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When Is My Music Good Enough To Release?

Pretty Cool Live Shot
Pretty Cool Live Shot
Photo by Alphonso Chan/Getty Images

Timing is everything... so how do you know when the right time is to put yourself out there musically?

Your music career, just like life, is all about the choices you make. I'm not just talking about your music itself, either. Photographs, videos, websites, promotional materials and everything that is a calling card for your brand is subject to the same question... quality versus speed. A lot of bands just release raw demos and selfies and call it their promo pack, which is fine for some but you will be seen as unprofessional and unprepared for the next step up on the success ladder. I realize that you have to factor in how small most bands' budgets are and that there is a ceiling on what you can do with nothing, but my point is that you are better off spending your money on one great picture, video or song than on a bunch of inferior pics, videos or demos. An incredible song with horrible production might still get people's attention, but you're a lot more likely to get widespread attention with a pro recording that makes that song shine as brightly as the way you imagined it when it was written.

If you plan to fail, simply fail to plan. This is your musical career in a nutshell. Everything about your band or act that you release should be professional looking and sounding because you want to wow anybody who happens across your website or band page. You want them to be blown away by your music, love your band pics and be fascinated by reading your amazing bio. In this day and age, you can't afford to present anything less. You can have songs, pics and a website that are top notch but if your bio is half assed and that's how your band is discovered by somebody online, they'll never see or hear the rest of your awesomeness. There are hundreds of thousands of bands just like you trying to get people's attention all over the world... how will your band stand out and be heard by the masses? The answer is, it won't... unless you do something to MAKE it stand out.

Luckily for you, in this modern technological age, there are all kinds of ways to get professional results for pennies on the dollar, if not for free. With the advent of home recording and software like Pro Tools, you can get a radio quality recording that doesn't cost thousands of dollars. Mastering your CD used to take a long time and cost hundreds of dollars but you can get it done quickly for a lot less money thanks to the internet. You can take stunning pictures with a smartphone for free and use them to promote with. You can produce great-looking flyers and promotional materials with Gimp or Paint Shop Pro for super cheap (Gimp is free). You can get decent business cards for 10 bucks or so from Vistaprint. You can promote to all of your fans at once with Facebook, Twitter and other free social media. You can write your own press release and distribute it yourself inexpensively to media outlets, blogs, etc..

Ok, back to the point of this article, which is to show you that just because you have 100 pics of yourself from a gig doesn't mean you should post all 100 pics, no matter how crappy they look. Post the best 5 or so and delete the rest just like you would with photos from a professional photo shoot. Make 3 flyers for your show on your computer, use the best one and trash the other two. Less is definitely more when it comes to promotion, so protect the image you project by not letting things that make you look less than awesome be released into the share-o-sphere of the modern day multimedia. I'm talking about your PERSONAL image, not what others say, do, post, etc.. You can't do anything about bad gig pics or what people post, just be glad somebody cares enough to post about you whether it's good or bad.

One last point... don't get drawn into flaming battles with haters on social media or anywhere else, for that matter. It can only hurt your image, not help it. Just remember that if you have haters in the first place, you're doing something right. The more fame and attention you get, the more haters there will be... get used to it.

In closing, I would like to add that I sometimes don't practice what I preach when it comes to the rules of promotion so I realize that you will have problems following these guidelines all the time. It's way easier to just throw something out there than to put a lot of work into it. With any luck, you'll be doing well enough soon to pay somebody to do this crap for you so you can focus on making music.

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