you?

You need to measure this by looking at your goals. If you want to eventually release your music on a label they may not re-release music that has been popular or received a lot of press coverage. You need to look at your following – if you have zero to a small following under 500 then you need to look at building your following before self release. If you have a big enough following or an engaged enough base you could be good to release.

Goals and milestones

Think about not just the career you want but whether that aligns with the life you want to live too. Look at similar artists who are more accomplished than you when setting your goals. Look at what you can mirror (pivotal moments in their careers, venues they played, magazine interviews, label they signed to).

Building your team

Identify areas that may need external input as a starting point. Examples could be design – if you don’t have someone in the team who could deliver artwork to a high standard then it may be work to outsource. For design I recommend Creative Commission.


Start this early in the planning stage to leave enough time to pursue external funding if needed. For a good guide to funding see ‘The Unsigned Guide’s Essential Guide to Music Funding’ to get a copy get in contact at http://members.theunsignedguide.com/contactus.

In all activities cater to your existing fanbase if it’s small then keep events and merchandise numbers small but if numbers are larger then look at larger venues and quantities


Essential to pick a release date to work back from. See Thirty Plus One resources for support.

Timing depends on you and where you are in your process! A good guide is 12 months from the start of planning but there are many variables.

Promotional work

Include a promo strategy at the beginning stages of planning.

Don't forget to synch, clean up and update your social media (standard).

Having a clear idea of the theme and feel of the music which will dictate your promotional activities. Pre-plan social media activity using sites like tweet-deck and linkin.bio that allow you to schedule posts.

Don’t forget to book gigs pre and post the launch event and to leave enough time for press cycles. Other promotional activities can include (making a video for a track, collaboration, engage influencers, reviews) Newsletters (mailchimp).

Don't forget to thank everyone involved!

Learning from others about self-release

Many successful artist we know today have self released at varying stages of their careers

Some things they had in common include:

  • A profile – some level of following and press coverage
  • A team, at least partial (manager, agent etc)
  • High profile collaborators
  • Industry champion/influencer/advocate
  • Engaging professional services (e.g. distribution, music PR, label services) – this can be costly from £1,000 upwards

Additional info

Creative Commission - https://www.creative-commission.com