Music In the Old Days
There used to be times, like back in the late 70s, when there was a limited number of channels for discovering new music. Basically, you could only listening to the radio, go to a concert to see a live show, or browse record store shelves. Since people could only consume music in a few channels, those who served as gatekeepers had the biggest influence — radio stations decided what was cool, and what wasn’t; event promoters and venue owners only let the chosen bands play shows, distributors pushed music to the stores.
These were the people who later on got involved with music labels, now being able to engineer the success/failure of a certain act. The time came when the labels got full control over the spread of music.
Internet vs. Labels
The first wave of the revolution started with the introduction of the Internet. The mp3 format allowed one to compress music to a shareable size. Sending music to any part of the world became a lot easier. Remember when Napster came (probably not), and the Internet simply exploded? Technologies like Youtube, Soundcloud changed the way media, including music, were distributed. Sharing the content became easier, but at the same time this change burst forth a flood of musical content. The control over music distribution shifted from those few chosen ones to everyone. However, with great perks came great difficulties.
While music labels held on to their positions at the very top, fighting viciously to stay there, along with the considerable amounts of money they made, DIY and indie-artists started taking over the business. The success of those mainstream artists signed by major labels in the end proved to be driven up to 90% by the influence of these agents and the label itself. Only about 10% by the artist’s talent. Labels started turning into old-fashioned, archaic, bureaucratic mechanisms that were too slow for the modern digitalized world, and many of the new artists didn’t want anything to do with them. Under layers of mainstream music (which is only the tip of the iceberg, and a tiny fraction of what the world has to offer), there’s a vast majority of DIY-artists, whose pure potential consists of 100% talent only, but isn’t visible – or rather hearable – to the audience through informational noise.
Major Label vs. Indie & DIY
For many bands, being signed by a major label is like hitting the jackpot. But being signed by a major label doesn’t necessarily mean the label really liked their stuff – they often sign a bunch of bands to see what music will stick. And if it doesn’t, they drop the band and don’t return their calls. With a bit more luck, the label offers the band a chance to stay, but lays an unfriendly deal on the table. One more drawback that puts off many artists from a record deal, with a label, is that not everyone who works at a major labels loves music. Sad, but true. A lot of people in high places are strictly business.
Believe it or not, it is possible to promote music without being signed by a big label and without big money inflow. Especially now, in the digital age, there’s no need to spend big bucks on making physical carriers, as you can simply upload your music to websites like Bandcamp to sell your music (both digital and analog) directly, or to a streaming service.
If you’re not sure you can promote your music on your own – it happens, not every artist is born a marketer and an entrepreneur – you can seek help from an indie label. Usually, small independent labels are more loyal to musicians, much more motivated, and manage to do wonders with small money, unlike the major labels that are known for wasting money here and there.
Another efficient way is pretty old school – employ your fans. With the whole depths of the Internet at their disposal, they can really help you by promoting your music in every corner of the world. However, you have to create a trusting relationship with your fanbase. Fans can make posts online, distribute flyers and stickers to promote your new album or your show, and wear your merchandise to promote your name.
As we mentioned earlier, the online world turned the music world upside down. However, the revolution didn’t stop with shareable formats. The next wave of change brought artists websites and apps to promote their music independently from major labels, or any labels for that matter.
For once, there are Spotify, Soundcloud, Apple Music, Deezer, and other streaming services, that will help you monetize your music. By adding proper tags and descriptions, you can make your music discoverable for millions of listeners around the globe. Some musicians prefer an even more direct approach and use Bandcamp to promote their music – this platform allows for selling your music without any mediation directly to your listeners, both digital and physical. You can either set a price or let fans pay whatever they want – you will be surprised how much some of the fans value music and how much money bands made by using this approach. There’s also Bandsintown – a platform that sends alerts to subscribers to let them know a certain artist is coming to their city. There’s Big Cartel – an easy-to-build online-shop that helps bands sell their merch.
One more thing about promoting your music and your brand, it’s very important to be present. Of course, it’s important to find channels to promote your art, but that doesn’t mean you have to disappear as soon as you’re sold out. You can use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Telegram (Good lord, what else is there?), or even some local social networks to spread your word. Post images from your studio, from the backstage or from the road.
One tiny problem though is that despite all the accessibility of these tools for promotion, musicians usually don’t have time to post regularly (to get a good coverage), or don’t know what to write that would attract attention and likes. At the same time, they don’t have the money to hire a specialist yet.
Then there’s Louder.me. We want to turn around that bulky iceberg of modern music industry. We offer maximum promotion and exposure with minimum effort. You upload your music to our platform – app users go through tracks and swipe to hear more of your songs, if they loved what they heard first.
Louder.me is an interactive platform for musicians to find listeners, and for the audience to find their new favorite band that everyone’s going to talk about. We want to uncover all the wonderful talent that hasn’t been heard yet. We believe in the self-made man.
We offer a chance for unsigned artists to get heard. We make them louder.
Join us >> artists.louder.me