YouTube has developed into quite the massive lumbering internet video tech property over the years, with its fingers in a number of pies. Regardless, it remains an important tool for artists, so here we delve into exactly what each YouTube brand/property is.
The free, ad-supported video platform we all know and love.
It’s free to create a channel and publish videos, and it’s free to watch them. Channels that meet the YouTube Partner Program criteria can monetize their videos, and revenue is generated through advertisements and paid subscriber views.
If you’ve uploaded your videos to YouTube, your music is there. If someone else uploaded your music to YouTube, well, your music is probably there, and you’ll be able to earn any associated ad revenue through CD Baby’s YouTube Monetization service.
SoundCloud is relaunching a popular feature – comments from its mobile apps – alongside a new user experience in iOS and Android. It’s a feature that every music service should have, and is missing from Spotify and Apple Music.
Commenting is a core social feature on SoundCloud, with millions of comments already shared each month. The new mobile experience lets creators and fans comment on a track from their phone.
The commenting feature begins rolling out to users today via the latest version of the SoundCloud mobile app, available on iOS and Android.
Recording artists received just 12% of the $43 billion that the music industry generated in 2017, according to a Citigroup report.
Consumer spending on music generated an all-time high of more than $20 billion last year, but music businesses, including labels and publishers, took almost $10 billion, while artists received just $5.1 billion, the “bulk” of which came from touring.
Recording artists received just 12% of the $43 billion that the music industry generated in 2017, according to a Citigroup report published on Monday, and led by analyst Jason B. Bazinet.
$43 billion matches a 12-year peak that the industry hasn’t hit since 2006, the report said.
The proportion of the total music industry revenue artists are capturing has actually risen since 2000, when artists took home only a 7% share of the revenue.
But this increase is due in large part to the growth of concerts and touring as a revenue stream that is largely distinct from the intermediary of their music labels. Artists are still taking home a meager share of the increasing revenues in streaming for their music, where music labels and music streaming services act as intermediaries.
The report shows that “consumer outlays,” which includes streaming, concert sales, and purchased music, generated an all-time high of more than $20 billion last year. But music businesses, including labels and publishers, took almost $10 billion, while artists received just $5.1 billion, the “bulk” of which came from touring.
The report anticipates (and is likely to spur calls for more) “organic forms of vertical integration” in the industry, where existing music providers like Spotify and Apple Music could “organically morph into music labels,” allowing artists to capture more of their music’s value by releasing their work directly with the services.
In this piece Patrick McGuire details the importance of a solid pre-release program, and how it’s necessary for building hype and excitement, growing your audience, and ensuring your release makes the biggest splash possible.
Promoting your new music shouldn’t start on the release date.
Waiting until your music is released to start promoting is way too late. Effective music promotion starts months before it’s out.
A solid pre-release campaign can build excitement for your release, grow your audience, and turn casual listeners into real fans.
But where do you even start? And more importantly, how do you make it work while still having time to finish your music?
Here’s five tips to help you get the most out of your promotion efforts during the time leading up to your release.
Set Your Release Date
Whether your music is finished or not, you need to set your release date.
Setting a release date to aim for has tons of benefits, like helping you decide how to manage your time and providing some healthy pressure to finish.
Once your music is mixed and mastered, use digital distribution to set a custom release date for your project on all major streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music.
Just fill out your custom release date on the fourth step of the LANDR release builder, and your music will be live in all stores on the same day—just be sure to leave enough time in advance.
It’s possible to choose a custom release date as early as 7 business days in the future, but give as many days as you can (2-3 weeks) for a better chance of your release being live on the same day.
1. Find the story behind your new music and tell it
Every album, every song, every chord has a story inside it. Your promotion efforts should tell it.
Figure out what’s interesting and unique about your new music and tell your story in the lead up to your release.
Kawrites is the talented and multi-instrumentalist, Romane, who in 2015 launched into MAO (music assisted by computers) and released her first EP, Lunar. Soon joined by Marion, a no less promising violinist, Kawrites has developed a vaporous, cinematic style, followed by a second EP, Carmina. Progressive electronic sounds which are both melodic and melancholic, theirs is an aquatic and evanescent universe, dedicated to rhythmic loops and dancing, supported by an airy violin that carries you away..Their musical influences (Rone, Kavinsky, Nils Frahm and Birdy Nam Nam) is evident. The fortuitous meeting of these two young Clermontoises can sometimes veer into the ambient or post-rock, but remains always unique.
At only 27, Arthur Hnatek travels the world to play at the biggest festivals. Montreux Jazz, City of Music, Jazz in Marciac, Montreal Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, this is where the young Swiss drummer has already thrilled audiences with rhythms from his first solo album “SWIMS”. A graduate of the ‘New School for Jazz’, Arthur Hnatek has also won several awards, including ‘the Swiss drum contest’ twice. His talent and versatility allow him to compose and play in several bands alongside his solo career.
Born in Doncaster, a small English northern town, David Zincké soon moved to Nice to try and conquer the French music scene. Accompanied by his guitar, the young Brit hit all the bars and halls of Nice to play his songs and make a name for himself. It’s agreed that his fragile and elegant voice could quickly make him one of the rising stars of the blues. He signed to the label “Dime On Records”, where he recorded his first EP simply entitled ‘The EP’. It managed the feat of bringing the freshness of pop to the long tradition of blues, placing him as the ambassador of a new musical style. His first single ‘Oh My’ was a big success in France and was chosen as the soundtrack for the trailer of « Toute première fois », an award-winning film at the festival of Alpes d’Huez. His live performances have increased as have the warm up slots for prestigious artists like Madeleine Peyroux, Marina Kaye and The Hives. In 2018 he released his first album “Soul And Bones”, that’s already been streamed over a million times.
Instrumental guitarist Lance Allen has been consistently able to make his mortgage payments every month with the money he’s earning off Spotify streaming revenue. Here Chris Robley of CD Baby looks at what this DIY artist is doing right, and the five ways in which he’s been able to drive streams.
This August Lance will be leading a session at CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference all about how to get traction for your music on Spotify. I’m eager to hear what HE thinks the keys to his success are, but you don’t have to wait until August to hear what I think they are.
Five ways to drive streams on Spotify.
Let’s take it as a given: He’s a great guitar player and his recordings sound pro. So what else is working?
1. Frequent releases
Lance doesn’t wait until his streaming activity dips before he releases his next single. He’s put out a string of recordings, one after another, that keep his audience engaged and growing.
He’s able to stay prolific because of the low overhead of home recording, combined with stripped-down acoustic arrangements that don’t require lots of musicians and lots of recording time.
2. A steady mix of covers and originals
The originals earn him publishing royalties. The cover songs draw in new listeners.
Having a catalog of both originals and covers broadens his possibilities for playlist placement.
Lance partners up on the regular with other instrumentalists. When they release a piece of music they’ve created together, it shows up on BOTH artists’ Spotify profiles, and has the potential of reaching both artists’ followings via algorithmic playlists and Spotify’s email notifications.
In short, the same song hits two audiences.
4. Hard work and smart work
Lance put a ton of upfront effort into building connections with playlisters.
He did the research, found the contacts, and made the pitch. Then he built on those relationships with the string of steady releases I mentioned above; he didn’t just call it a day when he got that first placement.
5. Composing TO the playlist
Since Lance is now in contact with a bunch of curators, he can ask them what their needs are and then write, arrange, and record a new track specifically geared towards that playlist. That greatly increased the odds of it being placed not just in that playlist, but similar genre or mood playlists as well.
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Musicoin is a music streaming platform built on the blockchain that supports the creation, distribution and consumption of music in a shared economy. Listeners can stream songs from independent musicians on our platform absolutely free and without ads, while musicians are compensated more fairly than major music streaming platforms in the industry.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve been part of seven different musical projects. I’ve played in all kinds of bands: a shoegaze trio, an experimental metal duo, an electronic pop group, an indie rock band, an ambient octet, a punk rock quartet, and a German teen pop group.
I ended up leaving all of them. Why? For various reasons, sure, but all with the same thread of ambition attached: I had a vision for myself and my own music making that these projects weren’t entirely satisfying. I wanted to write my own songs. But most importantly, I didn’t want to fight for every single idea I had in my head anymore.
Writing music together, in collaboration, and compromising on your vision in order to make space for a variety of ideas and voices, can lead to an incredible creative output. It’s one of the great joys of being in a band, and it’s a fascinating process to watch and become involved in when it works. But there comes a time when every artist should seek to be able to transmit their vision and voice without compromise. For artists who start craving that freedom, it will always feel like something is missing when they show up to band practice. That’s how you might realize it’s time to think about starting your solo career.
Before you make the move
Don’t get me wrong — just because you’re looking to start a solo project, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to leave your band right away. There are special bonds in every long-term band relationship, and you should always try to keep them intact. You’ve shared so many memories, and you’re probably closer with your bandmates in some ways than you are with some of your best friends.
So don’t drop everything at once unless it really is time to do so. The creative gap can be filled without having to replace one with the other. Take time to explore some ideas on your own and really think, “Would this sound better with the other members playing, or just myself?” Perhaps some of the ideas you come up with will suit one project and not the other. See where it leads and feel it out — there’s no need to rush.
I had to form five bands until I finally realized that a solo project is the only way for me to do exactly what I’d wanted to do all along. And this isn’t even my first attempt at a solo career! When I first decided to go solo, I still had to decide what musical influences I actually wanted to emulate, and whether I should be writing songs in German or English. It didn’t take long before my motivation dwindled and I needed to retool for the project, so this is sometimes a slow process. That’s why I wanted to share with you the following thoughts on how to responsibly go about starting a solo project.
Tips for starting your solo project
The journey becomes much easier if your project is built on a solid foundation. Like a home, your solo project can become the familiar base to which you can always return, no matter how far away you’ve traveled. Take a pen and a piece of paper, and write it all down — all the stuff you’re thinking about when you ponder your solo music.
1.1 Define yourself
Step one is to draw out sketches and write down what you’d like to incorporate into your sound, your influences, and really anything that just interests you. Visualize yourself on stage, use colors, words, ideas, images, put it all in there. I guess this resembles the process of making a mood board. Essentially, you’re creating the building blocks of your brand — and a brand is nothing more than a set of characteristics that, when combined, readily define who you are and how people can connect with you.
What is it that you want to “say” or “share” with the world via this project? What is missing in the world of music, that you want to create?
1.2 Understand your goals
Sometimes the best way to start a new project is to think all the way through to the end of what you’d like to accomplish. Whether that project defines who are you or not, perhaps this project needs a clear end in order to function. If not, it’s still always helpful to develop a set of milestones through which you can test your progress.
1.3 Fit the pieces together
Now that you’ve got your “brand” identity, your influences, your message, and your goals all laid out, it has to come together in the music. That may sound like a lot of pressure, but it’s really not so dramatic. Think of it this way: whenever you write a song, you now have this incredible lens through which to examine its effectiveness, and you can tweak it as much as you want until it reflects that vision and identity you’ve already laid out.
Having that wealth of identity work already done also makes it much easier to conceptualize the visual artwork associated with your project, like album art, music video aesthetics, and artist photos.
1.4 Now give your baby a name
Are you going to use your real name? Or a version of it? Or call your project something entirely different? Perhaps something plural to give the impression that it’s a new “band?” Your project’s name carries the mood and image representing what you’re trying to do as an artist. Think long and hard, because changing the name of a project is annoying and complicated.
1.5 Don’t rush this process
Identities come together over entire lifetimes, not overnight. Give your project a bit of time to marinate, and make sure you feel comfortable performing within the guidelines you’ve set for it. You’ll feel more confident and able to clearly articulate your work — and the more honest it feels to you, the more honestly the music will come through to your fans (new and old).
1.6 Have fun
This is probably the single most important point. Don’t start anything if it’s not fun for you. Don’t force things to happen just because you think it’s the right move. Fun gives you the power to stay in action. It’s what fuels your car(eer).
Tips for promoting your solo project
2.1 Social media (obviously!)
Alright, you’re ready to go public with your new solo project now. How are you going to differentiate this new project from both your old band and your own self? Start by creating artist pages on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or whatever social platforms you regularly use. Through sharing information, content, imagery, and unique sounds, you can easily use this space to separate the brand identities so there’s no confusion. If you have social pages for your other projects, those are great places to announce the new project.
2.2 Know the audience you’re targeting
If you’re like me and speak a few languages and live all over the place, it can be kind of hard to actually communicate with your audience. But communicating through music is just as hard sometimes. In my case, I realized early on that fans of my kind of music probably didn’t live in Germany as much as in the U.K. and North America, so I wrote my songs and my social media posts entirely in English. It’s important to learn as much about the audience for your music as possible, and meet them where they are. Creating your art in a vacuum doesn’t really work unless you’re already super famous and people follow your every move, but don’t pander too much to a hypothetical fan community or you’ll risk leaving your identity behind.
2.3 Do whatever it takes to make your music as widely available as possible
Even if you only have one song recorded, release it! Get it out there and use it to your advantage. Now, go show people what your project is all about, later you can worry about releasing physical albums, touring, merch, etc. Once your song or EP is on platforms like Bandcamp, YouTube, and Spotify, start working on getting it into playlists. Getting your song into a Spotify playlist these days is like investing in stocks: sometimes it’ll stagnate and go nowhere, but every now and then you hit big and can see some serious returns!
You can also check out websites like Jamendo Music, for example, where creators are looking for free music to use for their videos. This option is pretty interesting and brings me to my next point.
2.4 Open yourself up to be seen
One powerful way to do that is to assign some of your tracks a Creative Commons license, perhaps with a clause about attributing credit. If someone stumbles across your music and wants to use it, this could potentially open up hundreds more opportunities for you. Of course, it’s entirely up to you about what you charge to use your music, and sometimes it’s worth waiting for the big fish to bite, instead of giving it away for free.
It’s never a bad time to get in front of an audience. Don’t wait for your fanbase to grow — take all the opportunities you can to advance a new project forward. Especially if you don’t have a lot of recorded material out there yet, or you haven’t had the time or momentum to build your social following, playing gigs is a fun and rewarding way to start getting people familiar with your sound.
And on a similar note, if you still don’t have a physical album to sell after just starting a new solo project, make some DIY, handmade merch or cheap stuff to give away. The goal is to spread the word and spread the reputation that you put your heart into your work. Making sure people go home with a download code or something to remember you by, like a sticker or a button (especially if it’s made by hand), is the best way to start spreading the word at live shows.
2.6 Talk it up
Be available to anyone and everyone interested to chat. When you first start out solo, there’s no hiding behind other members of the band; the spotlight is on you. So go plant yourself behind the merch table and make eye contact and connections.
Well, that’s it for now. From here, a circulation of daily practice will take over as you are used to doing what you always do — creating awesome music and watching out for new opportunities to present themselves. That’s what I’ve learned over the last 15 years. It has always worked, and still works for me as a musician today.
One last tip: Don’t give up! Fear and insecurity is normal, but don’t let it get the best of you. Those feelings are almost always temporary, and should never keep you from doing what you love. Take risks when you believe it’s worth it. There is a place for everyone out there!