IntroductionIs it even enough to say that the business of music has changed? Over the past, independent songwriters have been entrusted with very delicate task: the full control of their future. However, using the Internet for Music Business can really be time-consuming. There are many resources out there, and to dive into the whole thing without proper selection would probably make a big mistake. Let’s try to use a little planning and decision-making to go through 7 main streams of Internet resources for Music.
The 3 main networking websites are MySpace (www.myspace.com), YouTube (www.youtube.com) and Facebook (www.facebook.com). MySpace is the only one among the 3 to have a specific community, and a format for musicians. YouTube is the video specialist, a good way to centralize your videos, and “embed” (integrate) them into your website’s pages, and your MySpace. Facebook seems to be more and more a local community site. Create a group for your band or subscribe to a group within your city, and post messages or send invites to all the group members at once.
This is the CD Baby arena (www.cdbaby.net to register your music and www.cdbaby.com to search for music.
However, two new competitors are worth some attention: SNOCAP (www.snocap.com%5B/url%29%20and%20Tunecore%20%28%5Burl%5Dwww.tunecore.com). CD Baby allows you to manage both physical and digital sales for a one-time fee of $35. They also have many agreements with other digital music companies such as iTunes, Rhapsody, Amazon, Napster… They will automatically, and on a regular basis, send your music to their partners for distribution. No additional fee for this service, but they keep 9% of what these companies pay them when they sell your music.
Tunecore doesn't have a physical distribution service, and focuses on digital. They charge $0.99 per track, $0.99 per store per album, and $19.98 per album per year storage and maintenance. You can also put up one song as a single for a flat price of $9.99 per year. It allows musicians to upload their songs, copy the html code provided, then plug their “Store” on their own website or MySpace. You don’t need to have a physical CD, or rely on other websites than your own to sell your CDs! It's useful to have a dedicated PayPal account to cash the sales.
The leaders in this category are Pandora (www.pandora.com) and Live365 (www.live365.com). With more and more listeners every month, it's becoming a very serious trend! There are still ongoing discussion regarding rights and royalties, but it will become a great way for songwriters to reach a new audience. Internet radio does not mean “less professional”, and these radios have their submission policies, and require good quality recordings. The concept behind Pandora is to allow you to create your own stations based on the music you like, live365 is a sort of group of stations of all genres.
The king in the EPK world is Sonicbids (www.sonicbids.com). You can email your professional contacts a well organized Electronic Press Kit (from Sonicbids’ website). They will have access to your bio, music, pictures, video, calendar, and of course your contact information. It is also a great source for songwriting contests, gigs opportunities, new compilations in need of independent artists… for which you can directly submit your EPK. Subscription is $5.95 per month, and all submissions to contests include a fee (anywhere from $2 to $30, depending on the promoter organizing the contest)
Let’s start with music. Song U (www.songu.com) is fully dedicated to songwriting. You can become a Platinum Member for $25.95 per month, and have access to literally everything available on the website: self-paced and interactive courses (all of them), coaching and song evaluation services (60% discount, $30 for 3 songs), personalized member profile, eligibility for “Best of SongU” etc… Berklee Online (www.berkleemusic.com) is a real music school online, with real Berklee faculties. It is quite expensive for the Internet, but more affordable than actually attending Berklee College.
TweakHeadz Lab (www.tweakheadz.com), is another source which includes a great guide to recoding success, from beginners to more advanced level.
Two very good sources for Music Business are Bob Baker’s Buzz Factor (www.bob-baker.com/buzz/index.html), and Music Biz Academy (www.musicbizacademy.com). Bob is the author of the bestseller “Guerilla Music Marketing”, and a specialist at “getting the word out” for independent musicians. David Nevue’s Academy is an incredible source of articles, tips, books… that everybody serious about promoting its own music should have in their browser’s favorites.
It is still very important to have a physical CD if you play live, but also for your promotion to the media.
CD duplication is the alternative if you want to start with a test of 100 CDs for example. Many companies offer these services, such as Disc Makers (www.discmakers.com). Disk Factory (www.diskfaktory.com) has a lot of duplication packages, and proposes a all-in-on service approach “Make-Promote-Sell” your CDs. Indeed, they created the “DFJams Store” which is another online store. Both of them also offer merchandising products (T-shirts, flyers, posters) and graphic design services.
If you like to write, you can use a blog to promote your music, or simply get your name out by publishing articles on your favorite music style, artists, etc.
Band Weblogs (http://bandweblogs.com) and Vox (www.sixapart.com/vox/tour) for example would allow you to do that. Blogger (www.blogger.com) has also a great interface.
If you want to streamline your blog activity (RSS feed) FeedBurner (www.feedburner.com) is a great free service to help you do that. You can also use a service like Social Poster (www.socialposter.com), if you want to post to all of the social sites.