Category: Music Distribution

ReverbNation and Your Music: Streaming and More

ReverbNation and Your Music: Streaming and More

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

If you’re a musician and haven’t heard of ReverbNation, then you have some research to do. Here’s a quick breakdown of what they offer:

What ReverbNation Offers

Of course, ReverbNation allows you to upload your music to be discovered, streamed, and shared by fans. It also offers:

  • newsletter templates to email fans
  • the option to create mobile app for your band
  • the option to turn your profile into a website
  • the option to sell music, either on the site or externally through digital distribution
  • the option to create press kits
  • networking with other musicians, promoters, venues, labels, and industry professionals

Profit From Your ReverbNation Account

To make money from your ReverbNation account, take advantage of their Digital Distribution opportunity. This helps you sell your music on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, ect. You also can sell your music right off of their streaming player by providing a link.

Cost

ReverbNation offers three account levels with distinct pricing options.

  • Basic (free): provides a page for fans to stream & download music; provides you with access to their gig finder*.
  • Pro ($19.95/mo): offers the same but adds music distribution options.
  • Max ($41.67/mo): offers the same but with more music distribution options.

Other services are offered a la carte. The Site Builder ($89.95/yr), which turns your profile into a website, and Digital Distribution ($34.95/yr) options are both available outside of the account packages. Adding these features to the basic account could be a great decision.

Setting Up Your Account

Begin by going to www.reverbnation.com, and click the button titled “sign up for free”. Create your profile using the guided set up process; be sure to include your name, genre, city/state, and so on. After you’ve entered your details, you can upload your songs and music. When you have finished your profile, you’ll have the opportunity to upgrade your account if you wish.

Assistance

ReverbNation is easy for you and your fans to navigate, and the instructions for building a profile page are very clear. Should any questions arise, turn to their help page for a solution. They also have a support team available to answer any specific questions via email.

ReverbNation is a great website with a lot to offer artists, and at a reasonable cost. Check it out!

* As we stated in another article, ReverbNation requires that you use their Press Kit Builder ($5.95 per month) to submit booking requests.

Have you or your band used ReverbNation? How did you use it? Was it a good resource?




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Indie Music: Musicians and the Radio

Independent Musicians and the Radio

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

It is extremely important for up and coming or local musicians to be actively involved in their own music distribution. One way to get your music to a wider audience is to pursue airtime on public and local radio stations. Below are some tips for making that happen.

Go Public

If you’re a relatively undiscovered artist, a great way to break onto the airways is through public radio. National Public Radio (NPR) is a nation-wide syndicated radio format that is carried by many local public radio stations. There are a number of music-related programs associated with NPR, the most notable of which is All Songs Considered. A feature on an NPR program could mean national recognition.

College radio stations are another option. While college radio stations are often public radio, some do not carry the NPR programming. The formats for each station will vary. For a list of stations in your area, visit this website. Airtime on these college stations would be more localized than on one with NPR programming, but any airtime is good.

Think Local

Because commercial stations are paid for by ads, listenership matters. These stations might not be as willing to play an unknown artist and risk losing listeners (and ad dollars with them). However, just because it may be a bit more difficult to get your unsigned, new music onto a commercial radio station, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you have good ties with a local venue, try getting them to support you with the station. Better yet, go in together on an ad mentioning an upcoming gig and have the station play one of your songs after the ad runs.

General Pointers

It is vital to establish relationships with the people you’re trying to get to play your music. No matter the station, know your recipient. Don’t submit your music to the DJ if it should go to the station manager or programming director.

Also, it’s important to listen to your music and pick the target stations and their programs wisely. Know the station, their different programs, and the type of music they play. Be sure that yours fits their niche. If you write AOR top 40 style pop, sending your music to a hip hop station doesn’t make much sense.

Music distribution is tough. You’re going to face a lot of rejection and you might think that you’re sending your work off to a vortex that you never hear back from again. But there is nothing more rewarding than getting that break and having your own music be played for everyone to hear.

Has your music been played on the radio? What type of station was it, and what steps did you take to make that happen? How did it help your music career?




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Top 5 Websites for Streaming Your Music

Top Five Websites for Streaming Your Music

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Streaming music is becoming more and more popular. Fans love it, since they can listen to music when and where they want for free or practically nothing. Streaming companies love it, since they make money off of subscriptions, streams, and ad revenue. And many artists initially love it, thinking it increases their exposure and income. (This often isn’t the case; read this for more information.)

For those considering streaming music, we’ve assembled a list of five music streaming services and what it takes to get your music on each.

Spotify

Spotify is arguably the most popular service at this time. With its premium service, the website allows users to create playlists and save them offline, letting them listen to their music without wi-fi or cell service. The site also offers pre-made playlists and radio stations, and it suggests artists similar to those that users like. To use the service, artists must go through a third party. Visit this page to learn more.

Pandora

Pandora is a radio-based streaming service. They have heavily invested time and money on their Music Genome Project, which finds songs similar to each user’s musical tastes by analyzing every song for over 450 characteristics. Their instructions for music submission are pretty particular, though.

ReverbNation

ReverbNation is almost like a social media site that offers streaming. It allows you to put a plug-in/page on your Facebook page or website, which is a really useful tool. It’s very easy to sign up, and the basic profile is free, although upgraded accounts and additional services cost money.

Rdio

Update: Rdio is no longer available.

iTunes

To keep up with all the other streaming services, iTunes—the most popular service for purchasing and downloading tracks—recently released iTunes Radio. It works very similar to other radio-based streaming services; it takes note of what you listen to and plays similar music. Check out how to submit your music and more details here.

Signing Up

As an artist, you can sign up for some of these sites individually; there are also music distribution companies that can push your music to all of these services. Generally, the distributors collect your royalties from these services (taking their cut), but you keep 100% of the rights to the songs.

A Final Word

If you’re an artist considering music streaming, we encourage you to consider it carefully and proceed with caution. Unless the system changes drastically, streaming music is not a reliable source of income for artists, even with thousands of streams. Putting your music out there for free (or almost free) might seem like a great way to gain fans… but if you make everything free, those fans will never need to buy your music, thereby supporting you. And, most streaming services won’t provide you, the artist, with the data on who is actually streaming your music… which means you can’t contact or track those fans.

On the other hand, choosing to ignore streaming might be harder than you think, especially if you are trying to make it easier for fans to discover and access it. Your best bet as an artist is to strategically select a limited number of songs to stream, and keep the rest of your catalog available by album sale only (ideally through your own website and retail platform).

Have you made your music available on a streaming service? Why or why not? How did you choose which service to use?

See also: Spotify, Pandora and Streaming Music: Should You Post Your Music?




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Can Affiliate Marketing Help Musicians Make More Money?

Can Affiliate Marketing Help Musicians Make More Money

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Musicians are creative people. To be successful, though, they need to learn how to apply that creativity to the business side of their music. Blogs, forums, and podcasts can be a wealth of information and inspiration for those not inclined to understanding royalties, copyright law, or marketing strategies.

One creative business strategy available to musicians is affiliate marketing. Below, we’ll explain how it works and whether or not it’s a good idea for you.

Where to Sell Your Music

Companies such as iTunes and Amazon are big businesses, and their business is to sell product (like music). As large companies, they have the ability to reach large audiences. These large audiences might not know who you are, might not know your products are available, might not trust your small website, and might not care to visit dozens of independent musicians’ various websites to buy music… but making your product available on the larger site could remove some of those hurdles. In fact, the large companies are counting on it.

Your business is selling your music. You could sell your music on your own website, but the large audiences of the big businesses make it awfully tempting to sell your music on their sites instead. To tempt you further, the big businesses might offer an affiliate marketing program.

How Affiliate Marketing Works

Here’s how it works: instead of selling the music directly on your own website, you can link from your site to your music for sale on the large companies’ sites. When your fans click the link and buy the product on the large companies’ websites, the companies track that incoming link and give you a percentage of the sale on top of the income you’re already making from it being your music. The more people you refer to them for sales, the more money you make on your music… or so the large companies argue.

While it sounds like a great concept, a closer look suggests otherwise. The traffic you’re sending to the large company was already on your site or profile; they could have bought from you directly. By selling through a third party, you won’t make as much off of each sale as if you sold the music yourself. If you’re able to sell your music yourself and already have the fans on your site where your profit margin is higher, wouldn’t you want to capitalize on that opportunity? We’re not saying you should ignore the third party options altogether, but we are saying you should not send your fans there. (Read this for more.)

If, for some strange reason, you aren’t able to sell music on your site and you absolutely have to use a third party store, affiliate marketing can help boost your income (albeit minimally).

Where Can I Find Out More?

Retailers like Amazon and iTunes offer affiliate programs with varying profits for the seller.

Making money as a musician is tough; but with the right tools and knowledge of how to use them to your advantage, there are a lot of things you can do to make a little bit of extra money. It may start out as pennies, but as Ben Franklin said, “Watch the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” He may not have been in music marketing, but he was a smart guy, right?

Have you joined an affiliate marketing program? How did it work for you? Was it in addition to selling the music yourself, or did you only sell through the retailer?

See also: Finding Music Distributors, Make Money Selling  Your Music




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Five Websites for Selling Music

Five Websites for Selling Your Music Online

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

For better or worse, the music industry is not what it once was. For example, with the internet securely in their toolbox, independent artists no longer need to rely on major labels to get their music out to fans. If you’re in that position and are hoping to get your music up on retail sites, here are a few online music distribution channels:

Bandcamp

Unlike the below distributors, who connect artists to retailers, Bandcamp allows artists to become their own retailer. With a free account, Bandcamp users set up pre-orders, sell merch, and sell music in physical and digital format. Artists do pay 15 percent of music sales as royalties, although this drops to 10 percent once revenue exceeds $5000. On merchandise sales, artists only pay 10 percent as royalties. The site boasts expert mobile and search engine optimization. Bandcamp sends sales reports to Nielsen SoundScan, the company behind Billboard’s charts.

MondoTunes

MondoTunes claims over 750 retailers as partners. By choosing a basic sign-up package, artists pay one-time fees of $7.99 per single, $24.99 per EP, or $37.99 per album. Other services vary in price and include marketing, registering a label, mastering, etc. After partners deduct their respective shares, MondoTunes forwards the remaining royalties, approximately 63 percent of sales, to the artist.

CD Baby

With CD Baby’s Basic Album Signup, users pay $49.00 per album or $12.95 per single. The package includes physical distribution (vinyl or CD). There are a la carte options users can choose, with a separate charge for each. With CD Baby Pro, users can take advantage of ASCAP and BMI affiliation. There’s also a service that enables users to license their music through various channels.

TuneCore

Artists can gain exposure through Spotify, Google Play, and others. The service charges a one-time annual fee for a single, album, or ringtone, and the musician keeps 100 percent of all revenue. TuneCore also provides cover art, if needed.

SongCast

Users sell on a variety of digital platforms including iTunes, Google Play, and Rhapsody. SongCast offers Facebook and Twitter linking, access to iTunes trending reports, and an opportunity to promote through SongCast Radio, a Facebook app. The cost for listing music through SongCast is $5.99 per month, with $9.99 per single and $19.99 per album. Artists retain 100 percent of all royalties on digital sales, and 35 percent on CD sales through Amazon Disc-On-Demand.

Music distribution, especially with the ease of online distribution, affords the independent artist a way to provide their music to listeners. That is, after all, what a musician dreams about—being heard.

Have you used any of the above sites for music distribution? How did the experience work out for you? If there’s another site that you’ve used and would recommend, tell us about it.




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Finding Music Distributors

Finding Music Distributors

By NationWide Source Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

As a creative type, you might not have an innate aptitude for business. If you want to make it as a successful musician, though, you’ll need to be on top of the entire process, including business details.

One important business element that you should consider is music distribution. Do you know what do music distributors do? Or how you find one? Or what type of distribution best suits your sound? If not, read on:

Are You Ready?

If you are just starting to build a fan base and get your name out there, you might not be ready for a distributor. However, if you have an existing fan base and rising demand for your music and are wanting to branch out to an even wider audience, it’s time to consider music distribution.

Finding The Right Music Distributor

The job of a music distributor is to distribute your music (obviously). This can be as relatively basic as listing you online or getting you in a store, or it can be full service and include helping you with marketing, rights, and much more. If you’re wanting to get signed by a record label, a good distributor may be able to get your music in front of the right executives.

Think about where you want to be and what you need help with, and find a distributor with a proven track record in those areas. Ask bands a step ahead of you which distributors they’ve heard of, both good and bad things. Be sure that the distributor you select has your back and is worth any and every fee they will charge.

Music Distribution Options

The music business is at an interesting juncture, offering physical and digital distribution options. Many consumers still only purchase physical music (primarily CDs, though many bands still put out LPs), but digital music is very popular and still rising. Your best bet may be to pursue distribution for both options.

When you’re trying to find a music distribution channel, you may want to find one distributor who can do both ends for you. Distributors like The Orchard and Redeye are experienced in both physical and digital options. If you are looking for just digital music distribution, you might want to go with distributors like Ditto Music or Create Space.

Have you used a music distributor? Which one did you choose, and why did you choose that particular one? Did you focus on physical distribution, digital distribution, or both?

See also: Increase Your Exposure: Streaming Music, Make Money Selling Your Music




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