I Am Not Lefthanded invade 2UIBestow
I Am Not Lefthanded are busy. They're currently releasing their second EP, Time To Leave. They're also raising £15,000 to record a full-length album with the help of SliceThePie.com, posting a new free download every week on their website and gearing up for their first European and American tours later this year. To try and share some insight as to how they're coping with the madness, they're invading 2UIBestow with a 5-part guide to holding on to your sanity in the modern music world.
I Am Not Lefthanded's Modern Music Industry Sanity Survival Guide (3/5)
3. Be everywhere, but focus where it counts.
It's a big ocean, out in the internet - but we've done our best to dip our toe into as much of it as possible. Your number one friend in getting your music out there is having a folder on your desktop with your mp3s, press photos, a short bio and other bits and pieces that you can dip into easily. There are many, many different music start-ups, each of whom are trying to create a music community. It can be a pain signing up to different ones, but once you've done two or three, it becomes pretty doable to sign up to a new one in ten minutes. It's worth the time spent - you never know where your music will blossom.
Once you've put everything up, go away and forget about it for a couple of weeks. Then check back and see which sites seem to be reacting best to your music. Focus your efforts on these ones: learn their rules, engage with the community, just give your music a chance to spread.
Here are some of the sites that have been particularly good to us:
TheSixtyOne - www.thesixtyone.com/iamnotlefthanded - TheSixtyOne is one of the best music discovery sites out there. It's filled with people who are actively trying to find new music. The site is based around a game of sorts, with people getting points for discovering new songs. Definitely worth signing up to. The key to this site is to upload one song every couple of weeks - it gives each song a chance to rise up the charts. And talk to the community if they comment on your songs, they're lovely people.
Bandcamp - iamnotlefthanded.bandcamp.com - Bandcamp is simply the easiest and most elegant way to run your own music store online. It's free and they don't take a commission. They're constantly adding new features to make this the best place to sell your music - or give it away in exchange for an email address.
Last.fm - www.last.fm/music/I+am+not+lefthanded - Last.fm is a great site, it basically keeps track of your listening tastes and recommends bands based on your history. Make sure your profile there is full of information and pictures and videos. It also gives you a real count of people who have listened to your music - rather than MySpace and its frequently bot-inflated play counts...
SliceThePie - www.slicethepie.com/Music/ViewArtistProfile.aspx?ArtistId=12341 - we'd like to give a particular mention to SliceThePie. There are a few different fan-funding websites out there, but unlike Sellaband and its ilk, SliceThePie doesn't rely simply on you hustling and harrassing people to invest in your music. Instead you put your music into a blind taste-test, and get ranked by the site's reviewing community. If you get marked high enough, you get through to the showcase round where you get a chance to raise £15,000 in 9 months to make a full-length album. There's a strong investment community on the site - if you can convince them you're a good prospect, they will support you. They're also a very engaged and friendly group of people, who'll give you feedback and encouragement throughout the process. We've been in the showcase for about a month and a half, and we've currently raised £2,567. Basically it's a fantastic opportunity to shoot for a fan-funded record deal.
Some honourable mentions go to:
Tubemogul - www.tubemogul.com - instead of uploading your video just to youtube, upload it to many different video sites at once.
ArtistData - www.artistdata.com - You just have to input your gig listings into ArtistData and they syndicate it out to Myspace, Facebook and many other sites. A definite time-saver, especially if you have to change details on the fly.
Reverbnation - www.reverbnation.com - Reverbnation have a lot of nice tools that work behind the scenes to make running your band a lot easier. We use them for mailing-list management, and their widgets are easily embeddable and shareable, so you can put them into your site or myspace very easily.
Tunecore - www.tunecore.com - simple efficient digital distribution. Highly recommended!
And lastly - it is so, so important to have your own website and mailing list, do not just rely on myspace. It gives you a chance to create your own world and build a community around your music, creating something that will last.