Being a musician is costly. Booking studio time, hiring talent, purchasing beats, ,marketing, advertising, and performances, all those expenses add up and very quickly. So when you're an independent artist with no or very little outside investment, and your monthly budget is limited, you must be strategic about every dollar spent, determine where to cut costs, and know when to avoid spending money all together. They say nothing in life is free, but luckily for musicians, that's not the case. There's far more freemium services readily available than you think. Here's some that have helped me along the way and guarantee will do the same for you:
- SubmitHub connects artists with blogs and labels directly, no endless searching for emails to contact the right editor. Everything gets done right through the platform. You create a profile, upload your music and social links, submit new music to blogs and/or labels and get a response within a few days. If you purchase premium credits, typically $1 per credit, than the blogs must at least play 30 seconds of your song and respond within 48-hours of submitting, and if not then you get that credit back on your account for future use towards another submission.
- ReverbNation is a great way to gain exposure and connect with other artists, labels, producers, and engineers. It's also a good substitute if you're not quite ready to build and manage a website. Upload music, show dates, music videos, submit to industry opportunities, advertise through their ad network, or take advantage of their digital press kit to send to media. I mean the list goes on as to what this site offers. Give it a try, I promise you won't be disappointed.
- SoundBetter is a fairly new platform that allows you to search and discover top engineers, producers, and recording studios in your area and receive free proposals/quotes prior to booking their services. Communication, proposal, and payment are all accomplished through the platform. It's sort of like an Airbnb type structure. You get reviews as well as get to review the talent you hired. I've used it several times and it's a very seamless and secure process. I'm a big fan of what they're doing.
- Hot 97 Who's Next is free to create an account and allows artists to submit tracks, receive feedback and ratings from listeners, and a chance to perform at the Hot 97 Who's Next showcase in partnership with TuneCore.
- Songkick is a site that provides concert discovery and ticket sales for your live shows. They've recently partnered with Spotify and will sync with your artist page to show your listeners upcoming show dates. In addition, you can embed that show schedule from Songkick onto your website. Best of all it's free to sign up!
- Indie on the Move is gaining traction in the music community as a valuable resource to book shows/tours, or better yet hire someone to do it for you. You get plenty of resources for free like access to venues looking to book performance acts as well as bands looking for independent artists to open up for their show. But of course if you pay for the premium membership you get access to their directory for colleges, universities, music festivals and more. They also have excellent industry advice available under their community section.
- MailChimp is a marketing automation platform that is initially free but as you grow your database, you'll eventually have to pay. However, it's a great way to manage and organize your email contacts, and send out mass emails to keep them informed on upcoming events, music news, and more.
- Lastly, for uploading music there's various sites out there that are free to sign up including SoundCloud, DatPiff, HotNewHipHop, Audiomack, and Bandcamp just to name a few. These sites are great if you're not quite ready to put your music on major digital platforms like Spotify, Tidal, etc. but still want to get your music heard by a mass audience.
There's several tools for independent artists right at your disposal. Hopefully you'll find some of these useful.They certainly were for me. Besides, nothing beats free, especially when it generates results. What are some of your favorite free platforms? Comment and share below.
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