Online Promotion for Indie Musicians

I have been recently engaging on a campaign of “relentless” self-promotion.

I don’t believe that it is something that comes naturally to most musicians (most of us are not business people or business majors obviously) and this is likely why a lot of us fail.

Who hasn’t cringed when they have opened an unsolicited email from some random musician on myspace who says something like, “if you like The Killers, you will looooooove my music!”

Yuck!

There’s gotta be a better way to do it.  I’m not sure how, but I have started (quietly) promoting my music mostly online.

Here are some sites that you can use for music promotion:

1. Last.fm

This site has a lot of features so you are able to control the music and artist information, even able to link your twitter feed to your page.  Also, it is pretty fun to use.  I haven’t yet interacted much with the “groups” or community features.

http://www.last.fm/music/Nancy+Nishihira

2. CDBaby

Although CDBaby hasn’t been running as smoothly as when Derek Sivers ran the place, it is still a great way to have low cost digital distribution ($35 to sign up).  My name and CD is all over the internet now, which is pretty impressive.  Even if no one sees it!  However, their customer service has been terrible lately.

http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/NancyNishihira

3. Twitter

Twitter is a great way to tell everyone anything instantaneously (as long as you can fit it within the character limit).  Also, you can link your twitter feed to many different sites, so it is very convenient.  Some people sound really crazy when you read their twitter feed though.  I may be one of them.

http://twitter.com/nancynishihira

4. Myspace

Myspace is not the social networking hub it once was.  The trashy in-your-face ads took away any desire I’ve had to visit the site, so I visit infrequently.  It is still a good place to list your other links in case someone happens to stumble on your page.  However, it seems some musicians have had success on myspace.

http://www.myspace.com/nancynishihira

5. Facebook

Facebook is a cleaner, less glitchy, more private website to use.  It is now more popular than myspace.  I have recently created my Facebook fan page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-Nishihira/235144706238?v=info

I am not sure what the success rate is for fan pages via Facebook, as many less tech savvy people can get confused by all the tabs and boxes.

6. YouTube

I haven’t tried any sort of promoting on youtube yet, mostly because of the lengthy amount of time that it would take for me to make music videos and upload them to the site.  For anyone with the time and ambition, it would be a great place to promote your music.  I intend to do so in the future.

7. Amazon.com

Amazon has a new feature called “artist central” where you can create a page and upload mp3s and they will link it to your album (my album was already linked as CDbaby had distributed it to Amazon already).  It doesn’t seem to give you the kind of control that other sites like last.fm provide, but this service is still in the beta stage.

http://www.amazon.com/Single-Breath-Nancy-Nishihira/dp/B000OYCAY6/ref=ntt_mus_ep_wlb_dpt

8. iLike

I am not sure how well music is promoted via iLike, as it has not really done much for me.  They did have this thing where they would make your music into an iPhone app, which sounded cool, but I don’t have an iPhone.

http://www.ilike.com/artist/Nancy+Nishihira

If anyone has any other suggestions of good promotional sites, please let me know!

life and how to live it

So… I have been busy.

First, (or: most recently) I’ve updated my twitter page with a customized background: http://twitter.com/nancynishihira

It’s not perfect, but it is something fun until I feel like modifying it to fit different size monitors!

Also, I’ve been working on the idea of an EPK, or Electronic Press Kit… and I don’t really know exactly where to start.

I’ve got the picture (also see the top left hand corner of my newly designed twitter page)…

And I’ve tried to update my many web pages… finally got the cover to my CD up on last.fm…

Which can be viewed here: http://www.last.fm/music/Nancy+Nishihira

Also, I think I’ve finally (?) been able to get control of the account.

However, I still have to design an album cover for a tiny 3 song EP I’m going to stream on last.fm. (Perhaps I will sell it on CDBaby once the site is situated).

The album is called “Long Lost” and so far, I have the first track, “Infatuation, My Obsession” up to stream.  I converted it from tape (cassette tape!) to mp3.

There are two other tracks, which I still need to convert and add…  These are very old tracks, professionally recorded, which I just “rediscovered”.  I haven’t heard them for quite sometime.  I eventually hope to convert my entire tape collection to mp3.

Still seems like it will be awhile before I can get music onto Pandora; it seems that something on Amazon has to do something and for that to work CDBaby has to have stuff and a barcode and whatever else.

I am actually very excited about making music and art right now.

I have a really cool art idea but I am keeping it quiet now because I don’t want anyone to take my idea until I am done with it!

Listening to so much music has been very inspiring.  Right now, I love Vienna Teng (Hope on Fire is my current favorite).  She has an amazing voice.   I also love the song Grow Grow Grow by PJ Harvey.  AMAZING.

I’d love to get on youtube and record some songs too… I don’t think it’s time yet though.  I’m a little rusty and don’t really have the time to sit down and record stuff, although I also have some fun video ideas.

And as for Tanaka Style…

I am compiling a list of songs to record.  It is likely that the Tanaka Style (or 「田中スタイル」) stuff will be recorded before my solo stuff will.  There is a lot less pressure and more fun!

My next step, after I lay the groundwork… is to play some open mic.

Pandora, Last.fm and being half-Asian

So, I’ve been listening to a lot of internet radio lately, and the best site that I have found so far is Pandora, as far as a station that will play what you want to hear and that is good at predicting what you like to hear.

I think the only problem that I have noticed is that because they are breaking down songs into parts (i.e., “dynamic female vocal”), a person has to listen and categorize all of these songs, so they are missing a lot of very good songs.  And of course, there are things mislabeled.  When you type in Cocco (as in the Okinawan J-pop artist) you get some band that is really called Coco and is totally unrelated.  

Another huge flaw is that Pandora does not have my favorite J-Rock group, GLAY, aka “The Japanese Beatles”.

They do have a fairly good selection of music from around the world, so I will give them kudos for that.

 

Last.fm is fun because it “scrobbles” your music, and tracks everything that you listen to, so that you can share compatibility with your friends.  I was also able to easily upload my music to Last.fm, where Pandora does not currently have an option for that. 

The issue that I have with Last.fm is that it seems to categorize artists by popularity (major label vs. not) when you want to listen to a specific genre.  And if you listen to a genre station for more than an hour, it will literally start playing the exact same songs over again.  Probably the worst thing is that if you want to listen to Ben Folds, for example, and you type his name in the search box, it will play music that they think sounds like Ben Folds, but will NEVER actually play a Ben Folds song.  Which is really frustrating.

 

But I found out a weird thing the other day.  I guess people started tagging artists… according to how Asian they are!?

So under the “half-asian” tag, I am one of the top artists. (Second row from the top, on the right)

 

straight from last.fm

straight from last.fm

 

I will say I don’t think that this tag is entirely accurate; I’m sure some of the women (and it is all women on this page for some reason) are entirely Asian.

Strange…