Nowadays, with the internet being as powerful as it is, there are loads of great online tools which can help you get established in the music industry. Now, the ones I'm going to talk about are more aimed at the Film/TV Composers out there, but there are some useful pointers for those pursuing a solo career as well; so definitely worth a read.
Social media, although still a relatively new phenomenon, is an extremely powerful tool. Over 1.8 BILLION PEOPLE have a Facebook account for example, and a market like that is simply too big to ignore. As a Musician, one of the first things you should be doing is setting up a professional Facebook page, and inviting all your friends to like and share it. My recommendation is creating one, and then adding some of your work to it before sharing it, as people are more likely to like and share that than simply an empty profile with your name at the top. Try to keep it strictly about music, and keep the social stuff like how much you drank last Friday to your personal Facebook account. Here is an example of my Official Facebook Page to give you an idea.
LinkedIn is also a great tool. For those that don't know, LinkedIn is best described as "Facebook for Professionals", so its a good idea to create a professional looking page and start building your network. LinkedIn is packed with Film Producers, Record Labels, Talent Scouts, you name it. Trying to build a network with these people and then posting regular musical updates onto your profile will go a long way. View my LinkedIn page for an example.
Last but definitely not least Twitter. Used by 320 Million people, it is still a hugely powerful tool. Having a decent Twitter account will definitely not to you any harm, and will probably end up being your fanbase's primary method of keeping up to date with what you are doing.
The most dated, yet still one of the most important things you need to have. All businesses, whether you're a Freelancer Composer, a tyre company, or a carpet manufacturer; need to have a website. Why? Because you just do. However, gone are the days when building a website required outsourcing thousands to a professional tech company, or messing around for days trying to figure out HTML code. In fact, building your own professional looking website has never been easier! All you need is a domain name, which you can purchase for literally $0.99, and a low-cost website builder. The list below has some good starting points, and are all great sites to use.
An absolute must for musicians. SoundCloud is a fantastically slick way of displaying your music portfolio, and can help you establish a large and most importantly, a targeted fan base. One of the other great things about SoundCloud, is the ability to embed your tracks into your website and other web pages, instantly giving your page an edge, but most importantly getting your music in front of more people. Check out my SoundCloud account here.
Again, YouTube has been around for a long time, but is by no means redundant. Over 5 BILLION videos are watched on YouTube EVERY DAY! And as a Musician, you are missing out on a massive scale if you simply ignore it. There's no need to spend thousands on a music video or professional videographers. There are videos on YouTube with millions of views, that just feature a music track underneath a static picture, and this can be done for free with a program like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. And again, its really good way of building a targeted fanbase through your subscribers.
Asset 5: (For Solo Artists)
Both Apple and Spotify now have some really good deals in place which enable new and unsigned Artists to get their music online. One of the most popular is the use of Aggregators. Aggregators are companies which are experts in delivering content to services like iTunes and Spotify. They can also provide you with Universal Product Codes (UPC) and International Standard Recording Codes (ISRC), and distribute your music across multiple channels. Apple or Spotify will then pay the aggregator for any sales, and the aggregator will pay you.
Apple Approved Aggregators
Spotify Approved Aggregators
Asset 6: (For Freelance Composers)
I mentioned this in my previous posts, however as a Freelancer Composer I found these incredibly useful when starting out. Whilst you're unlikely to land a job composing the music for the next Batman film from a Freelancing site, there are some fantastic projects on there which can help get you on the map, as well as getting some all-important cash rolling in. These sites have jobs paying $5 to simply mix a track on Logic, to projects I've seen where clients are paying composers $3000 to score a 30 minute film. Here are a few example sites below:
Not only do these sites match up potential clients with potential sellers, they also manage the whole project brilliantly. Payment is safe and quick, and everything is backed up by the site, meaning discrepancies with clients are extremely rare. Invoices and income certificates can also be produced and downloaded, if needed for tax reasons for example.
So there you are; 6 online tools that can help establish you in the online music industry. I will finish with saying that with all these assets, the key element from your perspective, is backlinking, in other words, 'link everything, to everything.' On your Facebook page for instance, you should ideally have links to your Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Website, SoundCloud account, and even your profiles on Freelance sites. Not only does this increase your exposure and drive more followers to your other pages, but it also boosts your online presence on Google. When Google crawls and trawls through websites and web pages, if something has loads of backlinks, then it will often rank it higher in its searches. This is absolutely key. Its not limited to Google either. You should always aim to cross or backlink everything. Every time I have completed a project on UpWork for example, I connect with all of the client team on LinkedIn, get them to endorse my skills, like my Facebook page etc. It all helps....