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SongCast Music Distribution
Distribute & Sell Your Music Online!
Distribute & Sell Your Music Online!

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Targeted merchandising and constant outreach are keys:

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How do you discover new music?
By Indie Artist Todd A

SongCast’s Indie Music Insider covers music from an artist’s perspective. Of course, we’re interested in how indie artists get found. To get to the bottom of that issue, we turned to the artists we have covered to find out they find new music.
Here are the responses from some of the artists we’ve covered or collaborated with through the past year to this question:
How do you discover new music?
“I’m a passive music listener, meaning I don’t actively seek out to discover new music. However, I seem to find new through listening the SOMAFMapp, or using Shazam while I’m listening to background music in TV shows or radio programs. I never go to where I’m ‘supposed’ to discover new music, namely the area that’s designated for it in say Apple Music or iTunes Store.”
— Boris Bengin, Renaissance man
“These days, I mostly discover music via hip friends and the occasional glance at a music blog.”
— Jerry James, Foxymorons
“2017: It’s mostly cruising Spotify ‘new releases’ or listening to artist radio on Spotify and looking up when I hear something interesting. Stereogum is the only music website I still check out from time to time. I also still hear about some new music from my Twitter feed or personal recommendations from friends.
“2007: It was mp3 music blogs, magazines, and friends."
“1997: It was magazines and used CD shops.”
— David Dewese, Foxymorons (check out their DIY Spotlight)
“Discover weekly on Spotify + Friends + going to shows.”
— Alyssandra Nighswonger (we talked to her about her project The Road to the American Woman)
“ I often discover new music through friends, films, or when my favorite artist promotes an artist they like!"
— Briana Harley, Sallie May (check out their DIY Spotlight)
“I discover new music mostly via friends or through podcasts (All Songs Considered, Sound Opinions, etc.). Occasionally I’ll hear a song on a movie or a show and Shazam it, then dig deeper on that artist via Spotify.”
— Stephen Jerkins, The Nobility (check out their DIY Spotlight)
“I find music typically through word of mouth. Music is most compelling to check out if it comes with a recommendation from a good friend or colleague.”
— Allen Morris, solo artist and member of Alpha Particles (we spoke to Allen about How to Make Your Recording Session As Productive As Possible)
“Spotify is really great for finding ‘new’ stuff — usually releases by bands I like that I may have missed. It’s also a nice way to listen to bands before deciding if you want to spend money on them (or not).”
— Ryan Ervin, The Minor Toughs (check out the DIY Spotlight with Ryan)
“Mostly from Mike Shepherd, but don’t tell him I said that.”
— Currey M. May, Tower Defense (check out their DIY Spotlight)
This year, SongCast introduced the SongCast Music Discovery app to help listeners discover great indie artists who distribute their music through SongCast. Read more about the app and download it here:

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1. Making friends with the wrong people:

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Adele makes sure to be very elegant when it comes to award show attire, music videos, and even in the music itself:

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A slow and steady approach to promote your music locally is the best path toward more recognition:

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Live Music is Marginalized by Those Who Stage It
By Indie Artist Todd A

A few years ago, I was old enough to hear the excuse from my friends that they couldn’t make my shows on weeknights. I grudgingly understood. I was the single guy still playing weeknight gigs. Now, I feel old enough to give that excuse myself.
Indeed, there is an entire class of people who used to go to shows and now feel too old. Part of that is generational: yes, we just don’t feel like doing the weeknight things we used to do. But a large part of it is institutional: the venues that host live music are actively marginalizing a potentially huge audience.

Last year, I wrote a piece for SongCast about the simple changes venues could make to strengthen relationships with performers.

There is just as much that venues can do to strengthen relationships with audiences and support music as an art form in general.

Last month, I went out to a show myself. It was in a backroom bar connected to a restaurant. The listed show time was 9pm. I hadn’t been there in a while. I knew the bands were the typical weekend DJ music that the bar hosted so I assumed they might start close to 9pm.

When I arrived, the restaurant section was still fairly full but it was clear that this was the last round of diners. The bar in the back wasn’t open so I sat at the main bar as quite a few bar patrons arrived. Around 10:15pm, I was getting itchy. The band was setting up. A sound guy was checking microphones, speakers, and lights but no one seemed to be in a hurry. Meanwhile, the restaurant itself had emptied.

Why do this?

This is too common a scenario: a restaurant / coffee shop / or other makeshift venue that regularly hosts music does not want to bother their main business’s customers so they wait until those customers leave to start the entertainment. Or they push the music into a back room where it won’t bother the majority of patrons.

The problem is obvious though. I know that, had I been playing that show, none of my married, job-holding friends would have come out. Because they don’t want to see a show that starts around 10:30pm with three bands. So not only does the venue scare away a potential audience, not only do they not include their built-in audience, they also contribute to an alienation of those audiences by making it seem that live music is not for married parents with 9 to 5 jobs.

So, most musicians end up facing an empty room frequently when any potential audience has been marginalized enough to stay home.

This is a ridiculous situation on its face. Live music isn’t just for young people with flexible schedules. Live music should be for everyone. I know at least ten people who would have been at that show with me if it had started at 8pm in the main restaurant. We’d have all eaten dinner and bought drinks. Heck, it could have even started at 9pm and I’d have been able to convince a few people to hang around for the first band.

Because venues set these rules to benefit their existing model, they don’t contribute positively to the culture of live music. They fundamentally misunderstand the nature of live performance. A live performance isn’t so precious an event that its audience cannot eat during it. Possibly, venues think they are doing right by their performers to make sure the evening’s entertainment is set apart from the everyday use of the space.

That is completely backwards though. Venues — especially restaurants, bars, coffee shops who host music — need to make the live performance a part of their own culture. Only by doing this do they contribute to the culture of live music itself.
We are constantly besieged by music. It blares out of speakers in the grocery store, restaurants, the dentist’s office. We’ve become inured to its presence, no longer feeling that particular spark when a great song comes on. Live music could be and should be a shock to this culture. It should be right there in front of you: a sloppy, poorly-mixed band with loud cymbals banging away in the Jackson Square of your neighborhood, enticing you to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime performance that hasn’t been sequestered away into the back bar after the other patrons leave.

Day time shows, dinner shows, all day shows, patio shows, sidewalk performers —try anything to break the monotony of the music starting late at night. Put on shows to include the audience you already have. If you want to be a music venue, be a venue of music. To keep live music alive, we need a participatory audience. We shouldn’t try to segregate certain types of music into late hours and thus marginalize entire generations of people from participating.

Read more on the SongCast Indie Artist Insider Blog:
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