Photo by kaboompics, CC0 1.0

You may be a traditional musician, just a songwriter with a guitar, an orchestral flutist or a garage band. Whatever your roots, you’ve realized it’s time to take your game to the next level and start digitizing your music. The internet is full of possibilities to share and collaborate with other musicians, get work and promote yourself. These days you don’t need a label backing behind you to produce professional quality recordings in your own home.

Keeping the business of music in mind, any musician can use the internet to promote and sell their music all by themselves. In this article we discuss how you can become a true one-man-band with the help of some hardware, software and musician-friendly sites.

Get Technical

Even if you play physical instruments in your live performances, the software and hardware gadgets made available to musicians today are more than just luxuries, they’re becoming necessities. While these tools are not necessary to start sharing and profiting from your music online, you should seriously consider them ifyou ever want to make digital music, edit your live recordings or make the most of collaborations and samples.

DAWs are Digital Audio Workstations where you can upload recordings, record directly to them, or create music within them using digital instruments. Some DAWs have compatible MIDI controllers, like Ableton, who publishes Ableton Live and Push to work together for digital artists, DJs and other musicians.

DAWs and MIDI controllers take a little time to learn, but you can check out Ableton tutorials and others to get started. Once you become proficient you won’t have to depend on anyone else to mix and master your recordings. You can create your own high-quality files to upload, share and sell. With good MIDI controllers, you can create entire songs in minutes using digital instruments you’ve never even held in real life. It gives you an amazing amount of versatility for live performances and recording sessions alike.

Where to Post Your Music

Now for the hubs that will become your new home as you start sharing music. There are a lot of places online where you can share your music and videos, but always keep your eyes and ears out for companies trying to take advantage of your hard work. Don’t sign up for any site which takes too much of your money, strips you of copyright or hold you to any other shady contingencies.

  • YouTube: There are plenty of people from Justin Bieber to Katy Perry who found their success from YouTube. In addition to being a place to be discovered by new eyes, YouTube is an extremely familiar place to send existing fans- just tell them to subscribe to your YouTube page.
  • fm: A favorite of independent musicians, Last.fm makes recommendations to its listeners and cycles new music to new consumers. It’s a great way to get your message out, and you can decide whether people can access your music for free or through subscription only. Last.fm also provides musicians with helpful statistics on how their music is being received.
  • Spotify: Like Last.fm, Spotify is built to list and recommend independent artists alongside popular, existing artists, so it’s a great way to get associated with successful musicians. Spotify pays you per stream.
  • SoundCloud: While SoundCloud may seem like a hard sell to independent musicians, as they only offer an invite-only sign-up form for their “shared revenue” option, where they share money made from advertisement with their artists. Short of this Premier Account, SoundCloud is essentially a social-media based streaming service. Users and artists are encouraged to communicate with comments, likes and follows, so it does provide an opportunity to get your sound out to a receptive audience.

The Future of Music

Record sales are still alive but consumers are ready and looking for music online. Give your fans and prospective audience a chance to hear you by posting on a variety of platforms and keeping your technical skills up-to-date. It’s your job to use technology to your advantage, not to let it pass you by.

Article in collaboration with Luke Peters