Your music needs to be found and heard. Your music needs to reach existing fans and new ones. Here's how.
Congratulations! You worked with TuneCore and now your music has been placed into the iTunes Music Store(s) of your choice. The next trick is to get found. Remember, by using the iTunes "Search Music Store" tool, anyone can:
The primary way to find music on iTunes is to use the Search Music Store function. Simply type in the name of an artist, album or song and look though the results until you find what you are looking for.
With the free iTunes Affiliate Program, you can link and sell your you own music (or anyone's else in the iTunes store) via any Web page or email. With each sale from iTunes that originates from your affiliate link, you will earn a 5% commission on all qualifying revenue generated (IMPORTANT: terms apply, so be sure to check them out). This means off of each qualifying sale, you will get paid a percentage of the money paid to iTunes by an iTunes customer, if that customer came from your affiliate link.
The affiliate program auto-generates links for you. All you have to do is place them on any Web page or within an email(s). It's a simple and very effective way to sell your music. After all, most people going to your home page or receiving your emails are already interested in your music and band.
For more information on how to become an iTunes affiliate for free and how to use the program, visit http://www.apple.com/itunes/affiliates.
Once your music is in the iTunes store(s), there are some tricks you can do to allow people to discover your albums.
Create an iMix. An iMix is a playlist (that is, a list of songs) that you've chosen to publish and make available to others in the iTunes Music Store. You can only make a iMix playlist using the iTunes software.
To make a playlist, open your iTunes software and:
Here is a screen shot from iTunes showing an iMix:
In your iMix, we suggest placing at least two or three songs from your band and another ten or so from other bands with a large fan base. This way, your music will surface when a fan of the other band discovers your playlist. If fans click on your band name, it will take them to your iTunes page. If they double click on your song, it will stream for 30 seconds.
Make as many iMixes as you like, and have others make playlists with your music as well. Seed the iTunes Music store with many iMixes, the more the better. Use other bands and other music as a way to get discovered.
After you make and populate the iTunes Music store with iMixes, it's crucial to rate them. iTunes allows anyone to rate an iMix with between zero and five stars (see example below). The more stars the better. Have as many people as you can rate your iMix with five stars--the highest rating. High-rated playlists get more attention and more responses then low rated iMixes.
Check out the "iMix Notes" field. Take a few moments to write something and describe/talk about your playlist. A great description combined with a high rating increases the odds someone will discover and check our your playlist.
Remember, from any iMix, an iTunes customer can click directly to the album the song in the iMix appears on. Having positive, thoughtful reviews written about your album will significantly increases the possibility that a new person will buy a song or the entire album.
Have as many people as possible write positive reviews about your album. Encourage them to be specific and thoughtful: make sure they say more than "This album rocks." Heartfelt, well-written reviews drive sales. Note also that the reviews themselves can be rated. Make sure each positive review about your album gets rated with five stars as well.
Quick Tip: You can write whatever you like in the review section—including reviews that ran on your album in other publications or biographical information.
You can send album reviews or playlists or iMixes to anyone within iTunes via the iTunes "Tell A Friend" option. Just click on the "Tell A Friend" link in the iTunes store (located next to the album art), enter an email address and iTunes does the rest. This is a great way to communicate with fans that signed up for your email list that you have a new album or song out.
If you covered a song, be sure to foreground it. People that shop within iTunes search for specific songs they know. If you choose to do a cover of a song, it will increase the possibility of someone discovering your band. Once they hear your cover, they will probably be more inclined to learning more about you and listening to samples of your other music.
In addition, Cover Song iMixes are quite popular, and you might find others include your song in their iMixes.
A great way to draw attention do your music is the press: national and regional physical print publications like Rolling Stone magazine, USA Today, Magnet, Alternative Press, Gramophone, LA Weekly and so on. To get reviewed or featured in any of these publications, you must first get a copy of your album to the editors, staff writers or freelance writers.
There are some general rules you'll want to observe:
Before you even approach the press, you need some key information about your album The date that your album first becomes available to buy in retail outlets is called the "Street Date" of the album. If your album has already been released, the street date has passed.
Most of the large, influential magazines that review and cover music come out monthly, and they finalize their content four months before they plan on running it. This is called the lead time. For example, in the month of January, monthly magazines are working on the issue that comes out May. If these monthly magazines have your album four months before it is "released" (made available to the general public), it's more likely to be reviewed. Remember, these magazines want what's new, hot, fresh, "just out." For the most part, they won't review an album after it has already been available to buy in retail stores for any extended period of time.
Different types of publications have different lead times. For example, The New York Times, a daily newspaper, does not need four months lead time, whereas Spin magazine probably does.
Going on tour or playing a gig (even in your home town) gives press another reason to review your album or talk about your band. Identify the local weekly and daily publications in the city you are going to play in. Contact them to find the correct person at the publication and mail them your albums (or point them to where your music lives online). Be courteous and provide three to four weeks of lead time before the gig. Also, ask the person that booked you to play for a list of local press. They usually have one. TIP: The person that booked the gig wants press about you, as it might increase the number of people that come to see you play.
Keep an up-to-date mailing list of names and addresses of appropriate publications where you want your album noticed. A comprehensive and accurate mailing list takes a lot of work, but it's one of the things that separates the successful artist. Some ways you can compile your own list:
IMPORTANT: You will always get further by learning and following a publication's submission policies. Overrule them, and your music may never reach the right ears.
If you hire a publicist, they will have an up-to-date list of where to send your albums. They will either mail it for you or provide you mailing labels showing where to send your album.
Publicists are experts you hire to promote your band and music to media and press outlets. It's their job to get writers and editors to listen to your music, learn who and what you are and (hopefully) have them write about you. Remember, a publicist can not guarantee reviews or coverage. The best you should expect is that they can get a writer or editor to learn about you, listen to your music and provide them reasons as to why they won't write about it.
Publicist will send you reports. Depending on the publicist, these reports will be provided to you each week, every two weeks or every month and will list all the activity, comments and results regarding your project in the press world. As things get updated, the report should reflect any additions or changes. If you are paying for the clipping service (a third-party service that scours all print publications for mention of your band), the publicist should also provide you copies of any all press.
A publicist will usually charge you a monthly fee and request a minimum number of months to work on your "project." Fees can range widely but tend to fall between $750 and $5,000 a month. Most publicists require a minimum commitment of three months, as they need time to properly set up and promote your album. Some publicists might be willing to charge you a flat one time fee, called "Life Of Project," rather than a monthly fee. Life Of Project fees can also range widely but tend to fall between $1,000 and $4,000.
In addition to these fees, most publicists also charge you expenses, which can vary a bit from publicist to publicist but tend to include:
Expenses can run anywhere from $150 to $1,000 a month, depending on the level of activity.
TIP: Most of the time, a publicist will be working on more than one artist or project. Be prepared to "work" your publicist to get them to "work" others.
A short list of some recommended publicists:
Although the Internet does allow the ability to email songs and albums, almost all print magazines and publications require a physical copy of your album. When you mail the CD to the writers and editors of any publication, it should contain:
More coming soon!