Is It Expensive To Release An Album?

As a musician your releases are the fuel that keep your career going.

Most independent artist’s being the handlers of almost all aspects of their careers are faced with a lot of challenges.

Finances are a huge part of these challenges and often times they wonder how much it costs to release an album.

This post will discuss this in order to address a question that is usually thrown at me by independent artist’s just starting their careers.

So, Is It expensive to release an album?

Releasing an album digitally is not expensive, physical copies can be expensive to release. The large costs arise from packaging, marketing, promotion and distribution of the album to ensure that it reaches the intended audience. This is why digital releases are more economical.

Depending on the marketing scale you wish to undertake, releasing an album can cost more or less.

Most record labels, with the financial pull they have, can have a huge budget dedicated to promotion and marketing an album.

For independent artist’s, it is quite a different story which is why it’s important that we have a look at what actually goes into releasing an album.

Getting things Ready

After you come up with the music for your album and are comfortable with it.

What follows next is putting everything in place and packaging your music to have it ready for distribution.

The first thing will obviously have to be you figuring out the artwork for your album because if digital distribution and marketing is your option, you’ll need good artwork to support and accompany your music.

Artwork will usually cost less than $500 if you can look for a graphic designer that work with that kind of budget.

Some graphic designers can go as high as $5000 just for album artwork so you have to clearly have a budget.

And have an idea of what you’re going for and how you can go about achieving it.

With digital distribution, once you have the music and your cover artwork ready, you’re pretty much good to go.

However printing and packaging physical albums will require some more steps after getting your cover art ready.

You’ll have to deal with the actual printing of your CDs and Vinyl if its applicable or part of your distribution plan.

Distribution

Distribution with regard to album releases simply means the way or the method in which you get your music to your audience.

With digital music it comes down to digital stores like Amazon or ITunes and streaming Platforms like Spotify and Apple Music.

Distribution is a crucial step with every release because it has to be done right to ensure the fans get access to the music as fast as need be.

There are a lot of options for digital distribution with digital distributors like TuneCore and DistroKid that charge fairly low prices to have you music sent to all digital platforms that can host your music music have it available for your audience.

Physical distribution can be a but tricky and pricey.

Most of the time physical distribution is the reason why most artist’s choose to sign and get into agreements with distribution companies that can help them get releases to physical stores.

You can use CD Baby for physical album distribution if you’re looking for an option for distribution.

Because let’s face it, signing a distribution deal with most of the big companies will result in them getting a share of the proceeds from sales due to everything they do to help you distribute that music and get it to brick and mortar physical stores.

Not all artist’s and musicians will be for the idea of splitting their albums revenue with distributors because it feels like a rip off for the most part.

Most musicians I’ve worked with always choose digital distribution.

Because they can easily get it done on their own without relying on a major corporation.

To come on and take full control of distribution and at the end of the day swoop in on part of the revenue that they deep as distribution costs.

Marketing

Promotion plays a huge role in delivering an album the right way to your fans.

Most people overlook this fact and fall for the trap of thinking everyone will find their music so long as its available on online platforms.

To a small degree that can be true, but if you want to make money from your album in order to recoup the money you spent in its creation and distribution.

You will definitely have to employ marketing strategies that will allow you to have a solid promotion plan in place even before the album is ready for release.

Artist’s that are signed to labels have it much easier when it comes to marketing.

Because the record label handles that part and is usually included as part of the distribution costs.

These costs are later recouped from proceeds realized from the music itself.

If you’re not signed to a label, it is pretty different story for you because you’ll have to figure out your own marketing techniques to push your album.

Social media is usually a big part of independent musicians because it is an easy to promote to a large audience.

Marketing in most cases is a huge expense when it comes to promoting an album because alot of work goes into it.

For Music videos for promotion, Paid Advertising, Influencer Marketing etc.

All these areas are good ways to push an album but they cost money. So it all comes down to how prepared you are financially.