Album Cycle Checklist For Bands
A successful album release is only achieved through attention to detail...
Rick Ruben suggests writing 300 songs and only picking the best tracks for your album
Purchase songs from a pro if you're under a hard deadline
Use Guitar Pro to get ideas down quickly
Record audio of everything you possibly can during this step just in case
Submit songs for feedback/criticism to professionals
If you don't already play to a click, learn to do so
Prepare references for producer as well as tracking, mixing, and mastering engineers
Research producers as well as tracking, mixing, and mastering engineers
Hire your producer
Re-write songs with your producer
Finish all songs including drum fills, guitar solos, lyrics, and harmonies Write and record all tempos, time signatures, song structures, samples, sound design, MIDI, and FX you can
Practice new song arrangements
Plan out all guitar and vocal effects
Determine who will be doing the following tasks - tracking, editing, vocal tuning, reamping, mixing, and mastering
Book your Mixing Engineer
Book the studio – studio, tracking engineer
Book Mastering Engineer
Book rental equipment
Book your techs - drum tech, guitar tech
Book studio musicians
Hire roadies for load-in and load-out at the studio
Find gear to borrow
Schedule your guest vocalists and guest solo musicians
Schedule to drop off drums a day in advance to acclimate to the studio climate
Submit pre-production mixes, tempo tracks, time signatures, FX, MIDI, and samples to studio
Decide formats you'd like the final files - WAV, MP3, mastered for iTunes, mastered for vinyl...
Coordinate preferred bit rate and hertz with tracking, mixing, and mastering engineers
Practice good vocal health
Prep your drums - noisy hardware and replace all heads and broken cymbals (Check with your engineer for their preferences)
Get a professional guitar setup and restring (preferably the same tech you take to the studio)
Purchase extra drum heads, drum sticks, guitar strings, and guitar picks
Practice like you’ve never practiced before until you can play every song in your sleep
Pick up rental and/or borrowed equipment
Drop off drums a day before your session starts to acclimate
IN THE STUDIO
Warm up each day – drums, vocals, and guitars
Play like you’ve never played before
If using a remote mixing engineer, prepare session or raw multi tracks for exporting
Entire band needs to be available to answer questions, send files, and make decisions at a moments notice during this stage
Prep for embedding: band name, track names, track order, album name, album art, and genre
Ask mastering engineer which format they would like the songs delivered
Once mixing is finished, listen to all songs all the way through before sending to your mastering engineer. Even better is to listen to all song stems to make sure there's no flaws.
Request Raw multi tracks, instrumentals, backing tracks, and anything other than just a standard song mix you may want in the future.
If you're properly prepared for this stage, enjoy your time and prepare for the next stage. When complete, listen to every single song a dozen times to be 1,000% sure you're completely satisfied with the finals.
Register your album copyright
Register with ASCAP
License any cover songs
Apply to sync licensing catalogs
Trademark band name - LegalZoom
Sign with a record label
Video - Music Video, Lyric Video, Streaming Video, 3D Video, Animated Music Video
Photos - promos, live Radio - local, national, internet
Album reviews - Metal Injection
YouTube exclusive release - Slam Worldwide
Spotify Playlist - Heavy Metal
Register your .com
Launch website with merch store, tour dates, bio - SquareSpace, Wix, WordPress
Sponsored Ads - Facebook, Instagram, Google...
Web presence - Gmail, Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok, Twitter, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, YouTube
Digital press kit - pictures, WAV/MP3 versions of all songs including artwork, bio, tour schedule...
Pick a release date
Prepare teaser videos
Merch - shirts, hoodies, beanies, stickers...
Throw a CD Release Party