The Beginners Guide to Promoting an Album - Part Three: Music Giveaways
Last week in our Beginners Guide to Promoting an Album we talked about the three major components that you need to have or get into place right away, while in the second installment we focused on creating a detailed timeline that will help you not only plan out what you need to do but know when you need to do it.
One of the biggest challenges that many musicians (and authors, and business people for that matter) find when dealing with establishing an audience is actually growing it. The short answer is that it takes time to build a solid, dedicated fan base. It takes work, time on the road doing shows, and putting you and your music out there for people to find. But thanks to the digital age, we have some resources that will help you.
You've heard me talk about NoiseTrade before because… well… they are awesome. Not only is the company run by great people with a passion for music but they truly want to see you and your music reach a broader audience.
What NoiseTrade does is simple: they have a website where fans can discover new music, sample the songs, and download the songs posted for free. They have the option of leaving a tip for the artist (which is always encouraged) but it's not required.
But here's the thing: the artist doesn't walk away empty-handed from this exchange. They walk away with something incredibly powerful if used respectfully and correctly: the fans email address and a mention on their Facebook, Twitter or email list. This is word-of-mouth at it's finest! And you are able to communicate directly with your fans through email, which is golden. On top of all of this, their player widget is embeddable on any website capable of displaying iframes, so you can entice visitors to your website to get their free music right on your own website.
Your work doesn't just end with new fans downloading your music; this is the pivotal point. Staying in touch with them, communicating with them, getting to know them and them getting to know you is key. This is how you turn casual fans into dedicated fans. Don't just sit on this valuable information you have been given…use it!
If you have some money to spend NoiseTrade offers very affordable advertising. This is the only form of advertising that I even consider or recommend. Mainly because a) NoiseTrade has a wide and trusting fan base, b) you have the opportunity to be included in their weekly newsletter, and c) it gets your face out in front. Check out NoiseTrade.com for more information.
SoundCloud is the "world's largest community of sound creators," which is a great way of saying it. What's great about this service is that artists can collaborate, share, and distribute their songs. You can share single tracks and post them on your website, on your social media outlets, etc. But the other great aspect is that you can connect with others to not only share your music but create relationships with other music lovers and artists. It's a killer combo for sure!
SoundCloud offers an interactive element for fans in that they can leave comments on particular sections of a track for all to see. And just like with NoiseTrade, you can embed their player widget with cool waveform graphic of your song on your website. They even let you change the color of the player to match your branding. On top of that, you can also use SoundCloud to create a music app for your Facebook Page and blog using BandPage, which we also highly recommend.
SoundCloud is free for you to upload up to two hours worth of music, with tiered paid subscription plans offering varying levels of music storage. We recommend using their player widget to embed your music on your website and Facebook page. If you use it in conjunction with NoiseTrade, we recommend disabling the free download option to make sure you can get the email addresses of your fans by sending them to NoiseTrade.
There is also a ton of third party app integration for uploading and sharing tracks with other web services, including apps which allow you to add a "buy" button which can link to services such as Bandcamp. So there are many different ways you can take advantage of your SoundCloud account.
The main thing you want to focus on is making sure people have the opportunity to sample and share your music. The best way to do that is by making some tracks available for free. This can be done by recording a live set and putting them out there for fans to try and share, it can be through giving away a couple tracks from your new album, or as some new artists have done, is give away their first album as a means of marketing themselves. Whatever whatever you choose to do it's important that you give fans and potential fans a way to sample your music. NoiseTrade and SoundCloud are great ways to do just that.
What is the key to making your album stand out? It's not the flashy signs, over-the-top antics or how you look and dress. What it boils down to is quality. If you have created an excellent product, put time and care into the crafting of it, and let people know about it, news will spread. Quality stands out above everything. And people will talk.
ACTION POINT: leave a comment below regarding how you have promoted your album. Did you use NoiseTrade? What was your experience like? We'd love to hear from you!
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