10 Ways to Build an Online Presence For Musicians and Producers

Right now there are 2 music business models. The traditional major label model and the new music business. In the new model their are many paths, opportunities, and revenue streams that are available for you to pursue. It's up to you to figure out which opportunities are right for you and your goals. Unfortunately, it's not as simple as: first you do this, then you do that, then you're good. It's a little more complicated because every musician and producer wants different things.

So the first step is to define what success or "making it" means to you.  Does it mean that you are able to quit your day job and make music full time? Does success mean that you're able to fund a new album/project? Does success mean that you've attracted an audience/fan base?

Once you've defined what success means to you, then the next step is to set challenging yet doable goals to achieve it. Break it down into milestones that are reachable. I've wrote in detail how to do this here: How To Set Attainable Goals For Success in the New Music Business.

Step 1: Set a Goal
Building an online presence is a large concept but it is not impossible. Even something that large can be broken down into achievable goals that you can do. So step 1 in building an online presence is to set your goals. What do you want to get out of an online presence? Do you want 100,000 google results when someone searches for your music? Do you want to have the music bloggers buzzing about you? Do you want to have an artist site that is popping with traffic? Do you want a lot of followers on social media? Again, all that is up to you. There is no right or wrong answer.

Step 2: Create a Hub
The important part of setting your goal is to identify where you are going to target your effort. If you decided to focus on a website, then that is your hub. If you decided to focus on a strong social media presence then that is your hub. If you wanted to share video content, then where you're doing that is your hub. Basically the hub is your base where everything eventually trickles back to. If you think of the virtual world like the physical world, think of the hub as your head quarters.

Step 3: Optimize Your Hub
Once you've figured out where you want to focus your traffic, then you need to make the most out of it. Add great content, solid artwork, user friendly design, ect. Constantly work to improve your hub and make it as good as possible. Take a website for example. No one wants to mess with a glitchy shitty looking website.

Step 4: Creating a Small Network
Once your hub is established now you need to start casting out your net in the virtual world. The goal with this "net" is to get someones attention by giving them something of value on another platform and drawing them back to your hub. Take this for an example. Your goal is to get someone back to your website to check out your music. You make a YouTube account and you put out entertaining videos. Occasionally you mention some content on your hub and direct those people back to your hub.

Step 5: Getting Social
Ultimately you need people. You cannot do it on your own. This doesn't mean spamming your shit every chance you get. What you need to do is spend time checking out what other musicians in your genre are doing and the music community surrounding it. Add thoughtful comments, share other peoples news, get involved with the community and become part of the scene. Add love to it not spam. That's getting social.

Step 6: Develop Real Connections
As you start getting more involved on the scene, you'll begin to establish real relationships with other musicians/producers, fans and "gatekeepers." If you think of the music world as separate communities that combine to make the whole, you'll realize that different people play a different role in each community. You could have amazing music but until you're involved with real people, you run the risk of toiling in obscurity.

Step 7: Attract an Audience
Once you're part of a community, you have a much better opportunity to reach a larger audience then just releasing music into the void of the internet. Just because it is easy to record and distribute your music doesn't mean it will just go viral and find an audience. Maybe for a few that has happened, but that is the exception not the norm.

The audience for your genre lives in the community, some more then others. Think of it kind of like an onion. You have people at the core that love discovering and sharing new music from emerging musicians/producers. On the outside of the onion are the people that casually listen to the hits from the genre. In the middle is everyone else. It's a spectrum and your job developing an audience is to appeal to the core audience first, so they share your music with the next layer.

Step 8: Distribute Your Music
Make sure your music is broadly distributed so it's available across the music markets: iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Rhapsody, Pandora, Soundcloud, YouTube, wherever. Most people are not going to pay to hear your music the first time they listen to it. You are going to have to earn that support.

Step 9: Make it Easy for People to Support You
People have to connect with your music, you as a musician/band/producer, and your story before you've earned that. Once you have, make it easy for them to support you. Maybe they want to buy your album, make it easy for them to do that. Maybe they just want to stream your music, make that easy for them to do. Perhaps they want a shirt, make sure they can easily get a shirt. Maybe the only thing they can do is share your music to friends, make that easy to do too.

Step 10: Show Love to Your Fans
Once you've gotten to the point where you have an audience that cares about you, engage with them, show them you appreciate them, and thank them. Let them know how much they mean to you and care. Don't ever take them for granted, because without them you are nothing. Your fans are the single most important thing you have and you need to do everything possible to not fuck that up.

Bonus Step
Give back, help other people, and share the love. Spiderman has it right "with great power, comes great responsibility." If you've risen to the point where you've successfully achieved your goals, then you are in a position to help other people. It's very important that you do.

Thanks for reading and feel free to share, like and comment below.

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