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Your band is a well-oiled machine, owning stages (when they reopen, not long now) and recording studios alike. You have the songs, the mixed tracks, the image and the determination. 

But what now? 

As you’ll know, reaching a wider audience and creating an impassioned fan base is imperative when it comes to monetising your music. Upping streams, luring new people to gigs and shifting merchandise can all be the result of a smart and effective marketing campaign. 

Marketing your product would traditionally be the role of the label, where a dedicated team of PR agents, social media gurus and digital marketing experts would propel your track to the masses. With major labels currently spending anywhere from $500,000 to $2,000,000 to break a new artist mainstream, marketing is a costly yet important aspect to building your band business.  

Huge artists like Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper and Nipsey Hussle carved a career without a major label. The DIY ethos is still strong in 2021, and marketing your music independently is a viable, worthwhile option. The first part to starting a strong independent marketing campaign will be to ensure your business - your band - is working to its full potential, with each member fulfilling a role and working to their strengths. Have a member always scrolling their Instagram during writing sessions? Meet your new social media guru!  

Arguably, the most important aspect of your release campaign will be securing that much coveted attention from the press. Without a label, getting your music into the ears of the right people can seem difficult and having to pierce through the clandestine white noise may feel like a daunting, impossible challenge. Getting your next hit onto the radio playlists, getting mentioned on the popular podcasts and being written about in blogs would normally be the responsibility of the digital marketing expert, but it can all be achieved independently. 

Further down is a list of some of the current music blogs reviewing and reporting on new music you can send your tracks to. Some have associated genres which will dictate their interests and audience, helping you to reach more reciprocal listeners faster. Not utilising blogs may not harm your chances at being the next Chance the Rapper, but positive feedback never hurt anyone and who knows, one or maybe ten of those readers may turn out to be lifelong loyal fans. 

Ready to reach new fans?  

Before you message, it may be worth considering these top tips, just to make sure you maximise your submission: 

Make sure the blog is relevant for your music and that your sound is like other records they cover. 2DopeBoyz aren’t going to want to review your 7-minute homage to Iron Maiden, but Louder than War certainly will. 

Keep the message brief and concise. Introduce yourself, be friendly and discuss what your about, but this isn’t the place for your project’s life story or how you discovered music through your parents’ U2 vinyl collection. 

A private or public SoundCloud link is generally the preferred method of listening to your track. Aim for a method which doesn’t involve downloading a file or signing into a subscription platform, some blogs want electronic press kits. Read the submission page carefully to see what is preferred.  

Make sure the track is fresh and don’t spam them afterwards. Blogs nearly always prefer new music, even if your best song was released a year ago, they will normally prefer the newer few-month-old follow up. Checking up a few weeks later to see if the review is happening is fine, just try to avoid more than one message and be polite. Remember they have a lot of tracks to get through and even more emails to reply to. 

Stereo Fox  

Genre: Various, up for anything

Louder than War

Genre: Punk, Rock and Metal                                      

The Line of Best Fit  

Genre: Alternative and Indie

Aquarium Drunkard

Genre: Psych, Avant-Garde, Garage and Alternative

Acid Stag  

Genre: Electronic

Twang Ville  

Genre: Alt-Country, Americana Folk and Blues

Pitchfork  

Genre: Various

2DopeBoyz  

Genre: Hip Hop 

A&R Factory 

Genre: Various

Atwood Magazine

Genre: Singer-Songwriter and Indie

Birp.FM  

Genre: Bedroom and Dream Pop, Lo-Fi and Surf Rock

Ear Milk  

Genre: Various (Neo-soul, Hip-Hop and RnB)

Gig Goer 

Genre: Pop Punk, Emo, Indie Rock and Alt-Pop  

Homo Ground 

Genre: Various (only LGBTQIA artists) 

High Clouds  

Genre: Various (Accepts all, but has specific section
to support Feminist and LGBTQIA Artists) 

Indie88 

Genre: Indie                                                    

Pop Justice 

Genre: Pop  

Run The Trap  

Genre: Trap, Club music and Bass 

Soul Bounce  

Genre: RnB, Soul and Jazz 

Soul Tracks  

Genre: Soul and RnB 

Gems And Secrets 

Genre: Various  

Tiny Mix Tapes  

Genre: Various  

Gorilla vs Bear  

Genre: Various  

Velvet Independent  

Genre: Electronic  

Wolf In A Suit  

Genre: Electronic 

We All Want Someone  

Genre: Various 

Purple Melon  

Genre: Pop 

I Heard A Whisper  

Genre: Electronic  

The Unsigned Guide  

Genre: Various 

All Music  

Genre: Various 

AMBY  

Genre: Indie/Commercial  

Your EDM  

Genre: Electronic  

Up Coming Hip-Hop  

Genre: Hip-hop  

GigList  

Genre: Various 

Alfitude  

Genre: Various 

At some point in your music career, you may find that self-managing isn’t an effective strategy for you anymore. If you haven’t been approached by a manager or management company, you will have to be proactive to secure a manager that’s right for you. This means finding, researching and reaching out to a relevant manager or management company.

The Groundwork

Before you reach out, make sure you’re ready for a manager. For many bands and artists, self-management can get you very far and put you in a better position to secure a management deal at the right time. When you do reach out, make sure you are contacting managers that want to work with your style, genre and type of band. Check out this guide to make sure your efforts won’t fall on deaf ears.

Managers are business people that need work and income, so they generally don’t make themselves difficult to find. However, just as a manager will want to appeal to an artist with their experience and catalogue, so must an artist put their best foot forward to appeal to a manager. Think of your music, band or project as a product and think about how it could be considered a worthy investment for a manager.

Management Contacts

When you are ready to get a manager on board, check out these contacts.

Amour Music
Genre: Singer-songwriters, Contemporary

Authority MGMT

Genre: Singer-songwriters, Pop and Dance

Defenders Entertainment

Genre: R&B, Rap, Drill, Reggae and Dance

dfjArtists

Genre: Jazz

Enzo Music Management

Genre: Rock, Metal

Incendia Music

Genre: Rock, Prog & Metal

Key Music Management

Genre: Alternative

Rock People Management

Genre: Rock, Blues

Young Guns

Genre: Classical, Jazz, Pop and Fusion

 

Management Contact Directories

Here are 5 directories for finding managers and management companies.

 

The Unsigned Guide

https://www.theunsignedguide.com

The Unsigned Guide is a UK music industry contacts directory. You can search for over 240 UK artist management companies and band managers. This features allows you to narrow your search by region and get contact information, websites, social media channel links and addresses.

Signing up to The Unsigned Guide costs £5.99 monthly, £10.99 quarterly or £32.99 annually. The great thing about The Unsigned Guide is that the directory doesn’t just cover management, but record labels, studio production, live venues, press, publishing, distribution, media, training, music law and more.

 

Music Week

https://www.musicweek.com

Music week has an annual directory to help music industry professionals connect with up-to-date contacts. With its finger on the pulse of the evolving nature of the music industry, Music Week brings out an updated directory every year.

You can purchase the directory for £50, or subscribe to the Music Week magazine through one of the 3 options and get the directory free of charge.

 

The Music Management Forum (MMF)
https://themmf.net

The MMF are the largest representative body of music management in the world. Their members are managers and management companies. Through their website, artists seeking management can submit their details to the members of the MMF using this form.

 

Association of Independent Music (AIM)
https://www.aim.org.uk

AIM is a not-for-profit representing UK independent music. Find opportunities, jobs and contacts through the website. The AIM friends directory allows you to search for industry professionals such as live music management.

 

Musicians’ Union (MU)
https://www.musiciansunion.org.uk

The MU provides advice, news and connecting facilities to its members. The members directory allows you to search for other members in your area.

Currently you can access the members directory for £1 for the first 6 months when you sign up to an annual membership. The MU also offers special rates for students.

There’s also the option to seek out a specific manager based on your genre and the bands you know using that manager. If there’s a band similar to yours who has good management behind them, reach out to the specific company or person. Being passionate about being part of their roster, because you appreciate what they already do and want to be a part of it - if coupled with some real growth and movement from your band - could be the personal touch that makes the difference.

 

With the world currently suspended in a new normal, you might be a little confused as to where to start with gigging. Although live music is currently off the table for a lot of venues and musicians, and with bands scrambling to get the few socially distant gigs available, it might be worthwhile to look towards the future and get a plan together for after this has all blown over.

Lockdown has been a trying time for the music industry, but for many of us, it has given us the time and space to knuckle down on fine-tuning our skills and songwriting. If you’ve found yourself writing and rehearsing heavily over the past few months, you might be thinking about booking in a gig or two when venues start opening again. If you’re not sure where to start when booking your very first gig - this article is for you!

Here are our top tips for booking your very first gig…

Look At What You Have To Offer

When trying to book gigs, it’s a good idea to show people that your house is in order; that your band is reliable and ready to get on stage. What can you show other bands, venues and promoters to put you in a good position for getting a gig?

Before reaching out to anyone ask yourself do I have…

Having these in place will prove that you’re ready to perform and give you something to show bands, venues and promoters.

Start Locally

The best place to start with your very first gig is in your local scene. This could be the pub down the road, with the bands from your town or city, and promoters that are familiar with your area. Almost every great band cut their teeth in their local scene, and as your experience grows so will your opportunities. Growing in your local scene is a fantastic way to meet other musicians and music industry workers that are accessible to a new band.

Reach Out To Local Bands

One of the most simple ways to get your first gig is to find bands of a similar genre in your area and send them a short message. Your message doesn’t have to be extensive and there are no explicit rules, but try to stick to these guidelines:

If the band puts on their own gigs at venues, they may well be on the lookout for support bands to bring fresh audience members to their gigs. If they gig through a promoter, they’ll be able to point you in the right direction in your local scene.

To find these bands you can:

Make sure you do your research to make sure you are contacting bands that are relevant to your genre, gigging level and area.

Communicate With Local Venues

Music venues and pubs that put on gigs are a great place to start introducing yourself to when you are looking to gig. Do a little bit of research into the venues in your area. This can be as easy as searching on Google Maps, using a directory or taking a walk down the road to find a suitable venue. From there, look up their website or social media platforms to make sure they welcome the genre that you play and either send over a message or introduce yourself in person.

You will need to find out who puts on the gigs and how they operate. It only takes a little bit of nosing around on the internet, sending a message or popping into local venues to find out who the contacts for musicians and bands are. Different venues work in different ways to it’s a good idea to ask how the gigs work. Does the venue put together band nights, work with specific promoters to put together gigs, or do they allow bands to put on their own gigs using the venue? Are there fees for putting on a gig and can you charge on the door? It’s not a one-size-fits-all deal so ask appropriate questions to build a picture of what is expected of you and how you can get your foot in the door.

Find Local Promoters

Once you’ve spoken to local bands and venues, you may find it useful to get in touch with local promoters. A good promoter will have an idea of how your local scene runs, and may potentially have support slots to fill. You can find local promoters through searching online, through music directories such as theunsignedguide.com, through bands, venues and stamped all over promotional posters.

Look Into Gig Swaps

Another idea of sorting some of your first gigs is to offer gig swaps to another band in a similar genre, at a similar level, perhaps in the next town or city over. If you’re putting on your own gig, this is a good way to fill mutually beneficial support slots and gives you the opportunity to grow together with other bands.

Try Open Mics

If your music set up allows for it, try your hand at open mics. They’re a good way to play in front of an audience if you haven’t built up a big following yet, and help to build confidence for when you book your own gigs. Many pubs advertise open mics on their socials and in their venues.

What About Under 18s?

If you’re too young to play in a regular music venue or pub, the best solution is to put on your own gigs in other venues and invite all your friends and family down.

Here are some of the places you could look at for putting on your first gig:

Being creative in this way will build skills such as adaptability and resourcefulness which will be even more useful later on in your journey.

Tips For Your First Live Gig

When you pencil in that very first gig, it pays to make a good impression. If venues or the other bands you perform with appreciate what you’re bringing to the table, you may be invited back. Building great relationships helps to build your band’s momentum and expand your opportunities.

Here are a few important tips for making the most of it:

Local scenes are relatively small, so word will go around if you put on a good show or if there is any negative backlash. Make sure you’re not remembered for the latter. Focus on building great relationships, adding value to other bands and venues, and give yourself the best chance of growing a great name and buzz around your music.

Streaming In The Meantime

While we are still living through the COVID pandemic, and with many venues still closed or limiting performance, consider gigging online. Putting together a set and performing it live through YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Instagram Live or similar platforms can help keep a buzz around your music and build momentum for your live gigs in the future.

For music artists and bands looking to grow their fan base, a great website remains an important tool. It’s an exciting time when producing a website as it’s your “home”. It’s a place where fans can easily discover you and your music, and then hopefully go on to be paying customers and superfans who champion your work. 

 But getting website traffic isn’t easy. Competition for your fans' time is highly competitive.  

 If you want to get more people visiting your website, try implementing these eight tips: 

Create share-worthy content 

By creating amazing content that attracts fans, they could feel compelled to share on social media and expose you to a wider audience. 

If you’re not creating content that emotionally connects with your fans, you risk being lost in the millions of pieces of content published each month. You will need to create unique, attractive, inherently valuable, share-worthy content that speaks for itself. 

Learn More: https://www.waterbear.org.uk/your-social-media-survive-or-thrive/ 

Share your website content on social media 

With a productive social media strategy, whenever you create a piece of content, share it multiple times across your social media profiles in different ways.  

Repurposing is a great way to refresh content without repeating yourself. 

When you share your content on social media, understand which format works best for each platform you choose to work with. 

Learn More: https://optinmonster.com/40-ways-to-repurpose-blog-content/ 

Build your email list with lead magnets

Each time you publish something valuable on your website, you can send a link out to your email list which will organically bring visitors to your site. 

The bigger your email list, the more people you’ll get to your website.   

One of the most effective ways to build your list is by giving away something in exchange for an email address. The giveaway, called a ‘lead magnet’, is valuable content that people can get once they hand over their email address. For example: exclusive music, downloads, blogs, live streams, premium content which is unavailable anywhere else.   

Learn More:  https://optinmonster.com/9-lead-magnets-to-increase-subscribers/ 

Guest posting

Guest posting on someone else’s website or social media allows you to tap into a new audience. 

If you have something valuable to offer, that will be of interest to others, research other websites that relate to your subject matter. It doesn’t necessarily always need to be just about music. Consider popular culture, trending topics, and current news. 

If you want to stand out and have the opportunity to post on someone else’s platform, you’ll need to be unique in your pitch. It’s not just about you getting in front of the audience, it’s also about you adding value to their audience.  

 Learn More: https://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/9-tips-to-perfectly-pitch-your-guest-blog-post/ 

Participate in online forums 

Forums and Facebook groups can be great sources of traffic for your website if you know what you’re doing. 

These platforms will want you to participate in the conversation that’s happening in the group itself, not simply spamming the group with your music links. You’ll need to answer people's questions, contribute your thoughts, ask questions, and add something significant to the conversation. 

If you’re an active member then you can share the occasional link to relevant content on your site. But only share a link to your website when it’s relevant to the conversation. Don’t force your music on people.  

Learn More: https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/how-to-sell-on-social-media-without-being-too-salesy/563845/ 

Reference influencers 

If you can get an influencer with a large social media audience to share your content with their audience, it can be a huge boost for your website traffic. 

One of the most effective strategies for getting others to share your content is to quote or reference them via social media tagging. Be sure to make sure your social media content is really easy to understand, fast. Asking a question is a great starting point. This could begin the journey of building a relationship and having your content shared to a wider audience.  

Learn More: https://referralrock.com/blog/successful-influencer-marketing/ 

Collaboration

Always be on the lookout for ways to collaborate with other people who also have their own audience. The obvious collaboration is releasing music with another artist. However, there are many other methods to explore. 

For example, collaboration is very common in the YouTube world and one way creators build up their subscriber base. Instead of trying to build an audience all by yourself, you can team up with others and mutually benefit each other. 

Learn More: https://influencermatchmaker.co.uk/blog/top-tips-creating-authentic-brand-collaborations 

Advertise

Advertising on the likes of Facebook and Instagram is a cost effective way to get traffic directly to your website. Yes, it does cost money (unlike the other strategies listed so far).  

But if you’re willing to spend a little bit of cash on content that’s already proven to be successful, you can get a lot of specific traffic to your site and not pay loads doing it. 

Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/facebookmedia/blog/facebook-ads-strategy-for-musicians 

The good news is that you can start implementing the above tactics immediately and get more website traffic. Always be sure to start small and work smart. Begin with one tactic, focus on it, and learn how to do it effectively. Then move onto the next only when you’re ready to. 

If you start implementing these strategies one by one, at the right time, you’ll begin to see an increase in your website traffic.  

If you interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your career as a musician,  Order a Prospectus or Apply Now.

Creating and publishing social media content on a regular basis can sometimes feel like an endless line of tasks with little reward. While it’s no secret that social media usage continues to grow, for artists and bands looking to stand out in a crowded market tapping into your creativity should be seen as an ace up your sleeve. 

When it comes to new music releases, thinking outside the boundaries of simply promoting products is crucial to success, especially if you’re hoping to build your fanbase. The rise of social media and the accessibility of a vast array of entertainment means that musicians should consider that it’s not just other music artists and bands competing for people's time. 

Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, podcasts, blogs and many other on demand digital platforms are consumed at a highly rapid rate and, with streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music offering “all you can eat sonic buffets”, it can seem like a daunting challenge when preparing social media content for publication vs the outcome. 

The good news is that with a healthy dose of imagination, creativity, preparation and knowhow, there are plenty of ways for musicians to differentiate themselves with their social and digital online presence.  Reaching wider audiences who, as a result  become new fans is a gamechanger for musicians looking to build and sustain a career in music. 

Two starting points when approaching a different social media content process is to look at the big brand media platforms I’ve mentioned previously and embrace what media actually is. For example: 

Your social media is a TV station 

Consider your social media platform to be a television station.  TV uses a variety of informative, entertaining, and educational programming. Advertising makes up a smaller part of the schedule. Consider your music products as the advertising arm of your media presence and then look at your current social media content. If the majority of your output is “ Watch this new music video”, “stream our new song”, “pre-order the new ep / album” etc, essentially your social media is predominantly made up of advertising. These types of posts might serve to inform your audience about your music but if you’re not allowing for engaging posts that encourage fans to participate, it’s likely social media algorithms are squeezing the reach on the visibility of your posts.  

Take the time to research resources such as tv channels and on-demand services like Netflix, and consider how you could adopt different ways to produce and deliver unique, interesting content that might resonate with a wider audience. 

The recipe to success 

Here are six key ingredients to help make your social media pop out: 

R = RECREATIONAL: Funny, popular culture, films, tv, music, jokes, memes, gifs, holidays. 

E = EDUCATIONAL: Trivia, facts, tips, tricks, hacks, trends, research, case studies, history, on this day. 

C = CONVERSATIONAL: Surveys, polls, fill in the blanks, Ask a question, this vs that, featured of the week/month. 

I = INSPIRATIONAL: Quotes, reviews, success stories, achievements, before and after, images of people and events that inspire your music. 

P = PROMOTIONAL: Discounts, buy one get one free, customer reviews, FB/IG Live, webinars, workshops, playthroughs. 

E = ENTREPRENEURIAL: Behind the scenes stories about your music, featured band members, personal life, mission and vision statements, values, story of the band and people involved with it. Involve your fans and their stories. 

Slice the pie 

Make sure your social media bio, header, avatar and website clearly showcase your latest music, as well as how to buy it. Divide your content into percentages. Remember to give your audience value and variety, this will be gamechanger for you and your music releases: 

Informative = 30% 

Entertainment = 30% 

Educational = 30% 

Advertising = 10% 

If you use the above points as a new foundation for your social media strategy, there are a number of options available to produce high quality content. While getting your music noticed is the primary concern, consider other popular cultures and hobbies that you can tap into via different media platforms that makes your audience want to get involved in. 

Ten suggestions

Try exploring the ten suggestions below and find ways to blend these seamlessly into your social media management. (Tip: devise a social media calendar for your media delivery to optimise productivity and regularity so that your audience are notified in advance).

1.  Podcasting

2. Blogging

3. Vlogging

4. Online Live Events (tip: find ways to get your band members and fans involved)

5. Virtual ‘Pub style’ Quiz (tip: get your fans involved with popular culture)

6. Tik Tok (tip: check out ‘Duets’)

7. Embrace Scarcity

8. Instagram/Facebook Stories

9. Engage Fans in Comments and Turn Them into Superfans

10. FB Advertising

There is no magic formula when it comes to achieving high reach with every post. Research your social media options and diversify your content accordingly. Because of this change in formula you will be noticed and reach a wider audience.

Try something different today and embrace your creativity. Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if they don’t always work.

If you interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your career as a musician,  Order a Prospectus or Apply Now.

Music has always been at the forefront of social interaction. From the moment you start learning your chosen instrument, singing songs at school or jamming with your friends, music becomes the glue that brings people together. 

 But what if you can’t meet up with your band mates? What if the audience can’t come to you? 

 All is not lost. Welcome to the world of remote gigging, jamming and collaborating. Let me lead you through some of the things I’ve learnt while being a musician online and give you tips to help make your remote musical career a success. 

Roll up! Roll up! 

The thought of playing live over the internet is a daunting prospect, especially if you’re used to the traditional way of gigging in venues.  

However, there are a lot of similarities between the two. The more you think about your live stream as an event, the more you and your audience will get out of it. 

Something that won’t change much is the promotional side – you still must advertise any remote gig beforehand. Message your friends, create virtual gig posters and post on social media with plenty of time for people to plan their lives around seeing your show. An added advantage of remote gigging is that your audience don’t have to plan transport to the show or put aside large amounts of time. 

I have actually had people watch me play online who wouldn’t normally be able to see me play live, so you can really use this to your advantage. The audience may be more diverse due to them being in another country or perhaps they are socially anxious in crowds. 

Testing, testing, 1,2,3… 

Before even thinking about doing a virtual gig you need to address whether you can.  

I like to think of it as a remote soundcheck. Whilst planning any show, the main priority should be the audience end-user experience. For them to stay watching and engaged you need to give them as high a quality audio as you can. 

That’s not to say you need to go out and spend lots of money on expensive equipment. It could be as simple as making sure the microphone on your camera is in the right position if you’re streaming from your phone or making sure the levels are correct if you’re performing along to a pre-recorded track. 

Quite often your chosen social media platform is able to stream to just you. Use this feature to experiment with set ups before actually going live to an audience. You can ask friends and other musicians to critique the quality too, as its quite easy to get caught up in one aspect and miss something glaringly obvious. 

Lights, camera, action 

One thing I see time and time again when watching online shows is the lack of thought put into lighting and camera angles. This is just as important as the sound quality. Nobody wants to see you perform with your head half out of frame, your instrument too dark to see, and your dirty washing on the floor in the background. 

Let’s start with where you are performing from. If you are live streaming from your home, choose a room that is clutter free so that your audience can focus on you, not what’s going on in the background. Make sure the camera you are using is in focus, is framing you as a performer and all cabling is out of sight. Even if you haven’t got too much space, a clever camera angle can draw in the audience while hiding the fact that you may be playing in your bedroom. 

Finally, don’t forget about lighting. Much in the same way a traditional gig would be lit to enhance the performance, your remote gig needs to do the same. 

In an ideal world I’d recommend investing in some specialist lighting equipment with adjustable dimmers so you can adjust the light levels. However, some carefully placed lamps can do wonders in creating a mood. Remember, too little light and your audience won’t be able to see you properly. Too much light and you’ll look washed out on screen.  

Pass the virtual hat 

As you’ll be streaming your gig, you won’t be charging a ticket per se. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a revenue stream. Don’t be put off asking for donations both before, during and after your show. I like to think of it as the virtual tip jar.  

Many streaming services allow you to link directly to PayPal for your audience to show their appreciation. Also, if you have merchandise to sell let people know about it.  

Sharing a link to your merch in between songs can work wonders in bringing in revenue as your audience see it as an alternative to paying a ticket price. 

Remember, even though you may not be getting a gig fee like you would do on a normal show there are no overheads (such as venue hire, transport costs etc) so any money you do make is pure profit. 

We’re jammin’ 

What if you want to jam and collaborate with other musicians remotely in real time? That’s where things start to get a bit trickier but with a change in mindset your creativity can flow even though you are miles apart. 

Even with all the technological advancements of the past few years you’ll eventually meet the terrors of latency and slow internet speeds. 

Latency is the delay between playing a note on your end and the person you are collaborating with hearing it their end. When you are playing a live streaming show this problem wont particularly matter as you aren’t having to play along with other musicians in another location. Plus, even if your audience hears your audio slightly later than you, they’re still hearing everything in time. 

However, if you try playing along to say a drummer while you are playing guitar over the internet then that latency means you are out of time with each other, making live remote jamming impossible in the traditional sense. 

The main culprit of this is slow internet speeds. The UK is notorious for slow upload speeds, meaning there will be a delay between you playing a note, it being uploaded to the internet and it being download by the other musician. 

The solution

If you can’t play together in real time, then what are your options?  Well I like to do a half and half approach. Have a live webchat or video conferencing call open between you while writing and bounce ideas between you. That way you can piece bits of a song together in stages and if you record your video call, you’ll never have that “What was that riff I just played?” moment ever again! 

Prepare any ideas you do have beforehand and send them to your fellow musicians. It gives them a chance to think about their own parts to contribute and I’ve found this approach is actually more likely to produce new ideas away from the distractions of the rehearsal space. 

The same approach can be applied to being a session musician and playing on other artists work. The majority of my session work is conducted from my small home studio, with the producer listening in to my performances while I record them my end. They can then give active feedback on what they would like from me and I can send them over the session files after, ready for them to mix and master. 

Put your money where your mouth is 

As I mentioned, this doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend lots of money. However, prioritising your spending on a few key areas can mean a huge jump in quality for both your audience and your fellow musicians. 

Here’s my top 5 things to spend your hard-earned cash on: 

Rapid internet 

The main cause of problems when streaming. If you can invest in a quick broadband or fibre optic internet connection with at least 10mbps it will make all the difference. Remember the faster the better. 

Sound 

A higher quality microphone, either via USB or through a recording interface, will be a big step up in clarity compared to your phone or laptop built-in microphone. Your audience needs to hear you clearly, otherwise they’ll just find something else to occupy their time. 

Lighting and room

Even a few inexpensive photography lights placed in key places will make any livestream look professional. Also think about adding some fairy lights to your background or a backdrop of some sort. It could be something as simple as a hung-up sheet, but it’ll make all the difference. 

Camera

A good webcam, action cam (e.g. GoPro) or small DSLR camera attached to your laptop will have an immediate impact on your video quality. Make sure it can capture at least 1080p. Anything less starts to look grainy or fuzzy. If you’re streaming on your phone perhaps invest in some lenses to go over your phone camera to give a more cinematic, less harsh feel to your shots. 

Time 

A strange thing to invest in I know but a few hours spent looking up other people’s livestreams, watching video tutorials and optimising your broadcasting settings will mean your performance is less likely to be plagued by technical difficulties. Practice a livestream beforehand to make sure everything works and that you can be seen and heard. 

 I hope you can make use of a few of these tips and that they help you avoid the potential pitfalls of remote streaming. I look forward to seeing you at your gig very soon, virtually. 

If you interested in learning more and are serious about progressing in your career as a musician,  Order a Prospectus or Apply Now.

Getting your music on Spotify playlists is an increasingly popular way of generating plays for your releases. This means DIY artists can pitch their music to both official and unofficial playlist curators without needing to go down the more ‘traditional’ route. This can save a lot of time and money and will give you more control over your releases. Alternatively, you can pay for someone to do your online PR. They will draw upon their own contacts and knowledge of the streaming world, and pitch to playlists on your behalf.

Securing those playlist slots is now a fundamental part of artist promotion. But it’s not necessarily plain sailing, there’s always the chance that it won’t work in your favour. So, remember to assess a curator’s intentions and the potential value to your career.

How important are streaming statistics?

Like any PR you or your band go for, pitching to playlists does not necessarily equal plays. Any PR service can offer you the opportunity to have your music pitched to hundreds of playlists, so try not to get drawn in by that. What’s important is the quality of their relationships with playlist curators and their understanding of the landscape. It’s a possibility that you’ll only land a small percentage of those pitches.

Now, as a hypothetical question; ‘If you have 10,000 plays on Spotify yet you struggle to fill a small venue in your hometown, are you a successful original artist?'

This is not to say that 10,000 plays aren’t positive, however it’s good to keep in mind that Spotify playlisting is just one aspect in an artist’s overall career. Let's say £1000 buys you an online PR campaign that includes creating and distributing a press release, playlist pitching, and blog pitching. There is undoubtedly value in the service, but always consider where your career is at, and whether that money can serve you in a smarter way at that moment in time.

Some practical tips

With the warnings and guidance out of the way, let’s move onto some practical tips for playlist success…

Update your Spotify bio and profile

Make sure you have up-to-date high-resolution photos, a well-written bio and an actively updated profile. This creates an air of professionalism and if you take yourself seriously, it’s likely the playlist curators will as well.

Then, when emailing curators – send your press release along with links to your Spotify. Check out this blog on how to write your press release.

Minimise your overheads and PR spend

PR can start running into the thousands so if you are DIY, you need to consider the ‘cost to benefit’ ratio. If you can do a job yourself – do it, save the cash and spend it on recording, new gear or your tour support. You can do very well simply by doing your research and essentially creating your own ‘little black book’. See how other bands and artists you admire are doing it if they’re at a similar level to you. Get creative with it.

Be organised

If you do decide to do your first wave of pitching to playlists – I salute you. Below are links to support you through that journey. A word to the wise however, keep it organised. A spreadsheet for your contacts will allow you to prevent repeating yourself and help you keep track of who you’ve contacted in those initial campaigns.

If you are feeling ready, here are links to curated playlists you can submit your music to - good luck!

Spotify playlists

Indie Mono

Genre: Everything judged by merit.

Soundplate

Genre: A wide range of individually curated playlists.

Workhard Playlist

Genre: Multiple independent playlists covering a variety of genres.

Musicto

Genre: Multiple genres categorised on moods rather than genre.

For the Love of Bands

Genre: Indie/alternative/guitars.

Spotify

Genre: Everything and anything.

SubmitHub

Genres: A variety dependant on individual curators.

Soave Records

Genres: Electronic/house/pop.

Daily Playlists

Genres: Everything and anything.

MySphera

Genre: Pretty much anything you can think of!

VGM & R

Genre: New music.

SongPickr

Genre: Warm, vintage, organic.

The List (Rock-Out)

Genre: Rock (although other genres are on the main site).

Drop Track

Genre: Various

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