Wrapping Up the Cloud (Pt. 5 – Finale)

Flatpicking acoustic guitar guru Tony Rice can be found in The Cloud at the music streaming service Grooveshark.

With the enormous amount of musical data floating around the Internet and the seemingly unlimited number of ways to distribute it, I begrudgingly admit that I only have a  limited amount of time and space to dedicate to the subject, therefore I am wrapping up my multi-part series on Music in The Cloud.  Constraints aside, this post will look at some of the other portions of The Cloud that help musicians promote their music.

The Swedish music streaming company Spotify has become a major player in the music industry in just four short years.  As a “freemiuim” service Spotify allows registered users to search through and play millions of selected music tracks from a range of major and independent record labels.  Commercial advertisements are frequently interjected into the music stream for the free portion of the service, but listeners who upgrade to the premium (paid) service lose the ads and gain access to higher bit rate streams and mobile phone apps.

The way that Spotify benefits the independent musician is that it pays royalties to artists and/or labels for every time they play their song.  Because all the music played on Spotify is tracked – all participating labels and artists have access to reporting from Spotify allowing the artist the ability to see where and how their popularity is growing.  Spotify actually encourages independent artists to use artist aggregators in order to license their music so that it can be  played on music streaming sites.  For instance, Tunecore is one of many digital music distributors (or aggregators) that enters into agreements with music labels and artists. For a fee, Tunecore will distribute and stream digital copies of single tracks or entire albums to retail outlets like iTunes and amazon.com or music streaming sites like Spotify. Some of the other benefits Tunecore claims to offer musicians (from Tunecore’s website):

  • Musicians retain 100% of royalties and maintain all rights to their music
  • Songs can be made available on music video games like Rock Band
  • Physical on-demand distribution at Amazon
  • A streaming music player for the musicians’ webpage that plays the artists’ own music
  • Physical distribution, licensing and endorsement deals
  • Free digital cover art or physical CD art

Music streaming sites are usually heavily embedded with social media features as well.  Grooveshark, another music streaming service, allows users to sign in with their Facebook, twitter or Google plus account. As users listen to songs, they can post comments and the link to the music on their social media page of preference.  This has huge benefits for musicians when building a fanbase.  For artists, the task of gaining exposure through “word-of-mouth” promotion is transformed online with these types of embedded social media applications.

I’m sure this will not be the last post regarding music in The Cloud, but I want to open the blog to another range of topics. And besides, it’s been too long since I mentioned Valient Thorr.

Till next time…

The Cloud – It’s a Reverbnation and We’re All Just Livin’ in it (pt. 3)

Even from "way down on the farm," The Carolina Chocolate Drops can access The Cloud through reverbnation.

In my seemingly never-ending search for information about how new media is used by musicians, I run up against a few barriers;  for instance, emails to new media companies go unanswered.  But the corporate cold-shoulder aside, my biggest hurdle is the size of The Cloud.  Everyday I discover different bands using an array of online tools to embed their music to a blog or to post gig announcements in some form of social media.  So, without admitting I’m overwhelmed, I’ll just say that I will try to give as much attention to each online service that I can.  Today I will start with a big one: reverbnation.com

Created in 2006, reverbnation.com claims to have “the best tools for musicians and the best music for everyone else.”  With nearly 2 million artists using their service, they certainly claim a large chunk of music real estate in The Cloud.  From reverbnation’s about page:

ReverbNation.com is the leading online music-marketing platform used by over 1,995,000 artists — plus managers, record labels, and venues — to grow their reach, influence, and business across the internet. ReverbNation.com provides free and affordable solutions to individual artists and the music industry professionals that support them in the areas of web promotion, fan-relationship management, digital distribution, social-media marketing, direct-to-fan e-commerce, fan-behavior measurement, sentiment tracking, web-site hosting, and concert booking and promotion

Quite a lot there, I know, but reverbnation is a monster when it comes to building relationships with fans, labels, venues and producers.  More than 100,000 artists use their free FanReach emailing service which allows musicians to directly connect with fans.  For a premium upgrade, artists can have access to FanReachPro which is for bands who are trying to grow their fan base, book gigs, and earn money from selling merchandise and music.

In the true spirit of the “freemium” service, rudimentary tools get bands started with a profile, which allows them to access to music players and widgets and a multitude of other services. If bands want upgrade to the paid service they can access tools to customize their e-newsletters and press kits and get more detailed stats regarding their fan activity.

Reverbnation’s GigFinder service helps artists find venues that showcase bands similar in genre to their music.  It also allows users to search in a specific geography which is extremely helpful when booking tour dates.  With over 100,000 venue listings around the world, bands can extend their reach for gigs beyond their own backyard.

I didn’t intend for this entry to be a reverbnation commercial, but I have to admit that the sheer breadth and depth of their services for musicians is staggering.  It is an excellent alternative for bands that don’t have the time and resources to build and maintain their own website. For more about what they have to offer check out reverbnation’s Artist Features Page.

To see an example of reverbnation in action, check out The Carolina Chocolate Drops page

Next time, you guessed it, MORE CLOUD!