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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


Book Transportation

Book Lodging

Plan food

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


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


Local duplicators

CD Baby

Disc Maker


Sign with a record label

CD Baby



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

Go tour!!!

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