I came across this new music website this morning, that claimed to be for all unsigned musicians to get their music out there…and it really upset me. I kind of promised myself I would never trash a company or website on my blog, so I won’t, but I really do feel like it. I’m so tired of companies trying to play into the independent artists desire to get “discovered” and in the process, try to dig into musicians pockets. The sad thing is, unless you’re super famous, independent musicians make next to nothing anyway. Most of us have “real” jobs, and this is just our passion. Sure, many of us would probably like to make a living from it. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but it’s just very difficult. We just don’t make tons of money doing it, so I’m really getting tired of companies trying to take a piece of the little we do get.
So, I check out this website, and at first it seems ok. Not the best, but a new platform to post your music to. It’s not what I do with my music, but I can see how some people would be drawn to that. But the part that bothered me, was a section to copyright your music. Any musician who’s serious should know that you MUST copyright your music. That wasn’t even the issue I had. The part that bothered me, was this website provided a service so they would copyright your songs for you…but the fee was outrageous! If you’re a musician out there, copyright your music yourself on the governments official copyright site. Don’t pay some company tons of money to do it for you. Yes, you still do have to pay a fee, depending on what you register there too, but it is totally affordable. It can be a little confusing, but you’ll get the hang of it, if you just read through their guidelines. I remember once I even emailed the copyright office a question and someone actually got back to me in a reasonable amount of time. I thought that was pretty impressive for a government office. Bottom Line- copyright your music yourself. Don’t trust some random company to do it for you. They just want to get your money.
I have also gotten scams in the mail from “companies” claiming to want to use my music. Here’s a pic of a record company that supposedly wanted to use my music in a cd. Sounds pretty good, right? WRONG. They had my name and address, so at first I was confused. You know where they got my name and address? The copyright office. Believe it or not, anything you copyright is public record. Do not be surprised if soon after you copyright something, you get an offer in the mail to have your music in a project. Companies like this realize that if you take the time to copyright something, that you must care. They realize you think you have something good. Then they send you a letter that kind of plays into your belief of yourself. They say your music is good. They say you have potential. They say they are a real record company. Then they ask you to pay them a fee. Don’t fall for it. This is a scam. They just want your money.
Another way companies try to play off of musicians is through offering services for websites. I wouldn’t say this is a scam, but definitely a rip off. If you’re a musician out there, you may not be a genius, but I’m sure you have half a brain. Don’t put up your website with a company that offers template websites for musicians. I’m actually mad at myself because for a while my website was hosted with a company that does this (I don’t want to trash them on here. If you want to know what company I’m talking about, email me and I will tell you). Yes, they offer some good services, and it was very easy to set up a website. But the whole platform itself was not optimized for people to actually find you.
If you want new people to listen to your music and you’re unknown, you need a blog with your music listed on it. You need to write about music related stuff, but also stuff about yourself. If you want people to give your music a chance, it helps if they know some things about you. I’m not saying you have to share your life story with the world. But blogging is a very important thing for a musician to do. Not just to help the SEO of your actual website, but just so people get to know you.
There are different platforms, but this blog is hosted on wordpress. No I’m not a rep for them. It’s just what I found that is an extremely easy platform to work with for writing, as well as uploading your music. Bottom Line- Don’t let companies make you believe you need a special musicians website through them. You don’t. They will overcharge you.
There are also some great companies out there for musicians. Here are two that I use for my music. The first one is Noisetrade. On Noisetrade your music is available for free, but people have the option to leave a tip. I know that idea might not work for everyone, but for me, I like it. It’s tough to sell music and the self promotion involved is ridiculous. I’m also not a performer. If I was, I would probably be more into selling my music I guess. But my main goals are to basically just let people hear and enjoy my music. I write for independent films and other projects too, and my songs are in music libraries. So, even though I’m a musician, the spotlight just isn’t my thing (If you’re looking to find out more info about music libraries, this site is very helpful. You’ll get to connect with real people who have can give a real review of the library because they’ve worked with them).
If you’d like to make your music available digitally on different sites, the company I use for that is Cdbaby. Again, just read through everything and sign up for which services you’d like. You can have people buy your music, or have it listed on free sites. Totally up to you. I only post a few of my songs here, because my goal is not to sell to the general public. It’s just fun to have a few songs out there though. Again, I am not a rep for any of the companies I have listed here. This is just what I personally use. There are many others that are similar, like Tunecore. I’ve never used them so I really don’t know much about them.
Anyway, if you’re a musician out there, just do your homework. Be careful who you give your hard earned money to. Sorry if this turned into a bit of a rant, but I’m just tired of musicians getting ripped off by companies playing into their dreams and in the process, taking their money.
If you haven’t heard my songs yet, and you want to, scroll up and the music player and it’s on the right side of the screen. Thanks again to those of you who continue to listen to and download my songs! It does mean a lot to me.
-Lindsay Della Vella