8 Tips for Getting Your Music Heard (For Free)

8 Tips for Getting Your Music Heard (For Free)

June 5, 2009
in Category: production
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Much like trying to get a unique domain name these days, getting an unused name for yourself/group is a bit more complicated that it once was. Even if you do have an original name, getting people to hear your music before you have any fans can seem almost impossible.  With some clever thinking and hard work, it can all be done without spending a dime.

So let’s get right to it – you want to upload your music, photo and bio to the internet, without being lost in a sea of obscurity. It’s understandable how it can happen to even the most talented artists. As mentioned before, it’s not necessary to spend any money in promotion to get great results.  It’s also not something that happens overnight.

Establishing your music online ten years ago was an amazing experience. I remember posting tracks made with a Yamaha DJX onto MP3.com, a couple years after it first launched in 1997. I uploaded the music to the Hip-Hop category, and within a few weeks, I had over 47 downloads (this was before streaming was typical, and AOL’s 56k internet connections were still running most of the US). Fast forward a decade later, and you are lucky if your band’s name hasn’t already been taken by at least three or four different groups across the web.

Here is a list of 8 tips for getting your music heard:

  1. Register your band info to as many websites as possible. This means post your biography, mp3s, videos, photos, etc. to MySpace, Facebook, last.fm, Soundclick, Muxtape, YouTube, ArtistServer, iSound, Twitter, Flickr, blogspot, Gravatar, etc. The more sites you sign up for, the better the chances you have of people coming across your music when searching for your name.
  2. Jump on new websites as soon as they launch. When music.download.com (now last.fm) was first launched, Sound Scientists were one of the first groups to upload music, and because of that, we got a head start on the rest of the bands that signed up afterwords, even bigger names (see image at bottom of list).
  3. Leave comments on blogs, forums and other social networking communities. Use the same username, email and website link for all of them.  Leave actual feedback, not just a link and a banner, which brings us to the next big tip…
  4. Don’t spam forums, chat rooms, blogs, etc. By just randomly posting links to your website you risk losing credibility – but more importantly, you are just going to come across as annoying and unprofessional.
  5. Create a single avatar to use on all of your accounts. Use this image on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Gravatar, etc. Companies spend millions of dollars and years of research establishing brand recognition, and strive to stay consistent with that image. You should take their lead and do the same – the more familiar people are with your image, the more likely they are to spread the word and return to your pages.
  6. Stay humble. Ask for feedback, and appreciate it. Follow up with feedback for others. If you are posting your music to be reviewed, be grateful to the reviewers, no matter how horrible their comments may be. Nothing will turn people off of your music quicker than having an attitude, or being defensive. If you act like everything is done for the passion and love, potential fans will be less critical, and will relate to you more. Giving others feedback is a good idea, as it shows you aren’t selfish and are looking to help others too.
  7. Constantly post new music. Regularly rotate a few tracks out, so that the same music isn’t collecting dust on your pages. If somebody notices that you have had the same five songs on your page for a few months, they lose the incentive to keep coming back. Remember, even if you have music that’s old to you, 99.99% of the internet hasn’t heard it yet.
  8. Collaborate regularly with other artists. An unfortunate aspect of hip-hop music is that the sense of collaboration for the sake of fun and music isn’t as strong as I’ve experienced with other genres (for example, rock, blues, jazz, etc.). By stepping away from that mentality and working with as many other people as possible (yes, that means for free sometimes), you are only helping establish yourself as an open-minded and hard working musician. The results may not be award-winning, but at the very least it’s great practice.

Here is an example of what can happen when luck plays out in your favor, along with using the methods outlined above. This screenshot was taken in 2006 on music.download.com, which is now last.fm:

ss-cnet-top10

If you have any tips to share, please post them in the comments below.

56 comments

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  5. FAMCAMP
    Reply

    Hello to all the unsigned artist out there,my name is (BigTony) I’am from Annapolis,Md..I run a up and coming management company called (J.T.M Management) i have my first group they are called (FAMCAMP) They are a group of brothers and cousins also from Annapolis,md…. J.T.M Management and FAMCAMP goal is to bring back real HipHop (NO GIMMICK RAP) Our mission is to bring back balance in this Hip Hop game…Make songs that have meaning to them again, Not just songs about bling bling, when 97% of the rappers don’t have any way….But songs with real Hip Hop meaning,No talking about killing each other but how we can do for each other………Just like (GRANDMASTER FLASH)DID & (PUBLIC ENEMY) (RUN DMC) (KURTIS BLOW) (NAS) (ERIC B & RAKEM)

    I think you get my point…..Its time for the real hip hop and where here to bring it BACK……

    For Bookings Call (BigTony) @ 770-274-8923

    J.T.M ENT….

    FAMCAMP ONE LOVE………..

    Band Members

    Tyrone (T-y) Mitchell
    Tyrell (BigRell) Mitchell
    Kernell (Kay-Nellz) Hunt
    Tony (Tone Mitch) Mitchell Jr
    Davonta’ (The God) Wright
    Charles (Gunz) Rogers
    Eugene (Uwally) Rogers

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  8. ToddyMac
    Reply

    Wassup everybody this ya boy Toddy Mac!!!! im a up and comin artist who is about to hand my cd to birdman and lil wayne. when he gets out on nov 6 he will b hearing it. i want you guys to b the judge of it first!!!! here goes my website you can here my music on there as well as go to my youtube, twitter and ect. Please help support me even while i aint at the top yet cause one day i will b! http://www.wix.com/toddymac/toddymac

  9. T-Silent
    Reply

    whatz good world? my lyfe couldnt fall apart any worse, im livin out my car wit a job that doesnt pay shit now and my family basically doesnt giv a rats ass bout me and more now than eva i need 2 b heard..i need 2 prove i got sumthn unique and deserve a chance by a record label, jus watch tha videos and listen 2 tha muzic and sum1 giv me that shot

  10. Tom Osford
    Reply

    Getting your music heard through different types is very important, I suggest you make a songfountain.com and last.fm site right away and start building your audience

  11. The Black Haint
    Reply

    Daaaaaaayum! MP3.com! Yall go back quite a ways! I used to jump on there in like ’02… Back when Anno Domini, Wyshmaster, and ummmm…Damn, what’s his name…Anyway, they used to dominate back then.

    Anno Domini’s still doin it on soundclick.

    Great article! Don’t forget the offline hustle as well.

    Peace!

    Rap Beats
    R&B Beats

  12. Danyosorapnificent
    Reply

    Like they said, great article. It’s very helpful and is bringing me closer to my goal.

    Thank you.
    Danyosorapnicent @ twitter,YouTube,myspace,Facebook wherever you want to find me.
    Peace

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  14. Tiffany Grace
    Reply

    Great read, thank you for all of you suggestions…I think #1 “Register your band info to as many websites as possible.” is really great advice as long as you are able to keep up with EVERY single web site you post to. There is nothing more diappointing than finding a new artist somewhere and all their contact info or links are all out of date. I’m passionate about music, so I’ll look further, but most people wont.

    Thanks again for posting!!

  15. Ryan
    Reply

    Thanks for this great advice! I’m actually producing electronic/dubstep music and I believe these principles could apply to any genre, not just hip hop :P

  16. Haych Storm - IMGlobal Promotions
    Reply

    I Disagree with no1……waste of time, make sure you join the MAIN social networks.. & All the others that you do join, can CONNECT to facebook etc….not EVERY website, this is the mistake of many, also do not spam walls on facebook, Most artists do NOT even say hello, big MITAKE…it is NOT myspace where there is no rules or MANNERS. ps: Myspace is a waste of time, use it for a url, nothing more, it’s like standing in a hall yelling the same story/speel over and over….nothing eventuates. STOP fanning musicians, you want the ley person not muso’s See my blogs :http://bit.ly/pUWsY8 xox Haych

  17. michelle
    Reply

    hey, if you like to make a music video in Trinidad & Tobago where the scenery is magnificent and the culture pumping, pls contact me.

  18. #TEAMMDSE-GINGERBREADMAN
    Reply

    These articles motivate me as an artist, because in the long mist of promoting your music avidly like I do, core tips like these remind the artist of the long term rewards of the daliy grind, because I know for a fact anyone who has made in this industry faced rejections, even if they followed a plan. Consistancy is the key, and I plan to someday master that!!!#TEAMMDSE

  19. Shawn White
    Reply

    Another really cool site to get your music out there is Exposed Vocals. ExposedVocals.com sends your music to radio stations and everything. Not sure, but I don’t think they charge either!

  20. Micah Prewitt
    Reply

    Thanks very helpful I found that networking in person is also a very big boost if you show other bands that your willing to go to their show they are more likely to remember you and thus a better connection is made leading to more connections through them this method has helped me really increase the quality of my recordings, music and music videos

  21. Zara
    Reply

    Great article..Very clear and concise and inspirational in that I know can see that it really is possible to go about this as an independent.
    With regards to the humble point-if you do get a moment to offer feedback for music could you check out the following…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Meb7xY2K27U

    Your opinion would be greatly recieved.

    Best,

    Zara

  22. CeeJaye
    Reply

    hi,

    I am a fairly new producer and trying my hardest to learn the trade.
    I would really like to say thanks for the really strong advice,
    very clear and concise.
    I will apply these methods to my madness and see what happens.
    Would love some honest feed Back on my music, so please check out my sound cloud link and tell me what you think and maybe some pointers of where i could head.

    thanks again guys
    Regards cee-jaye

  23. MulaPook
    Reply

    I’m a 19 year old Las Vegas rapper trying to make it as an artist and be heard check my music out and share it soundcloud.com/pookygmm FMOT @POOky_G and InstaGram ; pookygmm I’d really appreciate it.

    1. Tr3 Sq music
      Reply

      I manage Tr3sqmusic. They have performed only on the east coast. They rap and sing. A group of young men that are trying to turn their negative lifestyles around but the community wont let them.

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