The fact that I want my music to be heard means I’m really outgoing, friendly, and comfortable talking to strangers, right? Nooooope. I am surprisingly shy. The spontaneity of live conversation makes me nervous. I would much rather have time to think about what I’m going to say without standing there going, “Uhhh …”
And the phone! I can’t begin to tell you how much I hate talking on the phone. The sound of a ringing phone haunts my nightmares. I am convinced I have been traumatized by having to answer office phones for most of my career. Is it someone calling to vent their frustration on me because my boss won’t return their call? Is it someone trying to scam me into buying something stupid? I don’t know! *Shudder*
I recently discovered that the internet is awash with ways to copyright, distribute, showcase, and yes, talk about music, none of which involve speaking to a live person. Having just completed a lot of research on the subject, I’d like to share the process I went through in finally getting my music out of my closet and into the ethersphere, all from the safety of my laptop.
(Note: None of the following will include detailed instructions. I’m just sharing the resources I used. It’s a lot of work to use these tools, so be prepared. But if you’re like me and you’d rather type than talk, it’s well worth it.)
First of all, the US Copyright Office has a pretty extensive online system. All their instructions are accessible by links and PDFs. I’ve registered songs and collections of songs there, paid by credit card, and even discussed issues with a representative via email.
After looking at ASCAP and BMI, I decided they were both evil in their own ways, but necessary to the goals I’ve set for myself. I settled on BMI and completed my registration entirely online. Their contract was available for me to read in full before signing digitally.
For distribution, I went with TuneCore after also looking at CD Baby and Bandcamp. Since I’m focusing on selling my songs rather than selling myself as a performer, TuneCore made more sense to me. Their Publishing Administration deal puts you in a database search-able by people looking for music to sync with TV, movies, and games. Since TuneCore gets a percentage of anything they place from this database, I assume they will push music they think is sync-able. I like that!
TuneCore also puts my songs on a HUGE array of multinational music services (like iTunes and Spotify). So in case one of my songs is just waiting to go viral in the Netherlands, it will get the chance.
For self-promotion, I signed up for the ubiquitous Soundcloud, since their players are everywhere and the community is huge and active as far as I can tell. So far I’m using their free option which gives me plenty of room to post songs to which I can link from various other self-promotion services (like Facebook, Google+, and Twitter). See my Music & Lyrics page for examples of their player.
And, of course, I went with WordPress for my website. It’s free, easy to set up, and I’ve been blogging here for several years already.
I wanted to have one place where interested people could have access to all my online presences, so I also created a page at About.me. It serves as a kind of hub for links to everything I’m doing online from my Facebook page to my various blogs. Gravatar does kind of the same thing (and I have a page there, too), but I like the look of About.me better.
Keep in mind that I interfaced with every one of these services without ever speaking to a live human. You may feel differently, but for me, it was heaven! So much accomplished without ever saying, “Uhhh …” So much information absorbed at my own pace with no pressure. So many decisions made with a click of my mouse. Heaven, I tell you!