Music Marketing Roundup: 8 Must-Read Articles to Jumpstart Your Promotion

At least once a week, someone asks me on Twitter, “How do I promote my music?” The best answer I can muster in 140 characters or less is a link to Passive Promotion. After all, that’s the question I created the site to answer.

But things change quickly in this space, and what worked nearly eight years ago when I launched the site, no longer applies. One morning you wake up, and my article series on MySpace friend adders lacks immediacy. 😢

With that in mind, here are eight of the most currently useful articles on the site, with links to related reading. I’ll share a few bonus leads at the end for good measure.

The Definitive Album Release Checklist

The musician’s ultimate pre-release to-do list. All this stuff needs to be done before promotion begins! In fact, most of this is “do not pass go, do not collect $200” type of stuff that you should take care of ASAP, regardless of whether or not you have something ready to release.

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Promotion & Production Tips from my Wiselike AMA

Wiselike is a Q&A site often compared to Quora. The difference is, you aren’t just throwing questions out there for anybody to answer or ignore. With Wiselike, you direct your question to a specific person.

They’ve featured all types of people from grammy winners to nobel prize winners to CEOs and famous authors. Last Thursday, they featured little old me.

While many of the questions focused on Color Theory in particular, a good portion centered around promotion and production. I’ve compiled a sort of “best of” below. Just click on the “wslk.io” links to read my answers.

Alternately, you can see all the questions and answers, and ask your own, on my page.

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What Artists Should Know About Songtrust

Did you know that when a song you wrote is sold as a download, you’re due a mechanical royalty? In the US, that royalty is paid through your aggregator (CD Baby, TuneCore, etc). Internationally, you need a publishing administrator like Songtrust to collect it.

For a $100 setup fee and 15% commission, Songtrust will help you register with a PRO (ASCAP, BMI, SOCAN) if you’re not already. Next, they’ll register your songs with over 40 collection societies worldwide. The setup fee covers 15 songs. 10 more songs are $10. If you’ve already got songs registered with your PRO, they’ll pull them into their system for free.

Publishing is complicated. Okay, it’s a total mess. My goal for this article is to share my experience with Songtrust, and help you decide if it’s for you, without getting into the weeds.

Why I signed up

A few years ago, I saw this post on the Songtrust blog, breaking down the various royalties Spotify pays to songwriters. I figured that since I’d earned a few hundred bucks from Spotify via CD Baby, the mechanical royalties Songtrust would collect for me would cover the cost of signing up.

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Audiam, AdRev, and YouTube Content ID

Someone is using your song in their video, and they didn’t ask. What do you do?

You could tell them to remove it, or even report it to YouTube. It wouldn’t make you any friends, but you’d most certainly be within your rights.

Or, you could just ignore it. It’s exposure, right? Even if you’re not properly credited, it’s always nice to know people are hearing your music.

There’s actually a middle ground that many musicians don’t know about. You can upload your songs to a service like Audiam or AdRev. They use YouTube’s Content ID system to check for matches, slap ads on infringing videos, and pay you a share of the ad revenue.

Way back in August of 2013, I set out to compare the two services for the purpose of writing this article.

Audiam

I uploaded 8 of my most popular songs to Audiam for fingerprinting. It found 40 videos with approximately 100,000 cumulative views, as of today.

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The Definitive Album Release Checklist

Your album is mixed and mastered, finally! You’ve got cover art and maybe even replication lined up. Now what?

This is the question I was hired to answer. Specifically, I was asked to create a to-do list for a band’s debut album. They were generous enough to allow me to share it with you.

Keep in mind that all this stuff comes before the actual promotion. We’re simply laying the groundwork here.

Register your .com domain

If yourbandname.com isn’t available, choose another band name. No joke! Owning your domain is HUGE.

Trademark your band name

I hired Gerben Law Firm, and the entire process was a breeze. Josh conducts a comprehensive search, which will turn up any competing marks.

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Crowd Review Track Smarts: SoundOut vs AudioKite vs Music Xray

This is the story of a mediocre song. An objectively mediocre song. My song. Curse you, data!

If you’re looking for unbiased feedback on your latest track, you’ve got five options. Well, five-ish.

There’s SoundOut, which I wrote about way back in 2010.

Then there’s ReverbNation Crowd Review and TuneCore Track Smarts, both of which are powered by SoundOut.

Are all three SoundOut services the same? We’ll find out.

I reviewed AudioKite earlier this year, gushingly. A new and improved version launched just this month.

Finally, Music Xray offers a diagnostics feature, which presents your track to 5 music professionals and 20 potential fans.

Which is right for you?

Time for a good old-fashioned market research shootout!

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What Artists Should Know About Next Big Sound

Perhaps you don’t sell too many albums on iTunes, or have that many SoundCloud plays or YouTube views. But maybe, just maybe, your music is really popular in some far off corner of the digital universe you never even knew about, and all that “exposure” you’ve racked up over the years is paying off behind the scenes.

Next Big Sound provides detailed online music analytics to measure the growth of bands on streaming services and social networks. It doesn’t cover everything, but it casts a wide enough net to shatter an artist’s dreams with cold, hard data. I know it did mine! <sniff>

Cidney at NBS agreed to give me an artist credit for one month so that I could write this article, way back in April. Hopefully she’ll forget to downgrade my account.

Features

Key Metrics

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