As a music producer I come in contact with many independent music artists, performers, managers, producers, and independent labels seeking information and opinions regarding tools available for us on the internet. I am often asked questions about websites that may be helpful to use and those that are not. While some of this information is relative to the specific goals that you are trying to accomplish, some facts cannot be denied.
There are multiple websites that provide an avenue for independent artists to connect with fans, gain new ones, network, and sell music and merchandise. While it may be beneficial to connect with people any way possible, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of what is available and what the sites offer so that you know where to focus your energy. If there is a website that you use or know of and feel that it should have made this list (that does not have a rapidly declining social value), please feel free to comment below.
ReverbNation is a way to share your music, gain new fans, network and it provides digital distribution. It has become an all encompassing vehicle contingent upon how you wish to utilize it. It offers free profiles for artists, labels, managers, promoters, venues, and fans. Free profiles include a free custom android fan app, widgets, one FanReach email template, up to 500 FanReach email contacts, unlimited song uploads, 8 MB max upload size, unlimited song download, Gig Finder, a Facebook app, and a profile page. It also offers Pro and Max profiles currently at $19.95/month and $41.67/month respectively.
Some users have complaints regarding the “opportunities” that are offered by labels, venues and promoters. Pay attention and trust your instincts. As with anything online, you should do your research prior to pursuing any opportunity especially if there is a submission/entry fee involved.
Some questions have also been raised regarding the ranking system that is used for chart positions. ReverbNation utilizes what they call Band Equity. Some artists argue that the metrics used may be arbitrary or do not take certain things into account, however it must be recognized that the site is not intended to be a popularity contest. Regardless of feelings about how these metrics are determined, the main benefit of the site is to connect with fans and gain new ones, which takes place no matter where you fall on the charts.
Soundcloud is a way to share your music, gain new fans and network. Soundcloud offers a variety of ways to share your music by ease of connecting it to multiple sites and offering a dropbox to privately share tracks with other users. It is simple to use, easy to connect and a great and efficient way to share your sounds.
Boomdizzle is a way to connect with artists, network, collaborate and enter contests. It also offers some licensing and distribution opportunities (iTunes, CBS, Vibe, TV.com, XBox and All Hip Hop).
Bandcamp is a way to sell music and merchandise directly to fans. Setting up a Bandcamp account is free. Bandcamp collects money by charging a revenue share on sales: 15% for digital (volume discounts are available) and 10% for merchandise . It allows integration with existing websites for ease of use. Bandcamp also offers a “Pro” option for $10/month that provides batch upload, private streaming, Google Analytics, your own domain, and optional streaming.
CD Baby is a way to sell music and merchandise directly to fans and offers distribution (Basic prices $49/album, $12.95/single). The company also provides a host of artist services (à la carte) that are worthy of an entirely separate article.
BandPage is a way to share your music and somewhat streamline your efforts by connecting to various sites and updating your music, show list, photos, videos and bio in one place. It requires connecting to your Facebook page.