Let's jump right into this!
Before anything else make sure you have a totally appropriate Gmail (i.e.YourBandName@Gmail.com)
- This is #1 for a reason
- They sell physical CD’s and mp3’s
- They digitally distribute your album or single to iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and Google among many other music retailers
- They have a halfway decent blog which is generally very helpful to the independent artist
- They offer sync licensing through Rumblefish (which some artists can go either way on)
- Generally Rumblefish can be a very good thing for an artist who is not yet able to monetize videos on youtube or for an artist who has lots of fan-made music videos that they wish to monetize.
Sell Your Music Worldwide | CD Baby http://members.cdbaby.com/sell-music
2. iTunes: (See #1)
- It doesnt matter if you hate the iTunes platform.
- It doesn’t matter if you think compression is horrible.
- It doesn’t matter if you think iTunes killed your cat.
- Get. Your. Freaking. Music. On. iTunes.
- Above all, GET REVIEWS!
- As far as payout rates go, they are among the best and more importantly, they pay very quick in comparison to other retailers.
3. Amazon: (See #1)
- This is super important, make an actual Amazon customer account and as soon as humanly possible create an Amazon Seller account.
Amazon Seller Central https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/homepage.html
- Sell your physical CD! Make it available on Amazon yesterday. This is why UPC’s (Universal Product Codes) are important.
- You can also use “Create Space” which is a service that will create your cd’s on-demand.
Distribute and Sell Your CD through Amazon.com, eStore or as Amazon MP3 https://www.createspace.com/Products/CD/
This could easily be #1 for a multitude of reasons. Yes I know you know about YouTube but there are some key things here that a lot of indies miss
- Of course, make a music video for your single. I don’t care if your mom shoots it. Make one.
- Make official lyric videos for all your songs
- Upload live performances
- Upload backstage, on-the-road, in-the-studio or interview style clips
- Aim for one upload per week at the very least
- Build your channel, share on social media
- Sharing is important because the sooner you hit a certain threshold of viewership the sooner you can monetize your channel if you wish
- The thing that really stands out about what indies are missing is DESCRIBING and TAGGING!
LEARN HOW TO PROPERLY DESCRIBE AND TAG YOUR VIDEOS FOR GOOGLE KEYWORDS!
I know, the caps is a bit obnoxious, but….do it people. Read up on it now. Like…now.
- Make a listener account, read the fine print, throw caution to the wind and submit
- Seriously, do your research and be prepared to get rejected a few times.
6. Spotify: (See #1).
- The key here is to be semi-active in the community by making and sharing playlists
- Also be sure to submit your spotify song to popular playlists by well established hosts
- They offer mailing list hosting services for up to 500 addresses for free!
- You can use analytics to gauge who is opening your mail and how many are clicking
- This can help you trim the fat of uninterested “fans” to make room for actual fans who open, click and act
- Email your fans once a month at the most or once a season at least
- Reverbnation also has a charting system that makes you feel proud to be #1 in East Bumblewood, but generally you can use this charts system to discover other local bands, perform together and cross-promote semi-similar genres since you are on the same chart.
- Yes, I know you updated your status and told all your friends to buy your music
- Yes, I kow your band made a facebook page and posted about the upcoming show
- The important thing here is facebook’s search engine. Use the search engine to look for “Groups” that are oriented around what you do
- For instance, go to facebook right now and search for “Original Music”
- Then click on the “Groups” tab
- A list of all relevant groups will appear and voila you can join for free
- The big mistake I see here all the time is when the band joins, posts once saying “buy my music” and then goes inactive.
- It is important to approach the group with respect, interact with existing members and foster a sense of mutual interaction rather than constant spam-like shameless promotion
A vast, endless and ever expanding sea of silly hashtags but you should have a presence here.
Tweet once a day. Talk about the weather. Talk about getting new strings. Talk about the new song you are writing.
*But for the love of god and everything that is holy Don’t use more than 3 hash tags, in fact start by using one relevant already existing hashtag
As you progress, build your following and fully understand the hashtag system you may consider adding more hashtags but seriously, I don’t think there is anything more annoying, visually unappealing, potentially counterproductive and ultimately confusing than #Rock #Original #Music #Independent #Unsigned #Garageband #Single #NewMusicMonday oh and….RE-TWEET!
There is a whole community there, but honestly have found this site to be one of the best options for uploading tons of music you may NOT want everyone to hear.
Upload your last rehearsal, your acoustic demos, your old recordings or live recordings.
The key here is to create a huge yet potentially sharable catalog of music that utilizes a high quality music player.
For example, you are auditioning a new band member and you need to share the songs with them somehow. Sure you can send them mp3’s for free in an email, but have always found it is way better to rack up plays and drive traffic to a central location. Plus, if certain songs in your catalog got ‘leaked’ and became popular you could easily capitalize on that listenership, release the track for real and share your success story :)
11. YOUR WEBSITE:
Last but certainly not least.
Your 10 year old brother can make a website these days so you really ran out of excuses 5 years ago about why your band doesnt have one yet.
It can be as simple as a music player from reverbnation, an embedded video from youtube, a short bio description, contact email and a paypal link to buy your CD.
It could also be super duper high tech with a lot of bells and whistles but whichever you choose, choose something.
*There are a great many other ways to market, promote and sell your music online which will be covered in future articles BUT! make sure you have all these channels lined up like ducks in a row.
*The very last and free piece of advice is this: Keep your sense of humour at all times but take this seriously.
The music business is a huge, evolving, unforgiving beast and you constantly have to adapt, stay ahead of the curve, read minds, make predictions, take chances and above all retain some degree of artistic integrity!
- James Miller