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10 Websites Every DIY Musician Needs to Know

The playing field is now leveled.

We all have access to the same online tools, the same websites, and preach the same message, ‘Hey! Come check out our band.’

So how is your band going to be effective on the web when everyone is given the same vantage point? How are you to know which online tools are valuable and which ones are inconsequential?

Well, first off, it’d probably be best to know how the music industry got leveled in the first place.

A couple of weeks ago, George Howard at Artists House Music wrote an article called Coin a Phrase: The Leveling. He explains the three technological barriers that have been broken to let indie artists thrive without the need for a record label.

The first moment of leveling occurred with the advent of Pro Tools. No longer did one need to collateralize their creativity in exchange for funds from a record label to create a competitive recording.

The second moment of leveling arose via firms like TuneCore. No longer did one have to be signed to a label to have distribution.

The third moment of leveling revolved around the emergence of social media. While not completely obviating the need for traditional promotion, the rise of social media certainly shifted the power away from people like publicists and into the hands of the creator.

I’m going to focus on the second and third moment by providing a list of websites your band should visit to stay ahead of the curve.

Some sites are organizational tools, some are means of communication, while there others that relieve the tasks a band manager usually performs. And the best part about the following sites? You don’t need to be the most tech savvy person in the world in order to use them. It just takes some diligence and of course, creativity.

Anyways, I hope you find a couple of the sites to be useful.

ArtistData: The more accounts you sign up for, the more places you need to update. ArtistData relieves this pain by giving you one central location to update all your social networking profiles! Enter a tour date, and watch it appear on your accounts at MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, SonicBids, etc… You can import rss feeds for your news and blogs too, and has a very user-friendly interface.

Band Metrics: Band Metrics is a web application for the music industry that collects, analyzes and displays dynamic popularity and trends about musicians and bands. Hey it could even help you plan your next tour!

Bandize: Bandize helps managers and band members collaborate on all the critical data related to their work, from merchandise sales to event schedules to important contact information.

You can schedule tour dates and track how much money you’ve made with merchandise sales. But one feature that sets Bandize apart is the ability to track how well each piece of merchandise is selling at each venue. You can see if one T-shirt tends to be more popular than another when your band plays in Austin so you can plan to bring more of that same merch the next time you have a date there.

You can also use Bandize to manage your contacts. If someone is associated with a particular venue, you can tag him or her with that venue, and when you print out day sheets at each venue, his or her contact info will be included. If you already have a lot of contacts, you can import them from various sources like Outlook, Google Contacts or a vcard. There are a bunch of other smaller features like poster printing, file storage, and more accounting and contact management tools.

The cost is $15/month but you can get a 30-day trial for free.

CDBaby: CD Bay is online distributor both in the physical and digital world. Not only is it the perfect company to give your CD too, but they’ll offer services such as CD duplication, web hosting, a UPC barcode, and digital download cards.

As a side note, there are plenty of other great music distributors to choose from. I like CD Baby because it is both digital and retail. RouteNote, a digital music distributor posted this comparison chart. It might be worthwhile to do a little price shopping before choosing a means of distribution.

OurStage: OurStage is an online avenue for indie artists to get exposure to a wider audience. Artists and fans alike can create profiles which serve as a homepage for their artistic work and a dashboard for their ratings, groups and everything else community related. Users judge artists in hopes of their favorites landing a spot in the “Best Of” community. Judging works by comparing two songs or videos side by side and simply choosing the one you like the most. The highest rated artists eventually go on to win prizes such as Cash, Media Exposure or a slot at a big show.

ReverbNation: Fan Relationship Management System, Social-Media Marketing, Widgets & Banners, EPK, Profile Syncing, Twitter and Status Updates, Street Teams, Web Site Builder, Direct to Fan Commerce, Digital Distribution, and Concert Booking and Promotion. Does this sound like something you might be interested in?

SonicBids: The big feature at SonicBids is the EPK. It allows you to quickly and easily compile all of the info a promoter wants to see — your music, bio, photos and more — so you can connect with the opportunities that are right for you. Their gig listing is also pretty great.

TubeMogul: Similarly to AristData, TubeMogul lets you import your video only once to upload to the top video sharing sites. It offers rich analysis on who, what and how the videos are being viewed.

Twitter: No need to explain what Twitter is, so I will simply link to one James Studio Manifesto posts from last summer. Musicians Guide to Twitter.

Youtube: How many times have you searched for a song on youtube, only to find a really great cover of that tune? Hailey Legg is a great example. She probably has 50+ videos of covers utilizing appealing video techniques. This is her cover of Colbie Caillat’s Bubbly. Pretty cool stuff. You’ll notice at the top of all her videos she has links to buy her CDs and website. That’s a great way to drive traffic to your own creations.

This was written by Andy Schichter and originally appeared in Studio Manifesto’s blog on February 24, 2010.


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