Category Archives: Professional Songwriting

how to promote your music online

How to Promote Your Music Online

The process of writing a song is a highly rewarding experience.

However, the most rewarding aspect of making music is sharing it with other people.

The good news is that the internet allows independent musicians to find an audience that truly connects with their music. Learning how to promote your music online enables you to build a loyal fanbase that wants to hear more from you.

In today’s world, the process of marketing your music leaves a lot of room for creativity.

We put together an article that provides a road map to help independent musicians build awareness for their art.

Keep reading to learn how to promote your music online!

Social Media Platforms

When it comes to thinking about how to promote your music online, social media is the first thing that pops into your head—and for good reason.

Social media is the easiest way to engage listeners and build a community around your music. It enables your fanbase to share your music with other people who may soon become a part of your audience as a result.

However, there are many social media platforms, and they’re not all created equal.

Facebook should serve as your information hub. Use it to post major news and announcements.

Twitter is the best platform to crack some jokes or share silly opinions. Don’t be afraid to use it for personal rants as well—as long as you don’t go overboard.

Instagram provides a great way to connect with music fans through photos and videos. In fact, research shows that Instagram users spend 42% more money on music than the average person.

Snapchat is the ideal platform to preview snippets of new music. Additionally, you can use it to encourage fans to create snaps of themselves wearing some of your merchandise.

You don’t have to use every major social media platform. But, pick your platforms wisely and set aside time every day to interact with fans on social media.

Email

If you’re trying to learn how to promote your music online, make sure you don’t skip over email.

Email is one of the most personal forms of digital communication. Your emails can potentially end up next to emails from family members and coworkers.

However, it also happens to be one of the most effective channels of promotion.

Give people a reason to subscribe to your email newsletter in the first place. Use newsletters to offer special discounts and exclusive content to subscribers.

Fan contests are a great way to build a sizable mailing list. Encourage fans to sign up in order to enter their names in a contest to win some merchandise.

But once you gain a subscriber, don’t let them down. If they unsubscribe, you’re probably never going to get them back.

Companies bombard the average person with a lot of much junk mail, and this makes the average person’s patience run thin when it comes to email. This means you want to send regular updates, but not too many.

When used properly, email can help you forge long-term relationships with the consumers of your music.

Blogging

Even though tweets are a good way to share personal opinions and experiences, they’re brief.

The truth is that 140 characters are not enough for the more serious matters. If you want to dive into deeper topics, don’t forget to do some blogging.

Blogging is a great way to attract traffic to your website. Plus, it keeps people coming back to your site for more content.

You can use blog posts to share detailed stories about your career, or how you came up with a concept for a new song. You can also use your blog as sort of a diary or journal where you share your everyday experiences with your fans.

But you don’t have to focus only on yourself. You can also produce some blog content that focuses on your music genre in general.

Just make sure that your blog connects to your main website, and keep your music store only a click away.

Networking

A lot of people view other artists as competition. In reality, other artists can often serve as assets.

Network with other bands online. As a result, you may gain access to some of their fanbase.

Also, feel free to send messages to indie music blogs related to your genre. This can help you target people who are likely interested in hearing your music.

These blogs are always looking for good sources of content. Offer them some compelling stories about your experiences as a musician, or focus on an aspect of you that is unique.

Personalize the emails you send to these blogs, and reach out to as many as you can. The results may shock you.

Live Video Streaming

Live video streaming has really taken off over the recent years.

Periscope popularized the medium in 2015. As a result, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter now offer mobile live video streaming as well.

Facebook research shows that people spend 3 times as much time on live videos than those that are no longer live.

There is something about live events that captivates viewers and listeners. It’s about sharing the experience with others, and being there when the event occurred.

So what are the best ways to use live video to promote your music?

Surprise people with live performances. Live chats or Q&A sessions provide great ways to promote your music without coming off as a salesman.

Even something as simple as a live personal update is an effective way to engage your audience.

The more your audience gets to know you, the more they resonate with your music. Building a fanbase is akin to building a personal relationship with a person you trust. Be accessible and make your audience feel like they’re with you along your journey.

Just remember that if you’re struggling to figure out how to promote your music online, live video streaming is just a few taps away.

Final Thoughts on How to Promote Your Music Online

Promoting your music should be a fun, creative process.

Remember to stay as active as possible. Engage your audience on social media, and continue to churn out new music.

Your job is not to convince people that your music is good. Let your music do the convincing for you.

Instead, your promotion needs to focus on being genuine with people.

Also, if you want to take part in The Indie International Songwriting Contest, which recognizes emerging talent, sign up today!

best lyricists

The Top 10 Best Lyricists of All Time

Some songwriters are good, some are great, and then there are some that are downright legendary.

Whether you’re a beginner writer or a seasoned musical lyricist, it never hurts to get a little inspiration from the greats throughout time.

We put together a list of the best lyricists of all time to get you inspired to start writing.

We simply couldn’t rank these great lyricists, so mind that this list is not in ranking order.

Check out these amazing musical lyricists!

The Top Ten Best Lyricists of All Time

Many of these best lyricists are commonly know, but you may be surprised by the others that make this list.

10. Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan is an American songwriter, artist, and singer known for his extensive works throughout the sixties.

He’s been an active musician with a career spanning over fifty years. His stamina in a stressful music industry isn’t his only talent, though. He also happens to be one of the best lyricists of all time.

Some of Bob Dylan’s best songs include:

  • Alright Ma
  • Desolation Row
  • It’s All Over Now Baby Blue
  • Visions of Johanna
  • Blowin’ In The Wind
  • Like A Rolling Stone
  • Positively 4th Street
  • Idiot Wind

9. John Lennon

You can’t really have a legendary lyricist list without including the Beatle’s frontman and solo artist John Lennon.

John Lennon was a talented British singer, songwriter, and creative. Known for being diverse and experimental in his songwriting, John Lennon’s career as a musician lasted many years before his untimely death in 1980.

Some of John Lennon’s best works include:

  • Imagine
  • Instant Karma
  • Jealous Guy
  • Mother
  • Mind Games
  • Whatever Gets You Thru The Night
  • Dream

John Lennon’s work has been covered by many popular musicians, most recently by Lady Gaga at the Baku 2015 European Games opening.

8. Jesse Michaels

An unexpected and underrated creative makes this list with Jesse Michaels.

Jesse Michaels is a songwriter, vocalist, and guitarist known for his work as the singer for ska punk band Operation Ivy.

Much of Jesse Michaels’ work was within Operation Ivy, which was short lived in itself. However, both stylistically and politically, Operation Ivy is known as one of the most iconic and influential bands in the punk and ska genre.

Some of Jesse Michaels’ best songs include:

  • Unity
  • Yellin’ In My Ear
  • Artificial Life

7. Kurt Cobain

Considered one of the most influential figures in nineties ‘grunge’ rock music, Kurt Cobain composed and wrote songs for the rock band Nirvana before his death in 1994.

He is known for his artful approach to music and ability to connect ideas and emotions in a relatable way.

Some of Kurt Cobain’s best songs include:

  • Come As You Are
  • Lithium
  • Heart-Shaped Box
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit
  • About A Girl
  • All Apologies
  • Pennyroyal Tea

6. Jello Biafra

Another punk makes this list. Vocalist and songwriter Jello Biafra was the lead of San Francisco punk band Dead Kennedys and Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine.

Known for being outlandishly political and running for mayor of San Francisco in 1979 and president of the United States in 2000, Jello Biafra is incredibly political in his music while maintaining a level of artistic comedy in his words.

Some of Jello Biafra’s best songs include:

  • Holiday In Cambodia
  • Kill The Poor
  • MTV Get Off The Air
  • California Uber Alles
  • Police Truck

5. Paul McCartney

The other fantastic musical creative that was part of The Beatles is definitely Paul McCartney. Bob Dylan himself is quoted as saying “I’m in awe of McCartney. He’s about the only one that I’m in awe of.”

On top of being an excellent and iconic melodist, Paul McCartney was able to stretch his talents past typical pop songs to add wit and complex storytelling to his written work.

Some of Paul McCartney’s best songs include:

  • Maybe I’m Amazed
  • Live And Let Die
  • Band On The Run
  • Another Day
  • Coming Up
  • Silly Love Songs
  • No More Lonely Nights
  • Eleanor Rigby
  • Yesterday

4. Chuck Berry

Considered the first singer-songwriter of the rock and roll genre, Chuck Berry crossed boundaries that hadn’t been crossed before.

His fun-loving songs and celebratory American classics are still loved to this day.

Some of Chuck Berry’s best songs include:

  • Maybellene
  • Johnnie B. Goode
  • Roll Over Beethoven
  • Sweet Little Sixteen
  • School Day
  • Rock & Roll Music
  • Memphis, Tennessee

3. Smokey Robinson

Smokey Robinson truly set the stage for melodic and lyrical goals when he created some of the Motown genre’s greatest pieces of work.

His lyrics were poetic and elegant while still maintaining catchiness in the pop genre as well. He even inspired The Beatles in their early days.

Smokey Robinson described his method of songwriting as such: “My theory of writing is to write a song that has a complete idea and tells a story in the time allotted for a record.”

Some of Smokey Robinson’s best songs include:

  • I Second That Emotion
  • You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me
  • Tracks Of My Tears
  • The Tears Of A Clown
  • Ooh Baby Baby
  • Cruisin’
  • Being With You
  • Shop Around

2. Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell was a talented folk musician known her her artistic approach to simplicity in lyricism.

Usually accompanied by her acoustic guitar or piano, she would recite almost disturbingly personal words that changed the way people saw “normal” songwriting.

Confrontational and intimate, Joni Mitchell’s work somehow remains underrated for her masterpieces.

Some of Joni Mitchel’s best songs include:

  • Big Yellow Taxi
  • Both Sides Now
  • Circle Game
  • A Case Of You
  • Free Man In Paris
  • River
  • You Turn Me On I’m A Radio
  • Chelsea Morning

1. Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s career as a country singer has been above and beyond impressive, and she can owe all that to her talent for songwriting.

From sweet bouncy Tennessee songs to heartwrenching ballads about romance and marital problems, Dolly Parton has pumped out hits that just about every American can recognize.

She was also the writer behind Whitney Houston’s iconic song “I Will Always Love You.”

Some of Dolly Parton’s best songs include:

  • Jolene
  • 9 To 5
  • I Will Always Love You
  • Coat Of Many Colors
  • Here You Come Again
  • Eagle When She Flies
  • My Tennessee Mountain Home

Get Inspired

Were you inspired by this list of the ten best lyricists of all time? Tell us what you think, along with your own favorites, in the comments below!

Tip on Being a Professional Songwriter: Saving Money on Copyrights

 

 

When artists first start creating with being a professional songwriter in mind, information floating around can be a little misleading about copyrights. It is surprising that there are still people who would like to think that cheap copyrights can be achieved by mailing something to yourself, but take a moment to walk through that theoretical lawsuit in the context of the music industry:

You and your band get a hit song stolen by a multimillion dollar record company backed boy-band, and you put together your case using all the money you didn’t make from the royalties of your plagiarized work. You walk into the courtroom facing a team of lawyers, all of them sharks sizing you up for the value of a counter-suit, and your best evidence is a disc sealed in a padded mailer, and perhaps the other members of your band who by hearsay claim you were the first to the punch. For more on this and other issues in music law, you can check out this article here on our own site.

A copyright through the Library of Congress, on the other hand, would mean that an official report was available showing exactly when they received the record of your having written the song, and exactly what you recorded when you documented that as your own composition.

So now you’ve faced facts and you’re ready to invest in actually protecting your work. The best way to save on copyrights is to register fewer of them altogether. If you are immediately concerned about the safety of something you have written, by all means file immediately. But the fact is, if you wait until you have a collection to bundle into a single registration, you can save quite of a bit of money, especially over time.

It used to be that one needed to fill out what’s called Form CA after registering a collection of songs in order to validate the collection entirely. Now that the copyright office is online, you can simply call what you are submitting a collection and go through the Form PA process, checking the box along the way that this is not just a single work you are registering. One snag–this savings plan assumes that each song in the collection is going to get the same songwriting credits across the board. (You can’t give your drummer credit for tracks 1 and 3 and take credit for the rest yourself, for example).

If all you want to protect is a single song, it is $35, and the fee for a collection is $55. To fill out the paper application and send a hard copy representation of your work, the Library of Congress penalizes you for the extra manpower in the mail-room, charging $85.

Once you have your collection together and have a record of it (it doesn’t have to be a high quality recording at all–just as long as it can be heard, or read in the case of lyrics), you are ready to get your form together.

  1. Go to http://www.copyright.gov–or if you don’t feel the need to peruse the website’s information, go straight to the Register a Copyright page. You will need to register with them first (in a manner similar to many websites requiring some personal info). From there, you are going to want to register your songs as a work of Performing Arts, using Form PA. For the hard copy application process here is the PDF link: http://copyright.gov/forms/formpa.pdf
  2. The website is fairly intuitive. You will follow some slightly less intuitive prompts along the way. One is regarding the “Type of Work.” For this “Add” a “New” listing. Select “Title of work being registered” for each song you want to include, and click on the “edit” icon to the right of the listing when you see it, to put in every detail you can about it. It’s the same process when you get to the “Authors” section of the form–remember that you won’t be able to save money registering songs with different combinations of authors.
  3. Some of the next steps (“Limitation of Claims,” “Special Handling”) you might be able to skip through (by pressing “Continue”). Look them over to see if they might apply to your situation.
  4. When you’ve added all the information the Copyright Office requires, it’ll be time to “Review Submission.”
  5. Finally, after you review the information, you’ll “Add to Cart,” and check out. Note that after checkout is when you’ll upload your material.

So there you have it! For each demo of material you might save yourself one hundred dollars, provided each song is written by the same author (or combination of authors, such as the entire band), and you take the time to put it all into one registration form!

Indie International is here to offer as much information as possible to creative people in the entertainment industry. Please feel free to contact us for more information about songwriting and the music industry.