A crash course on how to set up a website, promote , grow your fan base and start selling music.
Promotion, promotion, promotion. That is the name of the game in today’s music industry. It has to be a grassroots campaign. It needs to grow organically. It needs to represent you as an artist. It also needs to grow your fan base exponentially! Don’t worry though, it’s actually not as hard as it sounds. But, there are definitely lots of steps that need to be done correctly. Trust me though, once you are done, you will own all the rights to your music and, control your own fan base. Through this process you will have effectively started your own indie music label. So, continue reading and let me show you how!
First, head over to www.godaddy.com and buy your unique domain name. I chose www.once-a-day-beats.com. Why? Well, I believe if you focus on your passion, artform, or Hobby once a day the possibilities are endless. This is my “mission statement” or “Tagline”. You should also think of a concept for yourself when thinking of a domain name. It will represent you and your company. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. It is also a play on One-a-day vitamins (I think it's kinda cool).
So, now after a few hours of racking your brain over a cool domain name and dealing with www.godaddy.com
Head over to Weebly (link) http://www.weebly.com/link/5EqgzT . Weebly is a awesome drag and drop website editor. You don’t need to be a computer expert or programmer to set this up. They have preset templates that you can use as starting points to create your own unique website. It’s soooooo easy to use! I believe everyone should have their own website in this day and age.
Next, Send your domain name that you just purchased at Godaddy.com to your Weebly account. They have very straight forward step by step instructions. Like I said, it’s easy. And boom! Now you own your own website. Weebly even has a step by step checklist of things that you need to do to get your website up and running. So don’t worry. I am definitely not a graphic designer myself but the tools provided to build your website are very straight forward. If you sign up to weebly using this link we both get $10 (http://www.weebly.com/link/5EqgzT). Sounds Like a deal to me!
There is only one thing I would highly recommend doing if you want to really have a professional look. Higher a professional graphic designer to create your logo! Your logo will represent your brand just as much as your domain name. Don’t worry if you don’t have any friends that can create one for you. You won’t have to spend an arm and a leg either. Head over to www.fiverr.com. It’s a cool freelance website and the base price for everything is only $5. Once you really dive into online marketing and promotion, there is actually a lot of stuff you can get done really quickly for very cheap. But anyways, lots of freelancers are on www.fiverr.com that will create a decent logo for you for very cheap so don’t worry.
But what about my music? How does this help me on my path to music superstardom? Your website will become the platform that you base everything off of. Why? Because you own it! Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube and all social media websites are all extremely important(we will get to this later). But!!! They will press the delete button on your account real quick if they don’t like you. That can never happen with what you actually own (your website).
So, you have your website up and running, now what? Write a artist biography. Have a lengthy version and a short version. Get a good head shot or some professional photography. Show that you are a real person. Create a bio page on your website. Use the lengthy version for your bio page and use shorter version for all of your social media accounts. Create a nice welcoming flow for your website and include whatever information you would like. It’s yours, take ownership in it!
To load your music onto your website, there are a few different methods of doing this. Soundcloud is great buttttttttttttttttttt, it’s also free. You want to get paid right? Well Soundcloud isn’t the way. It’s a great promo tool but, that is it! A lot of people disagree but hey that’s not how top artist’s become top artist’s. If everything is free, you will become the homeless musician on the corner real quick.
So what do you do? First of all, set up a paypal.com account. If you set up a business account, Paypal will give you an option to create a “buy now” button and accept payments. You can use this method to sell your album and set your own price. You can make a whole landing page on your website based around promoting your album with a video ect. Ect.. Set the price of your album to whatever you think you deserve and watch the sales roll in. At this point everything you do will be promotion for your album online . This method definitely takes a bit of "know how" but it is well worth it. But, we are getting ahead of ourselves a bit.
You want your online presence to have that “Official” look right? What am I talking about? I am talking about Distrokid (link) https://distrokid.com/vip/seven/568397
Distrokid is a distribution company that I love! It is so easy to use. Unlike other companies such as CDbaby who charge to distribute music per song or album (this can turn into hundreds of dollars). Distrokid has unlimited uploads with a small yearly fee(starter package is $19.99. That’s less than a Pizza Pie)! Put your music on all major digital distribution sites and also receive an ISRC code for each song. (ISRC codes are like tracking codes for your music, I have no clue how they work, so let’s pretend it’s magic). They also offer Youtube licensing so you can get paid for your music video’s or if someone uses your song in their own video (now that is cool). It’s great for producers like me because I can upload music as I make it.
Once your music is loaded, Distrokid will have it distributed to iTunes usually within a day. They will also have you on Spotify, Amazon, Beats, Tidal, and the countless other paid streaming services within weeks (they are all different companies and some take longer than others). This is the easiest and the most efficient way to distribute your music in my opinion and it also gives you that professional look you need. (Get 7% off if you follow the link https://distrokid.com/vip/seven/568397)
Once your music is all on the “interwebs” it’s time to start working! Set up every social media account you can possibly think of! Start with the heavy hitters. Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Instagram. Then, Pinterest, Tumblr, Digg, Stubleupon, Reddit, blogger, Livejournal and LinkedIn. I will be honest, it is a lot of working setting up all these social media accounts. So, maybe set aside a day and have a friend help you or hire someone on Fiverr.com. These website are really important. Besides google search, the digital distribution websites (iTunes ect. ect.) and shows where you perform. These website are how people with discover and find out about who you are. The biggest tip I can give you about social media sites: Make them all look uniform and familiar with your website. Also, the main purpose of social media is to raise awareness of you! So make sure that you are sending them back to your website in various different ways.
On your website, make sure you have links to your album everywhere. Grab the embedded code of your music from all the major distribution website to make sure fans can listen to your music how they want and on your website. Accept soundcloud! Use Soundcloud to post rough drafts, snippets, and music you are interested in. If you use social media correctly you can send thousands of people to your music website daily. Also, encourage sharing. Put social media sharing links everywhere. Have a signup form to track who your fans are. Getting their info is how you establish dedicated fans! These are the people who go to your shows and buy your albums.
This is the most official DIY way to own your own music. Become a indie sensation and run your own small record label. Through your website, you can create publicity, promotional content and help other artists on there way as well. It definitely won’t happen overnight and may take a while to get the hang of but once you get the ball rolling you will have a solid foundation and grow your fan base at an exponential rate.
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Hello, my name is John Rodgers. I am a Hip Hop music producer dedicated to helping rappers and recording artist's build a music career from the ground up.