Tag Archive: Digital Music Distribution

  1. Is DIY the Way To Go?

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    Many artists are turning to labels in the hope they’ll become the superstars they dream of. But sometimes going for a label isn’t the best option. That’s what singer-songwriter Milow thought before he jumpstarted his career. He made the very wise decision to go DIY on everything. This is not only smart, this is also very positive for your career.

    Is DIY the Way To Go?

    Milow is pretty small compared to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. They started off DIY with the knowledge of how powerful the internet can be.

    The Good

    Distribution: You can use an online distributor to distribute your music to the digital and physical stores. This means that you maintain your rights as a musician and get a lot more income than in a label deal with royalties.

    Direct to Fan: You can also build a very close relationship with your fans. Just like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis believed that the power of the internet would be strong enough to build a fanbase. They connected to the fans through YouTube and Tumblr, which was their ‘label’ they used to do their marketing.

    Crowdfunding: This is connected to the last point above. If you’re willing to give your fans an exclusive view of what you’re doing, you can invite them to your crowdfunding website. Just don’t forget that crowdfunding (like Kickstarter, GoFundMe…) isn’t a charity. It’s a pre-sale of the actual work you’re going to deliver.

    Marketing: This can be a good and a bad thing. You have everything in hand if you do it DIY. In other words, you decide what you put out there and have full control of what you want to do. But this also means you have to invest into your own brand. Bear in mind that labels will see this as an ‘advance’ and would ask for the money back at one point.

    Making cover songs can help your career. Milow made a cover of ‘Ayo Technology’ by 50 Cent in 2008 on his acoustic guitar with a videoclip along with it. The Belgian artist got his international breakthrough and got in the top charts in like Finland, Italy, Germany and even Canada.

    Music Rights: With a label they’ll ask you to sign a contract where you have to part ways with your music (giving a piece of your music rights to them). They do this so they can distribute your music etc. You don’t have to do this when you go DIY.

    The Bad

    Funding (for recordings, videoclips…): If you are signed to a label, they will have a budget to promote you or to record your songs. You don’t have this when you go DIY. But then again, this is an opportunity to be very creative with your crowdfunding page.

    Marketing: DIY is a great way to go, but it doesn’t mean that marketing will be any easier. A label has the right connections to get your music to new potential fans. But, the thing about labels is that they won’t (most of the times) sign an artist that doesn’t already have an existing fanbase. If you look at the majors doing marketing campaigns, it doesn’t really feel human and feels more like a well oiled machine.

    Is DIY Right for Me?

    Labels are there to make it easier, but it’s really a choice you have to think about.

    Do you want to invest hours and hours into thinking of strategies to get your music to your old and new potential fans, and probably invest tons of your own money?

    Or do you want to get stuck in advances and probably get no royalties for the first years of your career?

    This doesn’t mean that all labels work the same way, but you have to be careful what you sign in regards of your music.

  2. 8 Tips to Get Your Music Heard

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    There are many ways in which you can get your music heard. This can be achieved through CD’s, radio, TV and many online distributors. Your music can be uploaded to different online platforms free of charge such as YouTube, Soundcloud and Vimeo. However getting your music heard through the mass amounts of bands and artists that are also online is more challenging. The likes of social media, radio and live streaming are useful to reach your target audience and keep followers updated.

    Get your music heard on social media through ad campaigns; prices for this will vary depending on which social media site you wish to advertise on. However, this will be seen by more people which will let your name and music to be known. Another option for getting your music heard online is through self-promotion, though this may more time consuming.

    Get Your Music Heard

    Get Your Music Heard Online

    Here are some few tip to help make your music heard through the noise of the online community.

    1. Keep track of trends on social media so you’re relatable to your target audience. Using trends will also mean your name and music are seen by more people.

    2. Collaborating with an artist that creates similar music in the same genre, will let you grow your fan base.

    3. Ensure all the songs you upload have the appropriate tags that relate to your music. This will allow people to find your content easily. It will also allow people who like your genre of music to find your songs more easily.

    4. Post regularly to each of your your social media platforms. This keeps your audience engaged and also helps you gain more followers. You can also let your followers know that you’re creating new music and keep them up to date with your live dates.

    5. Create a hype prior to the release of a single or album. You can do this through a countdown to the release date and posting album art or snippets of a music video etc.

    6. Competitions to win merchandise, tickets or songs etc, allows you to gain more interest for your music. Try asking people to like and share your content, for a chance to win and creating more interest and grow your fan base at the same time.

    7. Contact online radio, traditional radio or university radio stations etc. to play your music. Ensure all songs are edited for radio, meaning no swearing or offensive content is included. Radio campaigns are also effective if you wish your music to be promoted further.

    8. Live streams mean people can listen to you or your band play live, giving them a more personal performance. Live streaming will also allow people to hear your music instantly and allow them to give you feedback. Remember to post on your social media platforms prior to ensure people know that you’re doing a live-stream.

    Online promotion is key to get your music heard. Social media, live steaming and radio channels are popular and can be low cost options to get your music in front of a larger audience.

  3. 4 Tips to Get Out of Your Songwriting Rut

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    Songwriting is truly an art form. Capturing a story using words and music and portraying that to an audience can be difficult, especially those beginning moments when you are faced with that blank page staring back at you! But there are a few things to think of that may make it a little easier…

    4 Tips to Get Out of Your Songwriting Rut

     

    Think about it a little less literally

    For example, a song is like a conversation. There are certain elements that dictate how this conversation is played out and perceived. You know the words you want to say but the way you say it can change how it is perceived:

    • You may have lyrics written down and can’t decide what melody to go for: If you’re in a conversation and saying something upsetting, you wouldn’t laugh about it… If you’ve written sad lyrics it may not make sense to sing in a minor key if you want to get that feeling across!
    • You may have a melody but can’t think of lyrics: if you’re in a happy environment such as a celebration for a friend, you wouldn’t want to bring that down by starting an argument with someone. The melody is like the environment… how does the melody make you feel? Channel that into words to figure out what topic suits the melody.

    Songwriting is a form of storytelling

    If you are telling a family member about something that happened to you at work, for example, that story might become more refined the next time to you tell it to someone. And over time, the more you talk about it, you find the parts of the story you don’t particularly need to be able to get to the point so you cut those out. Or you find that certain parts aren’t making sense so you add more detail. You can do this when songwriting by performing your song again and again. You’ll find parts of it that don’t quite sound or feel right and then you can change this. You won’t fully understand what direction the song is taking or needs to take until you sit and just belt it out! Nothing is final until it is recorded, so use the time to your advantage.

    To get your ideas flowing you need to get out of your head

    Try not to worry about what you think others want from you or what you think is right to do… what do you want to write about?! What is important to you? What is going on in your life that you can draw on? Also, don’t get bogged down in writing for particular genres, it’s okay to be diverse in your songwriting if that’s how you feel at the time. If you write for other people’s pleasure, not your own, then you may never be happy with what you’re doing. It’s important to be genuine in this industry… again, like a conversation, people value honesty and can spot when you’re not being genuine with them. So don’t take that negative energy into your songs.

    Always be songwriting

    Don’t restrict your songwriting time for when you decide one day that you’re going to sit down and write a song. Carry a small notepad with you everywhere you go! Some of your best ideas will probably come when you’re not actively thinking of song ideas e.g. in your sleep, when you’re inspired by other music, when you see something while walking in the street or driving around. Anywhere! If you have nowhere to note these ideas down then you could forget them as quickly as you’ve thought of them. It doesn’t have to be a full verse or chorus or full topic for a song, it could be a word or sentence or even an image. Just something that later you will look at and think “thank god I wrote that down! I know what to write about now…”

    There is no one way to write a song. Some people prefer to write melody first, some people prefer to write lyrics first. Some people do both at the same time! Find what works for you but remember that it’s okay to take your time and be selfish! Do what is right for you, not everyone else. Obviously there is the small exception of when you are writing a song to a brief, but songwriters that do this still have their own personality that they bring to the song. So it still stands… find your own voice or interpretation of a brief and bring that to any work you are doing!

     


    Written by Help For Bands, who provide free impartial advice and monthly music industry opportunities through their newsletter.

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