Get Fans Without Playing Live Using Only the Internet

In last week’s MondoBlog, we looked at ways to get fans as quickly and predictably as possible. But some of us can’t play live or don’t want to. Here are ways to get fans without playing live using only the Internet.

Plenty of musicians today use the Internet as both their primary studio and their only performance venue. How do they form a fan base without needing to leave the house? The short answer is, today’s online studio music artist needs to have as large an Internet presence as possible.

That’s what we’ll be talking about.

For many of you, some or all of the below will not be news. Even so, only the most driven and dedicated few of you will have taken all of the below steps. That’s why today’s MondoBlog is about how to get fans without playing live, using only the Internet.

#1. Have an active Facebook page for your music project

Does this seem obvious? You might be surprised how many musicians go through the painstaking trouble of writing, recording, mixing, mastering, and distributing a music project without even making a social media account to advertise it.

Facebook is free and famously claims it always will be. It has a potential reach that spans the globe. It does not have a limit on how many legitimate social media pages a single person can operate.

Not only is Facebook an obvious go-to for advertisement and music news distribution, but seeing how many “friends” follow you is a great way to measure the growth (or decline) of your fan base.

Keep in mind, though, that artists must be active on these pages or they work in reverse. A silent band page on Facebook is the same as a vacant, closed storefront. They look awful and are bad for business.

#2. Showcase your music on BandCampSoundCloud and ReverbNation

You don’t have to put your whole catalog online for everyone’s free listening, but you do need to give the public a considerable sample of what you do.

It’s incorrect to think people will invest their attention (let alone their money) in music they haven’t heard. Very few music listeners will buy an album on faith alone.

If your music is good, people will find themselves drawn to it like ants to sugar — but you’ve got to put the sugar out, first.

“I’m on one of those sites, and one’s enough.”

Enough to what? Make it harder for potential fans to find you? Besides, you don’t want to make three identical sites, either. Have a little something exclusive on each page to encourage people to pay attention to all your webpages.

Regularly update all of them with new music and stage banter. You can’t effectively use social media and be antisocial at the same time.

#3. If you want to get fans without playing live using only the Internet, you need an official website

Ground your Internet presence on an official website. There are sites like Wix.com, WordPress.com and many others which make website creation and maintenance incredi-simple.

Use one of them to make a site with a URL like “www.YourBandNameHere.com.”

If your band name is already taken, you might even want to rebrand your music with a less common name. Redundancy hides you online. You don’t want to hide.

You don’t necessarily have to pay to have a site, but “www.50Cent.com” looks a lot more legitimate than “www.50CentTheRapper.wordpress.com.”

#4. Be active on the webpages of other indie musicians

If you make noise on the pages of your music friends and acquaintances, your acquaintances will make noise on yours. If you don’t have a large (or existing) music circle, this is a great way to make one.

To get fans without playing live using only the Internet, you’re going to need to make friends using only the Internet.

It’s fantastic that the Information Age has made this possible. It behooves us artists to take advantage.

 

Simply following the above four precepts is a lot more work than most online musicians do to make their music available. Start here, and we’ll have more for you to do later.

Watch this space!

-S

 

 

Big Fan Base: How to Get One

In last week’s MondoBlog post, we talked about how to get signed. We’ll focus this week on how to grow a big fan base so getting signed won’t be a problem to begin with.

A nice, big fan base

By far the most effective way to build a great, big fan base is by playing great music at popular music venues. That’s not an option for many independent musicians, though, so let’s explore some ways to gather fans without getting onstage.

  • Webcam Performances

Many musicians today enjoy global fame due to their presence on YouTube or other online platforms early in their career. Chance the Rapper is one of them, and the Biebs is one of them, too. If you’re reading this, chances are you own the technology necessary to tell people you’ll be performing live online at a certain time. If you don’t want to play live, simply record yourself performing and publish the video publicly on YouTube or another hosting service.

How listening parties look -- fun!
Yemi Alade’s “Mama Africa” listening party – AfroPunk
  • Listening Party

Most listening parties resemble album release parties, like the one shown above. But consider getting in touch with several independent artists in your area and throwing a larger, less-focused listening party at which everyone listens to everyone else’s tracks.

Other musicians can be an artist’s best asset, especially when putting events together for growing a big fan base. There’s a reason show promoters always book several bands for the same night. It’s much more fun to have some variety. It takes the pressure off the artist who would otherwise perform alone, too.

Sample of a download card

  • Download Cards

Since you have music available for sampling at Soundcloud or elsewhere (you do, don’t you?) why not print up some flashy download cards to entice people you meet to give your music a chance? A big fan base can be started with your printer.

The cards pictured here are from dropcards.com but vistaprint and other business card stores can be equally cheap options. Put some music online for download with a password you provide on the card. That makes it exclusive, and exclusive is attractive. This is a nearly free option any artist can fix up in an hour, tops.

ARTISTS UNITED

  • Unite with Other Musicians

Start a united group of music artists online in your music genre. Every time someone in the group publishes a new track, the others in the group listen to it and comment online.

If the members of the group keep listening to everyone’s music and publishing their own, the group will grow. This will happen painfully slowly at first, but once it gets rolling, it can get away from you in a very good way.

This trick comes from popular bloggers. Bloggers are a tight-knit crew of artists who read one another’s writing every time something goes online. This is very attractive to other new writers. You get thirty or forty people checking out your art on the regular, well look there, you’ve got a pretty great start on a nice, big fan base.

The best part is, you’ve been giving props and helpful (!) criticism to all these people and they’ve been giving it to you, so these aren’t just fans — they’re comrades. You can count on their support.

 

That’s all for this edition but more on this topic at a later date. If you have questions you’d like to see answered on the MondoBlog, please send mail to SMcCauley@mondotunes.com.

How to Get Signed to a Music Label

While there’s a ton of information involved with record labels and getting signed in 2017, artists and indie-label owners only need to know one thing, and that’s exactly how to do it.

I am asked how to get signed to a music label more often than I am asked anything. It comes in various packages, such as: “How do I get a record deal,” “how can I get my artist on a major label,” and “how do I get the attention of record executives?”

Turns out there’s a straightforward answer to the question.

You’re trying to get the attention of A&R reps, or artist-and-repertoire representatives. A&R reps are the talent scouts of the music industry. They work for big record labels sniffing out the next big thing, and they are the people who get artists signed.

Reps don’t usually look like those guys up there, though. They usually look like this guy down here.

So how do you get the attention of that guy? There are two ways, but really those ways are the same way.

  1. Build a large and growing fan base
  2. Start making money with your music

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “If I could do those two things, what would I need a label for?”

Exactly. That’s why the independent industry is bigger than ever in the 21st century.

But that doesn’t mean record label’s are worthless. There’s a point at which growing your fan base and profit margin becomes seriously hard work on the business end.

Once you’re touring twice a year, selling merch from your official website and booking shows for every Friday and Saturday night, you’ll need a manager. Probably, you’ll already have been recording and distributing your music through Mondotunes. You’re essentially running your own label at that point, and you may have noticed that it’s hard to find time to write new music while doing all that stuff.

That’s what labels are really for.

To get signed, then, you first need to worry about Number 1, above — growing a fan base. (If you’ve managed to make money as a musician without building a fan base, please let us know how you bent the laws of music physics to do it).

Building a fan base begins with making great music which people in your area will love to hear.

Once you’ve got that, it’s about getting the music to the people. This is traditionally done — and often best done — by playing live shows at venues. People at music venues go there because they like live music and are open to hearing new things. That’s your infant fan base, right there. Play for them as often as you can, and when you make them happy, they’ll come back for more. More importantly, they’ll tell other people about you.

[Watch this blog for other ideas on “How to Grow a Fan Base,” to be published soon.]

Once you’ve taken care of Number 1, Number 2 falls right in your lap. You can’t have people clamoring for your music without being able to sell them tickets, music and merchandise. You’ll be making money, and so long as you keep the good times coming for your fans, it’ll surprise you how quickly the fans and the money multiply.

This all comes back to the original question, of course.

Once an A&R rep hears about your music, hears that people are wearing your tee shirts and going to see your performances, he or she is going to ask, “are they signed?” before he or she even hears your music. When the answer comes back that you are not, in fact, signed, then you can expect a call.

That’s what record labels want in the end, of course: a piece of the action.

All you’ve got to do is be the action.

-S. McCauley

Future bass! The future of dubstep

Meet future bass, the new sound of dubstep

Let’s all take a moment to thank dubstep for everything it’s given us. It led electronica out of the nineties and into the new millennium. It gave us seminal DJs like Skrillex, Deadmau5 and Knife Party. And it gave a whole generation of young music fans a style of music to call their own.

But nothing lasts forever.

Until the year 2000, music trends were typically contained in their decade. The nineties had grunge, the eighties had new wave, the seventies had disco, etc., etc. Every new decade seemed to need a style for itself. But when the BBC’s John Peel started playing dubstep music on the radio in 2003, he was kicking off a tsunami of sound that is still going strong almost 15 years later.

To say dubstep has had a good run is an understatement. That it’s finally passing the torch to a new sound should surprise no one.

That new sound is future bass.

Rolling Stone’s David Turner describes future bass as “a still-codifying genre,” saying, “Future bass takes the ecstatic drops of dubstep or trap, but provides a warm bounce rather than a lumbering bruteness. Basslines are provided by harsh, detuned synths that buzz and purr instead of gulp and whomp.”

The earliest future-bass tracks date back to around 2007, just a couple years after dubstep had gone mainstream. Ten years later, the heir to the EDM crown is taking the throne.

Among the most influential founders of future bass is Louis The Child.

“Back in the day it was called ‘chill trap’ or ‘melodic trap,'” says Louis The Child’s Robby Hauldren. “Then it turned from this 140 [bpm] chill trap into a half-step beat, brought up a little bit more with the filtered chords that are super reverb[ed].”

And independent EDM artists like MondoTunes‘ own Chiefftone are playing for team Future Bass, too.

“I would describe future bass as being of a similar tempo and feel to dubstep, but a lot more light and mellow,” says Chiefftone, a graduate of the Point Blank music college. “Its main characteristic is a layered, often pumping, synth sound that bounces along with the beat. The synth sound is one people might associate with other styles, like trance, but with the tempo slowed down and a more hip-hop beat. And of course the bass itself is important too. Often a heavy ‘808’ or sub is used, often pumping in time with the synth.”

The Chainsmokers continue to release new future-bass tracks

But does Chiefftone agree that future bass might be the next evolution of dubstep?

“I think future bass is already becoming the next big thing. A lot of people listen to future bass every day on the radio without realising it. The Chainsmokers’ huge hits ‘Something Just Like This,’ and ‘Roses,’ are both future-bass tunes. Martin Garrix has basically changed his whole style to future bass recently with his hits ‘Scared to be Lonely’ and ‘In the name of Love’ totally falling in the style of future bass. And of course, there’s the Australian artist Flume, who pioneered the genre, who is more popular than ever.”

You heard it here first, EDM DJs, listeners and producers. Time to learn up.

-Sean McCauley

[“Stray Gun,” the new future-bass single release by Chiefftone, is available online worldwide.]

All About Music Distribution

Are you a music artist looking for info about music distribution? This handy how-to guide will tell you everything you need to know today (and a little bit more).

 

Music distribution in 2017 is all about digital. But what exactly is it? Music distribution is the act of getting your music into the hands of listeners.

That’s it.

And while it may feel like there’s an awful lot more to learn, as a musician with online access and only a little money, there’s not much else you need. This will explain how to get your music live for purchase and listening all over the world, practically overnight.

Today, nearly all music distribution is digital for lots of reasons. We’re going to assume you already know the future is in online music distribution and skip the explanations about the dinosaur methods of yesterday.

But first, let’s examine why every musician should take advantage of music distribution.

  1. Music distribution is open to everyone
  2. It’s totally affordable
  3. It makes artists money
  4. Music distribution goes around the world

That first point is one everyone should know. Nobody is turned away. No record is shut down. All the people of Earth are welcome to publish music around the world.

But you’re probably more interested in the second point. Practically anybody can afford music distribution right now.

And what of making real money? Can that actually be done? The IFPI says yes, with 50% of all music sales last year coming directly from digital and only 34% from physical formats.

Streaming alone went up more than 60%. Musicians are making more money online than in any other way, live performances included.

It is a statistical fact that everyone doubles their chances to make cash with global music distribution.

The last point mentioned above describes the reach of music distribution today. When you distribute music online, you distribute to almost every corner of the planet.

This is especially true if you choose to distribute your music through MondoTunes, which has the largest distribution network in the world, the same one used by Universal artists like U2, Lady Gaga, and the Black Eyed Peas.

So now that you know why you need music distribution, which company is right for you?

A Brief Look at Music Distribution Companies

In the beginning, there was CD Baby. Founded away back in 1998, CD Baby did exactly that. They sold CDs.

After almost 20 years, their name brand is the one most people point to first.

It’s probably due to this that Wired Magazine nods to their healthy “community vibe.”

 

Seven years later, along comes Tunecore.

Tunecore provided digital retailer solutions.

This meant that musicians could go online and make their music available from online music stores.

Wired Magazine notes that Tunecore has a simple, easy setup, which is something everyone can appreciate.

 

 

Of course we’re biased about ourselves — so here’s what LedgerNote has to say about us, instead:

“The whole point of an online music distributor is they handle all the work of getting the music out. It’s a major job for them, especially if they’re getting the music to as many outlets as possible.

“Take for example a company like MondoTunes.  Their reach includes all of the big dogs such as:

  • iTunes
  • Amazon
  • Spotify
  • Google Play
  • Tidal
  • and over 600 more…

“With one fell swoop you can hit the sites above, toss in YouTube, Vevo, Deezer, Rhapsody, and pretty much every other distributor you can imagine.  One of the main principles of a takeover in marketing is to ‘Be everywhere at all times.’  This is how you pull that off with a literal fraction of a fraction of the effort it used to take.”

Wired Magazine loves the pricing at Mondo, which was about $40 per album at the time of writing — but today you can distribute an infinite number of releases for the same amount.

What neither LedgerNote nor Wired mentions is that Mondo is the next step in the natural evolution of music distribution.

“We essentially were the ones who linked major label distribution for indie artists,” says founder Javan Mershad. “Then we embraced recent technology and leveraged it to provide unlimited uploads.”

But is music distribution through MondoTunes all about facts and figures?

Not at all.

Excuse my breaking the so-called fourth wall, but what’s most important to me (Sean McCauley) is the relationship we have to you artists out there.

Not all of us, but we’re all for you.

Everyone from the founders, to the support crew, to the press team and mastering geniuses are themselves musicians with real music experience in the trenches. We’ve performed, we’ve sold albums, we’ve printed tee-shirts, we’ve been stiffed by the show promoter and we’ve been robbed by the indie label guy.

For my money, I suggest Mondo for the simple reason that we’re artists, too, and we shoot straight.

-Sean McCauley

Senior Editor, MondoTunes

 

 

How to Make Money Selling Merch

When you’re ready to start making money selling music merchandise, here’s how to get started.

 

One of the best ways to make money as a music artist is by peddling merchandise, or “merch,” as it’s called. It’s a great way to advertise music, especially for studio musicians who can’t sell tickets to live performances. If you’ve got creativity, a computer, and just a little starting cashola, you can start selling merch inside of a week. Here are some tips to help get your merch started.

The age-old merch staple is the tee-shirt. We’ll use that as our main example.

 

The easy part is simple economics. Go online and shop around. See how many shirts you can buy for as little as possible, but stay honest with yourself about how many people are likely to buy a shirt from you in a certain amount of time. Let’s say a month. How many people purchased your music last month? That can give you a decent idea of how many people might buy a shirt if it were available.

 

But your music doesn’t necessarily have to be part of the merch equation if your merch is marketable. If it features a logo, theme, or style that is attractive to people regardless of the fact that it’s a band tee-shirt, you can sell it to people who’ve never heard your music, and advertise your music at the same time, which is of course the whole point of band merchandise to begin with.

 

Look at this merch from heavy-metal crew All Shall Perish:


How many Bernie supporters do you think bought this shirt without ever having heard the band? Some.

 

The idea is to get a logo or theme together that will appeal to as many people as possible. That’s the hard part. Once you’ve got the idea, sketch it out on a pad of paper or, even better, using a computer. You’re going to need to put it in digital form for the best bang for your buck, anyhow, so you may as well start there if you’re comfy being creative on your laptop, desktop or smartphone.

 

You’re going for a catchy logo, phrase or cool-looking image. Some of the best-selling and best-recognized music logos include the Wu-Tang ‘W’:the Grateful Dead “Jerry Bears:” and the Bad Religion “Crossbuster:” 

That last one’s a doozy. It’s too controversial for most musicians to flaunt, but controversy does sell records. If you don’t think that logo got all kinds of attention in the 1980s (and continues to do so today) then you’re crazy. For artists trying to get people talking about their music, there’s no such thing as bad press.

 

Once you’ve got a logo, printed phrase, or other image you think will sell, you can get to work doing the actual business side of merch. You’re going to have to invest in your brand before people can buy your shirts, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. There are companies who will sell you large, black, cotton tee-shirts at about $7 per shirt, complete with an embroidered logo, and ship it to your house for free if you buy $200 worth of them. That works out to just under 30 shirts. You can price those at an even 10 bucks per shirt and make almost 50% profit. Not bad.

 

But you don’t have to sell shirts.

 

Everyone sells shirts. Why not get custom embroidered straw hats for summertime? Cigarette lighters with your band name on them? Beer koozies? Umbrellas? You get the picture.

 

There’s an item for every musician’s bank account and fan base. If you’ve got the imagination, the world will supply the buyers.

 

Happy merchandising, and have fun telling the world about your music!

 

–Sean McCauley

7 Reasons Why Music Is Important To World Cultures

World Cultures and MusicBy: Lizzie Weakley For MusicThinkTank.  Every culture in the world has its own form of music that is enjoyed by all ages on every continent. Although each culture is different, music unifies all races and has been used throughout history for different occasions and for enjoyment purposes. To learn why it is important to world cultures and continues to be created over the decades, there are a few important facts to understand.
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6 THINGS YOU LEARN WHILE RECORDING A STUDIO ALBUM

Cowbell in the studioThe studio.
Such a glamorous and misunderstood beast.
You’ve googled the crap out of it…

“recording an album,” “what to bring to the studio,” “how to prepare for the studio,”
or…. “what Instagram filters take the best pretentious studio shots?”, “do craft beers clog up my vocal chords?”  …and you’re about as read up on it as could be.
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6 WAYS TO GET MORE PEOPLE TO YOUR SHOWS

ShowsDo you sometimes feel that your band’s draw is languishing? Are you tired of seeing the same people at your shows and want to play to a new crowd, even in your hometown? It’s easy to overplay the same town. Here are 6 good reasons why you should play less often.
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