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SXSW Music 2015

Self-releasing for Success

Historically, the self-release has been the last bastion of the unsigned artist. You shop your demos around to labels and don’t get any bites, so you bite the bullet yourself and foot the bill, just to get the thing out there. But in the last 10 years, as the industry has been reformed time and time again, things have changed. For artists large and small, and at every stage of their careers, self-releasing is more than just a viable alternative to a label deal, it’s a much better option. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of self-releasing, strategies for a successful self-release, and prognosticate on the future of artist-owned recordings in the music industry of tomorrow.

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  1. Why would an artist choose to self-release rather than work with a label?
  2. How are self-releasing artists changing the way distributors, retailers and press look at "unsigned" artists? Is there a tipping point where "unsigned" is no longer a stigma, but a badge of honor?
  3. What are the downsides or biggest pitfalls to self-releasing?
  4. What elements are necessary or helpful to line up for a successful self-release? Do you need radio promotion? Do you need publicity? Do you need an agent? (Spoiler alert: yes.)
  5. How is the timeline for a self-release the same or different than for a label release?



Ben Hubbird, Digital Promotions & Label Relation, CD Baby

Meta Information:

  • Event: Music
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Management
  • Level: Intermediate
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