This guide will assist you through the process of submitting a release to Symphonic for store approval. It also includes some basic style guidelines to adhere to per store regulations for content submissions.
Where to Start - Login to the Symphonic MS at http://www.symphonicms.com. Click the 'create RELEASE' button or select 'Create Release' under the 'Distribute' drop-down to begin.
Step 1 (Create Your Release)
We first need to know if your release already has a UPC associated with it. If it doesn't select the 'I need a UPC' button.
If the release has a UPC, enter the UPC in the field and select 'Verify UPC'. After validating, we can assist with populating your release with as much information as we can find.
In the case where you don't know your UPC, you can select 'I don't know my UPC' where you will be prompted to enter the Spotify Album URL.
Step 2 (Release Details)
Fill out all Release information. This is information that pertains to the overall release and does not include any track information.
1. Release Name - This is the title of the release (Album/EP/ Single).
- If it is an EP, stylize it as EP. Do not use ep or Ep, and do not use dashes or colons before the EP label. If you're not sure if this release is an EP, see our release classifications. If a Single, EP, LP, or Album label is used incorrectly per a partner's specifications they may not receive your release.
- If the release title is a Volume or a Part, it will need to be stylized as "Release Title, Vol. 1" or "Release Title, Pt. 1".
- Artist names cannot be in the release name unless it's a self-titled release (ie. "The Beatles" self-titled album).
- Producer credits cannot be added to the titles. Use the Producer contributor role to credit producers on the tracks.
2. Release Version - The release title version is where you can define a specific version that differentiates the release you are submitting from other versions of the release.
For a one-track release, the track title version should match the release title version.
If your release has a special version you can add it in this field, common uses for this field are:
- Remix or Remixes (for releases that are a collection of remixes)
- Cover (if the cover is performed in a different genre than the original this is typically specified, like "Acoustic Cover")
- Live at Place, Year (for Spanish content use "En Vivo"). If "Live" is already part of the release you do not need to add this to the title version.
- Add "DJ Mix" for any releases containing a DJ Mix.
Do not submit any of the following in the Release Version field, your release approval time may be delayed by incorrect usage of the field:
- Original Version or any other redundant version information, original releases must leave this field blank.
- Single, EP, LP, Album (these are all product types, not versions).
- Search terms such as Sleep Music, Music for Concentration, Chill, Chillout, etc., must not be used as product titles or product versions.
- References to Physical or Digital content or content not included (ie. E-Release, Digital Only, Digital Download, Digital Single, E-Album, 2 CD Set, With Lyrics, etc.).
- Clean/Dirty/Explicit, etc. use the track level explicit information field instead
Be sure to check out our guide to Release Versions for more information.
3. English Translation - If your release is in another language, this field is where you can enter English Translations. If you do not want your content to display in English, do not enter English Translations. The translation will show on stores that are English speaking however, your release will still show the original language on non-English stores. English translations are not needed for Spanish, Italian, or French titles. Certain languages require the use of this field: Arabic/Farsi, Chinese, Korean, & Japanese, and Indian & Pakistani languages.
4. Catalog # - This is any classification number for this release in your catalog. The most common format is the abbreviated label name followed by the number of release it is. Alternatively, you can use the one automatically generated.
5. UPC - A UPC is a Universal Product Code and is similar to a barcode or serial number. It gives your release a unique identity. Each new release created in the SMS needs its own unique UPC.
This field should already be populated with a UPC from Step 1.
6. Compilation - If your release is a compilation, select 'Yes'. Here's a brief guide to help you determine if your release is considered a compilation.
7. # of Tracks - Select the total number of tracks that will be on the release.
8. Various Artists - Select 'Yes' if a release has 4 or more Primary Artists. Select 'No' if it has 1, 2, or 3 primary artists.
If your release has 4 or more Primary Artists, the release must be listed as 'Various Artists'.
- Featured Artists do not count towards this number.
- Remixers (if listed on every track on the release) will count as a primary artist.
If your release has 1, 2 or 3 Primary artists they are to be listed individually on the release level.
If you need further information on Various Artists, click here.
9. Artist Name - Select the Primary Artist for the release.
If there are more than one but less than 4 Primary Artists you can select the 'Add Primary' button to add additional Primary Artists.
If you do not see your artist in the drop-down list you can add their name by typing it and clicking 'Create this Artist'.
You can also edit or add the artist name under Account ► Artists to set up their profile. To be certain that the artist's name is aligned to the correct artist page, check out our article on setting up your artist profiles in the SymphonicMS.
10. Label Name - Select the Label in which the release is to be distributed. This only applies to accounts with sub-labels.
11. Primary Genre - Select the Genre of music your release falls under.
12. Secondary Genre - For instance, if your first selection is 'Dance' you should make this more specific, 'Deep House' or 'Electronica'.
13. Language - Select the Language of the lyrics. If your music doesn't have lyrics, choose the language your release and track titles will be in. If a language other than English, Spanish, or Italian is chosen, please go back up to step #3 and add translations for the release title.
14. Release Pricing Tier - Stores automatically choose their own pricing for releases submitted to them. This option will give them a category to list it in. The most common is Mid or Mid/Front. Unless you have special price requests, we recommend choosing Mid as this is what almost every release you see on iTunes is listed as. For more information click here.
15. Copyright Year and Owner © - For new releases, the year in which it is submitted to us is the year in which it is created and is also considered the copyright year.
- If you submit a release in November 2019 to be released in January 2020, then 2019 is the copyright and phonograph year. (Because that's when the content was created)
- If the release is part of a back catalog, you must select the year in which it was originally copyrighted.
16. Sound Recording Copyright ℗ - This symbol represents the sound recording copyright for the release, here you must identify the owner of the sound recording copyright, this may be the label, artist, producer, or an un-associated party that may have rights to the copyright. In most cases, it will match the general copyright from the previous section.
17. Release Biography (optional) - For any release that is being sent to Beatport, you can enter the release biography. The release biography is displayed on their site alongside the release details. If you are not sending your release to Beatport, you don't need this field.
18. Upload Cover Artwork - Click 'browse' and select the artwork stored on your computer or device you wish to use as the Single/EP/Album Cover Art. Art must be SQUARE and at least 3000 x 3000 pixels at 72 dpi (300 dpi is recommended) in a 1:1 square image and CANNOT be blurry or pixelated. Be sure to view our full cover art specifications.
Step 3 (Tracks)
Here you can provide information for each track including the audio files. In Step 2, you should have selected the number of tracks needed for the release, so you should see that the number of blank tracks listed here which you can now edit. It is important to save often when editing tracks to prevent loss of information, especially with multi-track releases.
1. Bulk Upload Audio Files (optional) - If you have multiple tracks on the release, you can upload audio for all of the tracks from the main view tracks screen by clicking on the icon for your preferred upload method (listed in order: web uploader, DropBox uploader, Google Drive uploader). Once uploaded, the files are loaded into our system so that they can be selected later using dropdown menus.
2. Edit Track - Click on the track name to begin editing that track.
3. Song Name - Enter the track name only.
- Do not add any featuring artists or remix information in the track title.
- Artist names are not allowed in the track titles.
- Do not enter explicit/clean versions.
- Producer credits are not allowed in any titles.
- If the track is a Volume or a Part, it will need to be stylized as "Release Title, Vol. 1" or "Release Title, Pt. 1".
Please see the full list of track title formatting guidelines.
4. English Translation (optional) - If the release language chosen in the release details (step 2) was not English then you will be able to provide an English translation for each track. This will overwrite your title in English speaking regions. We don't recommend adding a translation if you do not want English titles. Certain languages require the use of this field: Arabic/Farsi, Chinese, Korean, & Japanese, and Indian & Pakistani languages.
5. Mix/Version (optional) - This field will auto-populate with the remix information once a remixer is selected. If adding a remixer, select the remix artist first, then verify if any additional information needs to be added. If the track is a special mix version of the original track, for example, a radio mix, remix, remaster, etc., you can enter that information here. Mix information entered here will automatically update the track title with the mix information when delivered to the store.
- Do not enter "Original Mix", "Original Version", "Album Version", "Original", or any other mix information that signifies a standard version. Any track that is not a remix is deemed to be an original mix by store standards.
- Do not add Producer credits to this field.
6. Audio File - If you previously used the bulk uploader, you should be able to find the correct audio file listed in the dropdown menu. Otherwise, you can select the 'Upload Track' button to load the track into our system. Once the upload is complete, you should be able to find the track in the dropdown menu. Please note, our system accepts WAV and FLAC file formats. Our system does not accept mp3 format. Full details on our audio specifications can be found here.
7. Song Length - This will automatically populate and show the length of the audio file you have selected. If the track length looks wrong, you may want to double-check your files.
8. Primary Track Artist - Each performing artist must be listed for the track. If there are multiple artists on the track, click the 'Add Primary' button to add an additional artist.
- Do not list multiple artists in a single entry.
- If your artist is comprised of more than one artist name such as "Hall & Oates" please review correct Compound Artist naming conventions.
See more information about Primary Artist guidelines.
9. Featuring Artists - Typically a featured artist is an artist that is a guest to the release and is not associated with the main performing artist/band, oftentimes they are a guest on the track as a vocalist or instrumental soloist. For example, the song "Get Lucky" is by the band Daft Punk (Primary) and featuring Pharrell Williams. Full guidelines on featuring artists can be found here. When you select a Featuring artist from the drop-down, the track title is automatically renamed to Song Name (feat. artist name) at partners that support that type of title formatting.
10. Remixer - If an artist has remixed a song by another artist, they are not considered Primary or Featuring. The original performing artist remains listed as a Primary Artist. If the original track had a Primary and/or a Featuring artist then those roles stay the same on the remixed track and a Remix Artist is added to said track. The Mix Version field will populate with this information once a Remixer is selected.
11. Contributors - Producers, songwriters, mastering engineers, side musicians, composers, and other roles that you would find in traditional liner notes are the types of roles supported in this field. While a band or group will be listed as a primary artist you can list the individual members of bands or groups using these roles (ie. Drummer, Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, etc.). Very few partners currently support these roles (notably Spotify & Apple), but we encourage you to fill out as much information as possible when creating releases. Some genres such as Jazz require the use of these roles.
More partners may utilize these rules in the future to properly submit a release on their platform. Adding these roles to your releases now may have benefits for how your release displays in the future.
12. Primary Genre - Select the genre that broadly covers the track.
13. Secondary Genre - Choose the sub-genre that more specifically categorizes the track. The secondary genre options will change based on which primary genre is selected. If your genre is not listed then select the genre that next most closely matches your preferred genre.
14. Recording Year - Enter the year the master recording was finalized.
15. ISRC Code - The ISRC code or international standard recording code is a series of numbers used to identify a specific recording version of a track.
- If this is a new track, you can select 'Generate ISRC code' and we will provide you with a code.
- If you already have a code or are re-releasing the track in an album, you can input your code in the field.
16. Price Tier - Track pricing can be set at 3 tiers - Front/Mid/Back, this is the pricing for a purchase of just that individual track. Typically on most partners this translates to:
- Front - $1.29
- Mid - $0.99
- Back - $0.69
Some partners don't allow custom pricing, so your pricing may vary between partners. If you need more information, see our track and album and price tiers.
17. ˜ - If you select 'Album Only' for a track, that means that a customer has to purchase the entire album to receive that specific track. They will be unable to purchase that track by itself. Not all partners provide this feature and is mainly available on iTunes.
- Any Track longer than 10 minutes will be marked as 'Album Only' by the Digital Service Providers automatically and may also reflect a higher price for the track. We are unable to change this on our end.
18. Does this song contain vocals? - If the track contains vocals you must select 'Yes' otherwise choose 'No'.
- Singing, vocal loops, spoken word, or conversation are all considered vocals.
- A dance song with a single vocal sample of “Stop!” would be considered having vocals in English.
19. Language of vocals - This option will appear if you selected 'yes' for vocals on your track. Simply pick the language of the audio in the track. If there are multiple languages used, enter the language that is most prominently used on the track.
20. Lyricist - Provide the name of the lyricist performing in the track. If you are using cleared sampled content and there are no records of the lyricist's name, you can enter "Unknown Lyricist".
21. Lyrics - Enter the lyrics for the track in the blank field provided. This must contain only the actual lyrics; it can't have headers or other information (ie. you cannot enter Chorus, Hook, Verse, Outro, Intro, etc). Do not write "x3" "x10" etc. for repeated lines, they must each be written in full. Please see our full guidelines on lyrics.
22. Explicit Status - If your release has explicit language or art, you'll need to check the explicit content checkbox. More information on explicit tagging can be found here.
23. DJ Mix - If your release is a continuous mix/DJ mix, you'll need to select this checkbox, otherwise, leave it blank. DJ Mixes submitted must be all original content that is sampled. Each track sampled must be added as a track to the release in addition to the full continuous mix, mixed tracks must have "Mixed" added to the end of the track version. Add "DJ Mix" to the release version (from Step 2) for any releases containing a DJ Mix.
Step 4 (Partners/Stores)
During this final step, you will select the partners (stores) that the release will be sent to and when it will go live.
1. Exclusive Release (optional) - Here you can select a specific partner to receive the release and go live before other partners. If you check this box, the next line will have a dropdown menu to select which partner will get the exclusive release. You must also select what date the exclusive release will start, and how long it will be exclusive. The general release date for an exclusive release should be set for a time after the exclusive period ends. Due to certain partner restrictions, an exclusive period must always be in increments of 2 weeks (4, 6, 8 weeks, etc.) ahead of the general release date.
2. General Release Date - This is the date when your release will go live on all selected partners. Please try to submit 4-6 weeks before the exclusive, pre-order, or general release date (whichever comes first for your release) in order to avoid any delays on partner sites. This is also recommend if you wish to submit for playlist pitching. We cannot guarantee the release will be live on time if submitted with less than 18 days of the release date.
3. Pre-Order Date (optional) - A pre-order is an option that allows you to make your release available for sale before the official release date. Customers can see the release name, art, and tracks before the release. Using this feature, your fans can lock in their purchase of your release before it even comes out. This article explains more about Pre-Orders and how to use them. If a Pre-Order date is chosen, your release will be available for Pre-Order on all download sites, you cannot choose specific stores. Pre-order is not available for streaming sites.
4. Enable Amazon Previews on Pre-Orders (optional) - If you have selected a pre-order date, you can check this box to enable audio previews for your pre-order on Amazon. If this is unchecked, consumers will be unable to preview your pre-order.
5. Territory - You can select 'Worldwide' unless you have specific regions in which you need to send your content. If you do not select Worldwide, you will need to pick each individual region you want the release to be sent to. Keep in mind, certain regions may not host your content due to language or other restrictions. Some partners may not support releases that do not have worldwide rights and may hide the release if worldwide is not selected.
6. Selecting Partners - You can use the pre-made lists at the top to select different sets of partners or select all partners. Alternatively, you can scroll through the partner list and pick each individual partner you wish to send to. Be sure to check that all desired partners are selected on this step. Once done, save your release before continuing to the final review.
Submit Final Review
Once you have completed all four steps, you can proceed to a final review of the release.
Once you click 'Submit', you'll see all of the details for the release one last time. When you're ready, click the 'Submit' button at the bottom of the final review to submit your release for delivery.
Congratulations, you're finished with creating your release! Not that bad, right? Once your release hits the first live date (exclusive, pre-order, or release date), you'll receive a notification that the release is going live on stores.