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Are Your mp3 Audio Files Ready For Promotion Or Sending To Influencers?

Part of your promotion (if not all) relates to the audio – it concerns getting your release into the right hands, and making sure they know what it’s all about. So getting the formats, names and tags on your files right is crucial.

It’s so easy to get this right, it would be daft not to.

So I’ll be honest. I thought this stuff was obvious, until a while ago.

A label that I was working with decided to put together their package (of my music) for promo, but they got it so wrong, that we’ll never work together again. In fact, I ended up putting together my own promo pack and using that instead of the label’s, so that I could be sure that at least my promotion contacts would get the right thing.

This stuff is absolutely essential and cannot be overlooked. Here’s why:

People you send this release to get so much music, you can barely comprehend it. (if you want an estimate, I’d say 100s of promos a day – I’m not particularly well known and I get about 20 a day average) With so many releases and so many labels, even just getting your release to a standard where it’s not immediately ignored, binned or forgotten means working very hard.

Imagine a journalist (or tastemaker DJ) getting 100-150 promotional emails a day – every one containing mp3 files to listen to.

Now imagine the journalist spent a day downloading the most recent week’s tracks to flick through. That’s potentially 700-1000 promotional packs with multiple audio tracks.

Your promo pack is in there, but here’s the problem:

  • You’ve not numbered the tracks, so the listener doesn’t know what order the release is in. Which is the A-side? If it’s an album, how will they be able to judge the flow and feel of the full release?
  • You’ve forgotten to put ID3 tags in the mp3s, so when the listener throws the tracks into iTunes and cues them up, there are no details to find out more or even to know who the artist is.
  • You’ve forgotten to add the artist name to the mp3 file name, so they only have track names to go on.
  • And to top it all off, you’ve not included artwork, a one-sheet or named the folder they reside in properly.

What do you expect to happen now?

The listener gets to your track, flicks through, maybe even likes it and wants to support it, but can’t, because they don’t have any information.

This might sound like a pretty unrealistic situation, but all those mistakes, were mistakes that were made with one of my releases. That’s why I made sure to send my own promo pack, and get it right.

Here’s what you need to make sure you’re doing when you put together your audio files for sending to people.

Before you even zip up that release, your folder name should contain the right info. I recommend:

Artist Name – 2016 – Release Name [Label Name CAT001]

Your track (e.g. file names (in any format) should contain the right info. Things like remixer and featured singer may not be relevant for everything, but I recommend:

01 – Artist Name – Track Title (feat. Singer) (Artist Name Remix) [Label Name]

For mp3s:

  • Make sure you have the correct ID3 tags. Include both “Artist” and “Album Artist”.
  • Make sure you embed the artwork in the ID3 tags too.
  • I use a program on Mac called “Meta” (it’s amazing!) – but there are a multitude of mp3 tagging programs, and even iTunes or Winamp can do it sufficiently.

For wavs:

  • You can’t tag wav files, so your file names need to be good. Track titles only will not be enough.
  • Edit: You can tag wav files. Ben, over at Meta (told you they were amazing) has informed me it’s possible to tag wavs with ID3v2. The only negative aspect is that iTunes doesn’t support ID3 in wav/aiff files, so it’s maybe worth assuming a good percentage of your audience won’t know.

Include the artwork jpg file in the folder with the audio

Consider also including a txt file with relevant info or the release sheet

Remember that whoever is listening may not have the original folder, they may not be using the same software as you to listen, and you need to make sure they can quickly and easily get all the relevant information to support the release, without having to refer back to your email, or ask you for more information.

People who get sent lots of music do not have time to chase this sort of thing up.

So this post is about making that release folder, and making sure your files are tagged for promotion purposes. Name them correctly, and include the right stuff in the right order before you zip it up and fire it on Wetransfer.

As a label, you run the risk of losing the artist (if they are as conscious of this stuff as me). As an artist, you run the risk of barely being noticed or heard, or worse, heard, enjoyed but missing out on coverage due to lack of information!

This post was taken from my “Successful Self Releasing” course.

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Martin Torres, Mariana Records