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To put my music out on the internet or not....
Old 20th August 2012
  #1
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aligak's Avatar
To put my music out on the internet or not....

Is it true that if I put my music out on SoundCloud, BandCamp, and other places such as iTunes through a digital distributor such as Label Worx, that my tracks or albums no longer have much of a chance of being picked up by any electronic music labels? I remember back when I used to buy records and CDs that an artist would release on their own label or a "white sleeve" and then if it was well received, it would be taken up by a real label. I have roughly 30 tracks professionally mastered, and now wondering if I should just spam labels with my mp3 uploads of my tracks or put them all up on my own SoundCloud and BandCamp sites and hope some label likes it enough to want to sign me up. Does this even happen anymore?

I honestly DON'T care at all about making money. I have a regular job full-time job (not that it pays so well, but it helps me live comfortably enough). I just want to get my music out there and heard or played for enough people. I've worked too hard for too long for my music to be locked up inside my computer.
Old 20th August 2012
  #2
Yes some labels specifically don't want tracks that have already been around the internet, see which ones, check their websites for their demo policy most say what they accept.




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Old 20th August 2012
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aligak View Post
Is it true that if I put my music out on SoundCloud, BandCamp, and other places such as iTunes through a digital distributor such as Label Worx, that my tracks or albums no longer have much of a chance of being picked up by any electronic music labels? I remember back when I used to buy records and CDs that an artist would release on their own label or a "white sleeve" and then if it was well received, it would be taken up by a real label. I have roughly 30 tracks professionally mastered, and now wondering if I should just spam labels with my mp3 uploads of my tracks or put them all up on my own SoundCloud and BandCamp sites and hope some label likes it enough to want to sign me up. Does this even happen anymore?

I honestly DON'T care at all about making money. I have a regular job full-time job (not that it pays so well, but it helps me live comfortably enough). I just want to get my music out there and heard or played for enough people. I've worked too hard for too long for my music to be locked up inside my computer.
I don't know too much about labels or the big dance music industry or anything. But if you want to get your music out there I would suggest putting it up on Soundcloud. It just makes it a lot easier for friends/family/random people to see your music.
Old 20th August 2012
  #4
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Non-downloadable sites like Soundcloud are great. I'd put your best three up.

I wouldn't start selling on iTunes.

In '07 I leaked some of my music to the blogs, which were exploding at the time for the first time. Ended up #1 on Hype Machine like 14 times off one song. It got picked up and sold by a huge label long after it had been making rounds on the internet, and then sold fine once the label put it out.

Point being - good, relevant, current sounding music music wins. Period. A hit is a hit is a hit, whether its leaked or not. It will get noticed by people if its a hit. It will chart if its a hit. Labels will pay you for it if its a hit. People will pay the labels for it if its a hit. Doesn't matter at all if its leaked or not. Labels will want to own the master. Companies will want to license the master. Money will be made for all. Exposure happens naturally.

And if its not a hit, then either play a different game (using a swath of good enough songs to carefully network your way to the middle of the pack by only getting them into the hands of the right people), or keep learning more about music, sonics, and lyrics till you have your hit!
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Old 20th August 2012
  #5
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There are a few reasons why you don't want to do that...

The problem with uploading to SC,BC,FB, etc is that it's not secure. Anyone can rip a track off the internet. It may not be the best quality, but it's ripped. And once it's ripped... well, say good bye.

The other problem with promoting your own unsigned tracks is that once the track has been heard, it's old news. Labels want to control the release and how it makes it's way onto the dance floor. Huge djs get first stabs at tunes from good labels, the whole "promo list" factor still exists. EM doesn't have a very long shelf life, which is good and bad depending on how you look at the industry.

Some things you CAN do, is promote specific tracks on the net and put them up for free download. These are tracks that you can live with never being released, not your best work, but not your "throw away" tracks either. If your tracks are good enough then it proves to a label that you can make good tunes for them, especially if you have a consistent following and they like your style, etc. Doing this will also help you network and promote your name, all good things. There is also the option to put up clips of your work, versus the entire track, but again there are certain risks that come with that.

If you are tired of shopping tracks around to labels, might as well start your own. You'd need a simple website, release artwork, fb page, artists, etc. But this would allow you to have complete creative control as well as the ability to release whatever you want, when you want, instead of leaving it up to another label to decide.

Few questions...

How are you promoting yourself as an artist?
Do you perform? dj / live act?
Are you doing remixes for other people?

Keep in mind that now days it's not about one hit tune, but rather the complete package and consistency over time. If I like a specific artist, I'm going to see them live, play their tunes, and (almost) always buy their latest tune regardless of the label.. why? because I know I'm getting quality music from an artist who works his ass off. I hate to say it, but the "Name" almost means more than the "Tune" in today's EM industry.
Old 20th August 2012
  #6
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Maybe it's just me, but I tend to regard free music the way I regard having flyers shoved in my hand around town. :-) There is a human tendency to regard something free as of little value. If you really want to expose your music to people, maybe try to use it in an amusing YouTube video of some kind, or as music in amateur or Indie films at any level. Depending on the music type, it might be good background for motocross or extreme sport videos at any level.
Incidental exposure to your music via multimedia is always a good thing and breeds familiarity into your material, and you never know where it can lead. But don't give too much away, and save some of your stuff for professional use if thats what you're after. Just my two cents.
Old 20th August 2012
  #7
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aligak's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr lee View Post
If you are tired of shopping tracks around to labels, might as well start your own. You'd need a simple website, release artwork, fb page, artists, etc. But this would allow you to have complete creative control as well as the ability to release whatever you want, when you want, instead of leaving it up to another label to decide.

Few questions...

How are you promoting yourself as an artist?
Do you perform? dj / live act?
Are you doing remixes for other people?
I don't perform or dj. I just produce my music in my own place. I don't do remixes either.

So out of my 32 finished and professionally tracks, I should only put up 3 of them on SoundCloud? With EM having a short shelf life, what am I suppose to do with the other 29 tracks I've spent so much time and effort on?

By my own website, do you mean something like BandCamp or something completely my own? I'm beginning to opt for doing my own label with only my own music.
Old 20th August 2012
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aligak View Post
I don't perform or dj. I just produce my music in my own place. I don't do remixes either.

So out of my 32 finished and professionally tracks, I should only put up 3 of them on SoundCloud? With EM having a short shelf life, what am I suppose to do with the other 29 tracks I've spent so much time and effort on?

By my own website, do you mean something like BandCamp or something completely my own? I'm beginning to opt for doing my own label with only my own music.

What are your goals for production? Music generally needs to be in support of a brand of some sort (a DJ act, a live act, production for an artist, production for a film, etc). There's always a brand and show attached to successful music, songs don't really exist in a vacuum.

I'd figure this out, and then use your music to forward that goal.

The success I wrote about above was attached to an act I had created that did the touring DJ thing. Its a fundamental piece of the puzzle. You need your brand.

These days I write and produce for/with other artists, because I hated the constant touring required as a successful DJ. I'm making more money now living in the studio creating gold (publishing) out of thin air.

You can do both. But you have to do one. Either you're the touring artist, or your producing someone who is.
Old 20th August 2012
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

The only way I'd put tracks on soundcloud is if you are trying to promote yourself as an artist. I'd also make sure you have other social network accounts and are generally putting yourself out there, networking etc. Personally, it doesn't seem like you are interested in going that route, which is totally fine and pretty much confirms that you are better set for making a label.

My personal opinion is that a proper label should have a website (with your own URL www...), as well as other social media outlets - whichever suites you / your audience best. You should consider having a proper brand designed for your label as well. This includes logo, colors, design elements and general look/feel. This will be used on your website, release artwork, etc.

Once you have everything setup (web, social, tracks, artwork, etc) you can apply for distribution. There are plenty of threads on here about which distros are best for your specific genre or online retailer of your choice (beatport, juno, digital downloads, etc)

Another good idea is to check out labels that fit in your genre and be somewhat on par with whatever they are doing. Be unique, and be yourself.
Old 20th August 2012
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
What are your goals for production? Music generally needs to be in support of a brand of some sort (a DJ act, a live act, production for an artist, production for a film, etc). There's always a brand and show attached to successful music, songs don't really exist in a vacuum.

I'd figure this out, and then use your music to forward that goal.
I agree with this. It's easier to get somewhere if you know exactly where you're going.
Old 20th August 2012
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRASHBOX View Post
Maybe it's just me, but I tend to regard free music the way I regard having flyers shoved in my hand around town. :-) There is a human tendency to regard something free as of little value. If you really want to expose your music to people, maybe try to use it in an amusing YouTube video of some kind, or as music in amateur or Indie films at any level. Depending on the music type, it might be good background for motocross or extreme sport videos at any level.
Incidental exposure to your music via multimedia is always a good thing and breeds familiarity into your material, and you never know where it can lead. But don't give too much away, and save some of your stuff for professional use if thats what you're after. Just my two cents.
It's not just you. Value is a perception. There are thousand net labels (free) out there that put out decent music, however no one pays attention to them because they are perceived as lower quality, and generally they are. No one is dumping cash into tunes that are being given away for free. And in return, no one is charting, playing, or promoting those tracks the way a record label would.
Old 20th August 2012
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr lee View Post
It's not just you. Value is a perception. There are thousand net labels (free) out there that put out decent music, however no one pays attention to them because they are perceived as lower quality, and generally they are. No one is dumping cash into tunes that are being given away for free. And in return, no one is charting, playing, or promoting those tracks the way a record label would.
Spot on, was having this conversation earlier.
Old 20th August 2012
  #13
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My sound is not exactly polished DJ friendly big club music. It's a bit on the more raw side. Some of it gets more techie and some more experimental. I've never been interested in DJ'ing or touring. I would like to focus on trying to get my music played and heard by niche crowd that my music would appeal to.

I don't make mainstream sounding stuff and I don't need to make a living off of music. I know of MANY artists (not personally) who don't tour or produce for others. They may play somewhere now and then but sometimes they are some computer programmer who happens to make very strange music on the side that's played on college radio and maybe at some music festivals. They may have some releases on the more edgy labels on Beatport or elsewhere. Touring and Dj-ing, networking just doesn't suit my personality. It's not that I'm being lazy, I'd just be incredibly awful and awkward doing it. I spend countless nights producing music that I just want heard beyond my small circle of friends who don't really listen to my style of music anyway.

So.... from what I've stated, should I not go the BandCamp website route? Ideally I'd want Beatport, but they are very difficult to release a new unknown label made up of one artist at this time. Even though Beatport is mostly comprised of generic techno / electro, it's still a popular spot for less mainstream electronic music.

Again, I'm not trying to be lazy or dismissive, but i do know what I want. How to get there remains unclear to me. Think of experimental techno artists such as "Actress" or "Oneohtrix Point Never". They don't have a brand as a DJ or producing for others or remixing. They're quite outside the norms of the genres they work within. They just made some great tracks that somehow got noticed, released an EP on a decent label, got a good review from Resident Advisor, etc. Maybe they had some well connected friends. I have no idea. Anyway, thanks for any further suggestions.
Old 20th August 2012
  #14
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aligak's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mr lee View Post
It's not just you. Value is a perception. There are thousand net labels (free) out there that put out decent music, however no one pays attention to them because they are perceived as lower quality, and generally they are. No one is dumping cash into tunes that are being given away for free. And in return, no one is charting, playing, or promoting those tracks the way a record label would.
I agree. I wasn't planning on having ANY of my music available to download for free from SoundCloud or BandCamp or anywhere.
Old 20th August 2012
  #15
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I think the trick is to separate your music into whats decent & what's awesome. Put the decent stuff up on the web to get peoples interest then save the awesome stuff for if/when the labels come knocking....unless of course you're confident in pulling a masterpiece out of thin air when Joe Bloggs record label manager calls you up & says "so show me what else you got"!
Secondly I would find yourself a busy DJ who likes your stuff & would be happy to play it in their sets, ask them to keep the tunes to themselves (most djs like to keep exclusive tunes to themselves anyway) then ask for feedback on crowd reaction. If you get people buzzing on the dance floor they will be asking the dj for the artist or track name to find it for themselves, before you know it you have some hype behind you & the phone calls soon follow! If you get a reputation for producing floor fillers I would seriously reconsider your choice on whether to dj, it can be a serious money spinner for quite little of your time

Andre
Old 20th August 2012
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aligak View Post
How to get there remains unclear to me. Think of experimental techno artists such as "Actress" or "Oneohtrix Point Never". They don't have a brand as a DJ or producing for others or remixing. They're quite outside the norms of the genres they work within. They just made some great tracks that somehow got noticed, released an EP on a decent label, got a good review from Resident Advisor, etc. Maybe they had some well connected friends. I have no idea. Anyway, thanks for any further suggestions.
Read up on those bands. "Actress" toured for years before finding a mentor and working the LA club scene. "Oneohtrix Point Never" released stuff on his own for 7 years on limited run CDs before a small label took notice and hooked him with with a proper producer.

The "somehow" was MANY MANY years of hard work, fine tuning, branding a name to a sound and image, and putting themselves out there for the world to notice.

If your goal is to be a hobbiest, to be discovered after years of fine tuning, like these acts, then put all your work out for the world to hear, and continue to do so!
Old 20th August 2012
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
Read up on those bands. "Actress" toured for years before finding a mentor and working the LA club scene. "Oneohtrix Point Never" released stuff on his own for 7 years on limited run CDs before a small label took notice and hooked him with with a proper producer.

The "somehow" was MANY MANY years of hard work, fine tuning, branding a name to a sound and image, and putting themselves out there for the world to notice.

If your goal is to be a hobbiest, to be discovered after years of fine tuning, like these acts, then put all your work out for the world to hear, and continue to do so!
Yeah, I was going to say... those dudes have been around forever.

Aligak, I admire your direction and can understand why you are stuck.

You may just try sending some of your best tunes to the guys you look up to most. Especially in obscure genres, most of those labels/artists are simply looking for other like minded people who are cool to work with. Be humble, open minded, and most of all, willing to take critiques.
Old 20th August 2012
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr lee View Post
Yeah, I was going to say... those dudes have been around forever.

Aligak, I admire your direction and can understand why you are stuck.

You may just try sending some of your best tunes to the guys you look up to most. Especially in obscure genres, most of those labels/artists are simply looking for other like minded people who are cool to work with. Be humble, open minded, and most of all, willing to take critiques.
Thanks. I just uploaded 5 of my tracks to SoundCloud. I can send the URL to some here if interested. Just send me a private message. I'd really appreciate some suggestions / feedback.
Old 20th August 2012
  #19
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Best thing to do is make a bandcamp page, set it up as an album via preorder, put 1 banging track up (for listen only) then promote the crap out of it. Get people excited to anticipate the full length (including potential indie labels).

I was doing underground hip hop for last 10 years with decent success, just last year got into synths, and started doing my alias "extra garlic" thing. Havnt really promoted it much, but I was quick to realize how diverse, spread out, and tough it is to get known in electronic vs other genres. But I do think doing it yourself is the way to go. If you want good honest critique of your music before you release too, got to soundout.com for like $30 you get like 100 to review your song and give you feedback, and see how its taken by the masses.
Old 20th August 2012
  #20
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aligak's Avatar
Bandcamp.... The artists I mentioned, Actress and Oneohtrix Point Never, don't have Bandcamp pages. But some others big in the underground but still not mainstream such as Venetian Snares does have Bandcamp (although only has a recent EP and an old album on it). So what's the consensus here on Bandcamp for what I'm pursuing?
Old 20th August 2012
  #21
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aligak's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ExtraGarlic View Post
Best thing to do is make a bandcamp page, set it up as an album via preorder, put 1 banging track up (for listen only) then promote the crap out of it. Get people excited to anticipate the full length (including potential indie labels).
Interesting. Besides SoundCloud, where else do you promote (the crap out of your music)? Twitter? Facebook? Last.fm?
Old 20th August 2012
  #22
Ged
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i wouldn't worry about it man, I got tracks signed for releases AFTER I uploaded them to soundcloud - so go figure - some labels will check your comments/plays to see how popular a track is - then they will get in touchif it's good enough
Old 20th August 2012
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aligak View Post
Interesting. Besides SoundCloud, where else do you promote (the crap out of your music)? Twitter? Facebook? Last.fm?
Yup everywhere and everywhere, even go to local shows and hand out flyers. I havnt done it myself yet, will this coming year. But Ive seen it be decently successful w/ others. If you keep throwing a date at a person, they will eventually remember it & check it out. People always want somethng to look foward to, esp if the track you put up is enticing.
Old 21st August 2012
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by aligak View Post
... hope some label likes it enough to want to sign me up. Does this even happen anymore?

I honestly DON'T care at all about making money.
No it doesn't happen often as in hardly ever. Don't kid yourself no one will be looking on the web for your music unless you make them. So don't be suckered into that false security of hope for a deal landing in your lap it just doesn't happen that easily. So if you want to get on a label don't post tracks if you thinks there's any chance it maybe holding you back in the future.

But if you don't care about making money chuck em all up online. If just letting people listen is your goal then knock yourself and upload anywhere and everywhere. It won't matter if people rip and download because your not fussed about making money from it.

You need to choose one or the other. This is before self-promoting or networking, exposure is involved. Things like band camp offer you to let people listen for a very low price which could be just what your looking for, a sort of middle ground. Don't forget no one will buy unless they've heard about your music in some form or another.

But I would seriously consider a good music industry book as you seem a little unsure about what you want to do. Read a book make notes then decided what you want to do and make a plan. There's to much to be said on a forum and to many opinions to cloud your thoughts and judgement.

I guess others can help to but The Guerilla Guide to the Music Business is a good start as are many other books.
Old 21st August 2012
  #25
One thing about going to big labels is that they will own the rights to your music when you sign their contracts. You won't own the music any more. In other words, a big label can take your song, make it how they want it by giving it to some producer that works for them and put it out to the public their way. You will get very little recognition for your hard work. Independent labels may work with you a bit more because some of them are more about the art than the money. If you do it yourself, you will own all the rights to your music, just as you do now.

I'm not saying that any way to get your music out there is bad. It all just depends on what you want to do. If you want to have a paying career writing music, the big labels are the way to go. Just make sure you read the contract.
Old 21st August 2012
  #26
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One other thought has to do with the 'promoting-the-crap-out-of-it' thing. As an artist trying to get noticed I would look for all the unusual ways to get your thing noticed. If everyone says do soundcloud, you'll just be one of millions there, unlikely to make much of a splash. Better in my opinion to be the lone voice elsewhere than a tiny one in a crowd.
Pick a song or two and offer them free to Indie game and app developers, Indie and college filmmakers, performance art groups, whoever you can think of to get them out there. Imagine having the background song to the next angry birds-type app and suddenly you have something you can work with.
Musicians as a rule are poor businessmen and tend to think too traditionally in terms of promotion; think as outside the box as you can and thrive, and keep pushing, or your music won't leave the living room. And this WILL take work, so you'll have to decide for yourself how motivated you truly are to get there.
Old 21st August 2012
  #27
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zerocrossing's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by aligak View Post
Is it true that if I put my music out on SoundCloud, BandCamp, and other places such as iTunes through a digital distributor such as Label Worx, that my tracks or albums no longer have much of a chance of being picked up by any electronic music labels?
Considering how many people's music gets picked up by any music label ever I'd say don't worry about it. Just being realistic. At least if it's up somewhere you have the chance of exposure.
Old 21st August 2012
  #28
Well, if all the optimism and spunk in the Music Business section doesn't get you down too much, i suppose you go from a toe to the whole leg in the water...
Old 21st August 2012
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BM0 View Post
If you want to have a paying career writing music, the big labels are the way to go. Just make sure you read the contract.
Thing of the past. The business model is changing, there are new methods appearing and only the big labels are holding this thing back from happening.
Old 21st August 2012
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CRASHBOX View Post
One other thought has to do with the 'promoting-the-crap-out-of-it' thing. As an artist trying to get noticed I would look for all the unusual ways to get your thing noticed. If everyone says do soundcloud, you'll just be one of millions there, unlikely to make much of a splash. Better in my opinion to be the lone voice elsewhere than a tiny one in a crowd.
Pick a song or two and offer them free to Indie game and app developers, Indie and college filmmakers, performance art groups, whoever you can think of to get them out there. Imagine having the background song to the next angry birds-type app and suddenly you have something you can work with.
.
The chances of that helping you get played in clubs is somewhere between zero and nothing.
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