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!


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