Art by Alexis Howick
After years of managing bands and writing about the music business, I’ve learned time and time again that it’s the musicians who are smart enough to utilize the best emerging tools have an easier time gaining a large fanbase. Sadly, it usually takes a while for many musicians to catch on to the best services out there. Since I want to make sure I hear my next favorite band, I put together a list of the best, criminally under-used tools to promote music.
1. Limited Run - If you plan to sell merch and distribute music to your fans directly, LimitedRun is the best tool for the job. At just $10 a month (for 25 items or less) and no percentage taken off the top, they beat the competition in both value and toolset. If that weren’t enough, they allow you to collect emails, bundle downloads (you know you should be giving away a free sampler of your music to every fan who buys a T-shirt, right?) and give your music to anyone who buys it in a wide variety of formats. These are just some of the great features they have and after you signup, you should spend an hour looking at the countless other ways to take advantage of this great service.
2. DistroKid - Many musicians are disappointed in the high price they pay to get their music on iTunes, Spotify, etc. Making it even worse, many of the services that offer streaming have raised their yearly maintenance fees or take a percentage of your sales. DistroKid stands apart from the rest by giving you a fair deal and getting your music to all the essential services. For $20 a year, you can upload as much music as you want to Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Tidal, Rdio, Amazon or YouTube, with no percentage of sales taken off the top. This also means that for $20 a year you could even upload your rarities, live sets, demos and whatever else you can think of to these services and allow all your music to be enjoyed by your fans.
3 & 4. BandsInTown & SongKick - Every band wants to make sure everyone who loves their music gets to their show when they come to town. Sadly, many fans never even hear about the concert. Both BandsInTown & SongKick aim to make sure all your fans know about you gigs. Fans who sign up for these services are able to find out when the bands they listen to on Spotify, Google search or like on Facebook are coming to town. All you have to do is upload your tour dates to their services.
5. BandPage - At one time BandPage was simply the best-looking music player for Facebook, but they’ve grown into much more. They offer a variety of time-saving services, including syncing your pictures and bio information to dozens of services like Xbox Music, Rdio and LyricFind. If you want to sell guitar lessons or schedule a meet-and-greet, BandPage Experiences enables you to do so in a clean and simple way.
6. Periscope - Periscope is Twitter’s live video streaming app. This enables you to connect with fans who want to watch you during your more intimate moments. You can Periscope your rehearsals or backstage hangs. You can host live Q&As during downtime and fans can tune in and see the videos for up to 24 hours after you broadcast.
Jesse Cannon is a columnist for AltPress. He is author of Get More Fans: The DIY Guide To The New Music Business and produces records at Cannon Found Soundation. He also hosts the music business podcast Off The Record. Follow him on Twitter.