Effective Music Presentation
So you’ve managed to make friends with a blogger, done all your homework and even gone so far as to write a decent tune. Then you go and fuck it all up by cramming their inbox with a clumsy, ham fisted email attachment that is impossible for them to use.
There are countless ways to get your music around the internet suffice to say emailing attachments is NOT the way to go about it.
But you’d be surprised how many dunces there are in the world. If someone claiming to be a production hotshot attempts to demonstrate their mastery of audio technology by emailing you a 20Mb attachment of their latest creation you don’t have to open the message to know that
- a) The person is a fucking retard
- b) Their music is utter toilet.
If you can’t figure out free audio hosting , you’re not going to be able to programme a drum pattern. But still you would be surprised at just how many people (and PR Companies) continue to clog up the internet with their stupidity.
So for this instalment of HowTo Get Blogged we’re going to cover some REALLLY simple tips on how to present your music and fine tune your files to elicit maximum plays, increase your chance of getting heard and maybe one day get sucked off by a swimsuit model as you’re being choppered to your next gig.
MAKE LIFE EASY FOR BLOGGERS
Starting from absolute basics here.Make it as easy as possible for a person to listen to and share your music. If it’s a headache they simply won’t bother.
If you send a blog an MP3 file and , for reasons unfathomable, they decide they want to post it – here is what the blog admin would have to do to get your track on their site.
- 1. Download your track
- 2. Stick it into itunes and adjust all the tag fields because you would have forgotten to do that properly
- 3. Export the tagged the track from itunes in a suitable Bit rate
- 4. Dig around for login credentials and FTP it to their server – if they can get through the local firewall (if moonlighting)
- 5. Copy the FTP path from the client
- 6. Paste the FTP path in a blog post and adjust the URL for audio player tags
- 7. Create a link for your track and paste that into the post.
- 8. Tear out own eyes , drink pint of bleach, repeatedly punch own groin.
Then, if that’s all gone according to plan, your music is available to the world.
That whole episode can take up to 10 minutes. THANKS SO MUCH. And still people get all uppity sending emails pissing and moaning about why you haven’t made them famous.
The above goes to highlight how tricky it can be to host an MP3. Compared with how simple and effective it is to host a player which streams your music. The process of which looks like this:
- 1. Copy embed link
- 2. Paste embed link
That.Is.It. Which would you rather deal with?
Audio Hosting Services
Audio hosting services allow you to keep your music online, organise it as you see fit and then share your tracks with others by sending simple links – not huge attachments.
It also enables you to find out where your listeners are coming from, how many plays you get and generally makes life loads easier for everyone.
The services offer a community with which to share music and contribute to groups where people might stumble across your tracks. It’s like Myspace but without all the pouting , hair gel and shit tattoos.
There are plenty of music hosting services available but the 2 biggest and best players are Bandcamp and Soundcloud. Both are free with monetized upgrade options. The free services are extremely good indeed.
Bandcamp allows you charge people for downloads if you like, for which Bandcamp take a fair cut. It is more “band” oriented. Until recently Bandcamp was losing out to Soundcloud on functionality stakes as Bandcamp didn’t used to get picked up by Hypemachine – Soundcloud however did. Now they both do so take you’re pick…
Soundcloud is more “producer” oriented and has been widely adopted by the dance music community.Both offer really cool audio players that can be customised and embedded into blog posts quickly and easily.
There is no reason why you can’t use both Bandcamp AND Soundcloud and then set up links to Bandcamp in your Soundcloud player .
That would work nicely and would allow Hype Machine compatibility and also permit payed downloads if you think you’re really that fucking precious
EFFECTIVE MUSIC PRESENTATION
Just sticking your tracks into Soundcloud and firing emails around doesn’t cut it.
You need spend a little time thinking about how to prepare your music and consider how it appears on the net.
The most common thing that people cock up is the titling information.
Hype Machine parses the title of your Soundcloud clip picking up hyphens and brackets to present the information correctly.
If you get it right, you’ll get more listens.
The format is very simple – it goes like this
Artist – Title (Remix)
So that is: ARTIST HYPHEN TITLE , not just a space , not a comma a HYPHEN.
If you do it this way it appears on the Hype Machine correctly.
Notice how the remix field in brackets is neatly highlighted and searchable in Hype Machine and the Artist and Title field are suitably shaded and spaced. Nice.
If it’s a sample, a clip, a low bit rate version DON’T include that in title field as it just makes everything untidy.
Title it correctly and add any further information in the description field. Humans are fickle beasts and are less inclined to listen to something that says (CLIP) or (LOW BIT RATE) or (SOON!)
They don’t know the bloody difference anyway, as long as your tune carries itself a 128k stream should be enough to pique interest.
As mentioned before – the average internet surfers attention span is…ooh a monkey fucking a frog….
You must grab their interest as quickly as possible.
If you’re in the business of writing dance music the chances of you presenting anything remotely interesting in first 32 bars of your track is fuck-all.
Dance music IS formulaic – the lead in to a track is largely for the benefit of DJ’s cueing and as a result most dance tracks pretty much start BANG BANG BANG (add snare where you see fit).
A perfect example is a track I’ve hosted on my soundcloud. But I’m posting it so I’m already interested geddit?
The tune doesn’t kick in for a minute, up until that point is sounds much the same as a billion other faceless house tracks.
So if you’re posting a track around with 32 leading bars of kick drum get to the meat and potatoes of the groove before the listener loses interest.
You have about 3 seconds so edit the top of your track out and get into the main groove very quickly.
You can always host another full length clip elsewhere on your Soundcloud which you can direct interested parties toward.
DON’T fade the track in. People dredging Soundcloud will just hear a second of silence , get bored and move on to the next post.
Cut the track in and get down to business.
When a soundcloud track is embedded including artwork is optional.
From a bloggers point of view it’s much nicer to be able to include the artwork as it makes their blog look all pretty and gay and saves time finding and hosting images to make the post look good . Make an effort with your artwork and you’ll get more interest.
With the move into the digital realm a lot of people overlook the importance of good artwork. Admittedly it’s not quite the same as it was when you handled a piece of vinyl cover art but taking some time to make your players look great will generate extra plays.
Take note from Slime Recordings. All their tracks have custom artwork and that really helps give the feeling that you’re getting a physical release rather than a bunch of zeros and ones.
You only need to glance at your Soundcloud dashboard to see what works and what doesn’t. Realistically you’ve only got a 300px X 300px canvas to work with so cramming too much information in is a big mistake.
Bare in mind that the artwork will often be shrunk to meet the display so creating something bold and clear that can be recognised in small format is the way to go.
What works in print will not work online and vice versa. Make an effort.
Shit artwork isn’t going to spoil a good tune or prevent it from getting played but smart artwork will make a good tune look better and adds a lot of professionalism to the whole package. If you present yourself professionally people are more like to take you seriously and give you listening time.
The best player format in Soundcloud is their new HTML5 coded version.
The reason this is most popular is because it displays and plays on all mobile devices. The other large and small format players require flash so you won’t have your music played by people browsing on iPhone or iPad.
Aim to get your artwork looking good on this format HTML5 player as it is the version that is most likely to be shared.
So there you have it – these tips, however simple, will put you ahead of the game . I’d suggest following them if you want to improve your chances of success in the world of Digital PR.
- Don’t send attachments – send links to your Soundcloud
- Tag and title in the correct format
- Top your track – sod the run in and get down to business
- Cut into your track – don’t fade in
- Make an effort with online artwork – simple designs that work in small format
I hope this information from the bloggers side of the server is useful… all comments and shares gratefully received.
Remember the vast majority of PR companies that charge you for their services don’t follow any of these tips.
You can do a better job yourself.
In the next installment there will be further information on how to re-blogged and scoring big brownie points which will hugely improve your chances of success in this awful merry-go-round of the music industry.