How To Make A Mixtape And Prepare For Release
People often ask me what my process for making a mixtape is. This is because a lot of people want to finish a mixtape to get out there to start getting heard but they don’t know the process of finishing it and what they should start doing and when for it to be successful.
In this article I am going to show you step by step what to do so you can get the best finished mixtape project and have higher chances of getting it heard.
This process assumes that you already have your own home studio but at the same time this process works even if you pay for studio time.
1) Start saving money from the beginning
If there is one thing I have learned in my years in the business, it is that you are going to get stuck if you don’t have marketing and promo dollars to invest into your music getting heard.
For that reason, you need to start saving months before the release of the project.
Now, if you are asking what you need to be saving money for, let me hit you with a short list you might not be thinking of.
- Music videos for your best songs. You need visuals to grow faster, be taken seriously as a professional artist and get your image seen etc.
- Mixing and mastering prices. Sure you can mix and master it yourself… but your overall sound quality is important and something you might want to invest in.
- Spending money to get your music posted on bigger sites like World Star and other blogs
- Hiring a PR team to help you market your music. They already have relationships and you can definitely use the help!
- Paying for Facebook, Instagram and other places to get ‘REACH’ to new fans for your music.
- Potentially paying for collaborations with other artist so you can grow from their fan base.
2) Go through beats and write the songs choruses in bulk
I always start by writing a bunch of choruses to beats because the song chorus is the most powerful part of any song. If you have a beat but you can’t make a hot chorus to it, the song won’t have nearly as much power as you need it to.
One hot chorus can make your entire career. Every rapper out there blew up seemingly overnight and it usually happens when they get that ONE hot chorus.
Check out my Chorus writing course here where I show you hot I have written 80 choruses in 1 day.
While in this process I also recommend you lay down scratch vocals of the chorus ideas so you can determine how you and the melodies/lyrics will sound on the beat. It will make the process of determining what is worth your time much easier.
3) Go through the bulk amount of songs and determine the best songs
Choose the catchiest songs yours new potential fans would love as well as how you are going to round off the project
After you have built a list of song ideas with choruses written you now need to go back with a fresh ear and determine which songs are the best.
Which ones are the catchiest singles? Which ones fit with the idea of the album? Which ones are the hit bangers, the club worthy ones, the girl songs, the sex songs, the real talk songs, the diss tracks etc.
A well rounded mixtape will have all kinds of tracks that also still flow together very well as one cohesive project.
For an example, look back at some of your favorite albums from rappers you like. Look at what their albums have and what your album might not have yet.
4) Write your verses to the best songs
Now that you know for sure what songs you are going to keep, now you write the songs verses.
Doing it in this way means you never wasted a second writing verses for a song you weren’t 100% dropping.
Most artist don’t think to do projects like this but I am extremely organized and time is very valuable!
You don’t HAVE to do it like this, you should also write to any song whenever you are inspired to. I just recommend this process to save time.
5) Re-review all of the songs, song chorus lyrics and verse lyrics
Rewriting is a big part of any professional artist’s process. This is because it is the time you get to look at your songs with a fresh ear and mind and decide if you truly put 100% into the entire song.
By following this process I have for you, you can slowly but surely review and rewrite every song so they are all perfect before you spend time recording. This way you don’t have to re-record anything because you know it’s all perfect before you even start.
6) Record the ideas you liked from the bulk process
Now it’s time to record all of the songs that you wrote and rewrote. You will be more confident in laying them down since you have had them in your pocket for a while and spent time making them perfect.
7) Go back through the recorded songs and decide which ones to keep
Sometimes when you record something it doesn’t come out the same way you heard it in your head.
8) Get the final keepers mixed and mastered
You can save money by doing it yourself or you can send them off to get mixed and mastered.
I mixed and mastered my own first mixtape and it blew me up. So it’s not REQUIRED but it will help you sound more professional if you get it professionally mixed.
9) Decide from the chosen recorded songs if it fits the template and idea for the album
Decide which songs fit your mixtapes theme and idea.
10) See what is missing from the project that you need to complete the projects theme and idea
Now I also recommend going through the project and organizing the tracks in the order that they sound the best in.
11) Sit on the album for 2 weeks without listening to it
Now with a fresh ear you go back and listen to the entire project making sure it’s all perfect.
12) You should have been saving money for this stuff the whole time
Now you need to get your album artwork made. I’m sure you already know the mixtape name you want to go with.
Reach out to some graphic artist and get your artwork made.
13) Then you need to start planning your marketing
Usually you plan your marketing months before a project releases but you aren’t signed to a label and you don’t have label dollars.
You still have time for everything though because you have to do everything below before a full project release.
Right now you need to decide your release date and how much money you can save additionally for the actual release date.
14) Shoot your single’s music videos
Before you release your mixtape you should release a few songs with music videos that are promoting the release of the project.
You are going to need to find someone who can shoot you professional music videos for a good price.
Or you can do them all yourself using your iphone or android phone by checking out the course that shows you how to make professional videos from scratch, step by step using just your iPhone.
In the beginning and the end of the music video it should promote a release date for your actual project along with the artwork you already have made.
I’ve learned people are more excited for the release of a project than they are for the project itself.
So the longer you hold out, the more excitement and buzz you build for yourself.
Get 2 or 3 music videos shot for your best songs.
15) Start Booking Local Shows
You need to start building up local buzz as well as promoting the fact that you have a mixtape releasing.
16) Hire a Publicist / PR Team
A PR team will help you organize a plan for release. The thing is, they need ample time to be able to prepare your mixtape release so you need to hire them asap.
17) Release 1 video 2 months before mixtape release.
18) Release another 1 month before mixtape release.
Through 17-18 you are saving money and marketing the videos as they release along with marketing the mixtape’s release.
Your PR team you hire will help you more with launch.
19) Prepare for actual mixtape release day
You can do contests, give aways and tons of other things. Anything creative you can come up with to get people excited and sharing your new project.
Get your hands on the 200 Hip Hop Blog E-mails so you can send your music videos and new mixtape to every hip hop blog online.
20) When it releases, market the f*** out of it
By sending it everywhere and doing everything you possibly can to get it heard.
Remember that the biggest issue people experience is that they spend more time working on the music than they do marketing the music.
Of course it’s fun to spend time making the songs, it’s what you love doing.
You have to make sure that you put 10 times the effort and time into getting it heard though. It’s the annoying, confusing, failure filled, tedious part of being an artist.
This is why I recommend hiring a PR team to help you do this. This way it’s not just YOU sending e-mails all day to get heard.
21) Find out where to put your new mixtape
If you want more info on what to do AFTER it releases you can check out my article on how to release a mixtape the right way. It’s the number 1 search in Google for a reason.