ReverbNation is a music-specific social network that over 3.5 million artists use. From digital distribution and web hosting to gig opportunities, ReverbNation seems to have it all. But do you need a ReverbNation profile?
To decide if ReverbNation is a good fit for you, you have to ask yourself this question:
Is ReverbNation actually helping my career?
ReverbNation has some useful tools. But some of its features might do more harm than good to your music career.
What Not to Do On ReverbNation
We want you, the artist, to market your music effectively, engage with fans well, and have a successful career. Part of that is using the tools available to you wisely. So we’ve outlined some things to steer clear of when you use ReverbNation, and a few things that ReverbNation might be able to help you with.
Don’t let ReverbNation’s automated social media posts replace your personal interaction with fans.
ReverbNation easily syncs with major social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. ReverbNation can automatically post information about your shows to other social networks. It will continue to post show information as it gets closer to the show date. While this sounds like a great thing, ReverbNation won’t let you control when those things are shared, or how often.
This is a problem.
ReverbNation’s posts tend to fill up your profile with impersonal concert notifications.
While it’s great to let fans know when and where you’ll be playing, these impersonal post soon begin to look like spam. This can frustrate and annoy fans, which is the last thing you want to do.
If you let ReverbNation post to Facebook, it can also lower your position on your fans’ newsfeeds. Facebook has a very specific algorithm that dictates what gets placed into newsfeeds. Numerous duplicate posts could get flagged in Facebook’s program, and mean a lower fan reach.
Do have a regular social media posting schedule.
A status that you took the time to write is better content than a computer generated post about a show. When your social feed is full of automated links, it can make you look like you don’t care about interacting with your fans.
ReverbNation’s automatic posts won’t harm you if your newsfeed has lots of organic posts. When the automated updates are interspersed with personal content, fans can get excited that you are announcing shows, instead of frustrated that their feed is full of unwanted notifications.
Don’t sacrifice a great website.
ReverbNation has the ability to create a good looking website, that is mobile and tablet friendly. But I have a major problem with ReverbNation’s website builder.
There are only three templates, and almost no customization.
While Reverbnation’s website design and hosting is easy to set up, the lack of personalization cuts down on the usefulness of this service. You want your website to be an accurate representation of who you are as an artist, and you want it to be a place where you can interact with fans. In my opinion, ReverbNation’s sites don’t allow you to do that.
As a quick example, let’s check out one of the bands that ReverbNation uses to showcase it’s website building feature: Skyward.
Skyward is an independent alternative rock band from Harrisonburg, VA, and I reached out to talk to them about how their band utilizes ReverbNation. The first thing I asked them about was web hosting. They told me that even though ReverbNation features the Skyward website on their information page about site building, Skyward does not actually use the ReverbNation website tool, instead they use a design/hosting platform from Wix for their homepage. If a band that is featured on ReverbNation—specifically on their information page for site building—doesn’t use the service, that tells me that something about their web design platform did not meet the expectations of Skyward. ReverbNation may want to update their information page with a band that is actually using them to design/host their site.
Do have a website.
If you don’t currently have a website, ReverbNation’s website builder might be a good place for you to start. Having a website with almost no customization is better than having no website at all, and if this fits your need, then ReverbNation offers a good solution for beginners.
Social media profiles, including your ReverbNation profile, are not a substitute for good website.
So if you don’t have a website, and aren’t sure how to go about creating one, ReverbNation might be a good place to start.
However, if you are willing to spend a little extra time, you can have a much more custom website with the same tools at about the same price. There are lots of web hosting and design services that have comparable prices to ReverbNation, and allow you to fully build the best website for you. I recommend WordPress, Square Space, or Wix.
Don’t expect hundreds of new fans.
While ReverbNations boasts that they have 3.5 million bands signed up on their site, they never let us know how many fans have profiles. There’s no doubt that some music fans are on ReverbNation, but is it a site that hoards of fans visit to find new artists? Probably not.
The majority of users on ReverbNation are other artists. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that a ReverbNation website will generate fan traffic and get you noticed. Try this simple test – ask the next 20-30 people you meet how they listen to music. Track how many tell you they log onto ReverbNation to find new music, I think you will find the number is small or possibly zero. When I tried it not one of my people said ReverbNation.
If you want genuine interaction with fans, new and old, ReverbNation is probably not the place to do that.
I asked Skyward if they’ve had success connecting with new fans on ReverbNation, and their guitarist Jordan Breeding said:
“I’m pretty sure no casual music fan ever hops on there, creates a profile, and then looks for new bands. It seems that most of the members are just other musicians. That limits its usefulness in my opinion.”
Do spend time creating relationships with fans
ReverbNation probably isn’t the best place to connect with fans. Finding out where your target audience communicates will help you build meaningful relationships with fans. Try Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Patronage.
Don’t spend all your time randomly submitting to gig opportunities
There are thousands of live show and press opportunities on ReverbNation. In theory, having thousands of potential gigs at your fingertips is wonderful. But there are problems. One issue is simply sorting through them all. You have to find the opportunities that are relevant to your band that you actually have a chance of booking.
Remember, there are literally millions of bands on ReverbNation trying to compete for the same opportunities as you.
You also have to pay to submit to many of the opportunities on ReverbNation. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, if you don’t get the gig, that money is gone. So if you choose to submit to these gigs, make sure you are paying attention to the cost.
Do submit to opportunities that can genuinely enhance your career.
When looking for opportunities on ReverbNation use your time—and your hard earned cash—well. Spend it on things that are actually going to enhance your career. Some people successfully find gigs on ReverbNation. Other artists don’t.
The guys in Skyward have had some moderate success with ReverbNation opportunities. They recommend looking for opportunities based on geography. You’re much more likely to have the chance to play at a local festival that uses ReverbNation than at a festival thousands of miles away. You always have to keep in mind that you are competing with thousands (or millions!) of other musicians. But if you’re smart about where you spend your time and money, and it might pay off!
There are things you probably shouldn’t be using ReverbNation for. But it can be a great tool when you use it wisely.
ReverbNation offers digital distribution at good prices, and their services are comparable to many other aggregators. And if you are already paying for the premium tier of ReverbNation, digital distribution is included.
They also offer a great rate when you sell downloads from their online store. Selling downloads is even available with a free membership! Musicians keep 87% of the revenue they generate from selling their music on ReverbNation. That’s quite a bit more than the 70% you’ll make from iTunes.
Reverbnation also offers a great looking Electronic Press Kit. If you need something simple, effective, and streamlined to send to promoters, ReverbNation’s press kits are good looking, easy to set up, and offer great tools like integrated fan stats. You can even see who opened your press kit, and exactly what they clicked on.
Another advantage of ReverbNation is that it keeps everything in one central location. This is Skyward’s favorite feature. Guitarist Jordan Breeding says:
“It’s definitely very helpful as far as being able to hold all of our music/videos/photos/schedule in one convenient place and then incorporate that stuff onto our Facebook and personal website. It can also be a helpful way to contact certain venues or other bands in the places where we travel.”