Tips for musicians Part 2: Discoverability, and ease of use

As a blogger, one of the most annoying things for me is not being able to easily find a band’s music. If you follow me on twitter, I want to be able to find all of your music in 2-3 clicks, otherwise I’ll be tempted to just give up. Whether bands decide to play it cool and make you hunt for their music, or whether they don’t think about it at all, too many bands make it hard for you to listen to them. Making your music readily available is a massive part of your online presence, and here are a few tips on how to do it…

Soundcloud is your friend.

Soundcloud is a super easy way for people to dip into music and decide whether they like it or not. Ignore the fact that they don’t have to pay to listen: it is the home of a LOT of new music, and it is also a well-designed tool for sharing music across the web.

Sadly, too many bands neglect their uploads on soundcloud/youtube etc once they are up. Descriptions are left empty and vague, and not enough people utilise the “sets” feature. Having social media pages is not enough – they need to be completely up to date and full of information. Spend time making them valuable!

Firstly, descriptions are where you can bring all of your new fans ‘home’. Include links to your facebook, twitter, youtube, website, blog, or whatever. If you use it as just a store of your music and not a tool to connect you to your fans, you’re being foolish. If the song is from an EP, MENTION that. Release dates are often useful to know. If it is the lead single, say that, and perhaps put that in brackets in the title as well. Simply putting “The new song from ___” is not good enough. Chances are that you won’t go back to amend this description when you have a new release a few months later, and so 1 year after uploading it and the description still says “The new song from ___” – the information will be incorrect and irrelevant. Make it precise.

Excellent use of social media links

Excellent use of social media links

Returning to the point about singles: they are your way of saying ‘this is what we are about as a band – if you listen to no other song, listen to THIS one’. Time is precious, and I do not want to trawl through your 10 track album to find that one song that I like – signal where I should go first (by pointing out a lead single) and then I’ll move on from there if I like it. It is your imperative that I listen to your best song first so that I become interested and not walk away.

Secondly, Soundclouds can look messy when you upload a lot of demos, singles and remixes, and  significant releases can often be hidden by a long list of songs. Often, band’s soundclouds are organised in alphabetical order, or in order of upload – Sets are designed so that listeners can experience albums/EPs in the order they are meant to be listened. If, for example, I go through your list I come across the last song off your album, first (unknown to me), I will think all of your songs will be like that; when it is probably your slowest, and maybe worst song. Have a set per EP, or per album. Organise your collection so that I listen with a date/theme in mind.

Soundcloud album 'Set'

Soundcloud album ‘Set’

Youtube

The problems I see on youtube are very similar to those on Soundcloud: empty, or irrelevant description sections, and an unorganised mass of videos. Again, include links to all of your sites, include a description of what album its from, and make playlists of your singles/releases.

A lot of bands also think that Youtube is just for videos. Wrong. Although I’m not one of them, a lot of people use Youtube as their source of music; making their own playlists that they put on in the background. So if you have 20 released songs, but only 1 music video that is uploaded on there because ‘that’s your only video’, you are discriminating against people who love Youtube. My advice is to upload all of your songs onto the site with just a static visual (say your cover art) so that you don’t discriminate against this group of people. This will make you even easier to find on Google, and will make your music discoverable on yet another site. Again, make sure to playlist your albums etc.

Uploading songs to Youtube

Uploading songs to Youtube

Finally, try to develop a standard formula for your video titles. Youtube is the home of copies and user uploads, and so your task is to make yours standout from the fake ones. For example, the way most bands label their videos is by starting with your band name, then a dash, and then the song title, ie:

The Frogs – “Hop hop” (Single)

Keeping all of your uploads to this formula with give your videos continuity, and will eradicate any confusion.

Twitter

Twitter is perhaps the most important marketing tool for bands at the moment, and so it is crucially important that you get it right.

Once again, what you say and include in your description is the most important thing. When I go on to your profile, I want a description of your genre, a link to your music, and possibly a link to your Facebook, like this one:

Good information provided

Good information provided

I DO NOT CARE about who your members are, or some stupid quote that only the band find funny. You should be trying to make it easy for me to listen to or buy your music – why play it cool by putting “Hot stuff” or something stupid and irrelevant like that?

Over emphasis on band members

Over emphasis on band members

 

Thanks for that useful quote guys...

Thanks for that useful quote guys…

If you do not put the effort in to your own personal marketing, I will also assume you don’t put that much effort into your music either unfortunately. If not in your description, posting links to your Youtube/Facebook/iTunes semi regularly is a good idea; but keep the frequency sensible.

Who knows why they put this....

Who knows why they put this….

All of this is logical, and unextraordinary advice, yet I still see so many bands that are just awful at everything that supports their music. Make it obvious. Make it clear. Make it factual.