If you play in a band today, having a strong online presence is of the utmost importance. More and more people are looking to the Internet as their primary source of discovering new music. Thanks to the Internet, the playing field between signed and unsigned bands has become level and you don’t need a million dollar marketing budget anymore to influence large numbers of people around the world. With good marketing skills, some Photoshop savvy, and good old-fashioned hard work, your band can reach millions of potential fans by harnessing the power of the Internet.
The key lies in promoting your band in the right places, and it’s not always easy with the seemingly endless pile of websites out there that offer MP3 hosting, free promotional services, promise to get your band all of the exposure in the world. Sorting through this mess and trying to figure out which ones are worthwhile and which ones are not can be quite time consuming. While signing up for as many sites as possible will benefit your band, I’ve sorted through the garbage and picked the top 7 websites that your band absolutely must take part in if nothing else.
MySpace (myspace.com) – With over 250 million users and growing daily, MySpace is the largest social networking site in the world. It is almost a requirement for your band to have a MySpace page. So much in fact, many popular bands are promoting their MySpace pages more than their official websites. Plus, fans are now more likely to visit a band’s MySpace page instead of their official website to fetch news updates, photos, music, and more.
Facebook (facebook.com) – A close second to MySpace in terms of having an incredibly large volume of users. Although a little less geared towards music than MySpace, there’s no reason why your band shouldn’t be part of a website boasting around 150 million users. Facebook provides many services for artists that let them update their fans with ease and simplicity. Many independent bands overlook the benefits of being on Facebook, don’t be one of them.
ReverbNation (reverbnation.com) – This highly underrated website has a large array of features that range from mailing lists to distribution services. Although Reverb Nation is not as popular as some of the other music sites, it ranks as one of the most important ones to be on because of its growth capability. You’d be hard pressed to find another website out there that is willing to share half of it’s advertising revenue with their artists. Mark my words; THIS is the format of the future record labels with the downfall of CDs and the rise of music sharing. Get onboard with these guys right now!
Imeem (imeem.com) – Another great social networking site which allows users to upload their favorite music, videos, blogs, photos, and more. With 25 million visitors per month and 65,000 new registrations per day, it’s important for your band to become a part of this growing community. They have also reached agreements with major record labels to share advertising revenue with them, which opens up the possibilities for future advertising revenue sharing with independent artists.
Last.fm (last.fm)- With over 21 million users and hot on the heels of Imeem, Last.fm is one of the largest communities of music fans on the Internet. With Last.fm you can set up your own radio station and add your music to other stations on the website. The site even helps indie musicians by recommending their music to people based on their current taste in national acts. This is a great way to leverage the national acts in order to gain new listeners!
iLike (ilike.com) – iLike is a highly interconnected website that links to many other social websites such as MySpace, Facebook, Bebo, and more. iLike is used in conjunction with many other companies and applications such as Apple’s iTunes. Once you publish your music on iLike, you can manage your presence on Facebook, Ask.com, Orkut, Bebo, Hi5, and much more. More than 200,000 of the leading artists today use iLike to manage their presence on the web, so join up and see what they can do for your band.
PureVolume (purevolume.com) – PureVolume has been one of the leaders in music hosting since 2003. The site carries mostly rock bands, but all genres are welcome. They offer a paid Pro service that in my opinion isn’t worth it, but the free version should be taken advantage of.
While this list only includes the top 7, your search for free promotion on the Internet should never stop. My band took part in MySpace in the website’s early development days. I could have never seen the growth of MySpace to astronomical proportions all those years ago, so I’m glad I took part in the beginning! Invest your time researching promotional sites and sign up for as many as possible. You never know which one is going to be the next MySpace, and getting your band’s name on as many websites as possible will improve your credibility, search rankings, and popularity. Get busy!