( June, 2013) My debut album “Suffolk Skies” and its follow-up “Noun; person,place, object, mood” are both finally ‘live’ on iTunes. [and updating; my third album “Reflections” 2014 went up nearly instantaneously…perhaps now as a known contributor] I chose to utilise Songcastmusic.com to agent my work. I found it too daunting to become an independent content provider with iTunes as a private individual. The remedy; Songcastmusic.com offers a great service. And, even if you’ve never uploaded a single or full album before, it’s user-friendly. Their tutorials and even the process itself make it self explanatory. All you have to do is have your music files and art ready. The membership fee isn’t too costly, though they have other services which one may purchase (to extend their revenue, and perhaps justifiably so as one may purchase online radio-time and other means of promotion).
One of the initial delays for me in uploading was cover-art. I hadn’t even given it a thought as I finalised editing the tracks for their final recording. So, I went in after creating the account only to find I couldn’t complete the process without the graphics to accompany the music. For anyone considering uploading their works, by all means, get your cover art done and ready to upload at the same time as you send in your music tracks. It can be anything you want it to be; a poignant photo, a sculpture, a unique graphic design, simple text on a colour background. As long as it’s saved as a jpg and is square with minimum (but not much more than) 1500 pixels by 1500 pixels. Sadly, there is no consideration of back-cover-art so it’s all up front (if you’ll pardon the double-entendre). You can easily edit, enhance, ‘draw,’ or generally add a textbox for titles etc. using microsoft Paint.
Everything I’d created, in terms of musical data, was in .wav format. Songcast will only upload mp3 files. So, my next learning curve was to learn that I could burn a demo-CD of my final recordings, then rip my own CD to automatically convert my works into mp3. Such is the relative ease in using media-player. The mp3 format looses a little of the depth of sound quality but is compressed into a much smaller data file. Speaking of files…I recommend you create a new file to put your newly formatted mp3 versions into. Sometimes your computer may look in ‘different’ places if you have multiple copies of a particular track. Or, I have sometimes had trouble with media-player splitting my tracks across different library locations. Be prepared to search through all music files to relocate transient tracks (often arbitrarily named unknown artist, or by series of numbers).
Your final recording should reflect the name of the piece without extra bits of information or misspellings. Thus, I advise re-naming your track if you had extra information concerning different/previous versions of that same work. There is no editing done at the point of delivery (at iTunes itself) so you must consider making all corrections before it is sent. By the time your work is ‘in transit’ it’s too late. Perform a careful and scrupulous proof-read before uploading.
Despite claims that it may only take a couple of weeks, in my experience it takes a full month for first-time provider’s works to complete transit for iTunes. It may take longer for Spotify, Amazon mp3, and Emusic. I’ll let you know when it’s up on those sites. In the meantime I’m delighted to have my albums up on iTunes via Songcastmusic.com. It’s given this independent artist a chance to offer his works to the public. So, many thanks to songcast for the service.
I will also let the reader know of the general ‘transit time’ for getting a result with Amazon CD’s on Demand. Many potential listeners would prefer to have a physical copy. Given that, when professional quality CD’s are available on Amazon I will be happy to have covered that base, too.
It all takes time and a bit of effort to make it happen. As I would advise myself, I advise patience with the process. I hope my shared experience helps anyone who is looking to also follow the path to ‘getting your music out there.’ If you’ve enjoyed this blog, please take a moment to follow the link to my music page and have a listen. Share the link, if you’ve enjoyed my musical works, with anyone you feel would also like my style. Together we can launch these new works. And, you’ll find the same gets returned as you try and or learn to make your own art stand out and be heard!
It took a lot of courage to launch each of the albums. I sat on a body of musical work for a while, not knowing what to do with it nor how to promote it. Life and work and various responsibilities often overtook my ability to apply myself to it with consistent effort.
In terms of concrete sales, I wish there was more ready-made interest for the modern classical and light jazz instrumental style. However, part of my personal goal in composing original works was to find a method of sharing the works. People from all over the world are now finding my music, and in this way I can share the ideas with the public at large. In the meantime I’m grateful to all those who’ve taken time to listen.