Releasing an album is no small task. So if you feel overwhelmed by the idea, join the club.
But, if you go into it with the right mentality and the right tools, it’s totally doable and affordable. And it can even be super fun.
I just released an album and, for the first time, I put actual time, thought, and effort into my release strategy.
This post is basically about how I released an album with almost no budget.
Here’s what I learned you can do…
Mix It Yourself
Could I have paid $2,000 to have a professional engineer mix my album? And would it have sounded better than my mix?
Yes and yes.
But if you’re like me and you don’t have $2,000 to shell out, you may take matters into your own hands. Which is what I did with my album.
I mixed the songs both with my friend’s help and thanks to The Recording Revolution. It’s a website that teaches you how to make your song “radio ready.”
It’s honestly the best resource for this type of thing.
I’m not getting paid to recommend it and I don’t know Graham Cochrane (the founder). I’ve just really benefitted from their YouTube videos. Graham basically taught me everything I know about mixing.
Use An Automated Mastering Service
As with mixing, I could have had a professional master my album. Would a pro’s master have been better sounding than mine?
You can pay about $10 per WAV version of your mastered song or (like me) you can get a subscription for about $25-30 a month.
Yeah, a mastering engineer probably could give you a little bit better of a master than an automated mastering service.
But price-wise, LANDR (and maybe similar services) definitely beats what you’d pay an engineer. And you can still get a pro-level master.
Get A Friend To Be Your Photographer And Videographer
Of course we would all love to have a professionally done music video, complete with a compelling story and awesome cinematography.
But a lot of us can’t afford that.
So the next best option is to employ (or volunteer) a friend as a substitute.
Fortunately, my wife is a professional photographer, so she was nice enough to do my album photo shoot. So I got free photos that look really cool.
You might not have this luxury, but any friend who knows the basics of framing up a shot can help you. And with photo editing apps like VSCO, you can end up with some decent pictures.
When it comes to video editing, I use Lightworks (free), but there are tons of apps that allow you to edit video.
And whether you’re shooting photos or a music video, you and your friend can simply use a new-ish smartphone.
The most important factor is that you have a creative idea.
Canva (Album Design And Social Media Images)
I used Canva to design my merch. I used it to make the header images for my website. I used it to create an image for my album sampler.
And I’m not great with graphic design. But Canva makes it easy to create good-looking images.
They have templates for a ton of different contexts, like blog graphics, Facebook headers, and Pinterest images.
Oh yeah, and it’s free. (And I’m not getting paid to promote it).
So yeah, releasing an album is a lot of work. But it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.