Indie musicians need a tech stack to distribute, promote and book shows.
I’ve done research to select the services I’m using and I’ll share how I’m choosing them and customizing my use of them to work together.
Many services provide a web page where people can hear and download your music, but you need a proper web site that links to those storefront pages to host other information about your band.
I’m going with WordPress. Here’s how I’m using it:
- There are other options for a band site but WordPress works for all my sites.
- I like the free Dyad theme a lot for featuring imagery alongside blog posts.
- WordPress.com sites are free if you point your domain name to forward to them.
- I’ll migrate my free WordPress.com sites to a private server later.
Some music you want to share with your fans, friends and peers so they can stream or download it freely.
Soundcloud is the best place to share new songs with fans and get feedback time-stamped onto the track itself at the moment they commented. Listening to a big release with hundreds of comments tagging the timeline is a digital recreation of an album launch party.
Unlimited Free Downloads
Soundcloud and Bandcamp both limit your total number of free downloads per track, so if you want to give away some music you should host that music elsewhere once you exceed their limits of 100-200 downloads or so.
Music Direct Download Sales
Bandcamp is a logical first step for selling digital music.
Music Store & Streaming Distribution Partner
To sell and stream music through the big services like iTunes and Spotify, you need a distribution partner. Ari’s Take has an amazingly detailed comparison of every digital music distributor after interviewing each company’s reps. You should read the whole thing. I’m still deciding which one to go with, leaning towards either Tunecore for their high-quality data analytics or recordkid for its lack of per-track fees.
Royalty Collector: SoundExchange
You’d think that selling your music online through a distributor would be the end of it, until you read Ari’s explanation of how crazy complex digital royalties are. You also need to register on SoundExchange to claim royalties for various kinds of usage like YouTube stream monetization that distributors don’t collect for you. Note that to complete registration you’ll pro
Show Booking Services
If you want your band to play live shows, there are services that can help you book shows and promotional opportunities. For new artists, ReverbNation provides a lot to start out.
Reverb offers packages. $20/month for mailing list service, free song downloads, submission to TV placements and festival slots, and distribution of 2 releases per year. They also have a database of tour venues to help you plan.
Indie on the Move is a free service for booking tours of shows.
Show Listing on Spotify
Songkick can list your show schedule on Spotify and other sites.