The path to success for most aspiring musicians isn’t straight - but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it easier for yourself.
Thanks to the internet, there are many resources you can readily use to raise money, find new gigs, promote your songs, and build a fan base. Which ones are worth your time?
We've researched a recommended five websites every aspiring musician should put time into while building their careers.
SoundCloud is a music streaming platform that lets music lovers listen to millions of songs for free. Users can also tune in to podcasts as well. It’s no wonder the platform has an average of 175 million unique monthly listeners.
But SoundCloud is also one of the most popular websites for aspiring musicians because it lets them easily upload and share their own music. No record deals or investment fees are required! It’s common to see social media posts saying “Check out my Soundcloud!” with a link to a profile full of song clips.
Founders Alexander Ljung, a sound designer, and Eric Wahlforss, an electronic musician, intended SoundCloud to be a collaborative platform on which artists can share and discuss their music. Over time, the beloved service turned into a publishing tool through which music can be distributed.
While a paid account isn't required to promote your music, musicians can monetize their SoundCloud accounts through the site's "Premier" program. Independent artists garnering at least 5,000 plays a month are eligible to sign up. You'll need to be a "Pro" or "Pro Unlimited" subscriber though. Even with the paywall, SoundCloud is absolutely worth your time to set up an account.
As an up-and-coming artist, having your own website is essential. However, this may pose a problem if you’re not a technical person. That’s where Bandzoogle comes in.
Bandzoogle is an online space that offers easy-to-use tools for musicians to build their own website, integrate it with their social media accounts, advertise their music, and sell items to fans without needing web design skills. To gain access to these tools, you’ll only have to pay a flat monthly fee of $12.46 a month for a standard account. More than 37,000 artists now use the platform, so you’ll be in good company when you sign up.
Chris Vinson, the founder of Bandzoogle, is a musician himself. He built a website for his band Rubberman, but soon after, he was helping build websites for other musicians he knew. This paved the way for the launch of his own platform, which is designed to empower musicians by making user-friendly technology accessible.
Why should you use it over another site like Wordpress or Squarespace? Bandzoogle is designed specifically for musicians, including selling tools to earn more revenue as an artist. You can make songs, merchandise, concert tickets, and even monthly supporter subscriptions available to your fan base. As an added bonus, Bandzoogle offers an easy-to-create "electronic press kit" for your site to share with media and industry.
Founded in 2008 by techpreneur Ethan Diamond and developers Shawn Grunberger, Joe Holt, and Neal Tucker, Bandcamp is an online music company meant to support emerging artists by providing free music uploads, custom pricing, and merchandise sales. Artists can easily customize pages to reflect branding thanks to an intuitive visual editor. You have complete control over how you present yourself and sell your music.
In exchange, Bandcamp gets 15% commission on digital sales and 10% on sales of physical merchandise. The remaining 80-85%, goes directly to the artist, and the site pays out daily. Bandcamp has helped generate more than $400 million in sales for their artists!
Visitors can browse through music catalogs, stream tracks, and follow their favorite artists. They can also discover new acts, buy singles or albums, and send purchased music as gifts. A mobile app is available to give fans more opportunities to explore and take their music catalogue with them.
Whether you’re a solo artist looking for collaborators or a musician in search of band members, you’ll find Bandmix a worthwhile resource. Bandmix is an online network that connects local musicians to one another by facilitating searches via zip code or current location.
Simply create a profile with pertinent information like instrument skills, musical preferences, and current needs. The more details you provide, the more accurate the matches will be. Bandmix uses a proprietary algorithm to find matches.
Entrepreneur and musician Davis Sales founded Bandmix after he encountered difficulty looking for local musicians with the same styles and goals. At first, the platform serviced only the United States, but has since expanded to Canada, the UK, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, and Australia.
The lack of both community and funding is a big obstacle when you're still an up-and-coming musician, but you can get by with a little help from your friends - or sometimes even from strangers.
Social crowdfunding platform dreamOway brings together aspiring dreamers and donors willing to provide financial support. Scientist-turned-founder and CEO Justine Sinclair believes a supportive community composed of like-minded people can turn dreams into reality. To date, dreamOway hosts hundreds of crowdfunding campaigns and given a voice to aspiring dreamers - like you!
Using the platform's simple goal structure, a musician like you can ask for donations for instruments, lessons, equipment, and studio time, both to the in-app community or by sharing you campaign across social media.
Beyond funding, you can also get encouragement from the ever-growing community of other musicians. Simply share your story by creating and posting videos on the app, set your profile to the audience you want (either public for everyone or private for family and friends), and build relationships with visionary supporters to secure funding and establish networks.
With these five websites at your fingertips, there's no reason to let your dreams be just dreams. Every musician has a story. Tell yours!