I have been playing the guitar since I was in 8th grade. My sophomore year in high school, I took a classical guitar class. When the class was over, I was given the honor of proceeding to an advanced classical guitar class to finish out the year. Not because it was part of the curriculum, but because my teacher wanted on her own free time to teach myself and a few select students who showed great interest in becoming stronger musicians. I took this new-found knowledge and with a few talented friends, formed my first band Lateshift. We had a lot of fun for a few years before we went in different directions musically. As a result, I took some time away to work on my career.
Skip ahead four years now to 2005. I was back in college finishing the degree I never got (that will be a future story), I was involved in a serious relationship, and I was more independent. I also picked up the guitar again, and recorded my first full-length album Digital P. I was motivated by my drive for success. I was also motivated by new discoveries in technology that allowed for my music to be distributed.
I discovered MySpace and signed up for a page. I instantly uploaded a few songs, and immediately I was connected to my friends and potential fans through their superior networking system. Within several months, I had several thousand views on my music, and I felt successful. But this was seven years ago. Since then, there has been a distinct gradual difference in the way music is marketed online. First off, MySpace is no longer relevant. But if you do want your music to be put into the spotlight on MySpace, it has to be distributed through an online retailer like CDBaby or Tunecore. Both of these services have increased their prices in recent years in order to compete with each other.
Meanwhile, Facebook, the relevant social network service, has removed their music player from their fan pages. If you want your fans to hear music on Facebook, you have to pay for a premium service through Reverbnation or some other ones I can’t think of right now and allow third party access to your Facebook account. But be careful because when I tried to do this, my Norton responded that this content contains malware. So then what options am I left with? Twitter?!? Or some other social networking site no one’s ever heard of??
Obviously these online companies are businesses. They want to make a profit, and that’s completely understandable. But so are us musicians. Unless we have fans throwing donations at us, we can’t afford to distribute the music. On the other hand, fans aren’t going to hear the music unless we distribute it first! It’s a vicious circle.