5 Tools To Help Boost Your DIY Music Career

DIY musicians will tell you, it ain’t easy making a living through music, but it is possible.

Boost Your DIY Music Career

So anything you can do to boost your DIY music career is a step in the right direction.

With that in mind, here are five simple tools you can use to do just that.

Music distributors

boost your DIY music career

If you want more people to hear your music, you need to go where the people are.

Not everyone listens to music on the same platform. Some people like Spotify, others like Apple Music, and even others like Pandora.

That’s why music distributors are really helpful — they’ll send your music to almost every website that streams and/or sells music.

To get involved with a distributor, you can check out my guide for selling your music online.

Evernote

boost your DIY music career

Evernote is how I do my songwriting now. It lets me organize notes, attach voice memos to my lyrics, and allows me access on the app or desktop.

You can create tags to easily find a song you’re working on. And you can easily share notes, like if you’re writing a song with someone.

I’m pretty much addicted to it. Check it out here.

LANDR

boost your DIY music career

LANDR is an automated mastering service. I now use it for every song I need to master.

They use the same technology that Spotify or Apple Music uses to recommend other songs and artists to you. Somehow, they’re able to identify the sonic properties of a song and then master it based on that.

And you know if I’m using it, it’s affordable. You can either pay under $10 for a master WAV file or set up a monthly subscription for about $25 a month.

If you produce and record music, you should check out LANDR.

Upwork

Upwork

I use Upwork, a website that connects freelancers with clients, to find a lot of music writing jobs, but I also get jingle projects, songwriting jobs, and pretty much any music-related work.

It’s the key to me being able to work from home.

I highly recommend you look at the jobs on there.

A PA System

Let’s admit it — nobody likes dealing with a sound system. Not even the sound guy.

But having a nice PA system is an investment that can make your gigs so much easier. No more praying that the venue will have a half-decent sound system. No more annoying your one friend with a PA system.

I have to admit — I don’t own one. But I want one. And this Rockville PA system looks like a good one for under $300.

So give these tools a shot and let me know what you think!


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How To Sell Your Music Online: A Guide For Beginners

A young musician who started making electronic music emailed me with some questions about selling music online.

How to sell your music online

And after replying to him, I realized the info could help other DIY musicians new to the music sales game.

So below are the different ways you can sell and stream your music online.

What To Expect From This Guide

This guide is by no means an exhaustive list of every place you can sell music.

I’ll do a quick review with pros and cons of different websites I’ve used or have heard good things about.

This is a guide for beginners, after all.

Just so you’re aware, people nowadays are buying music less and streaming it more, and streaming revenues are pretty terrible (I received $0.80 for a few hundred streams of my music).

The idea here is to get exposure for your music on the biggest music streaming/selling platforms out there.

So let’s take a look at a few options for selling and streaming your music online.

Bandcamp

Sell music online
A screenshot of my Bandcamp page

Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of Bandcamp, as a musician and a consumer.

It’s simple — create an account for free, upload your songs, start selling directly to your fans, and collect up to 85% of sales (BC takes 15% from all digital music sales, 10% from merch sales — see here).

Plus, they’ve designed simple and cool customizable artist pages, and the embeddable players look great.

Pros

  • Free to sign up and list your music
  • Fair revenue share pricing
  • Good looking design

Con

  • No compensation for song streams

CD Baby

CD Baby

I use CD Baby to get my music on Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and a bunch of other digital music stores. The cost options are Free, Standard for $49, or Pro for $89 (see image above), then they take 9% commission from digital sales.

Plus, they have additional services, like song mastering, sync licensing, and they’ll even make physical CDs for you.

Pros

  • Distribution to nearly every digital store
  • One-time distribution fee
  • They’ll make physical CDs or vinyl for you
  • Mastering services

Con

  • To distribute your music, you need to buy a UPC (Universal Product Code) — an additional $5 for a single or $20 for an album

Tunecore

Tunecore

Tunecore and CD Baby essentially do the same thing — distribute your music to almost every digital music store. They also will press physical CDs for you, among other similar services. But there’s one big difference — the way Tunecore works is they charge an annual fee for each release.

So, for example, if I distribute three albums for $30 each, I’m paying $90 a year to keep them listed. If I don’t have $90 worth of digital sales per year, I’m losing money. However, to balance this, they don’t take any sales commission.

Years ago, I worked with Tunecore to distribute my music, but sadly I wasn’t selling enough music back then to break even. So I switched to CD Baby and have been with them ever since.

But it depends on your situation — Tunecore might be a great fit for you.

Pros

  • Distribution to nearly every digital store
  • You keep 100% of your sales commission
  • They’ll make physical CDs for you
  • Mastering services

Con

  • Annual fee per album and per single

Music Licensing

Audiosocket and Musicbed

Music licensing — allowing someone like a filmmaker to use your song in their video in exchange for a fee — can be a nice money-maker. You can earn anywhere from $100 to thousands of dollars per song used, and you can often license the same song multiple times.

Musicbed and Audiosocket seem like great starting places for musicians who want to get into this industry, especially electronic musicians and composers.

Want More Info?

If you’d like a super in-depth review of some of these websites and many others, I’d recommend checking out Ari Herstand’s review over on aristake.com. He did so much work on it. It’s a lot of info, but worth the read.

Also, you should pick up Herstand’s super helpful book How To Make It in the New Music Business. It’s thick like the Bible — it’s the DIY musician’s bible.

Hope this post helps!


Stay motivated, manage your time, and move toward your picture of success — grab the One-Thing-A-Day chart for FREE…

Top 4 Places Where You Can Discover New Music (For Free!)

I’m a music hoarder, if that’s actually a thing. I love, love discovering new music.

Music and the brain
*not an accurate depiction of me

Finding and supporting independent artists gives me a rush. I dig through piles of mediocre music to get to the stuff I can’t stop playing.

And here are four of the websites (or apps) I use to discover new music.

Instagram

Instagram (image via Adweek)

In the world of music discovery, Instagram is the surprise player — the underdog.

But thanks to hashtags, we now have even more unknown but amazing artists to find. Like James Beau Barclay — I found him through the #originalmusic hashtag. Other good ones are #singersongwriter and #acousticpeople.

Bandcamp

Bandcamp

I know you’re supposed to save the best for last, but I’m too excited about this one.

Bandcamp is where you can discover music that the artists have uploaded themselves and sell on their own terms. The platform is simple, which makes it easy to find great music.

And there’s a lot of it on this website. Check out my Bandcamp Collection and Wishlist to see what music I’ve discovered.


RELATED: Bandcamp: social media for music


Spotify

You knew this one would be on the list. It’s an app that has changed the music industry, for better or for worse.

You can find pretty much any artist or song here, which is pretty amazing when you think about it. You can easily save artists you like and make your own playlists (perfect for curating party music).

Despite the controversy surrounding Spotify, it’s a great place to find new music.


RELATED: In the streaming age of music, songwriters need loyal fans

RELATED: Spotify: $0.80 Is Better Than $0.00


Pandora

Pandora (photo via TechCrunch)

Pandora isn’t as customizable as Bandcamp or Spotify — there’s no way to listen only to music you’ve liked/bookmarked. But it’s unique in that it delivers only music you love (as a part of the Music Genome Project).

Like, that time I kept hearing this one song on my Pandora stations. Eventually, I jotted down the artist’s name and the name of the song.

It turned out to be Gregory Alan Isakov’s “The Stable Song.” Because of Pandora, Isakov gained a new fan.

Music In My Earholes: Andy Shauf, Emily King, Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing, Aaron Strumpel

Welcome, welcome. Come in. We’re going to get up close and personal here.

Pretend you’re at a house concert. Now, what music do you imagine hearing?

In this edition of Music In My Earholes, I’m sharing the music I’d hear: singer-songwriter stuff. Take a listen…

Andy Shauf — The Party

This party is a chil party, but very well thought out.

Emily King — Seven

Soulful songwriters are my favorite type of songwriters. King sits comfortably in that category. Oh, yeah, she’s also been nominated for a GRAMMY.

Wolves In Sheep’s Clothing

These guys are from my hometown, and they represent us well. And I interviewed them for my podcast, Musicateur.

Aaron Strumpel — Elephants

You might think this album is crazy sounding. But that’s just because of its complex production and Strumpel’s unique way of singing.