How to Accept Demos and Get Paid for Listening

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With DropTrack, you can accept demos and optionally get paid for listening.

Get Paid for Listening

If I had a nickel for every demo I’ve listened to…

You’re already listening to demos, now you can get paid for it. Unlock a new revenue stream!

  • The quality of your submissions will improve; you can filter by those who believe in their music enough to put money behind it.
  • You can name your own price. $1, $20; the price is up to you.
  • This feature is completely optional. You can still use DropTrack to receive demo submissions, completely free.

How To Enable Demo Submissions

1. In your DropTrack account, visit the Demo Settings page.
If you don’t already have a DropTrack account, click here: Sign up to receive music submissions

2. If not already enabled, click Enable Submissions and press Save Changes

3. Now you can edit settings for your demo submissions, and use our links and embeddable HTML Code to drive traffic to your submission page. You can specify submission instructions, get notified when a new song is submitted, set a limit on the number of submitted tracks, set your preferred genres, and toggle your appearance in the public directory.

Note: For the best visibility in the public directory, be sure to edit your branding and upload your logo!

4. To enable paid submissions, toggle “Get paid to listen“.

You can specify whether payment is Optional or Required, and name your price per submission.

How to Get Your Music Featured on a Spotify Playlist

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Spotify Playlist

While it may seem intimidating to think about all the different artists trying to make it big, it’s never been easier for artists to get in front of new audiences. Anyone can get their band’s music on Spotify—the hard part is making sure the right people find it.

Just like at a music festival, Spotify playlists create a huge opportunity for smaller bands to get in front of a more established band’s fans. By making your way onto popular—or, for the sake of starting out, any— playlists, you’re going to get in front of people who already enjoy music similar to yours. Let’s take a look at a few simple steps to help you increase your music’s exposure by getting featured in Spotify playlists.

Create Your Own Playlists

The easiest way to convince someone your music fits in perfectly with the bands they already love? Curate your own playlists that feature your songs interspersed with some songs or bands you know an influencer already loves—and increase your clout by adding some new ones they may not have heard of. The goal here is to make yourself look like an expert, so don’t overdo it when featuring your own music. This is the difference between coming across as overly self-promotional or authentic and helpful. Showing that you have great taste and are doing the work yourself to promote other artists will go far in getting someone’s attention and establishing you as not just a musician, but an expert in your genre.

There are a few types of influencers on Spotify, and your goal should be to get in touch with as many as possible, while still taking the time to craft a personalized message to each.

You likely already know of music bloggers who write about your genre, and they likely have a profile on Spotify where they create playlists. Additionally, Spotify hires artist liaisons whose job it is (jealous!) to identify new talent and maintain updated playlists. These Spotify-owned playlists (e.g. Totally Stress Free or Relax & Unwind) are the ones you see on your homepage and are the most heavily promoted within the app, thus these are the ones every artist is eyeing. Other popular, brand-owned playlists are created by third parties like Topsify. These brands will strike a balance between well-known and emerging artists, so don’t count yourself out just because you’re not signed to or affiliated with the brand.

It’s easiest to start your outbounding efforts with email, though you can use social media to follow up. In your message, be sure to include why you reached out to this person specifically, any playlists you’re already included in (it doesn’t matter if these playlists don’t have thousands of followers), and any playlists you’ve created. Make your call to action clear: you’d like your music featured in one of their playlists. Convoluting your message with multiple calls to action can be confusing and, let’s face it, you probably only have 30 seconds of their attention, anyway.

Share their Playlists

Everyone loves a bit of flattery. If you spot a few influencers who created playlists you want to be on, share them! Post them on Twitter, share them with friends, and let them know you’re out there promoting them. You can do this subtlely by mentioning them in your Tweets or Instagram captions OR just send them a message saying you’ve done so.

You also want to make sure you’re sharing after you’ve been included in a playlist. Once you’re featured on an influencer’s playlist, it’s time to return the favor and share it with your networks. To boost the Tweet it out to your fans, post it on your website, and definitely use it as leverage to get in front of even more influencers.

Get Your Profile Verified

Before we talk about sharing your music profile with industry influencers, it’s important to have a few things in order. First, your branding on Spotify should be consistent with that of your social media accounts, website, etc. The next step toward taking your profile from amateur-level to “tell me more” is getting your profile verified. When you do reach out to an influencer, they’ll likely look for the little blue check mark that indicates a level of professionalism they might take seriously when considering whether or not to include you on one of their playlists.

In order to get verified, you need 250 followers. If you’re not quite there yet, the first step is simply reaching out to your immediate network by sending an email to family, friends, and fans and posting a request on all your social media channels. Another quick way to get in front of potential new followers? Become a part of the conversation. Which bands do you admire, or influence or music? Which music blogs do you read? Simply commenting on their blog or Instagram posts can make you a part of the conversation and get your name in front of their other fans, who might be interested in checking out your music. By increasing your exposure and asking people to follow you, you should reach 250 fans in no time, earning you the blue check mark that will matter to some of the playlist curators to whom you’re going to reach out.

How to Receive Music and Get Paid for Listening

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With DropTrack, you can receive music (demo submissions, promo submissions, etc.), and optionally get paid for listening.

Get Paid for Listening

If I had a nickel for every demo I’ve listened to…

You’re already listening to music submissions, now you can get paid for it. Unlock a new revenue stream!

  • The quality of your submissions will improve; you can filter by those who believe in their music enough to put money behind it.
  • You can name your own price. $1, $20; the price is up to you.
  • This feature is completely optional. You can still use DropTrack to receive music submissions, completely free.

How To Enable Music Submissions

1. In your DropTrack account, visit the Demo Settings page.
If you don’t already have a DropTrack account, click here: Sign up to receive music submissions

2. If not already enabled, click Enable Submissions and press Save Changes

3. Now you can edit settings for your music submissions, and use our links and embeddable HTML Code to drive traffic to your submission page. You can specify submission instructions, get notified when a new song is submitted, set a limit on the number of submitted tracks, set your preferred genres, and toggle your appearance in the public directory.

Note: For the best visibility in the public directory, be sure to edit your branding and upload your logo!

4. To enable paid submissions, toggle “Get paid to listen“.

You can specify whether payment is Optional or Required, and name your price per submission.

Starting Your First Campaign

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When you use DropTrack to promote your music, we can tell you detailed analytics about your audience and how they’re engaging with your music. We’ll tell you who has listened to your music, how far into your song(s) they listened, if they downloaded it, and more.

When you start a campaign, you can:

  • Send personalized emails
  • Monitor real-time analytics and receive instant feedback
  • Send your music to one or many Contacts at once
  • Send music to a specific segment of your Contacts – Segment by activity or demographics (read more about Segments)
  • Schedule your Campaign to be sent at a specific date/time
  • Protect your music with a password
  • Individually watermark your tracks to prevent leaks and piracy
  • Specify whether your music can be downloaded, and set an optional download limit
  • Optionally require your contacts to leave feedback before downloading your music
  • Set an expiration date
  • Visualize your Campaign activity on a map
  • Post positive feedback to Twitter

Note: You can also use DropTrack to send personalized emails without music. (Replaces your mailing list)

You can receive real-time email notifications when your Contacts:

  • Open your emails
  • View your promo Campaigns
  • Listen to your music
  • Download your music
  • Leave feedback on your music

Step 1 – Choose Music

Step 2 – Configure Settings

Step 3 – Design

Choose a Template or Design your Own (with custom HTML/CSS)

Step 4 – Choose Contacts

Send your music to specific Contact Lists, Smart Segments, or individual Email Addresses

Step 5 – Review and Schedule or Send

Get Started

To get started, login to your DropTrack account and choose New Campaign

How To Build Your Online Music Brand in 24 Hours

How To Build Your Online Music Brand in 24 Hours

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Whether you’re pursuing music full- or part-time, you’ve likely been asked by family, friends, or perfect strangers about how you plan to make it in the music industry. Annoying, sure, but it’s a fair question. It’s a tough industry to crack and success takes much more than musical talent. Unlike in the past, however, making it big as a musician isn’t just about who you know. The good news is, with a bit of marketing, you can start to set yourself apart from the musicians who simply continue to hope the right person happens to walk into a near-empty bar for a listen. Here are a few quick tips for building your music brand so you can stand out amongst the competition.

It Starts With a Conversation

If you’re a member of a band, it’s important to start the branding process with all members present. If you’re a one man or woman show, you can get started immediately. You’ve probably already talked or thought about how you define your music, but for branding purposes, let’s focus on what makes your story different or unique.

There are thousands of hopeful “indie rock artists,” but are you in a band with your siblings? Did you learn to play the saxophone from your grandpa? Even if you’re convinced there’s nothing special about your background, there’s an interesting story behind any true passion. If you’re still unsure of how best to tell your story, look to the musicians who inspire you. Odds are, they’re paying marketers big bucks to help with this process, but reading a few of their stories can help provide a template to follow. Teasing that story out is the first step to successfully branding yourself.

Tell Your Story Concisely & Authentically

Now that you’ve done the hard work in getting to the root of what makes your music brand unique, it’s important to create a few variations of that story. You’ll need your quick, 30-second elevator pitch as well as a more detailed version for things like your website, talking to press, etc. The more concisely and consistently you can tell your own story, the catchier it becomes. Also be sure that you’re telling an authentic story and building a connection between you and the listeners.

Think about the musicians you love: there are likely certain stories—the love story behind the lyrics of your favorite song or the random way in which the guitarist met the drummer—that stick with you because of how well, and how consistently, they’re told. Which part of your story would you want to stick with a music blogger? With your biggest fans? It may seem redundant because these narratives are surely in your head, but getting them onto your website or into an email is critical in transferring how you see your music brand to how others understand you.

Be Consistent Across Channels

Now that you know your story and can tell it effectively, you’ll want to make sure it’s updated across all your channels, from your website to various social media platforms. You’ll want to make sure that a music blogger who checks out your Facebook page has the same experience there as (s)he does on your website, Twitter, and Instagram. Your messaging and the visuals that support it should all reflect the story you want to tell.

Create a List of Influencers

Once you’ve gained direction with the story you want to tell, it will be easier to find bloggers and publications who might be interested in your vision. You can use free, online tools like Buzzsumo to quickly search for relevant influencers. Broaden your reach by thinking about your story from a couple of different angles. If you’re a New Orleans-based funk band, look for bloggers who cover other funk bands, but also look to local New Orleans publications who might be interested in the local, hometown aspect of your story. You should cater your message to these two types of writers differently, but send promos easily and track which aspect of your story might be having a greater impact.

Make a List of Resources You Need

Ok, so it might be hard to do a total rebrand in 24 hours. But, now that you know the brand image you want to portray, have updated media to the extent you can, and made a list of the people with whom you want to connect, it’s time to jot down where you can go the extra mile in completing the branding process. Maybe your visual aesthetic isn’t telling your story as effectively as it could be. Scheduling a photoshoot or reaching out to a designer about a new logo are proactive steps you can take today toward a complete, successful online branding.

Now that you’ve put some serious effort into building your brand, it’s time to make sure you’re getting in front of the right people. Music bloggers and industry influencers will be more likely to give you a listen when you present yourself in a unique, consistent manner. (Remember, your demo isn’t enough, but your new branding will help you get the email open or link click-through.) There’s also no time like a rebrand to ramp up your marketing emails and connect with your fanbase with an email marketing campaign through Droptrack. You’ve done the work; now, go get your brand in front of the right people.

Originally posted on TuneCore Blog

Why Your Demo Isn’t Enough to Make it in the Music Business

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Why Your Demo Isn't Enough to Make it in the Music Business

In today’s world, musicians are expected to be a one-stop shop for their own marketing, production, PR and everything in between. Long gone are the days of A&R managers, discovering your raw talented un-branded and undeveloped. As if it isn’t hard enough to get your demo completed, you also have to figure out how to promote it, and when you should follow up. Today, there are so many tools that offer ways to automate these added responsibilities, but they don’t handle everything. You still need a strategy and plan to know how you’re going to get your music out into the world.

A lot of musicians lean into this “struggle”. But if you want to become a successful musician, you need to get away from the struggle mentality and focus on how you’re going to make real money. You need to know who you are and where you are going. And sometimes that means spending time doing the things you don’t want to do.

The secret to sending the perfect music demo doesn’t lie in just your talent, who you know, or how bad you want it – it lies within your ability to think outside the mind of a typical musician. It means thinking like a business owner. You are a creative entrepreneur, carving the path to your own personal future, which means you need to advocate for yourself in more ways than one. When you’re in promotion mode, it’s important you know how to maneuver around producers, bloggers, and their personal interests. Musicians who embrace the industry with a business mind will often have better insight into how to send the perfect music demo and actually get a response from the people who matter most. Leverage the clever and strategic tactics marketers and salespeople use to sell products and services.

Assuming you have a demo complete and are ready to pull the plug on releasing it to labels, music bloggers, and the world, here are four things you need to do to think more like a boss when it comes to promoting your music.

1. Establish your goals and timeline

It can be hard to juggle all of the emails, conversations and contacts while also trying to build your talent as a musician. If you’re running in circles, trying to make things happen, it’s easy to lose track of where you are with certain contacts. It can leave you feeling restless and out of control. Nip this in bud and create a timeline of events you want to make happen throughout the next three, six, and nine months. You can also use our template to keep track of industry contacts.

Start with big goals, and continue to break them down into smaller and smaller tasks. Make these tasks and goals visible and check in on it regularly. It can be a tough exercise to put this all out in the open, but it’s critical to your success.

Here is a breakdown of how you can create your goals. Each item will have a deadline next to it.

  • Goal 1
    • Milestone 1
      • Task 1
      • Task 2
      • Task 3
    • Milestone 2
      • Task 1
      • Task 2
      • Task 3
    • Milestone 3
      • Task 1
      • Task 2
      • Task 3

2. Identify key target audiences.
In marketing and business, before you ever create a campaign or business plan, you need to think of the people you are serving. In this case, don’t think of your audience as your fans or general listeners, but think of the people you are sending your demo to – producers, bloggers, radio DJs, etc. Get to know their environment, what makes them tick, and what their motivations are. What kind of responsibilities and challenges do they face? How can you make their lives less difficult? Get to know them, understand their pains and priorities, and find creative ways to connect with them.

3. Be intentional in your messaging.
Have you ever talked to a salesperson who was clearly following a script and ignoring your unique problems or requests? Frustrating, right? People see right through multi-recipient email blasts, just like they can see right through tactless, BS marketing. When you’re sending a demo, don’t put people on a single email list or newsletter. Take time to craft individually personalized messages. Just because you are personalizing messages, doesn’t mean it has to take a ton of time. With tools like DropTrack, you can easily personalize demo submissions and send them off quickly. Just remember to be intentional and find thoughtful ways that say, “Hey, I’m not only talented, I also know my stuff.”

4. Quality over quantity.
No matter how many business tips we give you, at the end of the day, if they aren’t backing a quality recording, drop everything else and focus on this first. As a business minded person now, you need to be thinking about the quality of your “product” aka your music demo. You can launch all the cool, creative marketing in the world, and if it ends with a terrible listen, you’re screwed.

Do your research and make sure you’re thoughtful about how and why you’re sending your demo to a record label, music blogger etc. Keep it simple, tactful, yet creative and intentional.

5 Ways to Pitch Your Music to DJs

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5 ways to pitch your music to DJs

When you’re trying to get your music heard, DJs can seem like the ultimate gatekeepers. In some ways they are, but remind yourself that they’re not mythical creatures, but rather humans just like you. The key to getting in front of them and convincing them to play your music is a matter of catching them in the right place and delivering the right message.

Before you start reaching out, create media kits in digital and physical formats. Both versions should have a one-sheet with the most important information about your band, like name, description of the type of music you play, a one line unique bio, and website. If you need help figuring out the details of your one-sheet, check out this post: How to Get Music Bloggers To Reply To Your Email. For the digital version, you’ll want to include a streaming link to one or two of your best songs. It’s usually a no-no to give your music out in any other form than a link, but you’ll also want to make CDs or USBs with a few songs as well. You’ll give these out when you meet DJs face to face as something more tangible than a piece of paper. We also suggest signing up for DropTrack to make sharing your music with DJs the easiest. They can download your music in the high-quality WAV format they need for club sound systems, and they’ll give feedback and support in real-time.

Before you go buck wild stalking club DJs and radio DJs all over the world, remember to start small. Internet radio, college stations, and local radio stations are going to be a heck of a lot easier to get in touch with than trying to get a hold of Ryan Seacrest or Zane Lowe. 

Track them down in person

But not in a scary way! Radio stations often set up at events to help promote themselves. It’s super easy to find out where they’ll be because they announce it over and over on the radio. Keep track of where your best bet radio DJs will make appearances and show up with your media kit.

Find ‘em in the club

Check to see if the person you’re after holds their own performances. If so, find a good time to approach him or her, introduce yourself, and offer your media kit. If your favorite radio DJ doesn’t do anything live, check out who is in charge of getting the crowd moving at local clubs and strike up a friendship. Play your cards right, and you may hear your name and track coming over the speakers on a packed Friday night.

At your live shows

In between bands, comb the audience. If you know who you’re looking for, sidle over and introduce yourself. Have a media kit ready and hand it over if the DJ seems receptive. The good news is that you’re already catching them at a time when they’re most receptive to your music; if they weren’t into the type of music you’re putting out, they wouldn’t be there.

Old school snail mail

Stock up on stamps and get ready to Google. Make a list of the radio stations that favor the genre of music you play and find the name of the music director and address of the station. Mail your media kit, including a CD or USB with a few of your tracks. Again, this is more to get attention than actually expecting they’ll go to the trouble to pop it in a computer. You’ll make sure they have preferred links when you follow up with an email.

Skip the DJ altogether

Or rather, go straight to a digital DJ by submitting your music to Pandora. Make sure you have an account, then go through the steps to submit your album for consideration. Pandora’s Curation team will listen and decide if it’s right for their service. They’ll let you know about their decision, either way, so you’re not wondering forever.

Finally, no matter which route you take (although we suggest taking all of them) be sure to follow up, follow up, follow up. This is where your digital media kit comes into play. Send an email referencing where you crossed paths, so they get a reminder of who you are, then repeat all the information you already gave them, but provide streaming links. Of course we also suggest signing up for DropTrack to help keep all your messages organized, and get more insight into who’s actually listening to your music. If you don’t hear back right away, send another email to see if they’ve had a chance to listen. Just like it takes time and many trials to write a song, it’ll be the same for getting your music out.

How to Get Music Bloggers To Reply To Your Email

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How to Get Music Bloggers To Reply To Your Email

The typical music blogger gets 348 emails per day. Ok, that’s a claim that can’t be proven, but the point is that the powers that be who decide on which music gets featured receive a lot of emails, direct messages, @ mentions, and snail mail. You already know your music is something special, but how do you make editors and writers see that when all you have are a few lines of words to grab their attention? First off, if you’re really serious about getting featured, commit to making this your part-time job, especially in the beginning. This post will help you map out a plan, then weave a few of those tasks into your schedule every week. This process starts with lots of research, so get organized with a spreadsheet. It may take some time upfront, but it’s going to save you loads of headaches in the long run. Though your spreadsheet can have any information of function that’s most useful to you, you’ll want to focus on the most relevant contact information for the people who can get you on the homepage or front cover. This is a good starting point:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email
  • Where they work
  • Role
  • Social accounts
  • Genres they cover
  • Status on correspondence – reach out dates, followups, replies, etc.

Once you have that set up, you’ll go to town finding every, any, and all people you could reach out to. Even when you get to 100 people on your list, keep going.

To make it easy, we’ve created a template for you. Download it for free here.

Start Local

Who doesn’t want to celebrate the hometown hero? Local blogs, publications, channels, etc. are a great first bet when it comes to getting the attention of a music blogger. Not only will you be up against less competition, it’ll also be easier to speak the writer’s language, i.e. mentioning venues that person will be familiar with, other local acts who’ve asked you to join their show. You want to provide information that helps the blogger quickly put you and your music in context. If you played the biggest venue in town, that’s going to catch attention.

Find Your People

Your spreadsheet has a column to record specific music genres covered by various writers because you need to keep track of the right people to spend time on. If you’re in a hip hop group, don’t bother sending an email to someone who covers electronic. Find the people who are already interested in and covering the type of music you make.

Keep It Short and Direct

Think about it – if you’re someone who gets hundreds of emails per day, all asking the same thing, and you open one that seems to be pages long, you’re going to delete and move on. The three most important elements a strong email has are:

  • Personalized introduction: Sending personalized emails is easy using a tool like DropTrack. When you send a message, do not bcc a template email to music bloggers. Doing that may get you blocked altogether, let alone ignored. You don’t need to spend a paragraph flattering the writer, but greet him or her by name, and mention a detail specific to them. For example, if you’re reaching out to a local blogger, you could say: Hello Tim, I saw your review on the show The Screaming Monkeys put on last Thursday. I also love The Descendents vibe they put out in their first song.
  • Info + Ask: Your band’s story should be one line. We’ll talk more about how to craft that one line below, in the section Tell Your Story. Your ask should be direct and actionable. If you’re sharing your new single and want to see it featured in the “New Local Music” section on the writer’s site. Say exactly that. Do not ask the blogger to “let me know what you think.” Not only is that a huge question to answer, it’s also highly doubtful such a vague request will lead to your original goal of getting featured.
  • Links to Music: Oh, just the whole reason you’re reaching out in the first place. Do not forget to include obvious, clickable links to your music. The links should only be streaming links and lead exactly to what you’re referencing. If you want the blogger to listen to a single, make sure you link them directly to that track (a tool like DropTrack can help).

That’s it. Oh, and a friendly sign-off. Of course, that little bit of information doesn’t begin to fully describe you and your band, which is where your website comes in. There, include anything you feel helps describe your band and tells your unique story. That’s everything from creatively describing what your music sounds like, who’s in the band, news on past and upcoming shows, and photos. On your homepage, it’s also a good idea to provide press release-style information that a blogger can easily copy and paste from. When you do get featured, you want to make it super easy for the busy writer to create a blurb about you.

Tell your story

Think about what makes you and your band different and compelling. Chances are it’s not necessarily what you’re doing with your music, but rather your personal origin story. Maybe you’re a solo artist who got your start when you inherited your grandfather’s guitar. That’s going to stand out a lot more than telling a music blogger your sound is a mix of folk and top 100 alternative. If you’re having trouble pinpointing your unique story, research some of your favorite bands for inspiration.

Promote yourself to top of inbox

It’s not over once you send out that initial email. Following up keeps your band’s name at the top of a writer’s inbox and increases the likelihood your email will be opened. For a general follow up, wait at least a week before sending another note. You don’t need to say or provide anything new, just check in to see if the person has had a chance to listen to what you sent over, and then close out with a friendly sign-off. Any time you get covered by another publication, use that as a chance to reach out again to share the news that you got in mention in so and so publication. Often, hearing that a competitor has taken an interest in you is a good push to get someone to check you out.

Give thanks the blogger way

Any time you get a mention, thank the blogger directly with an email (better yet, a handwritten card if you have mailing info), and share the link with anyone and everyone. Bloggers make money through ad money based on how many people visit their site. If they see that by featuring your music their traffic spikes, that’s a good reason to write about you more in the future.

If you feel yourself getting frustrated or deterred, remember why you’re doing this in the first place (it may even help to take a break and go play a little music). Even the most popular bands in the world started with just wanting to get their music heard.