049 – How to Distribute Your Music & Sell it on Major Online Stores and Streaming Sites

Music distribution services have made it easy for all artists to get their music on popular online stores and streaming sites.

If you have yet to distribute your music digitally, now is the time to get into it.

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I explain the simple process of music distribution.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – Music distribution
  • 00:29 – The two types of music distribution
  • 00:43 – Physical distribution
  • 01:01 – Online distribution
  • 01:15 – Is physical distribution worth it?
  • 01:52 – The benefit of getting your music into online stores and streaming sites
  • 02:22 – Music distribution services
  • 02:54 – Choosing a distributor

Transcription:

Thanks for joining me. Today, I want to talk briefly about music distribution. It’s something some artists have been asking about. It’s fairly simple and straightforward, but it’s easy to get caught up in a lot of research and analysis paralysis so here’s a simple guide to distributing your music.

There are basically two types of music distribution. There is physical and digital. Physical distribution has become increasingly irrelevant as CD stores continue to close. Online distribution is where most labels and artist are now paying attention to.

What is physical distribution? It’s simply the process of getting your CDs into stores. There was a lot more that went along with that, and it wasn’t necessarily cheap to do, but it doesn’t really matter that much anymore. I will talk about how physical distribution is relevant in a moment, but it’s not on the scale it used to be.

Then, online distribution is the process of getting your music on online stores and streaming platforms like iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Deezer, and so forth. It’s quite convenient. You can usually do it with just one service.

Is physical distribution even worth it anymore? Well, in some cases it can be if you’re in certain niches. For example, if you have particularly relaxing music, then you may be able to sell it at spas. If you have children’s music, then you may be able to sell it in toy stores. Independent artists of course can make connections with independent record stores or cafés and gift shops.

Other places may be willing to carry your CD on consignment. That simply means they’ll take a cut of your CD sales and give you the rest. But you need to develop that relationship and probably show up on a weekly basis to see where things are at.

Okay. With that out of the way, let’s move on to the more exciting topic of online distribution, which is where most of the party is happening.

The benefits of getting your music into prominent online stores and streaming sites should be obvious. It can boost your credibility as an artist and make it easy for people to discover and listen to your music on familiar platforms.

Oftentimes it is necessary to utilize a music distributor to get your music into the hands of Amazon, Shazam, TIDAL, and many others. Music distribution services include CD Baby, Ditto Music, DistroKid, TuneCore, JTV Digital just to name a few.

Just for easy reference there are only two distributors I’ve used in the past. The first is CD Baby. I’ve used that for many years. I recently started experimenting with DistroKid. The interesting part about DistroKid is you pay a one-time fee to distribute as much music as you want in a full year. That means if you’re prolific in publishing a lot of music, there are certain cost advantages to being with Distrokid.

Music distribution is relatively inexpensive and low risk. Now, some distributors don’t have the best reputation. I’ve heard some are even late on payments or don’t pay you at all, so it’s worth doing some research before you decide on a distributor.

But don’t let your analysis paralyze you. Just get your music out there. You can always use a different distributor next time if you’re not happy with the one that you used last time. Start selling your music online right away.

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Mark Vesprini from Outro Reveals How His Platform Encourages Collaboration & Connects Artists Globally

I recently had the opportunity to connect with the good folks at Outro.

I figured the best way for all of us to learn about their platform is to get answers straight from the horse’s mouth.

So, here’s my Q&A with Mark Vesprini of Outro.

1. Tell us about who you are and what you do.

My name is Mark Vesprini, I run a music platform called Outro. I’ve been an artist and musician for most of my life, but always struggled to find a way to turn it into a career.

After making my last album, I realized that there was an amazing amount of innovation going into streaming and distribution platforms, but there seemed to be very little focus on connecting people during the creative process.

I started Outro to help artists, producers, and musicians collaborate without limitations.

2. What is Outro? How does it work, and who is it for?

Music production marketplace paltformOutro is a music production marketplace that allows creators to buy sounds, sell sounds, and collaborate with each other. Our mission is to connect every creator in the world, empowering them to make better music and build stronger careers through collaboration.

What makes Outro special is that the content – loops, samples, and instrumentals – comes from creators all over the world. Within a matter of minutes you can build your profile, drag and drop content into your catalog, price it, and start selling.

If you just want to buy sounds, you can upload the song you’re working on to find and audition compatible sounds made by other creators. Our innovative workspace and compatibility algorithms let you hear how each piece of content transforms your track without ever leaving the browser.

Outro also helps creators collaborate with each other on projects. Our request feature allows artists to get customized instrumentals from producers, and allows producers to work with musicians to take their production to the next level.

3. How can musicians and producers earn money using your platform?

You can make money two different ways:

  1. By selling original samples and instrumentals. Whether you already make samples, or just have a lot of unfinished projects, just about any producer can find great forgotten sounds on their hard drive that would be perfect for someone else’s project. The same goes for instrumental music.
  2. By filling public or direct requests for customized sounds, which can be anything from custom FX or solo instrument recordings to full instrumentals. It takes a lot of time, money and effort to find and book musicians in a physical setting, so we’ve streamlined the process to allow creators to collaborate with someone across the world from the comfort of their own home.
With Outro, you can collaborate with someone across the world from your own home. Click To Tweet

4. What other opportunities can musicians and producers tap into with your platform?

We’re always looking for creative ways to help promote the incredible talent that’s on our platform. We’ve been actively working with our creators to highlight their talent in the form of a blog feature, video, or by including their music in our promotional material and production tutorials. We’ll continue to work hard to generate both revenue and exposure opportunities for all of our users, so if anyone wants to be featured please don’t hesitate to reach out!

5. Is there anything else I should have asked?

People may be interested in who our competitors are – there are a number of platforms that sell loops, samples, and instrumentals to producers and artists including Splice, Loopmasters, Prime Loops… These sites offer lots of great content, but don’t allow creators to sell their own sounds. There are sites that help producers sell instrumentals to artists, but Outro is the only platform that allows creators to sell sounds and collaborate with each other on-platform.

Outro is the only platform that allows creators to sell sounds and collaborate on-platform. Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts

I know I’m always excited about finding new ways to market and monetize my music. How about you?

Online collaboration isn’t something I’ve explored in depth, but it is something I’ve given thought to before. After all, with the technology that’s now available, you could collaborate with virtually anyone that’s willing to work with you.

Did you enjoy this Q&A? If so, be sure to thank Outro on Twitter: @outro_music

Have you used Outro before? If not, are you planning to check it out now that you know more about it?

Let us know in the comments.

048 – How to Create Engaging Video Content as a Musician

Do you create video content? Are you using YouTube to promote your music?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I explain how to create great quality videos that engage your fan base.

If you’ve ever asked yourself what it takes to create unique video content, this podcast episode is for you.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – Creating video content
  • 00:30 – Why video content is essential for musicians
  • 00:42 – Decide what kind of video you’re going to create
  • 00:58 – Prepare your gear
  • 01:39 – Plan your video
  • 02:21 – Capture the footage
  • 02:43 – Edit the video
  • 03:32 – Refine your process

Transcription:

Some people have been asking me about video content, and it really is no surprise. Video is massive right now. People spend more time on YouTube than all other social networks combined. And in this episode, we’re going to look at how to create engaging videos.

Video content has become essential for musicians. It’s an incredible marketing tool and it also has the potential to make you money. So here are six tips to help you create video content that engages your audience.

Video content has become essential for musicians. Click To Tweet

One: Decide what type of video you’re going to create. Is it going to be a music video lyric video, video song, or a vlog? It seems like an obvious step but it is an important one. Decide what you’re going to do before you go out and do it.

The next thing you need to do is prepare your gear, and you don’t need the fanciest gear in the world to create great looking videos. I use a Logitech webcam and my smartphone for most videos and it tends to be all I need. And if I’m recording my screen, I’m usually using QuickTime to do that these days.

In some cases, you may need a digital SLR camera or even a camcorder to get the quality of footage you’re looking for. You may also require a lighting kit, microphones, various lenses, and other pieces of gear to achieve the kind of video you’re looking for.

But if you have a limited budget, that’s not necessarily a problem because you can still create great video content without having the best tools in the world. The next step is to plan your video.

Now that you’ve decided what type of content you’re going to create, it’s time to create a plan for how it’s all going to come together. So, think about what you’re trying to capture. What’s the essence of the story you’re looking to share? And why should people care about it? Why does this video need to exist? How is it going to be unique? Why will people watch? How many cameras will you need? Are you looking to capture multiple angles? Who needs to be involved? Who’s going to be in the video? And who’s going to be part of the production crew?

Storyboard your entire video if necessary. It might seem painstaking at first, but you will end up with a better-quality video if you take the time to plan it.

The next step is to go and capture the footage you need for the video. I would suggest taking your time and not rushing the entire process and capture plenty of B-roll or extra footage you can use in your video, because sometimes the most engaging thing isn’t what you think it is.

Your surroundings also tell a story, so think carefully about location. This is a good thing to think about at the planning stage as well.

The next step you need to take is to edit the video and you may have heard some people say the money is in the editing. This is especially true for photography where any number of photographers can capture the exact same photo but depending on the editing process, they’re going to have completely different results, and this is true for video as well.

It’s as much what you say as what you don’t say. And these days brevity is really key. If you have great footage and great video and a story to tell, it’s okay to go longer. But you don’t want to draw out the points either.

Video really is as much about the editing process as it is the footage you capture, so I always like to think about what’s the bare minimum you need to get your message across. Everything else is just bonus. It’s nice to have, but you don’t necessarily need it to make the point you want to make.

Video is as much about the editing process as it is the footage you capture. Click To Tweet

Finally, take some time to refine your process. I would suggest publishing your videos even when you don’t think they’re perfect. Share them with your friends. Gather feedback and then improve upon your process based on the feedback you get. Then go back to step one and repeat as many times as you need to until you are satisfied with the quality of video you’re creating.

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What’s so Great about Digital Pianos?

Interested in learning about digital pianos? You’re in the right place.

How many of us can remember getting a piano or a keyboard as one of our first gifts?

I always used to find a piano rather mesmerizing with its many keys and beautiful sounds. It used to amaze me how every key sounded different than the last.

To date, pianos have their specific charm and have never lost their appeal or audience through the centuries.

Parents deem it an important skill and want their kids to learn to play the piano with some level of mastery. Kids are drawn to it for the magic melodies those keys can produce.

It is no surprise then that piano comes on top in popularity for the most played instrument.

Piano is one of the most versatile instruments, not just in terms of music production, but also for self-expression.

There are many other desirable skills associated with learning to play the piano. It can instill a sense of perseverance and creativity among students. It is also great for improving concentration and motor skills among.

Moreover, piano music is calming and relaxing, and practicing it can be therapeutic.

Piano Quick Facts

  • The piano was invented around 1700.
  • A piano consists of over 12,000 parts, out of which 10,000 are moving.
  • The gross worldwide production of pianos is over 750,000 units per year.
  • Steinway grand pianos are used for more than 90% of all piano concerts or performances.
  • The piano is played by 21 million Americans. More pianos are played by Americans than all the other instruments put together.

The Growing Popularity of Digital Pianos

Pianos have been around for a long time, but they are just as relevant today as they were in the past.

Digital pianos are becoming increasingly popular for many reasons. Although an acoustic piano is still recommended for beginners, but the rise of digital pianos has a great deal to do with today’s lifestyle, as well as how technology has advanced.

As more advanced models keep coming out, each with a host of new features, they continue to increase in reliability and are becoming recognized as solid instruments all their own.

Reliable & Practical

Reliability is the operative word here too, since digital pianos don’t need to be tuned as the acoustic ones do. Nor do they need the kind of temperature control that goes with keeping the classic models. Not only is tuning expensive, it can be a bother.

Also, depending on your living conditions, whether you are living with family, roommates or in an apartment with neighbors on the other side of the walls, you would have to limit practice hours. With digital pianos, that is a non-issue as you can simply plug in your headphones and you are all set.

Hassle-Free & Flexible

Digital pianos are also hassle-free in their mobility. They are easy to move around as they are much lighter and don’t have all that wooden weight.

So, if you’re looking to take a piano up a flight of stairs, you don’t want an acoustic one. This is also true if you live in a rental property, or if you travel a lot for your musical projects.

Good for Beginners & Affordable

Digital pianos also hold a lot of appeal for beginners, as you can purchase in a variety of price ranges, and even high-quality models are much cheaper than classic upright or grand models.

With the availability of pre-recorded arrangements that come with digital pianos, it is easy to learn to play different styles in a lot less time than one would need with an acoustic piano.

Digital Pianos, Conclusion

Digital pianos are fun, accessible, and reliable. You can tour with them, practice on them, and achieve many sounds with them.

Whether you’re a seasoned performer or just looking to be one, a digital piano can be a great tool.

The rise of digital pianos will continue.

047 – How do I Promote My Forthcoming Single?

Releasing music is a fact of being a musician.

Marketing is the part that sometimes doesn’t come as naturally.

You can have a lot of fun with your marketing once you get the hang of it.

But just like learning to ride a bicycle, it can be a bit of a challenge to figure out how to do it at first.

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I explore the five questions you need to ask yourself when putting together a promotion campaign for your forthcoming single.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:14 – A question from a mastermind gathering
  • 00:30 – There are thousands of different ways to market anything
  • 00:44 – Five questions you need to ask yourself
  • 00:55 – Who is your target audience?
  • 02:13 – What marketing channels will you be using?
  • 03:20 – How will you carry out your marketing plan?
  • 03:44 – How will you be measuring the effectiveness of your promotion campaign?
  • 04:18 – When will you call your campaign a success?

Transcription:

Thanks for joining me. I was recently at a casual mastermind gathering. It seems like all masterminds I go to are a casual nature at this point anyway. But there was a question from a fellow musician asking, “I’m releasing my single in 30 days. How do I build as much hype for it as possible?” The interesting part is that there are hundreds if not thousands of different ways to market anything.

The right way to market what you’re selling is unique to your situation, your branding, your image, your genre or style of music, and so on. But I decided to take a little bit of a different approach with this. I broke it all down into five questions. You need to ask yourself these questions if you’re trying to figure out how to promote your forthcoming single effectively.

First question is: Who is your target audience? Knowing who you’re marketing to makes it much easier to market to them. Don’t make any excuses. There are easy ways to figure out who your audience is. The first one is Facebook Insights. They collect a lot of data on the people that like your page. You need to look at the demographics. What’s the age range of the people? What’s the gender?

Another great tool is alexa.com. So, let’s say that you have a KISS tribute band and you’re trying to figure out who your fans are. You can go to alexa.com. Scroll to the bottom. Find the header that says, “browse top sites”. Then you would enter kissonline.com. You can learn a lot about their audience just by looking at that page.

There’s also a great tool called the SimilarWeb. It’s similar to Alexa, and you can do a lot of similar research on their site, although it will provide you with more detail. Combining those searches will give you a clearer picture of who your fan base is.

Don’t pretend like you don’t sound like another artist or band out there because virtually every musician does. So, think of who you sound like. Who have people told you that you sound like? Search for those websites on sites like Alexa or SimilarWeb. You’ll gain some insights into people who like that type of music already.

The next question is: What marketing channels will you be using? Your answer to this question should never be “every channel available.” Because like I said at the outset, there are probably thousands of them out there, so you want to narrow your focus.

Personally, I like to 80/20 my marketing. I’ll spend 80% of my time doing the things that I know will help me get the best results possible. Then 20% of my time on experimental marketing – trying different things that I don’t know whether or not they will work.

But I would suggest limiting your focus based on who you know your audience to be. Although completely unusual, and this probably wouldn’t happen, if your audience is not on Facebook, then it’s a waste of time to spend your time marketing there, so, why would you? That’s just an example. You might pick out Twitter or Google+ or Pinterest as other locations where your audience is really not hanging out at all.

So, you need to look at and consider what social media sites do they hang out on? What magazines do they read? What podcasts do they listen to? How can you show up in those places they’re already looking? Some of your initial research should have already given you a bit of an idea of what those places might be, but if you’re not sure, then try surveying your email list.

The third question I want you to ask is: How will you carry out your plan? Have you made a to-do list? Do you have checklists? Have you created a plan for what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it day by day? How much will it cost? Do you have a budget to advertise? Put it all down in writing and commit to doing these things. First, you need to create the plan but then you need to act on it.

The next question is, how will you be measuring the effectiveness of your promotion? Let’s face it. Marketing not measured is just wishful thinking. What tools will you be using to measure your progress? Google Analytics? Social media analytics or insights? Number of sales or downloads?

Decide on the key stats you want to track and track them for the duration of the campaign. That means while you’re running the campaign. This can help you develop better promotion campaigns in the future. The data you collect will be valuable to you one way or another.

Marketing not measured is just wishful thinking. Click To Tweet

The next question is: When will you consider your campaign a success? Many artists do not have a defined end goal in mind for their career, so they don’t necessarily have a clear objective for their marketing campaigns either.

If you’re running a crowdfunding campaign, your obvious goal would be your funding target. If you’re promoting your new album, your goal might be connected to sales and plays on streaming sites. If you’re looking to build new industry connections, you might be happy to develop five new industry relationships as a result of running that campaign.

Whatever it is, decide when you will consider your campaign a success. Don’t worry about not reaching your goals, as many times people don’t get to where they want to go the first time they try something like this. Simply be honest with yourself about what your goals are, and whether you reach them.

Decide when you will consider your marketing campaign a success. Click To Tweet

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