The internet has completely revolutionised the way that we listen to music and interact with artists. It used to be that you heard a song on the radio and then went out to the nearest record shop to buy a copy. Only bands that could get in with a record company stood a chance of getting anywhere.
But since things have moved online and bands have started embracing the new direction of the industry, new opportunities have opened up. If you are a new artist, you no longer have to hope that a talent scout spots you at a gig, you can take the initiative and start promoting music on your own. It’s easier than ever to record your own stuff at home without having to pay for a recording studio and once you have some polished tracks, there are plenty of places to put them up so people can listen. The problem is, a lot of people don’t know which platforms are best and which are just a waste of time. This list of the different options will help you work out what to do with your latest demo.
Soundcloud is one of the biggest free music streaming and sharing platforms and it still remains the first port of call for a lot of new artists. It’s completely free to upload your music and it’s free to listen as well. Naturally, there’s a lot of stuff on there, which means lots of competition. But if you put some time into promoting yourself on social media, you can build a good following using Soundcloud. You won’t make any money from it, but it’s a brilliant platform to start with if you want to make a name for yourself.
It has a great news-feed style homepage that features tracks that are trending, so if you can build a bit of momentum through self-promotion, the platform will give you a helping hand. It’s also a popular platform for established artists that want to offer some free tracks for their audience.
Audiomack is very similar to Soundcloud but it has more of a focus on the numbers. It’s ideal if you want to see exactly how popular your music is as it gives you the exact number of plays per day, week or year. All of the metrics are presented in an easy to digest format, so if you like to get into the numbers, Audiomack is good. However, it’s not quite as popular as Soundcloud, so you’ll get fewer listens.
The previous platforms on this list are great for building exposure, but they won’t earn you any money. If you’re looking to get paid for your music, you should consider iTunes. You already know what iTunes is, but you probably assumed that only signed artists can get their stuff on there. But there are actually some great services that can help you sell music on iTunes and track all of your listens. You’ll get a monthly payment for any tracks sold, which isn’t likely to be that high to begin with, but at least it’s something. Having your music on paid platforms like iTunes also makes you seem more legitimate and can help you if you are trying to land a record deal.
Spotify is another good option if you want to get paid for your music but it’s better for people that already have a decent following. If you are just starting out, Soundcloud and Audiomack are best for building a fanbase. Once you have that fanbase, you should think about getting your music on Spotify so you can earn a little money from it. The other great thing about Spotify is that it has promotion features, which advertise any gigs you have coming up and direct people towards your social media pages.
Bandcamp is a great option because it is designed with independent musicians in mind. It also rolls the features of other platforms into one. There is an option to offer your music up for free, but you can also charge for it if you like. This gives you the option to let people hear one or two tracks for free but then pay for an album, for example. People that are successful on Bandcamp tend to generate a very niche following and they can make some decent money from it. However, you are only likely to be successful if your music satisfies a very specific group of listeners.
Every artist is different, so you should experiment with these platforms and find the one that works best for you.