From Audio File to Spotify

A question I got a while back was how someone would take a piece they’ve been working on and actually go through the process of putting it up on Spotify/iTunes/etc. I’d like to take this post to share how I’ve personally gone about doing this!

The song I am releasing is not up on streaming platforms yet–it’s currently under review to make sure it abides by all copyright laws, etc.–but the process for getting to this point was actually a lot easier than you might think it would be! So here we go: my step-by-step guide to putting something on Spotify:

  1. The first thing you’re going to need to do is figure out what third-party website you want to use in order to manage your release. There are a lot of good options including songtradr, TuneCore, etc. but these all require you to pay a subscription fee. I personally recommend using a website called Routenote ( Routenote has the option to use a free version or a paid version of their service. The free version allows you to keep 85% of your royalties, while the paid version allows you to keep 100%. If you don’t really care about the monetization of your work, then the free version of Routenote is a great plan for you.
  2. Creating a Routenote account was the second step for me. It lets you log in through Soundcloud, Twitter, Facebook, Google, or by manually signing up, so there are tons of options! I’ve found for some reason if you use an incognito window there are fewer glitches while signing up/logging in.
  3. Once you’ve created your Routenote account, you’ll be able to create a new release. You’ll give your release a name–this is the name of the album. My song is just a single, so the album was the title of the song, but if you’re releasing a multi-track EP or full-length album, you’ll have to come up with a title!
  4. After you’ve submitted your title, Routenote will send you to a page where you’ll have to edit four different things: Album Details, Add Audio, Add Artwork, and Manage Stores.
    1. In Album Details you’ll provide artist details, titles, any copyright info, etc.
    2. Add Audio is where you submit the actual audio files for your release. These have to be uploaded in a very specific format. The website only accepts MP3 or FLAC files–though this is easy to convert in Apple Music if you’re using a Mac like me!
      1. In Apple Music, go to “Music in the upper lefthand side of your screen.” Click preferences, and then “files.” You should see ‘import settings.
      2. Once you’re in import settings, under the settings menu, click “custom.”
      3. Set your stereo bit rate to 320 kbps and your sample rate to 44.100 kHz.
      4. Click okay.
      5. Now go back to your music library, click on the song you want to convert, go to “File,” “convert,” and “create mp3 version”
      6. Music will create an MP3 version of your song, which you can then drag and drop to your desktop, and upload directly to Routenote.
    3. Add Artwork is where you can upload the artwork you want to show up as your album cover. This must be at least 3,000 by 3,000 pixels, so make sure your image is big enough!
    4. Manage Stores is where you choose what platforms you want your release to be available on. I am personally only releasing to Spotify, iTunes/Apple Music, and TikTok, but there are dozens of other options available!
  5. Once all of this information is filled in and correct, you are able to confirm your release. The website will put it under review, and once this is complete, it will be sent to streaming platforms within 14 days!


That’s really it! Not too hard at all. I hope this helped, and if anyone ends up releasing some of your own work, I’d love to give it a listen!

Art Biz with Liz: Shaping Creative Lineage

This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of attending an event called “Shaping Creative Lineage: A Poetry Reading + Writing Workshop with Carlina Duan.” The event, presented by Multi Ethnic Student Affairs (MESA), featured Asian-American poet and educator Carlina Duan. While I hadn’t read one of Ms. Duan’s poems until this past year, it was wonderful to hear her read from her collections I Wore My Blackest Hair (Little A, 2017) and Alien Miss (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2021). The event was a great opportunity to learn more about what inspired her poems and have a conversation on writing about our own experiences.

In I Wore My Blackest Hair, Duan’s poems tackle topics related to ancestry, identities, and belonging. They also reflect on themes of racial consciousness and growing up. Duan’s second collection of poems, Alien Miss, reflects on the experience of growing up as a diasporic, bilingual daughter of immigrants, introducing tales of both love and survival. It was exciting to hear from both of these collections, especially since Alien Miss came out just this year.

I promise this blog post isn’t just an advertisement, though my excitement may come off as such. The event made me consider what it means to write about our identities. It also encouraged me to reflect on the power our creative action holds. For artists like Duan, the question of responsibility is raised. What pressures and influences do we have in creating art when existing representation may be limited? For art so language-based, how can we create care and active thinking in the language we use within our communities? These questions raise more questions regarding what we owe to ourselves and our own vulnerability.

While I still enjoy it, early literature of Asian Americans is often wrapped around imagery of chopsticks and white rice. These concepts alone don’t capture the complexity that is the human experience, and people like Duan are disrupting some of these images through their art. I was impressed with how she uses poetry as an expansion of historical archives, infusing her words with other texts and lineages. When it came to “creative lineage,” however, I was a little confused by what she meant. I assumed it must refer to our ancestral line, the history that gave way to who we are today. I learned that creative lineage is not just our ancestors, but the people who inspire you. These individuals could be people who came before you, but it can also be your friends.

To generate discussion on the topic during the event, Duan raised several questions: Who are you accountable to? Who lives in your creative lineage? Who are the thinkers, makers, and people who you carry with you each time you enter a room for solace, support, community? When I sit down to write, I often consider myself alone with my thoughts. But that’s not necessarily true. When I write, there are often a chorus of people in the room with me, hundreds of memories and experiences impacting who I am and what I create. Creative lineage is talking about these people as well as the spaces I live in and am descended from.

I’ve discussed my unfamiliarity with poetry before on Arts, Ink. I generally consider myself a beginner when it comes to interpreting and writing poetry; however, I still hold an appreciation for the medium it provides in exploring the complexities of identity, emotions, and experiences we hold. I also believe the lessons and questions raised in Duan’s workshop—including the concept of creative lineage—can be applied to all kinds of art, not just poetry. Moving forward, I’d like to consider this idea of creative lineage in my own work. Perhaps you will, too.

When You Don’t Know What to Write

Often times I find myself in the mood to write a song, but unable to think of a single lyric. Honestly it’s one of the most frustrating feelings because the songwriting bug only bites me every once in a while, and when I’m in the right mood to hash out a new song, I want to jump on the writing train and ride it all the way to the last line. But this can be super difficult to do if you don’t have any specific inspiration.

Because of this, I’ve come up with a list of ideas and topics over the years which really help me focus and usually can provide enough momentum to get the ball rolling. I figured I might as well share a few of them here!

  1. Treat the song you’re trying to write like a diary. Fill it with the things that seem to personal to share with the entirety of the world. Usually the more personal something is, the stronger you will feel about it, and the greater investment you’ll be able to put into the song. You don’t have to use specific names or places from your personal life, but real experiences are a lot easier to write about than fake ones.
  2. On that note: DON’T try to write about something you know nothing about. If you’ve never experienced a heartbreak, it’s going to be very hard to write a breakup song, etc.
  3. DO write about things that you are passionate about. This can be anything from your career, to a specific hobby, to a charity you have an emotional investment in. I remember when I was younger my mom sent me an article about this tradition overseas where people would go hunt dolphins for sport for a week or something like that (I was one of those weird pre teen girls obsessed with dolphins for a while) and I ended up writing a song inspired by how sick and sad that story made me.
  4. DO build up from the bottom. Let’s say you think of one really awesome line for a song–maybe it’s the hook; maybe it’s the end of the chorus. Perhaps you just think of the title. Sometimes one good line is all you need to start with. Think of the song like a puzzle: you have one key piece, and now you have to fill in the picture around it.
  5. Building from the bottom can also start with an image instead of a line. I wrote a song in high school that I ended up calling “Mason Jars,” which was born from a picture I saw on Pinterest of a group of girls sitting in a field with a bunch of mason jars and those little fairy lights that were trendy for a while. I ended up combining that image with a personal experience I had at Relay for Life that also used mason jars, and the song became an anthem about remembering things of the past but looking forward with hope.

Basically, there is no RIGHT way to write a song. There are so many different approaches you can utilize. If you get stuck, don’t sweat it. Everyone experiences writer’s block at some point or another. Just take a step back, and don’t try to force it. Try thinking about the song in a different way. Maybe just focus on one image or one line. Establish a personal connection. Whatever works for you!

The Poetry Corner – 24 March 2021

[To read an introduction to this column, please see the first paragraph of the initial post here]


This week’s post is a little different from the last few. Featured is one of my favorite poems that for some reason embedded itself in my mind and has never left. I wrote a short essay analyzing the poem, and by sharing it I hope to give a small taste of how poems can work, even really short ones like this one. I hope you enjoy it!


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A New Project

I thought I would share the lyrics to the song I wrote about a month ago which I am trying to polish enough to put on Spotify. I’m currently looking for someone to collab with who will sing the guy’s part I wrote over the bridge, so the progress has been stalled for the present moment, but here it is!

The title is under construction, but I’m currently calling it “i used 2 sleep with my phone”


(I thought I saw you last night)

I’m setting a reminder in my phone for early May (across the bar, yeah you caught my eye)
saying if I’m still talking to you it’s time to go our separate ways (I went home with another guy)
yeah it’s harsh, kinda cold (you were never mine)
but I best do what I’m told (you were never mine)
cause now you’ve got her to hold, hold you (you were never mine)

thinking back on everything that’s happened; I’m feeling kinda down
all those late nights that I stayed up hoping you would come around
I would sleep with my phone
ringer on, all alone
wondering if you took her home again

you’re not mine to lose
but if I could choose
the place that you’d have is by my side
I know that it’s wrong
to feel so in love
with someone who’ll never change his mind
but I can’t excuse my feelings for you tonight

we had a good long while of talking every day
and I’d hang up with a smile; you made colors out of gray
but pack it up, signing off
won’t wait around for your love
now you’ve got her and that’s enough for you

you’re not mine to lose
but if I could choose
the place that you’d have is by my side
I know that it’s wrong
to feel so in love
with someone who’ll never change his mind
but I can’t excuse my feelings for you tonight

wake up faster (I thought I saw you last night)
make it better (across the bar with some other guy)
move in closer (true you were never mine, but when he held you tight)
remember (I said “I’m fine;” I lied)
all those evenings (tell me girl, did I hurt you?)
I spent feeling (I know I did, but what did I do?)
things I thought you (and when you took him home, I called a girl I know)
were also feeling (couldn’t be alone, would’ve lost control)

but it’s okay (now I’m with her instead)
I know you better now (but you’re still in my head)
I won’t wait (I bite my tongue and try to say, anything except you’re name)
not gonna wait around (would you ever wait for me?)

you’re not mine to lose (all those evenings) (I thought I saw you last night)
but if I could choose (I spent feeling) (Cross the bar with some other guy)
the place that you’d have is by my side (things I thought you were also feeling) (true you were never mine, but when he held you tight, I said “I’m fine;” I lied, can’t you see I’m crying?)
I know that it’s wrong (but it’s okay) (tell me girl did I hurt you?)
to feel so in love (I know you better now) (I know I did but what did I do?)
with someone who’ll never change his mind (I won’t wait) (when you took him home, I called a girl I know, couldn’t be alone, would’ve lost control)
but I can’t excuse my feelings for you (I’m so confused; I know I used you)
no I can’t excuse these feelings for you (I never knew that I would lose you)
no I can’t excuse my feelings for you tonight (how can I prove I’ll always choose you?)

(can we go back to last night?)