Happy Labor Day Weekend! Celebrate with this week’s round-up of #TCVideoFridays!
We see so much great new music distributed each month, headed to artists’ fans around the world. As we get ready to transition from summer to autumn, let’s take a quick listen to some of the hot new tracks showcased during the hot month of August!
Are you distributing new music in September? We feature new releases each Tuesday on the blog in our #NewMusicTuesday posts. Click here to learn about more feature opportunities and find out how to submit your own new music for consideration.
TuneCore Artists are releasing tons of new music every day. Each week we check out the new TuneCore releases and choose a few at random to feature on the blog.
Is your hit next?
In The Valley Below
Randolph & Mortimer
Lightning in a Bottle
Fighting the Rust
Thousand Foot Krutch
Water, Land, & Sky
The Fall and Rise of Mann
You Brought Me Back to Life
Citizens & Saints
By Scott Blasey of The Clarks
Hi, my name is Scott Blasey. I’m the lead singer in a rock-n-roll band called the Clarks. You remember rock-n-roll, don’t you? It was popular in the sixties and seventies. We grew up listening to the Beatles, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and the Replacements. We write, record and perform songs in that vein. We’ve been together for nearly thirty years and we released our ninth studio album, Feathers & Bones, in July 2014.
Over the years we’ve funded our albums in a variety of ways. The first two were bankrolled in part by loans from our parents. By the time we made our third album we were making enough money from regional touring to pay for the recording ourselves. It was the 90s and the golden age of CDs. We had a distribution deal in our hometown of Pittsburgh and sold upwards of 20,000 CDs on our own. By the time we made our fourth album we had a major label deal with MCA and they paid for the recording. The next three albums were funded by an independent label called Razor & Tie.
All of these forms of funding have their pros and cons. It’s nice to have someone pay for your recording, but whether it’s parents or record companies, you have to pay it back. Early in 2013, we started talking about making another album. It had been almost four years since the last one and we were eager to give our fans something new and to re-energize the live set. We quickly realized, however, that we didn’t have enough money to do it ourselves. We were older now, with families, and we didn’t tour the way we used to. Our management company, Brick Wall, suggested crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding, is a way to fund an independent project by collecting funding from fans or supporters via the internet. We like to think of it as a pre-sale on steroids mixed with a pre-marketing campaign. You’re giving us money upfront for something in return down the line and we’re hopefully investing you in the project by giving you access to things you wouldn’t normally have access to – studio blogs, song demos, studio videos, invites to exclusive events, etc.
We had many levels of participation. You could donate $10 and simply receive the digital version of the album when it was finished. You could contribute a little more and receive an autographed copy, a little more and you’d receive all of the lower contribution levels plus hand-written lyrics. We also offered acoustic and electric live performances by the band, which, amazingly, were purchased by a couple of our most loyal, and well-to-do, fans. Overall the project was a huge success. We raised far more money than we expected and would definitely do it again. We also learned a lot about the process and would try some different methods next time. Here are some tips if you’re thinking about crowdfunding your next project.
1. Research the different companies that provide the service
PledgeMusic (the platform we used for our campaign) and Kickstarter are two of the more common sites for music-related projects. There are many more though. Search crowdfunding and go from there.
2. Start early in the recording process, but not too early
One of the things we’d do differently is to make sure we don’t start taking pledges before we have a good idea of when the album will be released. It took us a lot longer to make the album than we’d anticipated, and a few of our contributors weren’t happy that they still hadn’t received the product over a year after they’d made their pledge.
3. Set a realistic goal
You might need $30,000 to make an album, but do you have enough fans to actually make that much money? Some crowdfunding companies won’t let you change your goal after you’ve set it. And it doesn’t look good if your project stalls at 50% of your goal.
4. Update your pledgers early and often
Write blogs, take pictures and videos in the studio, keep them involved in the process.
5. Thank them
Whether it’s from the stage or in the liner notes, make sure they know how much you appreciate their support.
I hope that helps. Good luck with your project. If you’re interested in what we do, check us out at clarksonline.com.
Peace and Love, Scott
Make sure to check out this week’s round-up of #TCVideoFridays!
[Editor’s Note: We work with partners like Bandzoogle to offer our artists career-building services. Check out this post from Bandzoogle’s CEO, which covers why you should have a great music website.]
David Dufresne is the CEO of Bandzoogle, a website platform for independent musicians. Bandzoogle was founded in 2003, and tens of thousands of musicians have built their website and host it using Bandzoogle’s easy-to-use tools.
The Internet can be a big and scary place. When you’re a musician and your focus is to practice, write and perform, figuring out where to spend the little time and money you have left for an “online strategy” can be confusing. Many bands we’ve met tell us that they see it as a real challenge.
Do you really need a website for your music? With Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogs and all the musician-specific social networks out there, you might think that owning your own .COM website isn’t necessary. Here are some reasons why I think it is:
1) You Own the Address
First and foremost, you own your .COM address. As long as you renew it, it will always point to your website. This is powerful — you are guaranteed to own that little slice of the Internet. Even if you switch companies that host your website, your .COM can be transferred, so your fans will always be able to find you.
This is not the case with social networking profiles. Tech companies can get bought out, lose out to competition, or simply become un-cool, rendering your efforts and content there obsolete. For a few years, bands relied on their Myspace page as their home base, then had to switch over to Facebook. Who knows what will happen in 5 years? Will Facebook still be around? Twitter? Google+?
2) You Own the Experience
With your website you also own the experience. You can control what your fans see, when they see it, and the messaging that you send to them. This means you 100% control how you want fans to discover and engage with your music.
No sudden changes, no ads or distractions, no design limits. So you can immerse them in your music and visuals, and if you want to add a blog, or put a hi-res press kit for download, or even a special “fan-only” page, you can.
3) You Can Sell Direct-to-Fan
If you sell music or merch, your own website is even more critical. Having your own store on your own site allows you to give your fans a seamless buying experience, and full control over what that experience is. Plus you get the chance to let your buyer join your mailing list and keep in touch with them.
4) Fans and Pros Expect to Find You There
If you’re serious about your music, having a well designed website with great content will make you appear professional and dedicated. When people hear about your band and go searching for it, they’ll expect to find you at name-of-my-band.com.
These people include:
- New fans, who want to sample your music, find out more about you as an artist
- Old fans, looking for the latest news and goings-on
- Journalists and bloggers, who need to find your bio, hi-res photos, and samples of your music.
- Label people, promoters, bookers, etc. People you want to give a good first impression to.
5) You Own your Data
On your .COM site, you can get far more detail on your fans than what you can get on a social networking site.
- How many people previewed my track last week?
- Which ones downloaded it?
- Did they skip ahead to a specific track?
- Where do those fans live?
- What site brought them here?
More than stats, you also own your fan list. You probably noticed that you can’t move your old Myspace fans to Facebook. That’s because you don’t own that fan list, Myspace does.
Same thing could happen whenever the next hot social network appears. There is no easy “export from Facebook” option! Remember, your list of fan emails is gold. It allows you to always maintain contact with your fans, regardless which social networks they might be on.
Building a Website Is Easier Than You Think
If you want to get started today, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me at david[at]bandzoogle.com. Check out our own website (we worked hard on it!) to see what our platform has to offer and many examples of websites that our members have built. Click this link to get a 30-day Free Trial PLUS 15% off any first year Bandzoogle subscription!