"Where can I promote my music?"Theoretically, the internet has lowered the barriers and removed the gatekeepers to public attention so it should be easy to get your music heard, right? Well not so fast, in the same way that amplified instruments opened up the possibility of small bands playing to large crowds, the web has opened up music marketing and promotion to pretty much every man and his dog. To help steer you through this seemingly endless sea of music marketing services, I am compiling a list of some of the better resources out there - divided into two categories:
Promote Your Music To Fans
Perhaps you weren't expecting this one at the top of the list. You probably know many musicians, most famously Amanda Palmer, have used crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and indiegogo to raise funds for recording projects, videos, and tours, but what you may not have realized is what an amazing marketing opportunity this method can be for promoting your act and your music.
In exchange for their financial support, you can provide fans with anything from digital downloads, CDs, DVDs, and vinyl, to merchandise, tickets to shows, specially signed items, and even credits on your CD. The thing is to ensure there is a basic level of support priced as low as the crowdfunding site will allow - even if it's just $1. The reason is not only because you get the contact details of your supporters, but also because these people will become your greatest fans and evangelists - they are literally invested in you and your music!
iTunes - Amazon MP3 - eMusic - Spotify - Rhapsody - Google Play etc.
As an independent artist it can be difficult, and in many cases simply not allowed, for you to place your music with any of the major online music stores or discovery services. To get your music accepted by these companies you need to go through a digital distributor - here are a few to get you started:
During 2013 Bandcamp went from being a place where musicians would set up accounts to try and sell music, to something more of a real contender in the online music sales and discovery arena. I believe it now has the potential to compete with some of the major services moving forward. They are attracting more fans and consumers than before as reflected by their front page which is now more targeted towards fans - and they now have fan profiles as well as band profiles.
Here is an overview of what they have to offer now:
- A growing base of real music fans
- The ability to set your own prices + offer discount coupons - or give your music away free
- Provide high quality lossless audio formats as well as lossy MP3s etc.
- Offer your music in both physical and digital formats
- A Facebook app so you can sell directly from your fanpage
- Create and manage your email list
As well as the main forum linked to above, there are many subreddits (sub forums) suited to just about every kind of music. You can connect with music fans directly, or with other musicians and producers to get feedback on your work. They even have a subreddit called ListenToThis where promoting your music is actively encouraged.
An added benefit is that posts which are voted up get the 'nofollow' attribute removed from their links - this means they help the webpage you're linking to to rank better in search engines. As with all forms of social media, you will get the best results by participating and joining in the conversation, rather than simply trying to blast out links to your songs - and if you spam you'll get banned.
Music Promotion Sites for the Music Industry
TAXI are an independent A&R company who screen music on behalf of major and minor recording labels, publishing companies, film and television producers, video game developers, and just about any kind of organization where music can be placed.
Any of you who have gone down the path of sending unsolicited demos out into the music business will know what a time consuming, expensive, and sometimes soul-destroying process that can be. One of the huge benefits of a service like this is that whenever your music reaches a decision maker, it does so as a solicited request.
I've had the good pleasure to sit down with Taxi's CEO, Michael Laskow, and discuss the business side of music over a martini or two, and I can tell you he really knows his stuff.
I've also had dealings with UK based John Waterman over the years and his dedication is unwavering - he's been producing his monthly newsletter for 24 years now!
Every month his subscribers receive a list of opportunities from Recording, Publishing, Licensing, and Management companies located around the world with an emphasis on the UK and USA. You don't really need an explanation from me - he provides a free sample copy as well as a list of some of the latest opportunities via his website.