New Music Friday: February 16, 2018

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?

Follow Music Made Me – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!


More This Than That
Frank Famous

R&B/Soul, Alternative


Wonderchild
Hot Shade & Christian Walz

Dance


Our Gospel
DAYSHWNX

R&B/Soul


Born 2 Ball
ZO

Hip Hop/Rap


Out Of Focus
Chelsea Cutler

Pop


I Need You

Paris Hilton
Pop


Karma (feat. Alex Mali)
Thutmose

R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap


#DARKDAZE
BOOTS

Alternative


Here I Am
The Boxer Rebellion

Alternative, Electronic


Church With No Ceiling
Lostboycrow

Pop, R&B/Soul


Life In Pink
The Ready Set

Pop, Alternative


Great Ideas
Sam Lewis

Singer/Songwriter, Rock


Drop
SUMR CAMP

Dance, Electronic


Lies
Lieza

Alternative, Singer/Songwriter


Let’s Stay Together
Low

Alternative, Rock


Falling 4 You
Alfred Jackson

R&B/Soul, Pop


French Girls
Swimming With Bears

Alternative, Rock


Trap Ye Season 2
Southside

Hip Hop/Rap


Fear Of Missing Out
FOMO

R&B/Soul, Electronic


A Lazy Kind of Pain
Daggy Man

Folk, Singer/Songwriter


Tonight I’m Wearing Silk
Vundabar
Rock, Pop


Too Many Hearts To Break
Kelsy Karter

Pop


Our Land
Alexis Krauss & Our Land Collective

Alternative

How Are People Finding New Independent Music?

[Editors Note: This article was written by Rich Nardo.]

 

New music discovery is a highly personalized process. Fans of different genres tend to find music in different ways and, obviously, people of varying age and geographical demographics also tend to favor different manners of discovery. Unless you have a major label or an indie with a large budget putting out your music, it’s very difficult to cover all of your bases. Your best bet is to hone in on who is most likely to enjoy your music and focus heavily in the areas where that sort of fan is most likely to be searching for new tunes. That’s not to say, allocating some time and energy in other areas is not beneficial, but with limited resources it’s always best to be more focused on the areas where you will get the most bang for your buck.

Below are several sources people tend to tap into for music discovery:

Terrestrial Radio 

According to a 2017 Study by Larry S. Miller of the  NYU’s Steinhart Music Business Program, if your fans tends to be members of Generation Z (born after 1995), this is largely a waste of time. Due in large part to having grown up in an ‘on demand’ culture, the number of teens that tune in on their AM/FM dial dropped 50% between 2006 and 2016. As more and more new cars are coming equipped with streaming service integration (a projected 75% by 2020) and people are turning more towards “Smart Home” devices like Amazon Alexa in their households, this number is expected to decrease further unless Radio undergoes an extreme makeover.

Traditional radio campaigns tend to be very expensive and have high barriers of entry, so unless you’re an established pop star selling out arenas, putting any eggs in this basket is probably not worth the investment.

XM Radio 

Sirius XM is a weird sort of hybrid in this scenario. The barriers to entry are high (though not as high as their terrestrial counterparts), but there are a handful of bands that break nationally in large part due to XM every year. In particular, getting rotation on a station like AltNation, XMU, Octane or The Highway can really help kickstart a band. The biggest issue with XM is that, even if you find yourself in a DJ’s favor, you need to be able to show that your marketing campaign is firing on all cylinders before they’ll really jump behind a project.

If you’re at the stage in your career where your streaming numbers are high, press is coming in and you’re touring consistently at mid-sized venues, investing in a College & Specialty Radio campaign that builds towards pitching XM is worthwhile. If you’re not quite there yet, you may be better off investing more time in building your fan foundation and business model out first.

Social Media

Social Media is another unique situation, as it isn’t necessary a traditional “new music discovery” platform but is integral to success on most other platforms. Without a doubt, major streaming services, radio stations, press, venues and other industry types that can open doors for an up-and-coming artist pay attention to your social numbers. As we mentioned last month, Instagram has established innovative new ways for musicians to interact with fans and is leading the way in terms of music discovery via social media.

With Facebook’s recent algorithm shift away from business pages showing up in people’s feeds, it’s more difficult to reach people there. Still, allocating some budget to Facebook (and Instagram) advertising can help get your music in front of new ears in a highly efficient and cost effective way.

Music Blogs and Publications 

Press has always been a staple of new music discovery. The ‘gatekeepers of cool’ have been a primary resource for finding what’s coming next for decades, but we’re seeing a changing of the guards as of late. Press will always be important, but unless you’re being featured as part of a larger editorial piece, the reach of even the top outlets is starting to diminish. A few years ago, a big premiere on a press outlet like Noisey or The Fader could result in tens of thousands of plays. Today, it might only be a couple of hundred.

Most top-tier sites are altering the way they approach music coverage to respond to this fact, but I would not rely solely on getting a review in one of the most respected publications to really break you as an artist. In fact, I would wager to say that the value in press lays largely in getting quotes from tastemakers to help enhance other elements of your marketing campaign as opposed to new fan acquisition.

That being said, press is still very important and there are chances to grow your fanbase with a well run press campaign. This should be one of the first places you allocate money when it comes to music marketing.

Streaming Services, Pandora & YouTube

Not surprisingly, this is the big one. According to Variety, a recent poll of 12-24 year olds who find music discovery important, these were the three biggest resources for finding new music – YouTube (80%), Spotify (59%) and Pandora (53%). While doing something officially with any of these outlets might be hard, there are plenty of ways to still utilize their reach. Blogs, Brands and unofficial tastemakers are more approachable for streaming playlists and there are vlogs such as Suicide Sheep, Majestic Casual or MORindie that get hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of plays for their posts.

With over 78 million monthly listeners, Pandora is still the largest music streaming service in the world. Their advertising campaigns are relatively affordable and can help boost your ranking in their algorithm in a way that makes a genuine difference. As Amazon, Google and Apple all evolve their streaming services in 2018, the possibilities are only multiplying for a savvy artist who stays up to date on the world of streaming.

The Good Ol’ Fashioned Way 

The above listed outlets are all extremely important, but nothing will aid a new artist as much as good ol’ fashioned performances. Music fans are fickle these days and tend to fall out of love with songs quickly as they move on to the next big thing. Only the intimate connection of winning a fan over in a live setting can really imprint an artist enough on a group of fans to really make that adoration stick.

If you plan on building a sustainable career as a musician, get really good live and make the effort to meet fans at your shows. Those encounters and memories of your performance are what will build a long-term fanbase that evolves with you from release to release.


Rich Nardo is a freelance writer and editor, and is the Director of Public Relations and Creative at NGAGE.

Wednesday Video Diversion: February 14, 2018

Happy Valentines Day, music lovers and makers! It may be that boring old middle-of-the-week mark, but at least this time around we know that love truly is in the air. Speaking of such love, it was on this holiday in 1994 that the BELOVED Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain was released by indie rockers Pavement! An iconic album for the genre by a band that independent artists still nod to for inspiration today, we’re happy to celebrate go-getters who were making music outside the box – because that’s what he help our artists do! Now, enjoy this week’s round-up of TuneCore Artist music videos.

 


James Quick, “Oceanside”


MESSER, “Make This Life”


Pop Evil, “Waking Lions”


LIEZA, “Don’t Make Me Dance”


Vundabar, “Acetone”


Kelsy Karter, “Out Of Drugs”


Bishop Nehru, “Midnight Reflecting”


Jessie Clement, “Heartbreak Hero”


Katie Herzig, “Walk Through Walls”


Dancing On Tables, “OH”

How Streaming Platforms Are Changing Music Promotion and Discovery

[Editors Note: This article was written by Patrick McGuire.]

As music streaming giants like Spotify and Apple Music continue to transform and revitalize the music industry, artists are just beginning to fully comprehend the seemingly limitless potential of new music discovery and promotion technology in 2018’s musical landscape. Songwriters and musicians continue to struggle to financially cope in a world with that’s almost completely shifted to streaming music over owning it seemingly overnight, but a slew of new analytic and discovery features delivered by streaming platforms could be the silver lining artists have been waiting for.

Spotify, who has yet to make a profit as a company, isn’t able to pay compensate an artist much money when one of their songs gets streamed through their platform, but they are able to help in other ways. Through tools like their Discover Weekly playlist, Spotify has made significant investments in helping new music find an audience. A thoughtful mixture of human curation and algorithm genius is helping new and unknown artists connect and resonate with fans in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. Will 100,000 plays on a big streaming platform earn a band enough money to pay all of their bills? No, but that sort of exposure might give a new artist enough attention to find opportunities that can.

The music industry’s newfound collective acceptance of music streaming is one of the driving factors behind what many are calling music’s big comeback, but new opportunities for exposure and promotion ushered in by streaming platforms and playlist culture deserves a good amount of the credit.

Last summer, an article published by The Guardian profiled a Venezuelan singer named Danny Ocean, an artist whose career was launched by Spotify. In a matter of months, the Latin star went from being completely unknown to having a smash hit with over 261 million plays through Spotify alone. Spotify’s technology was able to detect interest in Ocean’s single after its release, so it added the song to a few of its popular playlists and the rest is history. 

Songwriter Ron Pope has a similar rags to riches story. The Georgia native apparently earned over $250k from streaming alone in 2014 without significant radioplay and help from a label. The incredible breakout success stories of these artists is one that would be simply unthinkable just a decade ago.

With big music streaming players increasingly lending a hand to small artists, the music promotion sector the music industry may need to rethink their strategy.

In addition to helping to launch undiscovered new musical talent in a perpetual quest to satiate the music-addicted masses, streaming platforms are now able to give artists analytic insights and helpful information about their listeners that they used to have to pay good money for. For example, a college or alternative radio campaign usually runs bands anywhere from $1,500 to $10,000. The main purpose of these campaigns is to physically submit an artist’s music for possible airplay, but a huge benefit they deliver are detailed insights into which stations have started playing the music, where they’re located and how often they’re playing it. Streaming platforms are now offering up this and other helpful information to artists for absolutely free.

Radio continues to be a major source for music discovery, but with the trend of many influential stations curating playlists replicating the material they play over the air, the free analytic information artists can get from major streaming platforms can help them gain powerful insights about their unique audiences. With these free resources, artists can track the success of their individual songs, book tours based around countries and cities their music is being played in the most and can even see information as detailed as what gender their listeners are.

Shortly after the birth of social media, platforms like Myspace and then later Facebook were the ones mostly responsible for hosting the party as far as where audiences went to listen to an artist’s music, learn about them from their bio and find out about their shows. But in 2018, the party is swiftly moving over to streaming platforms.

In addition to helping artists connect with and learn about listeners, major streaming platforms now provide customizable profile features like pictures, concert listings and even merchandise store options. Essentially, big streaming companies are now helping artists condense and leverage their virtual presences in ways that non-musical social media platforms have never been able to do. Just a couple of years ago, most people used Facebook pages to learn about and keep up with bands, but now fans can do all that directly from the sources they discover and consume music.  

But while some musicians and writers are rejoicing over the new features and benefits streaming platforms are offering artists, others continue to feel the strain of diminishing record sales and fear the possibility that the artform of the album will be replaced by playlists. While no one can predict the future, the music industry’s sweeping irreversible transformation is a certainty, and those who learn to adapt will fare better than those who dig their heels in and wish for a pre-streaming era to return.


Patrick McGuire is a writer, composer, and experienced touring musician based in Philadelphia.

Tips For Developing Your Artist or Band “Story”

[Editors Note: The following is an installment in our monthly series of a partnership between TuneCore and students at Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business at Belmont University. In an attempt to offer new insight and educational content for independent artists, we’re excited to give these music industry professionals of the future a journalistic platform.]

 

WWOD? (What Would Oprah Do?)

Oprah’s strength is listening to people’s stories. So what is your story as an artist? Ask yourself questions that tell the story of your life. Answer those questions in less than 30 seconds, drawing out the most important, impactful, and life-changing moments. How did you grow up? How did your childhood impact you? When did you start making music? Why do you make music? Does your music tell your story?

After asking yourself these questions, think of where you would like to take your music. What is your goal as a musician? What are the biggest challenges that you currently face? Try to understand why these challenges are so pressing to you as a person and figure out how they influence your artistry. The changes you make will help you further understand why you make the decisions you make, and hopefully they will push you to establish your values and what you believe is morally correct. In the long run, this development of your ‘story’ will help you stand out. Going even further, ask yourself: what makes you unique? If you’re stuck at a crossroad, to whom do you look to guide you? What are your weaknesses? What are your strengths?

Once you figure out your story, use it to augment your brand and improve your image! In the words of Oprah, “Turn your wounds into wisdom.” Use those things that you view as weaknesses to improve your image. Weakness and vulnerability make you relatable as an artist and gives your fans something to connect with.

As long as we’re mentioning celebrities, think about Taylor Swift. One thing many associate with Swift are her breakup songs. You’d better believe that her label and management know that breakups are relatable. Maybe breakups aren’t your thing, but be yourself and use your story to be relatable.

Content, Content, Content

One of the most important things you can do as an artist to boost your career is create and share social media content. You want to develop a diverse content marketing plan for all social media channels you choose to use. The content you post should follow the “80/20 Rule”: 80% entertainment or engaging, and 20% promotional. Make sure the content is interesting to your followers. Integrating pictures and videos and even time lapse effects can be very eye-catching.

Be sure to post frequently and consistently. Have your content prepared two weeks in advance and schedule your posts accordingly. This will become a lifesaver when you begin touring or are otherwise too busy.

Staying active on social media channels is essential in keeping fans engaged and informed on what’s going on in your life and in your music. These platforms are tools for artists to convey details not only about their music and careers, but also their personal lives. 

Editors note: Be sure to check out our “Social Media For Musicians: A Beginners Guide” PDF!

Here are a few quick tips to make the most of your social media:

  1. Focus on the four major platforms: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Learn these inside and out. Try to make your profile on each site resemble the professional touch of the artists you look up to, but with your own unique twist.
  2. Think about when you visit social media most often. Now, try to make sure you are posting during these high-traffic times! Frequently engage with other artists, celebrities you like, and anyone with similar interests. Consider creating a “post schedule” to make sure you are delivering quality content on a consistent basis. In the world of social media, more is more.
  3. Don’t spam! The last thing your followers want is a human advertisement. It is advised that you strike a balance between music promotion and friendly engagement. Ensure your followers know about your releases, but make them feel like genuine friends, not just fans. Follow back regularly and always say thank you when someone gives you a shout-out. These strategies will definitely increase the chances of your followers reposting your music and attending your shows.
  4. Sites like Twitter and Facebook have incredible integration with Spotify and other outlets; make sure you take full advantage of this. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to hear your music.
  5. #DontForgetTheHashtags. These will add you to different pages exposing you to different audiences with similar interests.

Let’s get to posting!

“Drop a Single…Like It’s Hot.”

In the fast pace world we live in today, music consumers constantly want the newest release. This is in part why the music community is moving away from releasing an album every year or two and towards dropping a single every couple months. Having an extended amount of time in between your music releases allows your fans to have time to grow tired and possibly lose interest.

Instead of building hype up for an album and letting it die out by the time you are ready to release your next project, keep your momentum going by having something new to promote by the time your audience starts to get ready to move on to the next thing.

Apart from the benefit of keeping your buzz alive, releasing one song at a time is typically easier on an artist financially, especially if you are doing so independently. It’s almost as if you were paying for your album with an installment plan; only having to pay for one of the songs every couple of months. Don’t forget, with every release you should utilize every marketing tool you have. Tease your single by posting a short clip on your social media accounts.

When your song is released, make sure you have posted it on all platforms: Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, etc. There are an endless number of streaming or music purchasing sites now, and if you want to make sure your music is heard by as many people as possible, put them everywhere.

Come out of your artist cave and make friends.

Making yourself a household name does not happen overnight. It takes personality, strategy, and connections. Local radio stations can be your goldmine because they tend to host lots of events that you could attend, which could be used as networking opportunities. Getting to know people in the industry is crucial. From the outside, the music industry looks like a huge industry but realistically, everyone knows someone. People like to know that they are acknowledged and it makes you stand out.

Regardless of the outcome, networking is always a step in the right direction. You will never lose anything from putting yourself out there. Having business cards, CDs, pins, stickers, etc. with you to give to industry folks you come across could take you a long way, as you’re giving them something to keep and bring with them.

A major plus to face-to-face meeting is being able to showcase your charisma. Potential fans want to know that you have a personality and are a good person to support. Industry professionals want to know you are in this because you want to be. All of this is so simple yet so overlooked, so start when the opportunities first arise.

New Music Friday: February 9, 2018

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?

Follow Music Made Me – a Spotify playlist that’s updated every Friday with new releases from TuneCore Artists – stream it below!


Never Gonna Change (feat. FABOLOUS)
URSULA

R&B/Soul, Hip Hop/Rap


Water
Sister Hazel

Country


Nowhere To Run
Gangstagrass

Country, Hip Hop/Rap


Eurus
The Oh Hellos

Alternative, Folk


Way You Are
Jeff LeBlanc

Singer/Songwriter, Pop


Let’s Just Dance
Ships Have Sailed

Pop, Alternative


You’re Not Missing Me
Chelsea Cutler

Pop


Tu Aura Brilla Más: Nada Surf Let Go 15 Aniversario
Various Artists

Rock


Overdose
grandson

Alternative, Rock


Clone Of The Universe
Fu Manchu

Rock


The Cloverfield Paradox (Music From the Motion Picture)
Bear McCreary

Soundtrack, Instrumental


Taneesha in Wonderfunk
HelloNegro
New Age, Electronic