Resources and Tools – Start Here
Here's the deal:
To promote your music, build an audience and make money with music it requires a lot of moving parts.
There are literally thousands of tools and resources to choose from.
Below is a list of tools I use on a regular basis.
As I learn more and use more tools, I'll add to this pool. But, I'm a firm believer in spending a few bucks to make a lot bucks. If I can pay a few dollars and it saves me a huge amount of time or energy, I'll take that trade-off all day, every day.
Some, not all, of the resources below are paid services or products. I have paid for them and use them on a regular basis. If you purchase them because you've clicked on a link, I will probably make a few dollars (At no cost to you, don't worry). If you do purchase anything from this page… smart move and THANK YOU!
If you have any questions about any of this stuff, let me know by using the contact form.
Sell More Singles
I released singles one month at a time for a full year. This ebook shows you exactly how I did it to generate more buzz, grow my fan base faster and sell more music. You can get your free copy by clicking here.
Sell More Singles Roadmap
I released singles one month at a time for a full year and documented everything.
The Roadmap shows you exactly how I did it to generate more buzz, grow my fan base faster and sell more music.
It will also help you release your music online faster and easier.
Best of all, the priced right, “Pay What You Want”…
How To Write Good Songs
None of this marketing and promotion stuff matters if your songs suck. These will help…
Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell – The first song I wrote using the techniques I learned in this book, called “Take This Ring”, is one of my most popular songs and has 43,677 YouTube views as of me writing this.
Futurehit.DNA – Did you know there are people out there who study what makes people want to listen to a song again and again? Me neither until I read this book. I learned a ton of cool little tricks from this book.
Superior Songwriting Course – Most of the songwriting courses I've taken are no longer available so I did some research and found this one. Just so you know, I did not take it myself yet but I did some digging and found this one. Pretty low risk since it is fairly inexpensive with an 8 week money back guarantee.
Get Good Recordings Of Your Songs
Just like with songwriting, none of this marketing and promotion stuff matters if your production sucks. These will help…
Home Recording For Musicians For Dummies – This is the book that made me realize I suck at recording and that I should just hire someone else to do it. It was a nice overview though. I learned the basics and I know enough to make a rough, very rough, demo.
MixStudios – Doesn't matter where you are in the world, you can get radio ready recordings for a reasonable price using online recording studio.
Nashville For Hire – This is pretty cool. You can hire session players who've played with some big names on some big songs and have them play on your stuff. Guitar players, Bassists, drummers, singers and production peeps.
McLooney Tunes – I've recorded 90% of my tunes with Tom and Annie. Check them out if you are in Southeast Minnesota, Northeast Iowa or the Western Wisconsin area.
I mainly record demo's in my studio. I leave the heavy lifting to the studio I work with. BUT the gear I use was recommended by that studio and has really improved the quality of my demos. Here are the best piece of my gear.
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface– Super low latency. And as long as you are using quality microphones and gear, very clean, excellent sounding recordings.
Rode NT1-A Cardoid Condenser Microphone – Not only is this a solid mic for vocals but the NT1-A makes my acoustic guitar sound pristine on recordings. Only thing that would make my guitar sound better is two of them. Great dual purpose mic for a pretty reasonable cost.
Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Microphone – I use this mic for podcasting and for all the audio on any desktop recorded videos you see on Musicgoat. This mic was recommended to me by the Podcast Answer Man Cliff Ravenscraft. I always thought that if you want people to take you serious, you gotta sound good. I love the way it makes my voice sound and I get a lot of compliments.
Sennheiser HD 212Pro Headphones – This exact model is discontinued but they are awesome. I think it is pretty safe bet that newer model Sennheiser is offering are just as awesome.
Keep Your Audience Around
If you want your fans to stick around, you need to get stay in touch with them and build a relationship with them. The best way to do that bringing them back to “your place” and is capturing their email.
Collect fan emails:
Mailchimp – This WAS the email service I use for Musicgoat and still do with my singer-songwriter list and a few clients. Very solid. Its free to get started but if you want to use autoresponders and save time, you need to get the paid in which case you might be better off using…
ConvertKit (free trial) – I recently switch over to this service. If you do not have a website, do mind paying a few bucks and/or are looking for an email provider that provides made-for-you landing page templates, ConvertKit is awesome. They cater to Makers and Creatives (like us music types) so you know you are in good company. It is also one the easiest to use for beginners and feature rich for more advanced users. Visual interfaces make it easy to understand and they have excellent training and live support (which is huge). Speaking of support, they moved my lists and subscribers over for me when I joined. Thats huge. Saved a ton of time.
See also, GrooveFunnels (below)…
Build a website, build funnels and sell music:
GrooveFunnels – Need a website, a landing page builder, a funnel builder, shopping cart and email service? Or just one of those? This might be the way to go. When I saw this tool I couldn't believe how much it does for the price (free basic for life). They have some pretty cool pre-built funnels like the “Free Plus Shipping” funnel used by some artists to sell CD's. This service is EXTREMELY affordable for musicians on a tight budget while giving you all the modern tools you need to make music sales online. Check out Groovefunnels and get your free website here.
WordPress – Every one of my sites is on WordPress. You can do pretty much anything with WordPress. Collect emails, start a blog, add plugins to sell your music or play your tunes. Oh and did you know 24% of websites on the entire web (yep, the ENTIRE WEB) is running on WordPress? Sites like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. Just saying.
Elegant Themes – I've been using Elegant Themes for a few years. They are incredibly well-designed, are updated all the time, and there are a lot of designs to choose from.
Host your wordpress site:
SiteGround – At the beginning of 2017 I switched all my websites to SiteGround. I love them. I cut my hosting fees by 2/3. Nice and organized dashboard on the back end. And they have awesome support. I experienced this first hand because after 10 years online, I have a ton of cyber junk (old sites, unused email servers, broken this, broken that, etc). They helped make the switch pretty smooth.
I switch from Bluehost. I've did use Bluehost for almost ten years but they were bought out and they really started to slip. Ever since they've been laying people off left and right and the support was getting worse (not unusual to be on hold for 30+ minutes anymore). Also, the price kept going up. Not a good combo.
Build A Career
Making It in Music Course – It used to be hard to find quality information on how to attract fans and keep them around. Which is why, once upon a time, I built my own course. But it was hard to keep the course up to date. Now sites like Udemy have courses like this taught by credible experts who keep the content up to date.
Where to Submit Your Music
Indie Bible – This 330 page music marketing Swiss Army Knife will show you how to get access to 4000 music publications willing to do reviews, 3200 radio stations willing to play your songs along with 1200 other resources looking to help you get the word out. They also have a long list of labels out there that might be looking for what you have to offer.
And I know this works because the Musicgoat is listed in here and I get bombarded with tons of mail – e and snail – filled with CD's, mp3's, press releases, review requests, etc.
The Spotify Playlist Bible will save you a ton of time and help ensure you are reaching the right people. It has contact and social media information for over 3000 Spotify Curators. It is sorted by genre. It also gives you information like how many followers the playlist has, how many songs and a description of the playlist. Click here to check it out.
PlaylistPush – If you have the budget, you can pay for them to send your music directly to curators on Spotify, Apple, YouTube, TikTok and others. They have over 970 curators on their platform and have playlists that combin for a total reach of more than 23 MILLION listeners. Click here to check them out.
DropTrack – Just stumbled onto this service. They help connect you with record labels, playlist curators, DJ's and influencers. They have tools to help you promote your music, get feedback and analyze your audience. Click here to try DropTrack free.
MySephora – Get your new release shared with Spotify Curators for less than 20 bucks or invest a little more to be submitted to radio stations.
According to there about page, their goal is to help bands and artists do three things: Get deals, Get fans, Get better.
There are some many opportunities you can submit your music to. Some are free, some blogs and podcasts use the service to acquire music to review and play. But there is a healthy dose of opportunities that you have to pay to submit too. That can be either a good thing (less competition) or a bad thing (you might not have the budget… like me).
Artists Guide To Music Licensing– If you are looking into getting your music on TV shows, movies, advertising and/or video games, check this program out. A friend of mine Andrew Galucki shows you how he's made over $50,000 just from music licensing got his music used on shows like Grey's Anatomy and ad campaigns for companies like CHASE Bank. Click here to check it out.
Earbits – It is free to submit your music (any genre). They will review your stuff and if they dig it, your tunes will get added to the mix.
Oh and they also have a pay to play feature if you want more spins. The tracking isn’t perfect quite yet but it is very reasonably priced and effective.
Radio Airplay (get 200 Free Play Credits) – Get your music played along side the biggest artists in the business.
MusicSubmit.com – For a fee you can use these guys to submit music to radio stations and blogs.
The DIY Musicians Handbook – A friend of mine, D. Grant Smith, wrote “The DIY Musicians Handbook”. D has been in radio for a long time and has lived the many of the changes we've seen over the past few decades. He a great networker and has a ton of great radio promotion tips about getting your music played and creating some quality contacts along the way.
Streamline and Grow Your Social Media Profiles
TubeBuddy – Just started testing this, but damn, the handy optimization tools alone saved me a ton of time already. So much to love for marketing geeks like me. They have a feature filled free tier. If you do any YouTube Marketing you'll see the value instantly. Try it and you'll see. Its a no-brainer!
Sprizzy – This service helps you get more views for your video fast. You can promote any type of video that you want. They have a handy feature for musicians that allows you to select up to three artists who's fans your music would resonate with the best. You can also choose a goal beyond just getting views, likes and comments, clicks to website, etc to fine tune your campaign a bit. There is a minimum campaign budget of $50 to get over 1,000 views. Not bad, Just make sure you have your videos descriptions and tags set up correctly beforehand to maximize your return. You can use TubeBuddy (above) and Video Marketing Blaster (below) to help with that. Go try Sprizzy now.
Video Marketing Blaster – I am in the process of testing this out but I wanted to share it asap. Its a tool that helps you rank your videos faster on YouTube and in the Google search results. You could use this tool to find terms you could rank for with cover videos, lesson videos and any other terms you think your video or song would do well. Go check it out here.
99DollarSocial – To busy to do social the right way by posting every day? So am I. That's why I started using this service. They work with you to create unique content and a daily posting schedule so you can post and promote on Facebook, Twitter, etc every single day. They also offer an affiliate program that offers monthly recurring commissions (BONUS). So if you want to make some extra money check that out here.
CrowdFire – I've used this app to add 59,542 followers (and counting) over the past 2 years without busting my ass.
Hootesuite – I use this almost every day. You can update and track all your social media activity on Twitter, Facebook and more all from one dashboard.
Crowdfund Your Music
Patreon – Want to get some financial support for you music? Uhhh yeah! Try Patreon. I like it because you get support monthly or per project. You can build your funnel around building continued support rather than blowing your wad once every other year to create an album. Some pretty big Indie musicians like Amanda Palmer, Home Free and Pomplemoose are earning a full time income using Patreon.
Distribute and Sell Your Music and Merch Online (and Off)
99Designs – Before, during and after you distribute your music, you are going to need things like logos, album cover art, T-shirt designs and just over all great merch design. I use 99design. It's awesome because you just describe what you want and how much you are willing to pay for the design. Then, dozens of designers created their interpretation of what you want and you only pay for the one you want to use. In fact, you don't even need to choose the design, you can let your audience vote on which one they like best by sharing on social. That way, you know which design is most likely to sell. You can use it for album art, logo's, T-shirt designs and a bunch more. Check out 99Designs.
Bandcamp – I use Bandcamp as the primary place to sell music. The “Name Your Price” feature is integral to my sales process.
DistroKid – I am in the process of switching over to them from CDBaby. Not only are they the most inexpensive ($20 a year unlimited release). I've heard to many great things and they have some great tools. Couldn't pass it up any longer.
CDBaby – Again, the service I use. They have been reliable, I have had zero technical issues and I like their dashboard. The dashboard keeps a great record of where your music is being streamed and purchased. They also have Sync/Publishing licensing built in to track plays on YouTube and a few other site (this is pretty handy). There is a set up fee and they keep roughly 9% of some of your earnings. UPC codes will cost you extra but ISRC codes are free. One issue I have is that it seems to me that they’re prices seem to keep going up and up. Used to be less than $10 to upload a song or under $30 for an album but now its $12.95 and $49.
If you want more options, click to see the post listing a bunch of the music distribution services.
Kunaki – This is how I get physical copies of my cd's made. They are pretty inexpensive and fast. You can also do DVD's as well.
IndieHitMaker – Make sure you report ALL of your sales to Soundscan so you improve the chance you'll chart. And when you chart, you get more exposure, buzz and street cred. Oh an when I say ALL your sale, I mean all including merch, digital music, CD's etc online and offline at your shows.
Gumroad – If you sell digital products (downloads, ebooks, etc) AND physical products (CD's, Vinyl, shorts, etc) you can mix and match packages pretty easily. Plus, it just feels cleaner and is more intuitive to set up than many other stores.
I've been slowly migrating my music store over to Gumroad from Bandcamp. And I just moved all this sites products over as well.
You'll love that you can do “Pay What You Want.” I recently started a “Name Your Price CD + Can Koozie [Just Cover Shipping]” shipping campaign. My first sale was for $21.33. I'll take that all day long.
Also, there is no need to use Paypal (which is a big plus for some). You can easily generate a purchase link to your product that you can share or embed “anywhere” online (in a Tweet, Facebook post, on your website, etc). They have an affiliate program option too so you can share your earnings with fans/customers who want to help promote your stuff. You can use their free account to start selling today. Get a free Gumroad account here.
Improve Your Live Show
Tom Jackson – Tom Jackson calls himself a Live Show Producer. He’s worked with some big names like Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Gloriana, Jars of Clay and Francesca Battistelli. He has a few DVD’s you can check out to help you omprove your live show to make more merch sales and put on a great show. I have and recommend the “All Roads Lead to the Stage” and he also has a very intensive 7 or 8 DVD set if you want to get nuts. BUT, if you don’t have the jing to fork out for those, you could just start by getting the All Access Pass.
Soundart Productions – My friend Bram does the same thing Tom Jackson does but at a much more reasonable price for DIY musicians. He promises to help you stop losing crowds and start taking encores. He will show you why people come to see live music. Understand what they expect during every moment of your show. Know how to convert fans and back up merch lines from the stage.
Fiverr Music Promotion – Great service you can use to get help market and promote your music. You can hire people to help you with stuff like: Flyers(Creation/Distribution), Reviews, Bio’s, Music Industry Contact Lists, Lyric Videos, Music Submission (Radio, Mags, Blogs), Press Release (Creation/Distribution), Website SEO, Social Media (Bookmarking, Likes, Views, & Tweets), Custom Album Art and more. I like it so much I did a video and a post on it.
IndieHitMaker – They offer a bunch of services for artist. My favorite is they have a services that gives you the ability to report your physical and digital sales to Soundscan and Buzzangle. This is important if you want your music to chart and get all the benefits associated with charting (more exposure, the ability to say you charted, etc). Learn more here.
Making Music Pay – Most musicians focus on sales from downloads, cd’s, merch and gigs but there are tons of opportunities out there to make money with your music related skills. Making Music Pay is short video course where I show you where to find these opportunities and how to give yourself the best chance at earning income from them. In a nutshell, Making Music Pay is a video guide to alternate sources of making money with your music skills. Learn more here.