This is a guest post by Mark Snyder of Weekend Warrior Worship: a network of independent artists, songwriters, music industry pros, and like-minded supporters who strive to do one thing well – source the church with great, bible centered worship songs.
Today, Mark Snyder talks about the the Universe of Sharing Possibilities
Now that you have a recording, the fun begins! You are now moving out of the world of creating your masterpiece and into the realm of promoting. As an indie artist, this is an exciting and challenging time. You may be starting from a fan base gained from playing concerts, or you may be unknown. No matter where you are starting, there are many, many ways to share your music. We will give an overview of them here, and provide more details as we continue our series. The primary means of sharing your music include these major categories:
- Aggregators. These are services that take your music and distribute it to digital music stores such as ITunes, Amazon, or Spotify. Most online platforms such as CD-Baby, TuneCore, Nimbit, or Indie Heaven provide aggregator services as well. There are also ways to buy just aggregator services from companies such as Catapult Distribution. The thing to remember here is that you need pay recurring payments for aggregator services. Getting your music to digital distribution is readily available for a one-time fee (see Catapult link above). For an EP or CD its’s under $50 to do this.
- Branded Online Presence. There are many choices to share your music online. There are great free services such as Reverb Nation where you can upload your songs and establish somewhat of an artist platform that can serve as a backend to a Facebook page, widgets on your own web site, etc. The more mature ones help you manage email lists, press reviews, concert dates, etc. Some are free and some have a small monthly fee. One thing I recommend is to establish your own online presence that you can brand. Do not make your online presence oriented solely around a 3rd party site such as Facebook, Bandcamp, etc. You can use something like these or Reverb Nation to power some of the back end of your web site, but try to establish your own branding, your own platform, as the central point of your products and ministry, and link other things from there. Try to make your music available in as many places as possible. Have a Youtube channel with your videos. Have a Facebook page, which can automatically be set up from Reverb Nation or other artist platforms. Have a Twitter feed.
- Radio. Major Christian radio is a difficult hill to climb, requiring expensive radio promotion services. However there are many smaller stations and online stations that like to play indie music and will do it. You can build a database and go after this yourself, or there are low cost indie-friendly radio promoters such as CRW that will get your music onto these indie friendly stations. One caveat is – have a goal for your radio promotion. If your goal is to minister in concert, be prepared to follow up with people that add your music to take advantage of ministry opportunities. There is little point in spending promotional dollars without a plan for what you will do if the promotion succeeds.
- Online Forums and Sites. There are many, many sites that allow you to establish an account and to upload music to them. IMRadio, SongVault, SongShare, are just a few. Look around. For instance, we were able to list Weekend Warrior Worship on a site called Gijams.com, because founder Mark Snyder is an Air Force Veteran. This may seem small, but you never know how getting any visibility might lead to a key connection. There are also ‘music industry’ sites like NewReleaseTuesday.com that will allow Indie Artists to list their music there, and, if it is good, you might also be able to get a feature spot there as a ‘new artist’.
- Reviews. Once you have a record worth reviewing, try to get online reviewers to listen to it and write reviews. You may be surprised how much essentially free exposure you can get this way. Build up a network of personal relationships with people whom you can help and who might be able to help you. Music is a people business.
There are tons of details we will add as we go over these topics in more detail. But, one thing I want to leave you with – do not initiate any of the above until you have a solid, professional recording done that you are convinced will stand on its own. This is especially true of any venue where your music will be reviewed or compared against ‘professionally recorded’ music. Some things, like Reverb Nation, have an expectation that rough recordings might be shared, but this is not true for anything where you expect reviews, or expect the general public to ‘like’ your stuff. You do not want to sink into indie music mediocrity, so the best way to avoid this is to not put mediocrity out there. If you are in an earlier stage, refer to our post on song sharing and getting feedback. That is where you need to spend time until you are ready for a bigger platform.