Ghettoblaster

Playlist of the Week (2018/20)

This week’s POTW is a bit different from previous ones, which have all so far been Spotify playlists. This one is a Musicoin playlist, run by artist Juxta via the Atom Collector Records website, with a little help from another artist, Self Suffice, aka Rapoet.  Musicoin doesn’t have playlist features built into its website just yet, so Rapoet took the initiative to work out how to do it from his own website, and passed the information on – a great example of indie musicians working together to help each other out!

The other unusual, if not unique, thing about this playlist, is that when you listen to it, the independent musicians you hear will directly receive a small amount of cryptocurrency for every track you play.   (Check out my article  What alternatives are there to Soundcloud? (Pt 5: Musicoin) to find out more about Musicoin and how it works).  It is very difficult to make a living as an independent musician, therefore many of us have been experimenting with different outlets such as this, to see if we can make it work for us.

To listen to this week’s playlist of the week, click here and follow the instructions on screen.

What alternatives are there to Soundcloud? (Part 4: Bandcamp)

There were various articles last summer predicting doom and gloom for Soundcloud before they were rescued. With that in mind, I did a little research into what alternatives independent musicians have to Soundcloud.

This is part 4 of the series aimed at independent artists. Comments relate to the free version of Bandcamp: there is a Pro subscription available allowing more advanced features like uploading videos and customising your bandcamp domain name, but it costs $10 per month, beyond the budget for many small artists.

Bandcamp's welcome page

Bandcamp’s front page

Bandcamp

Bandcamp is a well-established site for indie artists, geared up around selling downloads. Musicians can also allow listeners to stream their material, so they can decide if they will like it before they buy. Posting music here is a way of releasing material, but Bandcamp do not offer distribution services beyond their site, so this doesn’t get you onto Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify and so on: you will need to release your work through an additional distribution service if you want to get into those outlets.

Bandcamp is not a particularly suitable place for sharing rough mixes or material you’re not sure about to get feedback – listeners can’t leave comments and it may cause confusion if you post unfinished material in your store. That said, you can post tracks for free, allowing people to download for ‘£0 or more’, so that does give an option to differentiate between work in progress and finished items that you charge for. Anyone doing that would need to make sure it was well communicated, however, and there are possible reputation issues if you post work before it is really listenable.

There are some social aspects to Bandcamp, but it’s somewhat limited:  You can ‘like’ tracks via Facebook or tweet them directly from inside the site; music fans have their own pages and can follow each other as well as their favourite artists. Bandcamp encourage you to follow other fans with similar taste and check out their ‘collection’, to aid music discovery.  There’s also a music discovery page with features and which shows which albums or tracks are being bought right now, with the option to click through and listen. When you follow an artist, they can email to let you know when they have a new track available.

Pros:
Great for showing off albums.
Try-before-you-buy feature
You can limit the number of free streams of each track you allow listeners if you wish
You control the download price (unlike some online stores), and can offer free downloads on tracks you wish to share but not sell.
Fans can add a tip for the music they like best, when downloading.
Fans can follow artists they like, and artists can subsequently email them.
You can link your gig information to Bandcamp via the Songkick app.

Cons:
This site is not really suitable for getting feedback for work in progress.
The social dimension of the site is quite limited.
Music discovery is also fairly limited: users have to be actively seeking out new music.
Downloading is already on the wane – streaming is growing fast, but is not the focus of this site. This could affect the site’s relevance within just a few years, if the site does not adapt accordingly.

Verdict:
Where Bandcamp works best is as a well known online store, especially if you don’t provide music downloads direct from your own website. Because this site is very well known, it’s still a standard place for indie artists to be – at least for now.  You can use Bandcamp alongside your distribution deal (e.g. through CDBaby) providing that the distribution contract is non-exclusive, so that you get the benefit of being on both platforms.

I entered a song contest!

Drooble-Competition-Entry-Sept-2017Drooble – a social media site for musicians and music fans – are running a song competition at the moment. They have two prizes, one for most original song and the other for the song that gets the most votes.

I thought I might as well put an entry in – it can’t hurt, can it? So I have entered Sleepwalker.

Please could you vote for me & share this link with anyone else who you think might like the song?

THANK YOU!

P.S. (If you fancy joining me on Drooble and discovering a load of other indie artists, as well, here’s a link for joining, too.)

Putting my Business Hat on (Part 1)

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Er no, that’s not a business hat. More like a thinking cap. Or a beehive.

 

One of the things I’d really like to do is write music for computer games, or have tunes I’ve written placed in a game.

A few weeks back, I was in touch with an app developer, TrickJazz Studios, who are planning to make some games to aid relaxation. We had a couple of emails back and forth, then I didn’t hear anything for a bit.

We had a follow-up phone call this week, to discuss whether we could work together on the project.  TrickJazz are a start-up venture and have been looking to recruit independent artists. They are aiming to get some big underground artists on board, or at least up-and-coming ones who are active on social media, as that makes it easier for them to get the games known about. I was asked to put together an email to describe what I could bring to the table, as that would influence whether my tune would be chosen.

On the back of that conversation, I had a pretty late night, pulling together relevant information on my ‘audience demographics’. In fact, I was up until after my resident blackbird had sung his morning song, as social sites like YouTube and Twitter can tell ‘content creators’ quite a lot about their audience.

The business side of being a musician doesn’t get talked about a lot, but it’s actually just as important as making good music, and understanding your audience is part of that.

Social media sites can tell you things like whether people watch your videos on their computer or on their phones, what countries you are getting views from, and what proportion of your audience is male/female. Obviously, none of the details given are personal, just general statistics about the overall audience. The data can help with understanding whether you’re communicating well with the people you’re in touch with, and whether you’re reaching the same people you expected to.

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Whilst there weren’t many surprises, one thing I discovered this week was that the male:female ratio of people watching my Youtube videos is completely different in the US to the UK.  This really surprised me, as I would have expected the distributions to be quite similar.

If you have any ideas why this might be, I’d be interested to know what you think in the comments, as I’m currently a bit puzzled!