Welcome to our Tools of the Music Trade newsletter! As your music and business career evolves, one of the most challenging questions you are going to face (and probably facing right now) is how to manage and promote your music. Obvious questions may arise: do I need a publicist, do I need a manager, do I need a record label, do I need a booking agent? Combine this with a fiercely competitive global marketplace, it’s perfectly normal to feel lost sometimes. Don’t fret. Sugo Music would like to offer some advice.
For today’s modern artist and entrepreneur, there are so many cost-effective services, softwares and apps available within the music industry and the greater global marketplace. No, we are not just going to tell you to create a Twitter, Facebook or Instagram account. Instead, take the time to review some of the industry-leading services below. There’s alot of info below (we’ve done our homework). Take your time and think about where you may need some assistance. Follow this road map to learn some real actionable tips that will help you discover your core target audience, engage more listeners, and garner more dedicated fans. Oh yes, and it’ll also save you some precious time, energy and money! So let’s begin, shall we?
Social Media Tools of the Music Trade
Facebook is great, but Twitter is the real deal when it comes to connecting with people closely and building a following. So you better learn how to use Twitter effectively! You can choose to tweet manually all day, but it might take away a chunk of your day. Instead, here are some tools of the music trade that you can use to schedule and/or automate your tweets, as well as all other social media platforms and channels!
Social Bro’s advanced solutions for Twitter marketing are built around what you need. Fine-tune your target audience with powerful tools that can help you separate the Twitter wheat from the chaff. Target specific Twitter users that may have a real interest in your music. Expose your content to the largest audience possible.
Sprout Social is not exactly for musicians only, it is rather a great social media marketing tool for all. You can automate, schedule and analyze your social status updates with it, find targeted people, get customized reports and do a lot more with Sprout Social.
Hootsuite lets you manage your social media presence across all social networks. You can build and engage audiences, execute multiple campaigns, collaborate with team members, and measure the performance of your social media. You can also add more features as you need them.
Social Oomph has the ability to schedule tweets throughout the day and auto-follow your new followers, so you can do something other than schedule tweets and follow people. You can also use the dashboard to combine Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Plurk, and your blog into one spot to schedule posts or monitor social media activity.
Marketing Tools of the Music Trade
Social Media is trendy and effective, but marketing strategies and tactics are essential. Some marketing services can “work between the lines” and help connect digital platforms with traditional methods. So it’s good to build a robust portfolio of services that will save you time, money, and keep your brand and marketing efforts contiguous!
ArtistData is simple. You post your shows, events and concerts in your online dashboard, and then automatically send them to any number of social sites, concert databases iCalendar feeds, calendar widgets, local media, your important places and more!
If you want to keep in touch with your fanbase through emails Fanbridge provides you the solution. Fanbridge offers email marketing service with a social twist designed specifically for artists. With Fanbridge, you can send beautiful emails to your friends, create customized landing pages and measure results of your actions with its FanRank algorithm.
Artists can create artistic profiles on Bandpage and promote customized offers to fans through it. Bandpage is a unique way to connect with your fans and reach more fans, and is being used by many artists to build their fanbases on Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Vevo, Rhapsody and more.
Songpier is the promotional web service suite to cater to all your needs. It seamlessly bridges the gap between online and real life marketing. It’s tailored for artists and labels for building, managing and distributing digital info. Share this info with mobile apps for songs, as Facebook Fanpages, EPKs or widgets – just a few clicks!
Video Tools of the Music Trade
These days, music is video, and video is music. They are one and the same. They’re synonymous, like friendly twin siblings. Internet, mobile, TV, shopping malls – they are all going video. Music videos do not need to be TV quality.They can be live gigs, rehearsals, interviews and more. Yet videos are so expensive to make and to distribute, right? Think again. There are a lot of cost-effective solutions in the marketplace today to produce and edit your videos. Take a look!
At $250, Adobe Premiere is a video editing software package suitable for both amateurs and professionals. Premiere is a powerful editing tool, capable of producing broadcast-quality and high-definition video. Import video, audio and graphics in a wide variety of formats, and edit, manipulate and arrange these elements in a visual timeline.
Radar is the world’s leading,award-winning;music video commissioning platform. Use this app to connect with Radar’s global network of 12,000+ music video directors, based all over the world, for free! Post a brief on Radar and commission official videos, tour interviews and behind-the-scenes featurettes, with budgets of $800-$8000.
Final Cut Pro X
At $300, this powerful software is built to meet the needs of today’s creative editors. Apple’s Final Cut Pro is a dynamic editing interface with extraordinary speed and precision. Assemble shots with ease as clips sync to timelines, and assemble sophisticated multicam projects with unprecedented flexibility!
Budding filmmakers need a great video-editing program that will accompany them from beginner to expert. CyberLink’s PowerDirector 13 Ultra (starting at $70) provides most tools advanced users want at a fraction of the price of professional software. It also caters to beginners with one-click movie-making Magic Tools and an intuitive interface.
Merchandise Tools of the Music Trade
Now, you might feel intimidated to start selling t-shirts, hoodies, posters, and other swag. Who wouldn’t, especially when money is scarce and cash is king. Don’t worry. There are a lot of options out there. With an online Merch Store solution, you can literally setup your online store within an hour. Just remember, when loyal fans are wearing your band’s swag, it’ll ‘posterize’ your brand and create viral momentum. What may cost you $5 could earn you $20 – and it will also generate a walking-talking viral marketing machine throughout the world!
Shopify is a merch store solution for independent bands and musicians. You can start with a 14-day free trial. You can sell your music, downloadable products and merch items through Shopify. You need to use a Shopify app like Printful or Merchify to sell apparel items.
Dropcards makes download cards. Since 2004, Dropcards has been the brand name synonymous with music download cards — a high-quality, custom card with your band’s own artwork and a unique code that fans can redeem online for music, video, and more!
Dizzyjam is an online merch store provider and manages printing and shipping of orders, generates embed codes with lots of customization, sets up a Facebook store to enable direct selling to your fans and sends you the profit every two months through Paypal.
MyMinto is another popular online merch store provider among independent musicians. MyMinto has an initial free. However, it also has three paid subscription plans that provide added features and benefits. With the free account, a band can have up to 100 products and 10 pages for its store, which is more than sufficient for any band.
Press Release Tools of the Music Trade
Think about it. If just one media publisher prints your press release in its magazine or newspaper, your story may reach thousands or hundreds of thousands of consumers. If just one radio station plays your music album after receiving your press release, thousands or hundreds of thousands of awaiting ears could embrace your song. And if just one internet publisher posts your press release, your story may reach thousands or hundreds of thousands of recipients. Now, multiply that by two, three, or maybe one-hundred? You get the picture. Praise the power of numbers!
PRWeb will send your news to major search engines like Google, Yahoo!, journalists and bloggers. Costs range from $99-$499 and you can include images, videos and attachments. PRWeb provides step-by-step instructions about the best way to write a headline, the ideal length of your text, how to link videos.
Gebbie Press will send your press release to radio/TV stations, magazines and newspapers in the US. All email, fax and physical addresses and contacts are provided. Constantly updated, their media contact database easily imports into your database. Distribution ranges from $95-$395/year subscriptions.
Review Tools of the Music Trade
Getting your song, album or gig reviewed is a very important first step in the success of your career. You’ll be able to use these reviews for all your promotional materials and it’ll help validate your work to consumers. Yet there are other types of cost-effective reviews such as consumer research reviews, independent review firms, and iTunes and YouTube consumer reviews – all of which help create viral growth and momentum.
Yes, that’s right! iTunes. When consumers see reviews for your music album on iTunes, it creates confidence and validates their purchasing decision. Impulse downloading on iTunes is often spurred by what consumers are saying, especially with good reviews, which is typically the case. Thus, contact all your friends and family who love your music and encourage them to write a review for your new album!
Radio Airplay gets your music played for millions of listeners who “like” your style of music. Upload music and target the right listeners, collect fans, and get reports and data on your new fan base. They’ll tell you which songs have the most hit potential and which global territory you are ranked highest. Costs are $30 for 1000 plays – and 1,000 plays typically gives you 30 new fans you can contact directly!
Audiokite helps musicians get honest feedback for their song(s) by soliciting their listener base for unbiased reviews and much more. AudioKite starts at $15 for 50 reviews or $10 with a Pro subscription, which includes some nice extras. It features a visual web showcase of your song’s virtues based on listener scores, genre, other underground artists, but also proven commercial stars.
At costs ranging from $10 to $400, Music Submit delivers your music and promo materials to a combination of Internet-based music resources like digital music magazines and webzines, traditional print magazines, indie music blog writers, terrestrial and internet-based radio stations, indie labels, and they provide a report detailing media acceptances.
Email Tools of the Music Trade
Yes, that’s right! Good old fashioned email. It’s still one of the most reliable the best ways to connect directly and immediately with a large group of fans. Your fans want to know when your next album or gig is happening – that’s why they signed up. You can send an email to a large group of 1000 or 100,000 followers with one click,and then review who has opened your email in real time. There are alot of design templates and delivery options available – and it’s cost-effective too!
At $10 to $100/month, Constant Contact’s email marketing is easy, affordable, and proven to get results. They are ranked number 1 in Website Magazine’s list of the top 50 email marketing solutions. Design professional-looking emails in minutes with customizable templates and drag-and-drop editing, and track your success with real-time reporting that makes it easy to plan your next move.
MailChimp (starting at $10 per month) is all business in regards to sending emails, collecting statistics and improving performance. It’s easy to work with, has a free plan, and with its paid plans you get premium templates, reports, analytics, and other marketing tools. It’s a good starter service, especially if you are still learning how email marketing works.
No design experience? No knowledge of HTML? No worries! Create email marketing messages in minutes with iContact’s drag-and-drop message creation tool. Costs range between $14 to $117/month. Simply pick an email template and make it your own by adding your brand colors, images, links, and text. Change margins, and save your brand’s color swatches in just a few clicks. Select, edit, delete, move, and even swap images and blocks of text in your messages.
Crowdfunding Tools of the Music Trade
Crowdfunding is a heck of a way to get a project off the ground, but it’s not for everyone. You really need to have a personal and interactive relationship with your fans and supporters. It’s also important to be realistic: if you’re looking to fund your debut EP, don’t shoot for the moon. Pick a reasonable goal, offer rewards that are really creative and worthwhile, and remember that the people who are going to help you consider themselves patrons of your art.
Like Kickstarter, PledgeMusic makes you pick a goal amount, and expects you to reach that goal or refund the money. PledgeMusic is WAY more hands-on right from the start, though: they assign you a project manager, take stock of your band as a business (by looking at your social media stats and your level of fan engagement, as well as other metrics they don’t publish) and they try to help you set a realistic goal that they’re confident you can attain. PledgeMusic takes 15% of your total.
Artist Share is a platform that connects artists with fans in order to share in the creative process and fund the launch of new artistic works. Artist Share created the Internet’s first fan funding platform (referred to today as “crowdfunding”) launching its initial project in October, 2003. Artist Share projects have received countless awards and accolades including 9 Grammy awards and 18 Grammy nominations.
The grand-daddy of crowdfunding platforms, Kickstarter has become the brand-name of fan-funding the way Kleenex did for tissues. The name recognition is a big deal, since it establishes credibility and can be a shortcut when helping your fans understand your project. Kickstarter takes 5% of your total money raised. On top of that, you pay a percentage to Amazon Payments (which can be anywhere between 3% and 5% depending on how much money you raise) so you’ll be paying out a maximum of 10% when using Kickstarter’s platform.
Bandzoogle doesn’t take any commission on your sales, so the money is all yours to spend on your project as you see fit. If your goal is reasonably modest and you don’t expect hundreds and hundreds of orders to track and take care of, Bandzoogle is a more than adequate solution for a crowdfunded project, and their support staff is always available to help you out.