seeking your input: online musician services

In February, 2012, I will post an article/review about online musician services. I’ve looked at a few of them myself, but it would be impossible for me to check out all of them, so…

I need your input. If you’re a musician or band using an online music service, I want your feedback. (I’m looking for the input of real, working musicians and not ads from the services themselves.) I will integrate the best comments that I get here, on Twitter, on FaceBook, etc. and will disseminate your links and social media contacts via my 17,000 followers on Twitter and this blog. (It’s called reciprocity and it really works.) Please comment on this post!

What do I mean by “online musician services”? I’m talking about any web service that allows a musician, band or songwriter to input music (songs, pieces, movements, etc.) with basic information — title, composer/song-writer, musician/band, release date, price, and possibly more — and publish them for the online world to see. (I hesitate to list examples, but must to help you know what I’m talking about.) Examples of what I’m talking about are ReverbNation, BandCamp, VibeDeck, CD Baby, and many more. Many of these services offer other musician resources and that’s fine, but not essential.

What I’m not talking about are services like SoundCloud. While it’s a service that I already use, it’s not set up as a sales tool and — for better or for worse — that’s part of what I need.

Did you catch that I want your input, musicians?

Here’s the “requirements” of an online musician service for the purposes of my February post, in summary:

  • musicians can upload their songs for playback and keep the rights to them
  • musicians can input basic information about the song including at least title, composer, who performed it, release date and price
  • musicians can then either allow for the song to be streamed or purchased

And as you can imagine, I have my own motives. I need a new online service. [At the time of this post, my old storefront was going away. Since it no longer exists, I’ve removed the broken link.] Please comment here or contact me via my social media connections (listed in the right-hand sidebar).

Playful blessings,
Stan

18 comments

  1. Hi Stan, good post, I look forward to seeing the results in Feb. I’ll likely provide you some more feedback later, but for now I will say that I checked out a lot of sources, settled on CD Baby as primary sales outlet because they also submit your songs on itunes, Spotify and other sources without you having to do all that, and 2nd because it integrates well with our band website, Facebook AND ReverbNation. – Watching other successful artists shows me that having just 1 outlet for your music is not enough. Integration of Official Website with Twitter, Facebook, ReverbNation and other accounts linked back to centralized sales point like CDBaby is key… I think… (we’ll see!)
    All the best, T

    1. Thanks, Tracy. Good luck with your CD.

      This already is a good start and verifies what I’ve been realizing as I start my own investigation.

      Playful blessings,
      Stan

  2. Hey Stan,
    Great post!! While there certainly are MANY resources, I find that the are pro/cons and many things to watch for as well. Lots of scams!! This is a great thread to post in, glad you started it!
    Smashsongs, You License, and Indaba Music along with Music Xray I find to be credible resources, for sales/placements. But come with fees.
    For the starving artists- Reverbnation is great all the way around. Sonicbids, Tunecore, allow you to place your music on iTunes. Could be pricey though.
    Bandcamp is pretty cool because it integrate your social media outlets.
    I’m sure I can think of more, I hope this is somewhat helpful. All these places do have there respective hang-ups, but, they are credible. Really partial to Reverbnation for many reasons- it’s just a great idea, and tool for those struggling to get by and started.
    I’ll def be back once Think of more.
    Thanks for doing this Stan. Looking forward to your project, I’m certain it’ll benefit lots of folks.
    (::)PEACE(::)
    Mike

    1. Mike,

      You rock in so many ways! Thanks.
      I look forward to incorporating your comments into my upcoming post and my own decision.

      Playful blessings,
      Stan

  3. Good article, and yes, I agree with Tracy – CD Baby is about a must for musicians. They make it easy and affordable.
    And like Mike added – TuneCore and Music XRay are two I would recommend as well.
    Another nice and easy place is RootsMusic – they offer integration with Facebook and have free version. Their paid version is very affordable, and offers nice customization’s and a way to make sales.
    Of course – no one spot is the cure all – a combination of a few is a must. Each artist must decide the best fit for their music and their budget, but good ,affordable services are there.

    Keep rockin it Stan! ~ Susan aka Renagades

    1. Awesome, Susan!

      I have done basic testing of the Listn.to/BandPage services by RootMusic. I really liked them initially and then had some hiccups with getting the tunes to play for a while. Seems OK again now.

      Music XRay – have to check this one out. I took an initial look at TuneCore, but based on your recommendation will glance at it again.

      I also got a recommendation from Shannon Grissom regarding createspace.com. On a quick glance, they look very interesting with their integration into Amazon.com.

      So far, everyone agrees that we need to use more than one… A lot of work for we “working” musicians.

      Thank you so much, Susan. Great input!

      Playful Blessings,
      Stan

  4. Bandcamp has been fantastic for me, they only take a small percentage and you can offer any price you want so you can do special offers and pay what you want. You also get the email of everyone who downloads your music, which is very useful. Top service!

    1. Matt,

      First, I’m truly honored that you chose to post a response.
      Thanks for the great kudos for BandCamp! I’ve seen you being very successful with their services.

      Playful blessings,
      Stan

  5. Found your post when checking out SMASHSONGS. Cant really find anything on that. Mostly Im interested in licensing my tunes.

    I have used CD Baby for years to sell and although they just raised their percetage a little, they still offer great service, flexiblity of pricing and good accounting, stats and other helpful features. You can access iTunes through them and they even encode your mp3’s for you. They also collect the tiny fee for each play of a sample – it adds up.

    From ASCAP, I have a limited Pro memebership in Broadjam, but like Taxi (which is a shot in the dark for most everyone I know who has used it), you have to pay to get your song heard – not really liking that. I tried to submit a dozen or more songs, some specifically tailored to the description, but no luck. From my experience, those in the video industry (or even publishers) dont really know what they want until they hear it, no matter how they describe the preference. So I will probably get out of that.

    Been with Audiosparx and Productiontrax for a long time and have sold stuff from both. It is free to list, but they take a percentage. But it seems like Audiosparx is really proactive and heavily into promoting and finding new avenues to exploit tunes. New business partners all the time, like Muzak-types, ringtones and others.

    As far as free areas, my advice is to stay away from MySpace and get your own website where you can have streaming samples. There are plenty of free hosting around — Weebly is pretty good. Wix is good, but it is flash which may not be compatible with some devices.

    Hopes this helps you and others

    1. Thanks so much, Craig. Grateful that you found my post since your feedback seems invaluable.

      BMI/ASCAP are interesting starting points, but the “limited pro” stuff they offer as add-ons don’t always seem to be the best for we independents. I did not have the Audiosparx lead previously, so I’ll check that out. Thanks!

      You better believe that this helps!

      Playful blessings,
      Stan

    2. You still out there Craig? I’m on the same search as you for info on SmashSongs, I guess my main question is can I still affiliate myself with ASCAP, BMI, or SEASAC while licensing through SmashSongs.. I was wondering how your experience with them turned out.

      btw: Great Post Stan!

      1. Thanks for the response!

        Be sure to check out my (brief) review on SmashSongs here: https://muz4now.com/2012/review-of-rootsmusic-smashsongs-tunecore

        Maybe I haven’t understood your question, but here’s my take on what I understand you to be asking: You can absolutely affiliate yourself with one of the music rights management associations. The only thing the licensing by SmashSongs would do is license your music to a particular artist. As I read their agreements, you maintain all rights to your songs. Obviously, once you license your music to another artist/band, they have the rights to perform or record it (depending on your agreement with them). Obviously, this would preclude the rights organization from flagging their use of your song.

        I see you’re using ReverbNation for your site. Be sure to comment on my ReverbNation review if you have feedback on their services.

        Playful blessings,
        Stan

        P.S. I’ve never heard from Craig again.

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