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  • How do you promote your music?

    For the last several months I've been trying to be more active about promoting my music, but the results have been rather poor. I used to publish my works for free on a podcast I hosted, but late last year I decided to stop hosting my own site and put my music on Bandcamp. I'm working on all new original stuff to put on Bandcamp. I don't want it to be just a compilation of my podcast episodes. I have some of my podcast tunes on SoundCloud but I have not been actively maintaining my presence there.

    I guess the "If you build it they will come" strategy is not working. My play stats on Bandcamp are pretty dismal. I've sent out some download tokens to Soma.FM and StillStream (I signed up with StillStream) but so far I've not been played on either.

    Maybe my music just sucks? I get positive feedback from the crowd here when I highlight a new release.

    What to you do to promote your music?

    https://soundcloud.com/ambient-alchemy
    https://ambientalchemy.bandcamp.com/
    Ambient Alchemy
    Twitch
    YouTube

  • #2
    First of all, your music does NOT suck! On the contrary, I enjoy it very much. Second, I had no idea you had a new album out! I've been out of the loop for a bit, but the album "Triumph of Darkness" is news to me. When you're done reading this, send me a PM and we'll talk about getting your music played on the next ambient online podcast. :tu:

    From what it looks like, the lack of response has nothing to do with the quality of your music, it's the lack of promotional strategy or push you need to break through. Even though SoundCloud hasn't worked for you in the past, you should start there. However, a quick glance at your profile shows you're only following 16 people? You need to multiply that number by 100 to get anyone to follow you back. Start with someone who is in the same genre as you who is following hundreds of people, go on a following spree...comment on their tracks, build some engagement! It's a process, following that many people, but it can work. It's all about connecting with likeminded producers first, and then your network will grow. They'll start to notice your tracks, repost them, and thus the journey begins.

    Twitter is also a great tool for connecting with others. Follow a bunch of drone ambient producers (there are 1000's!) and start using hashtags on your tweets #darkambient #ambient #droneambient etc. Bandcamp is the best buying/selling service out there, but unless you're selling 5-10 albums per day, it can be tough to get noticed. Start to promote yourself on the free services first and then lead them to your bandcamp page eventually.

    I'm sure others will have ideas for you. Don't give up! Looks like you're just getting started... ;)

    Cheers,
    -S1gns
    Synphaera Records
    Space | Time | Matter

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for your excellent advice! Yes, I really need to get more churn out of SoundCloud and I have a plan to ramp that up again. One of my problems is that I'm a little shy about social media. Yes I have all the outlets, Twitter, SoundCloud, Facebook, I just need to get the confidence up to leverage them more.

      I notice that a lot of musicians will daily tweet the favorite music they are listening to. I'm going to start at least a daily tweet along that line, just to get the ball rolling.
      Ambient Alchemy
      Twitch
      YouTube

      Comment


      • #4
        ---Here comes an over-50, rambling half story, half useless advice post---

        I am the worst person in the world to ask about promotional tactics, but just to give you some perspective:

        I have been recording since 1970 or 71, when I got my first cassette tape recorder. I was about 8. Nothing serious certainly, unless a 60 minute cassette of sounds my dog made counts, until maybe around 1983 when I produced my first 'album' (note the quotes). I have composed thousands of pieces, maybe releasing a hundred plus. I've got soundcloud, facebook, twitter, bandcamp, and had my stuff on plenty of the dead and gone sites of the late 90's/early 00's. I have been on several netradio shows, an AO podcast or two, and even a late 90's Indiana public radio show. Oh, Steven King and the producers of Ultima were once forced to listen to something I helped make in the late 80's (I did not compose, I helped the composer with the MIDI and his Amiga). I am certain (and I hope) they forgot about it shorty thereafter.

        My bandcamp numbers after putting up around 15 albums spanning over 25 years of my work (as 3 different artists) have yielded a total of 275 downloads and a grand total of $63.99 in sales since 2012.

        Does my work suck? No (I don't think), but I am not sure it really stands out though. I've discovered a half dozen folks out there who's work sounds so similar to mine, it'd probably even fool me.

        Now even I am not sure where my point is except possibly to suggest that not only is promotion an important force, but so is offering something that is also unique--and only enough of it to satisfy listeners. Being prolific is awesome, but even if it is great stuff a potential listener can be overwhelmed by a huge volume of work being released over short intervals.

        This reminds me of of a time I once.....


        zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

        Comment


        • #5
          And just to add:

          AO is a great place and plenty of people are very helpful in giving feedback. It and other artist-centric sites are great places to develop and discuss your work and tools, but are probably not the most effective places to try and build a fan base, as you are actually surrounded by others who's listening time directly competes with creative time.

          I am not saying you are doing any of these things, just being old and pointing out the obvious.

          Comment


          • #6
            Some off-topic considerations ahead...

            What kind of music sucks? Heavy Metal? Free Jazz? Country & Western? That depends on the taste....

            To me music sucks, if people sing when they can't (guess, why I don't improvise piano pieces), or if it is like the german so called "volkst├╝mliche Musik" (sounds like "folk music" but is much worse in my eyes), which is actuallay a Schlager with simple lyrics and a south-german / bavarian / austrian look and feel. Horrible to me, but in fact a big market in germany (at least for people over 60 or 70... dang, only 5 years left, then I will be forced to like that crap too...).


            But now back to the topic of this thread:

            I know your problem: my second album (a free download on petroglyph music) has now more than 1000 downloads (still cannot believe it - when I released it, I hoped for 100 or 200, did not expect more). But: my third one (on bandcamp) - nearly no plays, and no sales at all. If really 1000 people in the big wide world like my music, why don't they look for more from me? Even if they don't buy it - why don't they even listen to it? (and to me, this album is not better or worse than my free downloads...)

            I did not expect to become rich with that, but until now, I can't even buy a simple cable from it.

            It is disillusioning if even aoVI, who is not a newcomer like me, gets less than 65$ in 3 or 4 years from his bandcamp sales.

            Another point: I have nearly 450 followers on soundcloud - but one of my last tracks (one month old) got only 54 plays so far, and not all of them are from my followers... I don't want to bash my followers, but with more than 400 of them, I would expect a slightly higher play rate. But I guess, this is a common problem to all of us.

            But: there is so much good music around, I simply cannot buy it all. I am still struggling with the petroglyph xmas comp, the next AO comp is not far away - no, I cannot buy more stuff now - when will I have the time to listen to all that?

            BTW: I am actually listening to your soundcloud tracks while typing this - they are very nice! No, they don't suck.


            Some advices: follow more people, comment their tracks - often they look at your profile then and follow back. Join some groups on soundcloud and share your works to them. Try large groups as well a small groups. Moderated groups have the advantage, this hip-hop will not find it's way into an ambient group. Large unmoderated groups may be filled with other things, but you reach a big audience (and may be overseen...) And use the "buy" button to point the people directly from your track to your bandcamp account.

            I am not on facebook, but you should try forums like this one or whatever. E.g. I also annonce my new albums in a german synthesizer forum (with little success...).

            Advertising yourself in forums or on facebook or twitter may not help, but it's worth a try. It definitely does not help, if you don't do it.
            Latest Album (Sept. 2020): Tenth Region Of The Night
            Soundcloud - Bandcamp - Youtube - Essentia Mundi - Winter-Light

            Comment


            • #7
              I've only been making music for less than a year. But so far my own music gets more listens on SonicSquirrel than SoundClound. I think social media is great for artists/bands who are already established and look to maintain a link with fans, but maybe not so great a place for those trying to build - generally speaking(not just in music) the latter is better done via communities, and making use of resources like Creative Commons. Social Media is more of a free for all, or a variation on a big box store, with little(if any) focus or target. (eta:as far as followers on social media goes, I suspect quality is far more important that quantity too) I've seen Chuck D refer to SoundCloud as SoundClown, arguably he's biased as he has his own label to promote but his views on it make sense to me, what he offers is a more targeted niche promotion built from the ground up, not from the top down. Creative Commons was how I first discovered SonicSquirrel (indirectly via https://creativecommons.org/record-labels/, the links there seem a bit dated, some really good music to be found thugh.) I was already familiar with a couple labels like BlocSonic too, different genres but from here it just looks like a better route to go for sharing works. As well as for collaborating and cross-promoting. I had looked at BandCamp as well, maybe once I have more skills and have figured more out I'll post some of my music there and charge for it(I like the pay what you want model in general too, sort of like digital street performances in terms of music).

              Another thing I've done on SonicSquirrel is add a pdf with "liner notes", to provide more of an experience than just a song or collection of songs, an extra hook basically. Whether it helps or not I don't know, I do it mostly because I personally miss that stuff which got more attention in pre-digital eras. I wouldn't mind doing tshirt designs or something at some point either. That makes far more sense to me than promoting on SoundCloud as well.
              Last edited by Ambire Seiche; 01-25-2016, 01:47 AM. Reason: adding stray thoughts
              | Ambire Seiche - @ heart this | @ Sonic Squirrel |
              | @da

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              • #8
                I'm finding this thread interesting - thanks for raising this question.

                I've built up a little SoundCloud following using the strategies S1ngs mentions of searching for music in similar genres, liking, commenting, following, and joining and sharing stuff in like-sounded groups.

                However I find I also have to be really careful to take the time and enjoy the music I'm listening to in this process and not be too "utilitarian" in trying to do all this just to improve my own following!

                Also it just gets overwhelming to me a lot of times because there are sooooo many songs on SoundCloud in any genre one could want to listen to it just seems like a blackhole... I guess on the one hand it gives me good perspective that the world certainly doesn't "need" more music, but it's hard not to find this discouraging if you're hoping for people to take note of your work! And I agree with betadecay's comment about even if you get a lot of SoundCloud followers that doesn't translate necessarily into a lot of plays or downloads of your songs. In fact I get followers all the time who haven't played any of my songs and maybe never do. A lot of it seems to be fake and about the numbers and the impression of popularity as with other types of social media.

                Sometimes it seems to me like most users are trying the same strategy of getting their own work listened to by engaging with others' work, so even if they do listen to my stuff it's primarily hoping for me to listen to and like theirs, not cus they're actually sitting there listening with enjoyment...

                I feel like I could spend time trying to build up a following on social media, etc. and see some small results, or I could spend that time making music, which brings me a lot more joy and fewer feelings of frustration, so I'm mostly just making music.

                So I guess it comes down to examining and trying to calibrate my motivations! I try to enjoy the process and not place too much value on what response comes back in if I can help it (easier said than done). I found these short video essays about creativity that speaks to some of these issues and you may be interested:





                I was talking to a guy who's been a musician and photographer for years and told me he likes to create stuff and just get it out there and what happens to it after that doesn't matter to him. "If someone else is interested, let them worry about it. I just post it to get it off my hands so I don't have to deal with it anymore." And as part of this process he creates accounts and follows no one with them and shares the links with no one. He said it's like releasing his work into a hermetically sealed time capsule. Then he never checks up on it. I'm not at that level of detachment from the feedback and results, but I really appreciated hearing the perspective.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've come across your work before, but I had to check & make sure I'm following you. Done ;)
                  www.soundcloud.com/phoenstorm

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I shamelessly self-promote via friends, blogs, online chat rooms, SoundCloud, soon Bandcamp again, Facebook, and Twitter. It's a bit of work, but while I've tried associating with Net labels I find that, due to my somewhat sporadic output, I don't crank enough music out on a production schedule to rate much attention.

                    When I pushed my music myself, sold via Bandcamp, I actually made a modest amount of money (enough for a nice pile of pizza and beer), and ended up having some of my music licensed to use in videos and animations! :eek:

                    ps. I'm 56 year old computer programmer, a total geek and real-time strategy gamer, I define "loser"...
                    Home Page: http://www.syntheticaurality.com/
                    Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/synthetic_aurality
                    Authors Den: http://www.authorsden.com/edwardaustinaverill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      This thread has been just what I have been looking for. Thanks for bringing the question up. It further confirms what I already thought.

                      Personally I find connecting with people on social media by actually taking time and listening to what others have created does indeed bring more attention to your own work. But doing so selflessly and taking the time to do so. Something I need to do much more often.

                      I found this article online which pretty much sums up all the points mentioned here. Hope someone find it useful: https://bassgorilla.com/how-to-get-y...s-in-16-steps/

                      Love your music!
                      Last edited by Chaz; 01-29-2016, 07:57 PM.
                      Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/fogparallax
                      Bandcamp: https://fogparallax.bandcamp.com/

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        .
                        Last edited by Chaz; 01-29-2016, 07:57 PM. Reason: Duplicate post
                        Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/fogparallax
                        Bandcamp: https://fogparallax.bandcamp.com/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          While I've been making music since the early 90s, serious attempts to promote my music started around 2004. At that time, I had seven albums produced that I felt were ready to be shared. I had no idea how to promote, but came across StillStream and decided to send them my stuff. It was the DJs there who managed to get my music out there, and I finally gained some traction to find listeners who enjoyed my work. Their repository of music is huge, so don't worry if your music hasn't been played yet. It took a long time for my own work to start playing there.
                          During the live shows, the chat community (while not nearly as active as it was ten years ago) is excellent. They're a very positive bunch. So check out their calendar and when a show starts up, join the chatroom and introduce yourself.

                          I checked out your Bandcamp page, and I see RadHaus has downloaded your album. That's Rebekkah Hilgraves who hosts "At Water’s Edge" on StillStream. She rocks, and does a great job of promoting music.

                          Scott Lawlor, who hosts "The Blind Flight" and also posts in this forum, would be a good match for your music. He plays darker stuff, and from what I've heard, your music is certainly dark. Get in touch with him.

                          Regarding Soma.FM, I would say their repository is even larger than StillStream, so getting airplay there is probably going to be difficult.

                          For promotion now, I primarily use Facebook to keep in touch with listeners. I also have a mailing list and a simple blog for those of us who still use news readers. I have a SoundCloud page, and while I'll post new tracks there from time to time, I'm not at all active there. YouTube has been an excellent source of new listeners. I used to post my albums up there, but found it was pointless because within a week of a new release, I'll find someone else posted it up there . . . someone with way more subscribers than me. Needless to say, that's very encouraging and humbling to see someone go through the trouble of doing that. Word of mouth is the best kind of promotion you could ask for.

                          Last thing to mention, which is a soft spot for a lot of artists, is whether or not to charge for your music.

                          Is it harmful to the industry as a whole to offer music for free?
                          Yes.

                          Is it a great way to get your music out there and heard by tons of people?
                          Of course. It's a zero barrier level of entry.

                          My opinion is: While the ambient genre is comparatively small, there's still way too much of it out there. I offer all my stuff for free, but have a donate button on my site. As an experiment, I released my latest album on Bandcamp for $5 while still offering the MP3s for free on my personal site. Of course, the vast majority of people downloaded for free, but I garnered a healthy chunk of cash from those who paid for it. Again, very humbling to see.

                          Please keep in mind it took me over a decade and 30+ albums to get to this point. Definitely a labour of love. ;) I guess this is a good way to end this rambling post: Make music for the love of making music, and worry about promotion afterward. Put your heart and soul into your music, and I believe listeners will hear that effort. Slowly but surely, you'll gain an loyal audience of listeners who'll follow you for years to come.

                          Have fun, and good luck! :D
                          Last edited by Altus; 01-30-2016, 09:18 AM.
                          Mike Carss -- Altus : aural journeys for the mind's eye
                          altusmusic.ca
                          Bandcamp

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                          • #14
                            Altus, thanks, this is some excellent information. I saw that Radhaus was sponsoring my album but I did not see the relationship between them and StillStream. How does know this? I guess it's just getting out there and making connections.
                            Ambient Alchemy
                            Twitch
                            YouTube

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ambient Alchemy View Post
                              I guess it's just getting out there and making connections.
                              Exactly.
                              Mike Carss -- Altus : aural journeys for the mind's eye
                              altusmusic.ca
                              Bandcamp

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