To start releasing music out into the general public is a daunting task that can quickly fill you with doubt. Will anyone like my music? Are my songs ready? Will people even listen to it?
Once you have gotten over the initial hurdle of recording something you can stand by (check out our last post on home recording to get started on that) the next issue to worry about is where to find the best place to release your songs. Where on the internet will give you the best chance of reaching the most fans?
In fact since getting your music out into the big bad world and actually getting people to listen can be such a difficult thing we’ve decided to start a series of posts entitled “Open Exposure” to help you get noticed. Simple tips, industry tricks and various ways and means of gaining the most exposure for you and your music will all be explored in these posts.
To get going it’s good to start off small. So this first article is meant for those taking their initial steps at releasing music and who presumably are not yet expecting to make their living from their music. Things get a bit more complicated further down the line when you begin to look for distributors, or even record labels, while the issue of marketing and promotion could fill a book on its own.
But what is important when starting off is to simply get your music online and direct it to potential fans and other musicians who can give you feedback while also hopefully making a bit of money while you’re at it.
Here’s a few easy to use free, or at least affordable, web platforms you can utilise to get your music online and start promoting it:
Soundcloud: may be the most famous and straight forward way to get your music up quickly onto the net. You can take recordings from any digital source whether it’s your iphone or a full professional studio setup and everything in between. Then simply post your music on your soundcloud profile, which is free to set up. Once you’ve done that you can embed your tracks using their simple player onto your blog or website or share it on social media sites.
Bandcamp: Bandcamp connects you directly to potential fans and provides music players for your tracks in a similar manner to Soundcloud which you can embed elsewhere. What sets it apart from Soundcloud though is that here you are provided with a free platform to sell your music and merchandise to your audience. Well, pretty much free. The site charges a commission of 15% on digital sales and 10% on merchandise. If those rates sound fair to you then you can go ahead and design a stylish webpage and decide for yourself at what price you want to sell your wares.
Reverbnation: Reverbnation site gives you a great number of ways to promote your music on a lot of different sites as well as providing major store distribution, widgets, help with finding gigs, social media synchronisation, a store to sell your merch and music and more besides all this. The only problem is that after their free trial you will have to fork out $20 a month, though for all their features the price may be worth it.
Whiz-Bang: Whiz-Bang promises to release you from the burden of designing and managing your website. They do it all! You simply just email them with any changes that you may have. It’s a no hassle service focussed on helping you spend more time writing your music and less time on managing your website.
Nimbit: Nimbit is another major player in the Direct-to-fan movement. Like the majority of these sites they offer basic services for free and more if you pay a monthly fee. A cool feature on Nimbit though is their MyStore application which allows you to set up a storefront on your Facebook, blog or website where you can sell your music and merchandise. They also provide help with marketing and promotion.
Last.FM: Last.FM is essentially a music recommendation site which is great for connecting people to your sounds. With over 50 million artists on the site and millions of users logging on worldwide its biggest selling point is the international community you have at your disposal as soon as you sign up. You can upload your music onto your own profile and then keep a track on statistics about your popularity and the habits of your listeners to get a view into how people are enjoying your music.
These are just a few suggestions to get going, take a look at each and see which you like the look of, then start uploading your tracks!
Of course aside from all these sites don’t forget that right here on Frettie you can upload your own songs, whether it’s a new idea or the finished work, you can get valuable and quick feedback on it from others in the songwriting community.
Until next time...