Can You Release Music Without A Label?

If you are a musician, singer, engineer, beat maker, or band, you may be wondering, “Can You Release Music Without A Label?” In today’s market you have a lot of options.

Can You release Music Without A Label?

Yes, you can release your music without a label. You can place your music with Independent Music Distributors like TuneCore, DistroKid, CDBaby, and other online services to start distributing your music to the public. Do your homework to see which independent distributor works best for you. You also need to be active promoting and marketing your music. Start with your own website, social media, blogs, vlogs, internet radio, hometown radio, live events, and build a solid online presence.

Release Your Music Online

Today it is easier than ever to release your music online with independent music distributors like TuneCore, DistroKid, CDBaby, and many other independent distributors.

You should check into how the independent distributors operate before making your decision on who you want to work with.

Some services ask a percentage of every sale you make, and some simply require an annual fee.

There are also other services that some independent distributors offer to help you as an artist like mixing and mastering, artwork, and different collaboration services.

Video Credit: Damien Keyes

Steps Prior To Releasing My Music Online

There are several steps you need to make in order to have a successful release online.

1. Make Sure Your Tracks Are Ready

Make sure your tracks, (Songs), are ready for release.

Most online distributors work with MP3 and Wav files.

If you want people to listen to your music, you need to have good songs for the genre you are working in, and the songs need to be mixed and mastered by someone who knows what they are doing.

You will need to invest money to have your songs mixed and mastered so that they sound their best.

2. Plan Your Release Strategy

There are several schools of thought here.

Some say it is best to release one song and then a couple of weeks later release another song and then release another song after a couple of weeks and so forth.

The thought here is to build anticipation and build your marketing with each single release.

Another school of thought is to release an EP (Extended Play list).

An EP has maybe 3-5 songs but not as many songs as the whole album.

Some believe it’s best to release an EP to solidify your online presence and build a following this way.

And yet another way is to release the whole album at once.

If you are an established band or artist, you may find it best to release the whole album at once.

Think about your strategy and decide what will work best for you and your band.

3. Build Your Own Website

Can You Release Music Without A Label

Your website should be your home base for your music, your portfolio, electronic press kit, and a place where fans can come to connect with you.

You can use your website to present yourself, your band, or your home studio to the online world.

You have complete control over your own website to build and present as you see fit.

This is a great place to solidify your image, your story, present products and services you like, and make yourself available.

A website that is done correctly can start earning you a full-time income by promoting products and services that you like and recommend.

You can use your website to sell your merchandise, create educational material that is helpful to others, and you can learn to build a website that will get free targeted traffic from the search engines like google to start attracting people who are interested in what you have to offer.

Relevant Article: If you want to learn more about building your own website that will earn extra income for you, check out my Promote Page.

4. Create An Electronic Press Kit

An Electronic Press Kit, (EPK) is a great way to introduce yourself, your band, or your home studio to other Music Professionals, Bloggers, Vloggers, Journalist, Radio Stations, and your fans.

You should place your Electronic Press Kit on your website for easy access.

Any one serious about creating a professional music career needs an EPK.

An EPK should have the following:

  • A Solid Biography

This is your chance to create a solid biography about you as an artist, your band, or your home studio.

Create a great biography explaining who you are, where you came from, and where you are headed in the future.

  • Some Of Your Best Music Tracks

The music you choose to share on your EPK will make or break your EPK.

Remember it’s all about the music so choose 2-3 songs that you can share instantly with the people who may be reading your EPK.

  • High Quality Photos

Include some high-quality photos of you as an artist, your band, or your home recording studio.

Your photos should represent you well and help build your image.

Make sure you are using high resolution photos and lots of them.

  • High Quality Videos

Everyone loves watching videos.

Include some videos of live performances, recording sessions, interviews, and videos of you or your band or studio interacting with fans and clients.

Use high resolution videos to help build energy and interest.

  • Reviews And Testimonials

Create a reviews and testimonials section in your EPK to show off some of your achievements.

Did your band get a spot in a local magazine? Maybe you received rave reviews from a radio station or a featured spot on a local TV station.

Be sure and include some of the kudos you have received from fans, business professionals, blogs, and vlogs.

This helps build your prestige and builds energy.

  • Social Media

If you have been using social media over time to promote and connect with people, then you can share your social media links in your EPK.

Leverage your social media so fans, venues, business professionals, blogs, and vlogs can access your social media to join in on the fun and provided information.

  • Contact Information

One very important thing you need to provide in your EPK is your contact information.

Be sure and provide a way for people to get in touch with you so they can book you and connect with you.

This is also a great place to list your website.

  • Include An Up To Date Schedule

Be sure and attach an up-to-date tour schedule that shows your upcoming shows and dates available to be booked.

This makes it easy for people to know where you will be performing so they can come to your shows, and it also makes it easy for others to know when you can be booked.

5. Reach Out To Bloggers, Vloggers, Journalist, And Radio

When you know you are about to start releasing your music with independent distributors online you need to start creating some buzz.

Buzz is getting the word out prior to releasing your music.

You can reach out to bloggers who are popular with your genre of music.

You can also reach out to vloggers who work with your genre of music and talents.

Local journalist and radio stations are often interested in local talent and will sometimes create some local buzz about the hometown artist, band, or studio.

Also, online radio stations and podcasts are a great way to get the word out.

This is where your website and electronic press kit will come in super handy.

You can share your EPK and website with other people online and offline to introduce yourself and see if you can get interviews, live gigs, and start building interest in your upcoming music release.

6. Perform Live Gigs

Live gigs are where the rubber meets the road.

Give your best performances live and make sure you are making a connection with the audience.

Talk with the audience, have them sing along with you, take photos with them, connect with them.

Let the audience know you have new music that you will be releasing and invite them to your website, online distributor, social media, and start building relationships.

7. Social Media

You need to be active on social media.

Pick two or three social media platforms that you like and start building out your social media.

Share your music, videos, interviews, wins, and failures.

People love a good story and social media is a free platform where you can connect with people.

8. Make Great Music

At the end of the day, it is great music that people want.

Write, play, and record to your very best ability.

You can have the best website, EPK, and social media but you also have to have good music for people to listen to.

Spend a little money to have your songs mixed and mastered properly.

Independent Music Distributors

Independent music distributors give you a platform to release your own music online.

If you want people to listen to your music, you need to make it available online so people can listen to and purchase your music.

There are several online music distributors that you can use to get your music distributed to different online platforms.

  • DistroKid
  • Ditto
  • Landr
  • CDBaby
  • Tunecore
  • AWAL
  • STEM
  • Fresh Tunes
  • Amuse
  • Reverb Nation

This is just a small list of online distributors that you can work with to release your music online for purchase.

Each of the online distributors offer different services to help the artist have a successful release and services to help with artwork, royalties, and other services.

Some of the online distributors are free, some have a yearly fee, and some take a percentage of your sales.

Be sure and do your homework before you make your decision.

Make Sure Your Tracks Are Ready To Release

Can You Release Music Without A Label

I know you may be in a hurry to get your music out there for everyone to hear but is your music ready to be released?

Make sure your tracks are ready for release.

Have you had your music mixed and mastered by someone who knows what they are doing?

Are your tracks MP3 or Wav file formatted?

Most online distributors want MP3 or Wav files.

Make sure your tracks sound their best and are properly formatted.

After all it’s all about the music.

Releasing On A Label VS Releasing As An Independent Artist

So, what are the differences of releasing on a label VS releasing as an independent artist?

Let’s take a look.

Releasing On A LabelIndependent Artist
Excellent FundingCreative Freedom
Networking & ConnectionsFull Control
ExperienceBetter Returns & Profit
Mixing & MasteringWork On Your Own Terms
ReputationLicensing / Publishing / Syncs
Artist Unfriendly DealsLack Of Funding
Corporate America EnvironmentInexperience
Competition Lack Of Connections

As you can see both sides have their advantages and disadvantages.

It’s up to you to decide which system will work best for you and your music.

You may not have the option of working with a label until you build up a fan base and start getting some recognition through sales and air play.

What Is A Record Labels Major Function?

A record label does many things like recording your music, mastering your music, artwork, PR, and marketing your music and they know how to do it well.

A record labels main function is marketing and promoting your music.

Record labels are well connected and are masters at getting your music in front of the right people.

90% Of Artist Do Not Know How To Promote And Market

90% of artist do not know how to promote and market their own music.

You can be the very best songwriter, singer, musician, and have some of the best music but if you can’t get your music in front of people no one will ever hear it or buy it.

In fact, you have to get your music in front of people who like your style and genera of music.

This is where an independent online distributor can help you get your music if front of the right crowd.

Also, it will be up to you as an independent artist to reach out to blogs, vlogs, radio, podcast, media, and performing at live venues to get your music out there.

The Power Of Your Own Website

Can You Release Music Without A Label

You have got so many different things you need to be working on as an artist that you may have overlooked your own website.

Your website is your home base where you can set up your own blog to share your stories, share your portfolio, attach your EPK, sell your music, sell your merchandise, and earn commissions from products and services that you like and recommend.

Being an artist is more than just creating great music, it’s also about building relationships and sharing your likes and dislikes.

Your website is a great place to get started with an online voice through your blog.

As we discussed earlier, 90% of artist have no idea how to start marketing and promoting online.

There are many things you can do with your own website and different ways that you can earn a full-time income with your own website.

You can recommend products and services you like and earn commissions when people purchase these products.

You can sell your own merchandise.

You can package and sell your experience in the form of educational material to help others succeed.

You can even earn revenue by displaying different ads on your website.

You can build the best website ever but if you do not know how to market your website and attract visitors your website will go unnoticed.

If you want to learn how to build your own website and turn it into a full-time income, I have some training I recommend to help get you started.

Relevant Article: If you want to learn how to build your own website and how to market and promote yourself as an artist or just learn how to build an online business with a website Check Out My Promote Page.

What Others Are Saying

Direct QuoteSource
“Independent music distributors act as a go-between for unsigned artists and the online music stores. Indie artists and bands can simply upload their singles, EPs and albums, pay a small annual fee, and get their music live on the biggest platforms.”
“If you haven’t recorded your tracks yet, what are you waiting for? Get into the studio and record, mix and master a high-quality version of the music you want to release. But remember, only MP3 and WAV files will be accepted by online stores.”
“There are several subscription based distributors out there that will place music on all major (and some not so major) outlets like Amazon Music, Apple, Spotify, etc.
But before start counting your money remember that distribution is not promotion. A label’s major function is marketing and promotion of its artists. As an independent you have to do all of this yourself.”
“First, you should make sure your distributor is offering a fair deal on your royalties. Some distributors will only release your tracks in return for a slice of your royalty payments, which, depending on the way they work, could be up to 15% of your earnings. There are also distributors that will let you keep 100% of everything you make, so shop around.”
“Technically you’ll get FAR better returns on your sales in terms of percentage of profits. If you get 10 sales at $1 and you keep even just 50% passed back from stores, then you have $5 – but if you’re on a label offering you just a 50% cut of their paltry 40% from stores or distributors, the same amount of sales would net you just $2 (and that’s only after they have recouperated some of their own costs”
“Big labels only release music by artists who already have a following on social media, huge songs and know how the music business works. So the first thing you should do (after making b*ngers) is releasing your tunes on Spotify, Apple Music etc.”
“Distribution platforms like Spotify and Apple Music can be easily accessed and an artist can have their music on these platforms.
The fact that distribution can be handled by the act of a few clicks here and there has made working with record labels almost obsolete. Because if your Music is good enough and you have a fan-base, getting the music to them can be as easy as signing up to a distribution service such as DistroKid or Tunecore.”
“The digital download and MP3 brought with them a drastic change to the music industry 15-20 years ago. Whether legal (iTunes) or illegal (Napster), digital downloads meant there was no longer a need for the consumer to drive to a store to purchase an album (which could very well have been out of stock due to stores only having limited shelf space) or for a record label to spend money on pressing and shipping physical CDs in the hope that a retailer will actually do their job and pack it on the shelf.”
“digitally on a site like Bandcamp will cost you nothing (after recording costs) so any sales at all and yes you’ve made money. Digitally on iTunes, you will have to go through a service like Distrokid or CDbaby who have a fee ($20 a year or $59 one time I believe), so if you believe you can sell enough to recoup that, yes you have made money.”

Final Thoughts

So, can you release music without a label? The answer is absolutley.

Today it is easier to release your own music without a label and there are hundreds and thousands of people earning money with their own music.

It’s not hard to do, you just need to be well informed and that is the purpose of this article.

If you want to learn the proper way to promote and market online, be sure and check out my Promote Page.

The training is free to get started and you will learn skills to earn money online that you can use the rest of your life.

If you like writing, playing, recording, and producing music take a minute to look around my website.

You will find many articles that are helpful and will get you moving in the right direction.

Feel free to leave your questions, stories, and helpful comments below.

6 thoughts on “Can You Release Music Without A Label?”

  1. Hi there,

    This is an awesome topic. I love the way you explain how one can build a website to promote their music. You don’t just stop there. You give advise on how the videos must be like, how the artist pictures have to be on high resolution. You give full explanation on where one can register with to be able to release their music and how much it would roughly cost. The pros and cons of a record label and your own home studio are awesomely stated so that one is able to see what’s best for them. On your post you list places where one can promote their music, like social media, on ones website, and so forth, so that one is equiped with how to brand their music. Awesome topic and with awesome and good explanation. How one can have reviews. I’m loving it.

    • I’m glad you like my article.  I try to give solid advise that truly helps those who are interested in growing their own music online and are looking for ways to improve, learn, and implement strategies that will take them further with their music online and offline. Thanks for reading. 

  2. Thank you very much for writing such a useful and informative essay about releasing music without a label. I like how you explain how to create a website to market one’s music. You go into detail on where one may register to be able to release their music and how much it will cost. You include areas where people may advertise their music on your post, such as social media. Excellent topic, with excellent and well-explained explanation.

    • I’m glad you like the article.  There is a lot of really good information here if you are interested in releasing your music without a label.  Let me know if you have questions or need help.

  3. My first reaction when reading the title of the post “can you release music without a label” was, absolutely yes, you can. It might require you to be more savvy, but it is indeed possible. I say that because I have a family member who has been very successful as a street artist and doing home concerts, and has done concerts for up to 10,000 people. He is in the process of releasing albums now, without big labels. 

    The details you share here on how to register, to create a website and do social sharing and so much more, is invaluable. I will certainly bookmark this page and share with my nephew. 

    • Today it is easier than ever to work alone without a label.  Granted, labels have some great financial backing, but artist forget you have to repay the money the label spends to market you.  I think it is much better for artist to learn how to market and promote themselves.  One of the best ways to do this is with your own website.  You can learn how to promote and market yourself with your own website and blog.  These are skills you can use the rest of your life to earn a great online income.  If you want to learn more be sure and check out my Promote Page. 


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