Music Release Checklist PDF for Independent Artists

How to release music on Spotify

Part of my mission as an artist is to share how I release music independently. My intention is to help musicians focus on their music and stay creative by finding efficient methods of music promotion when the music comes out. It took me many years to learn all of these steps. My goal is to save you years of time.

I’ve been rapping and making beats since I was a 11 years old and have been releasing music independently under Jackson Whalan since 2014.

If you want to get your music out there without missing any important steps, this PDF could be helpful for you to have by your side. The above video goes through all of the steps.

Check out my growth on spotify from following the steps on my checklist



(at least 4 weeks before the release)

  • Create a budget and marketing strategy

  • Agreements and split sheets with all writers

  • Album artwork

  • Distribute music 3-4 weeks in advance with your distributor, such as Distrokid, Tunecore, CD Baby, etc…

    o for EPs or LPs, set up a pre-order

  • Order physical copies (optional)

  • Register the song(s) with your P.R.O. (BMI/ASCAP) and/or publishing administrator

  • Use Spotify for Artists to submit to editorial playlists and release radar at least 7 days ahead of release

  • Encode your tracks with Metadatics

  • Add the music to your licensing catalogue and deliver the music to sync licensing

    companies that you work with.

  • Press Release (the story behind the music)

  • Use Submithub to send to blogs and playlists

  • Reach out to personal press contacts

  • Pitch to blogs and influencers. Make “wishlist”

  • Photo shoot for press photos

  • Music Video(s)

  • Update email list with new addresses

  • Share content relating to the release at least once every day across social media platforms to reveal, generate suspense, and build anticipation.

    o Press Photos
    o Update social banners to reflect the vibe of the upcoming release o Lyrics
    o AlbumArt
    o Contests/Giveaways
    o MusicVideoTeasers
    o Golive
    o Message listeners individually
    o Free Download (follow-to-download) via Toneden
    o Ads


    (campaign for at least one month)

    • Upload the music to Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Audiomack, LÜM, and other non- distributor DSPs.

    • Create a Smart Link to all platforms via Toneden

    • Register the music with Nielsen Soundscan (for charts)

    • Register the music Sound Exchange (for online radio royalties)

    • Add recordings (ISRC codes) to your publishing administrator’s platform (if applicable)

    • Upload music video(s) to YouTube (and/or elsewhere)

    • Send public links to Submithub and playlist/blog approvals

      o Follow up with press contacts who didn’t respond, to let them know the music is out.

    • Submit the release to Pandora

    • Keep pitching to independent Spotify playlists

    • Make a blog post on your website

    • Add the new music to your website discography

    • Post to IG, FB, Twitter, Tik Tok, and all other socials

    • Post to your Bandsintown Trackers

    • Launch paid ads

    • Email Blast

    • Text fan link to friends (this is effective)

    • Add lyrics to Rap Genius and MusixMatch

    • Influencer Marketing (getting people with a large following to share)

    • At least one social media post every day for 2 weeks to promote and celebrate the new music

    • Release a remix or an instrumental later

    • Add published press links to your website and EPK

    • Share the music on Reddit pages

    • Add album art to Pinterest



    Jackson Whalan is a lyricist and producer from the woods creating hip-hop from the heart to uplift and inspire listeners around the world.