Selling Your Music Online: How to pick a music distribution platform

Last week I talked about how there are 3 things you need BEFORE you get a website (check it out now). I promised I'd cover the 2nd one more in depth today: a place to sell and distribute your music.

There are tons of different platforms out there to sell and distribute your music, and they range in price and offerings. So how do you know which one to pick? 



3 Things To Do BEFORE You Build a Band Website

Everybody's all up in a tizzy about building a website for their band when they've literally just started practicing, but do you even need one?

I have totally made this mistake before: you freak out about where to host a site, what to put on it, and the music isn't even out yet. All that stress for something probably no one is going to visit, at least not yet.

So do you even need a website?

....eh, not really.

Or at least, not in the way you think. 

I may get some backlash for this because "THIS IS THE WAY WE'VE ALWAYS DONE THINGS", but you really don't need a website--especially if you're not a huge act.

Even a huge band like Foster The People barely has a website. They literally only have tour dates, their latest video, and links to stream their music. And really....isn't that all you need? What more could you possibly want that's not covered by something like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram?

A website is helpful as a repository for all of your "stuff": tour dates, videos, photos, and merch. Plus links to all your social sites. But you really don't need it to start out. Nobody's going to be banging down your door for your band website.

Instead, put your efforts into the following three places FIRST:

A place to put your contact and bio info.

This could literally just be your Instagram bio with an email address. Done. If you're wondering what to put in your bio, don't stress too much about it.

For now, just include the following:

  • your location
  • your music genre
  • a link to whatever you want to promote (new song, album, show, etc.)

A place to sell and distribute your music.

This could be Bandcamp, Tunecore, Soundcloud, Spotify, CDBaby, wherever. Pick a spot you're going to sell and host your music, and stick to it.

In the next video I'll provide an overview to the best platforms to use, because there are so many out there it's overwhelming.

A place to connect with your community.

And by this I mean your social media platform. Just pick one and get really good at it.

I've been asked multiple times which platform is the best to use for musicians, and while I have my personal opinion (Insta) but honestly it doesn't matter all that much. The best platform is the one you actually use.  As long as you're posting consistently and actually engaging with your audience, you're good. 

There are two super simple ways to select a platform:

  1. Go where the audience is
  2. Go with the one you like

If all of your audience is on Facebook, use Facebook. If you have no audience and you're good at Twitter, do the Twitter.

If you're terrible at it and don't "get it", why would you keep pushing it? Did some music journalist tell you that you're nothing unless you're on Twitter? Screw them.

Don't keep working away at a platform you hate spending time on:

The whole point of being on a social platform is being active on a social platform.

There's no point in setting up a Twitter if you never log in!

Bonus: LinkTree

Some social platforms only allow you one link at a time (looking at you, Instagram), or you have limited space (like in Twitter) for your bio. One way to get around this is through something like LinkTree. It's been widely used by bloggers, and there's a free version.

It's just a simple site you sign up for (alliteration) that provides you one page where you can post links. You have one main link (mine is Linktre.ee/audreylecker) to this page, and you put that one on all your bios.

In the video above you can see what it looks like in the dashboard and on your bio.

So this is why you don't technically need a website yet.

You can put all your important links into something like Linktr.ee, and then when you have more content or more information you need to get out there, THEN go build your website.

Comment below and tell me the ONE thing that frustrates you most about building a website.

Do you want to post awesome content on your social media but don't know what awesome content is? I've created a list of content ideas SPECIFICALLY for musicians and bands to help get you started brainstorming and planning out what to post. You can download it here:



4 Ways to Make Money from Your Music

 

I'm back from vacation and READY TO GO, y'all. Totally not missing the beach and the margaritas At. All.

One of The Grow Code's catch phrases is "Make your music make money", and today I'm going to elaborate on that. This is not about making money from video views on YouTube--that's not where the most value for your time will be.

Instead, I have 4 different potential revenue streams for you to dig into.

Sell your single or album.

Yeah, duh. We all know about this one, so I want to give it a little twist. Have you ever considered how you're distributing your music? And I don't mean vinyl and CDs--those are pretty straightforward. I'm talking digitally. 

Let's be real, you're probably already selling digitally. So I want you to think about other ways you can get people to get into your sales funnel.

Rather than slapping up a song or album link for people to buy, think about other ways you can get people to connect with your music or get into your sales funnel. Consider giving away a single for free in exchange for them signing up for your mailing list, or give a discount code to your instagram followers, host a giveaway with another musician or entrepreneur.

Get a Licensing Manager.

You've probably heard of this one, but are you aware of how the industry has been changing? For those who don't know, licensing is the way music ends up in movies, tv shows, commercials, video games, etc. etc.

The way things USED to work was you'd get signed to a label, and then they'd have a whole department devoted to courting music supervisors and getting your song placed to make big money--this, by the way, is probably the most lucrative way to make money from your music. Especially since you don't have to have a huge following to get licensed, though it certainly helps make your work more attractive. But think about it-- your song gets placed in a handful of ads, and voila, your bills are covered for a few years. That's pretty sweet.

So you used to have a label do this for you. But now, with this thing called ~the internet~ and the way music has become less dependent on labels to market and now can reach you through a multitude of ways, licensing has also started changing.

Many licensing pros who used to work at labels have spun off into freelance licensing. So you now how you can get a manager? Well you can now get a licensing manager. They'll have several other clients (bands, acts, etc) and then they'll work specifically on licensing those, while utilizing all those sweet sweet contacts they grew while working label side.

Get a Patreon.

This is the virtual version of passing along a donation bucket at your shows. There are a couple of these "tipping" sites out there, Patreon is the one I've heard of the most. It's literally in the title--Patron. You provide your Patreon link like a tip jar, and people can donate money to you to keep up the good work.

This is great if you already have something of a following, because that means you're already resonating with your audience and they're sticking around. Once they're sticking around, it's the logical next step for them to either buy something from you or donate a dollar here or there. That stuff adds up.

Livestream to a Paying Audience.

This is the newest revenue stream that's popped up in recent years. If you haven't heard of Twitch, it's the largest livestream site in the world. A few years ago it was bought by Amazon, which means there will only be more and more integration between those two platforms--and for you that's a good thing.

So right now Twitch is mostly geared towards gamers (which also means you have the opportunity to jump in early and gain a bulk of the audience), but they've been trying to branch out to other streaming channels recently. The way it works is this: a streamer has a livestream of themselves (on camera) playing a video game (screensharing). So yes, people are literally watching other people play video games. When people "subscribe" to your channel, they're paying out a monthly fee to get chat upgrades and whatnot. These streamers are literally making a living playing video games and interacting with their communities all week.

Example: the local Austin band Aeseaes. They play at least three live shows every week--completely online. They've gotten to the point where they no longer need day jobs, and they don't even have to play in person shows anymore because their audience is so much bigger online that it literally wouldn't be worth it to play a venue unless they really wanted to.

I highly, highly recommend exploring this budding avenue. And jump on it sooner rather than later, because in another year or so this platform is going to be flooded with musicians.