Why You Don’t Need A Record Deal...

It’s the question all hip-hop artists ask themselves when they’re breaking into the rap game – should I stay independent or sign to a major label? 

Just like any other profession, being a hip-hop artist gives you the opportunity to take one of two paths. While in some industries you’ll have more than two choices, in music you get to pick from one or the other.

Do you want to go independent and do it all on your own? Or do you want to sign up under a record label?

Once your music starts to become popular and turn heads, you’ll find that music companies and records labels will start getting in touch to express their admiration for what you do. They’ll start dropping little feelers to see how you feel about maybe signing up with them, and if you keep performing well they’ll eventually make you an offer.

So, what route should you choose? Do you want to emulate Jay-Z’s corporate hustle or Nipsey Hussle’s #ForgetTheMiddleMan and #Proud2Pay campaigns? How about Mac Miller who recently went from independent to signing a major record deal with Warner Bros. Records?

What provides a hip hop artist with the best chances of being a success? Typically, it comes down to the individual. Sometimes, though, there is a little bit more to it than just “where would you like to go?”

 

Pros and cons of signing with a major label

As you can imagine, signing up for a record label has many different benefits – but it also brings significant drawbacks that you have to take into account. When looking at the full situation form an artist’s point of view, jumping into bed with a record label too early can be quite dangerous.

The benefit of signing with a record label is fairly obvious – it’s like being employed. Much like a tradesman, when working with a record label firm you now have a set lifestyle that you will be following.

You’ll be expected to set an example for other artists and help to promote the “brand” as a whole. This can become quite tedious and difficult for even the most patient of hip-hop artists, and usually will at one stage involve a “chat” in which your style will be moulded to fit the brand style more.

This is something that many artists simply cannot deal with – why would you let someone else dictate how you actually sound? This is the key sticking point for many rap artists, as it can ruin their ability and their chance to express themselves as they originally intended.

All you need to do with a record label, though, is writing and performing. They’ll do all the promotions and deal with the bookings, the recordings, the signing sessions – everything. If you are good at putting on the face of a PR man then this is a good route to go, as you’ll be very much hands off in terms of your future.

So long as you give your fans something to cheer about and keep producing records that make profits, a music record label will buy into you for quite some time.

They’ll give you access to better tools than you could ever get on your own, as well. They’ll make it so much easier to start putting things in place and making a genuinely considered difference to your musical capacity. Photo shoots, interviews, recording…this is all taken care of and paid for by the record company.

However, as we all know, nothing is that good. You don’t just get handed wads of cash for doing less work than you would – otherwise anyone would have a record deal!

In return for basically managing your life and trying their best to turn you into a global sensation, they’ll take a massive cut of your profits. And this isn’t massive by normal standards –it can be nearly everything.

Once you top your overall cost to the record label that you are signed with, then you’ll start making royalties on the music. This means that you won’t make a dime if they invest, for example, $100,000 in you. Until you make that $100,000 back you won’t make a dime. It’s like a loan in exchange for your success, effectively – not so great.

 

Pros and cons for staying as an independent artist

However, staying as an independent artist leaves you in a totally different spot. The main reason that many hip hop artists choose to stay independent is because of the fact they get all of the money made. Additionally, being able to actually choose what you sound like is very important as well – nobody likes to be the impostor that writes powder puff lyrics!

If you feel genuinely close to your music and your style as an individual, being indy is probably the best choice for you. You won’t have some big corporation holding you by the legs in the air, shaking you for every last penny that drops out of your pockets.

You make all the revenue, you get all the sales, and you decide who and when you will be doing shows, recording or carrying out interviews. You’ll also get all of the bonus income that comes from this kind of lifestyle – you keep everything that you earn.

However, you do need to do everything as well. You need to distribute the music, sign contracts, manage your taxes, organize events and hire in others to help your music sound better. You’ll be paying out every penny in the same that you earn every dime – it’s a two-edged sword, effectively. You get all the acclaim and all the power, but you also foot the entire bill.

Remember – all of the top independent rappers in the game right now had to struggle, work hard, grind constantly and put up their own money to get to where they are today.

So, what do you think sounds like the more appealing way of living your life? Would you rather be the guy on the side? Or would you rather be the face that is in charge of absolutely everything?

The choice that make obviously comes down to your own ideas and interpretations, but if you believe that you need the help and can make up the financial gaps in a record label you should consider that.

If, on the other hand, you feel more comfortable in dealing with everything yourself and having the entire risk – and reward – hen staying independent might be the choice for you. They both have pros and cons, and it really does come down to your own ambition, talent and personality.

For the artists who are intent on shunning major labels and remaining on their independent grind, then make sure you check out our case studies on successful indie hip-hop artists to study their moves:

Nipsey Hussle

Macklemore

Chance The Rapper

Joey Bada$$

Curren$y

Tyler, the Creator

Tech N9ne

Fetty Wap

Freddie Gibbs

E-40

In reality.... You don't need a Record Label. Take a look at the resources that's available for you to blossom as an artist. In addition to the digital music stores like Apple Music or Google Play, there’s a few platforms that you can add to your promotional efforts as well.

Having active profiles on each of these platforms will give you outlets that you can control every aspect of. Which is important when you’re sharing your music:

YouTube

YouTube is the most popular platform in streaming music—currently beating out Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music for plays. Their streaming music traffic is growing by a staggering 109.2% every year. Those kinds of numbers demand action. Plus it gives you a chance to shoot that music video you’ve always wanted to make.

Soundcloud

Soundcloud is perfect for getting your music sharable quick. One of the things that SoundCloud does best is making your music blogable. The circulation of your music in online communities is crucial. SoundCloud gives you the sharers edge. shiiiiing.

Bandcamp

Bandcamp caters to anyone looking for an artists-first approach to sharing music physically and digitally. They even reward you for selling a lot! For digital releases Bandcamp takes 15%. But as soon as you’re making $5000 per month, it goes down to 10%. So the more you make the less they take. That’s like the bank giving you money just because your account got so fat. cha-ching.

The platforms are there. All it takes is sweat equity and sweet sweet music. And you can do it all without a label.

It’s ok to want a label. The right label can do wonders for an artist’s profile.

But with everything available to artists these days one thing is clear: you certainly don’t need a label.

 

 

Do You Need A Manager?

As an independent recording artist.... Do you really need a manager? That's a very important question.... A good manager will play a vital part in your success. It is up to the artist to learn as much as possible about management before acting too fast and deciding to sign on the wrong person for the job. In your career, you need to take chances, but not when it comes to proper representation. You need to be represented correctly to make valuable connections in your career, and that’s not something to gamble on. Let's talk about the responsibilities of a manager and discuss whether a manager is really what you need.

Let’s start off with what a manager is NOT responsible for. Artists often mistake a manager to be not only a decision maker, but an investor and a promoter as well. While managers often handle these duties, it is NOT the manager’s responsibility to fund your career; that is your job as an artist. A manager will definitely help by securing contracts and opportunities for you to be able to make money to fund your career, but it is not a manager’s responsibility to pay for things such as studio time, promotion, etc. It is also not the sole responsibility of managers to promote you; they are supposed to help you promote, not completely take over that role. As an artist you should always do your best to promote yourself and reach out for more connections, regardless of how many people you hire to help you.

The responsibilities of a manager vary depending on what the artist wants/needs and by how far along an artist is in his or her career. An indie manager takes over the artist’s business responsibilities so that the artist can focus more on his or her craft. An artist should always be involved and hands on when it comes to business decisions and ideas, but having a manager can make this easier and take some weight off so the artist can mainly focus on his or her craft. A manager is constantly making connections to further the artist’s career and keep the artist on track and in the loop. The manager works with the artist to create a marketing plan. Both work together to follow it. Managers are responsible for representing the artist to the best of their ability at all times. They should focus not only on the development of the artist, but also on getting tracks heard by DJs, publicists, booking agents, media brands, label execs, radio stations, online and print publications, and anything else that can bring artists a step closer to their goals. A manager schedules interviews and photo shoots, and generally oversees the artist’s career to make sure that everything is running the way it should. Managers’ roles tend to change as artists advance in their career. An indie manager may have duties similar to those of a booking agent, press agent, business manager, and even a tour manager. As artists move further along in their career their managers’ jobs can be broken down and they can then hire a music manager, business manager, and road/tour manager instead of having one person handling all of those duties.

Truth is, if you are an indie artist you should be able to handle most of the manager’s responsibilities on your own in the beginning of your career. You do not need a manager until you have too much to handle, and by that time you usually don’t have to look for one:  they will come to you. You shouldn’t hire a manager because you don’t know what to do. It should be because you took your career as far as it can go, and you now have too many responsibilities distracting you from your music. Many artists ask anyone to be their manager—possibly a best friend, family member, or someone who  showed interest in them—because they think he or she makes them look professional. In reality, hiring a manager who doesn’t have connections or even know much about the industry doesn’t make you look professional. KNOWING THE BUSINESS as well as your craft is what makes you professional.

Indie Manager’s Responsibilities Broken Down:

  • Planning – The manager should communicate with the artist to find out what their goals are and what they need to focus on. The manager will do everything in their power to keep the artist happy and keep the business end on the right track.
  • Overseeing and Enabling – The manager’s main job is to help with determining decisions related to career moves, bookings, promotion, business deals, recording contracts, etc.
  • Negotiating – The manager will play a major part in negotiating contracts with booking agents, media brands, label execs, producers, etc.
  • Networking – The manager will do their best to constantly make the artist’s name known to media brands, publicists, DJs, etc. The manager should always work hard to gain connects to help further the artists career.

If you don’t have a manager, ask yourself WHY you want one. Know what your goals are and ask yourself, “How would having a manager help me?” Analyze your career and continue to work hard to promote yourself and make legitimate connections before you decide to hire a manager (and usually by this time a manager will find you). If you already have a manager, make sure he or she is doing their job to further your career.

7 Keys On Becoming A Successful Artist.

1. Create Good Music For Your Target Audience

The phrase “just make good music” is one of the worst widely used phrases in music. Not only is “make good music” not specific enough, it also leads upcoming artists to a career of frustration and desperation. 

More than often... Marketing is more important than the music itself. You can put out the best record in the world, but if you’re targeting the wrong audience – you’re going to lose.

For example, if you made a dance record for the strip clubs, but your audience is mainly 14-17-year-old females, the odds of it becoming successful are slim.

However, if you made the same dance record and your audience was 18-30-year-old males – you’d have a much better chance at having a hit record.

Your music needs to emotionally connect with the person that’s listening to it. And no, I don’t mean you need to becoming the next Kendrick Lamar or anything like that.

Some music emotionally connects with the listener by giving them confidence. Other songs connect with the listener by making them feel better after a relationship breakup.

So, study your target audience.

Here are a few things you should learn about your target audience:

  • What’s the age range?
  • Is it mainly men or women?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What slang or specific language do they use? (Ex. “Lit”)
  • What problems do they have?

The more you know about your target audience – the more effectively you’ll be able to create music that connects with them.

 

2. Focus Your Efforts

You won’t be able to make music that everyone likes. Not because you’re not talented (because you just might be) – but because difference audiences have different interest and like different things.

Once you’ve narrowed down your target audience and feel confident that you make music that will connect with them – you want to focus your efforts big time.

You want to become the #1 hip-hop artist or music artist in general for that audience.

Becoming the #1 music artist for that audience will not only allow you to build a fan base of loyal supporters but will allow you to expand into other audiences so much easier.

Regardless of what you do – do not jump from audience to audience.

If you do jump from audience to audience, it will hurt your brand by making it look like you have no idea what you’re doing, and make becoming successful harder.

Once time passes, if you feel that the audience you’re targeting isn’t a good fit for you and your music after all – rebrand yourself and your music, then go after a different audience.

3. Have Goals

Before you start buying home recording studio equipment, recording music and marketing yourself – create goals. This isn’t talked about much when trying to become an artist but is all a part of artist development.

I recommend you work backward when you create your goals. I talk about this strategy in our ”

I talk about this strategy in our “How To Set Goals As A Rapper” post but will give you an overview on how you should set your goals.

Figure out what you’d like to achieve and in what timeframe.

Are you looking to build more fans this year?

Make money from music?

Record more songs?

Regardless of what your goals are, the process I recommend you follow goes like this:

A.) Create a set of yearly goals

These are the goals that you’d like to hit within 12 months and would change your life for the better.

B.) Create a set of monthly goals

Once you’ve set your yearly goals, it’s simple to create your monthly goals. All you need to do is divide your yearly goal by 12. If your goal isn’t an actual numbers based goal, simply break down your yearly goal into 12 different steps or milestones.

C.) Create a set of weekly goals

You’re going to follow the same process that you did when creating your monthly goals. Break down your monthly goals into 4 different steps or milestones.

As an example, let’s say that your yearly goal was to gain 1,200 new fans.

Your monthly goal would be to gain 100 new fans every month and your weekly goal would be to gain 25 new fans every week.

Now that you know how many fans you need weekly, your job would be to put our enough content and engage with enough people that allow you to hit 25 new fans per week.

If you hit your weekly goal, you’ll hit your monthly goal. And if you hit your monthly goal, you’ll hit your yearly goal.

It’s very simple. However, just like I said in the beginning of this article – simple doesn’t mean easy.

4. Improve Your Social Media Presence

If you’re reading this article, social media is an area that you can improve in. You probably have a Facebook page that hasn’t been updated in months, a Twitter account with a ton of random tweets, and an Instagram page with a lot of irrelevant photos and videos.

But, don’t feel bad. I sometimes fall into that same trap of spreading myself too thin across social media.

It’s easy for your social media to get out of control. One minute you’re posting content daily, the next minute you realize that you haven’t posted anything in weeks and spent all of your time liking photos from thick chicks and celebrities.

If you’ve found yourself in that situation, I may have the solution for you:

Reduce the number of social media platforms you use.

This may sound counter-intuitive. You might think “Shouldn’t I be on as many platforms as possible so that I have a better chance of getting fans?” – but the answer is no.

It’s much better to have a good looking brand on 1 social platform than it is to have a lackluster brand on 10 different social platforms.

You’ll also be able to expand onto other social platforms easier once you built your following on one.

So how do you decide which social media platforms to use? Simple – figure out which platform will allow you to reach and connect with your target audience the quickest or cheapest (depending on if you have more time than money or vice-versa).

The platforms we currently recommend are:

  • Twitter – for networking and communicating with fans
  • Instagram – for showcasing your image and branding
  • Soundcloud – for uploading and sharing your songs, mixtapes, and/or albums
  • YouTube – for uploading videos and showcasing your personality

I also highly recommend prioritizing a discovery based platform that increases the odds of you and your music being discovered – think YouTube.

People are searching YouTube daily for things. This allows you to create content that allows you to become the source for whatever that ‘thing’ is.

 

5. Have A Website

Every rapper should have a website for their brand and music.

Your website is your headquarters. It’s the only internet property that you actually own and allows you to take your marketing to the next level.

You can track everyone who views your website, how they got to your website, and demographic data on their location, age, gender, the device they’re using, and more.

You can see what content of yours is the most popular on your website, how long they spent viewing that piece of content, how many times they’ve come to your website, and a lot of other things.

The data by itself is useless, but once you understand what they data means and how to utilize it to create better content – you’re going to win.

Especially once you start incorporating paid advertising into your marketing strategy. You can do some really cool things – like showing ads to users that view your website or only view a certain page – it’s called remarketing.

If you do have a website, make sure you have Google Analytics installed.

 

6. Network With Influential People

Regardless of what stage you’re currently at in your music career, you should be networking.Networking with the right people will put you on the fast path to success. The opportunities that become available due to being in the right circles are incredible.

You should attend as many local events as possible and spark up conversations with people. While networking online can yield some of the same results – there’s something about putting a face to an internet profile that makes in-person networking a lot more effective.

If you can’t attend a lot of local events due to age, transportation, or whatever – utilize the internet. Social platforms like Twitter make it super easy to spark up a conversation with anyone.

With that said, to make networking effective – always be on the giving side of the relationship. The more you’re able to help someone – the more likely they are to look out for you and send opportunities or new contacts your way.

Building long-term relationships are essential, and networking with a selfish intent will not help you build long-term relationships.

 

7. Pay Attention To People, Not Stats

Most rappers and music artists, in general, are paying attention to the wrong stats when it comes to deciding if something is successful.

In the majority of cases, artists are paying attention to stats like ‘views’, ‘downloads’ and ‘plays’ to validate how successful they are.

The problem with having that mindset is that you stop valuing the one thing that does make you successful – people (fans).

You can have 10 million views on YouTube, 5 million Soundcloud plays, and a combined 2 million followers on Twitter and Instagram – but if you can’t sell out a live show or move your merchandise – you’re not a successful artist – regardless of what your stats say.

Those social media stats may be cool for faking ‘social proof’ and allow you to get some opportunities, but they’re not putting you in a position to ‘blow up’ or become successful in the long run – thus, they don’t matter.

However, if you focus on building a fan base for your music that consists of real people that genuinely like and support you – you’ll be able to consistently get views, downloads, and song plays – while being able to sell out shows and build a sustainable career.

How To Become Successful In The Music Industry.

Navigating in this music industry can be frustrating.... We want to help.

Becoming a successful rapper or music artist, in general, is not as complicated as it seems.

There are a lot of moving parts that need to work together in order for you to become a successful artist, but as you start to identify these moving parts – you’ll see it’s rather simple.

However, just because it’s simple – doesn’t mean it’s easy.

With that said, a lot of music artists make the process of becoming a successful rapper, singer, rock band, and etc. more complex and difficult than it needs to be.

From what We’ve seen, most upcoming music artists lack the education and know-how part of becoming successful.

Instead of simply going to the recording studio, making a song, and then “promoting” (aka spamming) people on Twitter – you should be studying and learning how to become successful.

Becoming a rapper, singer, or a music artist in any other genre is just like starting a business.

You wouldn’t start a painting company if you didn’t know how to paint or start a mechanic shop if you don’t have experience working on cars.

You should approach becoming a music artist the same way.

So, in this post, We're going to help you do exactly that by giving you tips on how to become a successful rapper/singer/music artist in general.

 

 

Should You Copyright Your Music? Truths & Myths.

What’s does a copyright mean? Should you copyright your music? Will it keep people from stealing your music? Where do you go to copyright your music? Is it expensive? I will answer all of these questions in this article along with addressing some of the myths & misunderstandings floating around out there that muddy the waters about copyrights that I hope to divulge and bring clarity to during this article.

 

What’s A Copyright?

A copy right is simply the right to make copies. We’re not just talking about making copies of CD’s or MP3’s. Copyright is somewhat of a blanket statement and covers the following:

  • Derivative works: new work that is heavily based upon previous work. For example in Hip Hop music this would apply to sampling or reusing others music entirely to make a new song out of it. In 2010 Mac Miller released a song “Kool Aid & Frozen Pizza” which used a beat from Lord Finesse’s 1995 single”Hip 2 Da Game”. Lord Finesse sued Mac Miller for $10 million and they settled in January of 2013.

  • Reproduce: The work in copies or phonorecords. For example making copies of the music using CD’s or cassette tapes “if someone still uses those :)”

  • Distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending. Basically this gives you the right to lease your music to companies to use in movies, commercialism, video games etc and sell copies of your music or completely sell the rights to the music to a 3rd party by transferring ownership.

  • Perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and
    choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual
    works. Which simply means this gives you the right to use your music while performing live on stage or to be used in movies or other visual works. Playing your music on the radio, sporting events etc. can also be considered a performance.

Should You Copyright Your Music?

Is The Music Yours?

First you must ask yourself do you have the right to copyright your music. This may sound like a redundant question but please allow me to explain. Some artists purchase non-exclusive production for their songs. That's fine... If you are writing lyrics to music that you have purchased non-exclusively, then you don’t own the copyright to the “music” even though you may have permission to use it. So technically you can’t copyright the music however you can still copyright the “lyrics” if you wish.

Are You Publicly Releasing Your Music?

If you are releasing your music publicly and it is indeed your music then I would recommend that you copyright it before sharing it with the world. Copyrights are kind of like insurance; you likely won’t have to use it but just in case someone steals your song and makes a million dollars off of it you will be protected and in a position to take legal action.

Will A Copyright Keep People From Stealing Your Music?

It’s been said that locks and contracts are only for honest men. In other words if someone is determined to violate you they will, however it’s wise to take as many preventive measures as possible to protect yourself. So in short a Copyright won’t keep people from steeling your music however it will protect you in the event that you have to take legal action against someone who has infringed upon your rights.

Where Do You Go To Copyright Your Music?

If you are in the United States simply go to copyright.gov For a step by step walk though please check out this article . If you are outside of the United States please search the internet for the appropriate place for your location.

How Much Does It Cost?

You can upload between 1-135 Mp3’s encoded at 128 kbps for $35 dollars. The price is the same regardless if you’re copyrighting 1 song or 135 so take advantage of copyrighting your music in bulk as much as possible.

What If I Don’t Copyright My Music?

Automatic Copyright

If you never register a song through the U.S. Copyright Office you still have an original copyright claim to that song. Technically the moment you create something new you have a copyright to it since you are the original creator of it. The only exception to this is if you are recording in someone else’s studio and you signed a contract giving the producer or record label rights to your recordings. However not registering your work with a copyright office causes you to be limited in what legal action you can take against someone who infringes upon your copyright.

Limited Action

For example if someone took a song of yours and uploaded it on YouTube you could file a DMCA digital millennium copyright act claim against them and have the song removed. If the other party who violated your copyright still doesn’t take your song down you can also send them a cease and desist letter.

However if you don’t register your copyright until after someone has infringed upon it you can only sue them for profits and damages but not legal fees. And because legal fees are so high suing someone without the ability to be reimbursed for legal fees is generally not worth it.

However if you feel the third party is making a significant amount of money off your song and you would like to sue them for the profits they’ve made and the damages you’ve suffered along with any legal fees you incur you will have had to of formally registered your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office before the third party violated your rights.

Copyright Myths

Poor Mans Copyright

Legend has it that if you mail a copy of your music to yourself and never open it you will be protected just as much as if you registered it with the U.S. Copyright Office. This is simply not true and there as been several cases of people trying this method in court and loosing because of it. Copyrights have never been easier and cheaper to obtain so just shell out the $35 bucks and do it legitimately online.

I Copyright My Music Through A PRO

A PRO is a performance rights organization. These are companies such as ASCAP, BMI & SESAC which keep track of when and where your music is being played and they collect your royalties for you and take a small percentage. Some people think that if their music is registered with a PRO then it also takes care of their copyright. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The only place that can legitimately copyright your music in the United States is with the U.S. Copyright Office.

If I Copyright My Artist Name Then All My Music Is Too

Wrong again. In fact you can’t even copyright your artist name. You can obtain a servicemark but not a copyright. Trademarks are for products and business names and logos such as Big Mac and McDonalds. So don’t think that you can just somehow copyright your artist name and then magically everything that you touch is protected; it just doesn’t work that way.

Handle Your Business

So remember locks and contracts are only for honest men so make sure you do your do diligence to protect yourself legitimately by registering your music with the U.S. Copyright Office. To get the most value wait until you have a group of songs to copyright and do them all at one time for a flat fee of $35. Your pockets will thank you for it and you will be able to sleep just a little bit better at night.

If you would like a step by step guide on how to copyright your music check out this article - http://blog.dozmia.com/how-to-copyright-a-song

 

 

SOUNDCLOUD EXPOSURE

SoundCloud is the largest and most important online music community. They give independent artists the space they need to get heard. Which is why we made this simple guide to get you educated on the most useful ones for growing your following.

Here’s some pro tips to get the most out of your SoundCloud.

 

Tagging For Success

How can new fans find your music? Well one of the best ways is to tag your music.

Tagging makes you discoverable when a listener is searching SoundCloud.

The better your tags, the easier you are to find.

The best way to tag is to be honest. If you made a drum & bass track, then set the main genre to Drum & Bass. Add moods and a location to your tags as well. It all helps.

Stick to one main genre to keep things clear. Adding a bunch of genres won’t make your track any more findable.

The more concise and accurate your tags are, the more easily your music will get discovered by the listeners that wanna hear it most.

Hot Tip: Tag and link to your collaborators SoundCloud in the track description. It’s great for cross-promotion and telling the story of your process.

 

Add A ‘Buy’ Link

Getting listens and likes is nice. But likes and listens won’t buy you that new mic you’ve been eyeing.

Luckily SoundCloud lets you add a ‘Buy’ link to your track upload. Just click on the ‘Metadata’ tab when you’re uploading.

Add a link to your iTunes, Bandcamp or whatever else you use to sell your music.

Hot Tip: If you have a pro account you can change the button text to anything you want.

Change it to ‘Donate’ and link to a Patreon or a PayPal. You’ll be surprised how many super-fans out there will support your music.

 

Tell A Story With Your Waveform

SoundCloud allows fans to comment on your waveform. But y’know who else should be commenting on the waveform? YOU!

Use the waveform comments to tell your fans and community about your process. Be transparent about how you made your track. Ask for feedback and mention specific sections.

For example, if you’re not sure about a section of your track comment on the waveform where the part starts.

Something like: “not sure about the bass here. Let me know what you think” is the perfect play for getting feedback from your community.

You don’t have to be completely done a track to publish it. Publish drafts, get feedback, and make your music better.

 

Art Matters

Album art matters. Especially on SoundCloud.

Your album art or track artwork represents your music no matter where it goes.

If your track gets embedded on a blog your artwork will be there. If you share your track to Facebook your album art goes there too. So it’s mega important.

Before anyone hits play the artwork attached to your track has to stand out. So make it count and choose something that represents your music and you.

For best results always use a JPG or a PNG that’s at least 800 x 800 pixels.

Album art is a perfect reason to invest a bit of money into your project. If you can’t make the image you want yourself, then hire a designer or photographer that fits your budget.

 

PRIVATE MEANS PRO

SoundCloud lets you share private links to your tracks.

It’s great for sharing unfinished tracks with collaborators, sending demos to labels or blogs, or contacting other outlets like radio stations with exclusives.

Sharing a private link gives your music the personal touch and a sense of exclusivity that is great for reaching out to tastemakers.

It’s super easy to do. Just upload a track and set it to private. Save it and go to your profile. Click the track you want to share privately and hit the ‘share’ button below the waveform.

you’ll see a private share URL that is unique to your track! You can even make a whole playlist private if you wanna share your entire new album.

Plus, you can reset the the private link at any time to make your private links time sensitive.

PUBLISHING IS JUST THE FIRST STEP

Your track is finally done. You worked long and hard on it. You’re finally happy with how it sounds and you think it’s ready for the world.

So you click share and sit back waiting for those plays. It’s a hit! The track gets some nice buzz and people seem to be liking it!

 

But a couple days later you realize that your song needs a minor tweak…

Maybe someone you admire commented and told you a hot tip on how to boost the bass.

Or maybe you mastered it and you want the better version on your SoundCloud. But if you take it down, you’ll lose all those plays, likes and important feedback…

CHANGE THE AUDIO WITHOUT LOSING COMMENTS, LIKES AND PLAYS

Don’t fret. With a Pro subscription on SoundCloud you can swap out the audio on any SoundCloud upload at any time.

And the best part? You don’t lose all those plays, likes and comments from your fans.

It’s perfect for sharing unfinished songs to get feedback. Tweak your track based on the critiques and re-upload any time.

Hitting share doesn’t have to be final. Swap the audio and make sharing part of your production process.

SHARING MEANS CARING

Don’t just post your own music. Re-post artists that you’re excited about or songs and mixes that you can’t stop listening to.

Sharing other artists and helping your audience discover new music builds trust and authority and is a really humble move.

If you hear something, say something!

You SoundCloud is a community. So support it by sharing other artists in your feed. If you share other artist’s music there’s a better chance they’ll share yours!

Reposting another artist’s music is a great first step to starting a relationship as well. Relationships that lead to gigs, collaborations and helpful partnerships. All that good community stuff.

So build the community you want to be a part of.

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

Sharing your new tracks to your SoundCloud community is great. But why stop there?

Put your tracks out into the world!

Share them to all your promotion platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Once you upload a track share it to all your platforms under the ‘Share’ tab.

You can also auto-post your tracks to all your social platforms automatically by linking your accounts. Just head over to your Account Settings to manage your Connections.

Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ are all connectable for auto-posting. Connect your accounts and get your tracks into all those ears!