Promote your band on free mp3 services
Thanks to yourself and thousands of other famous-to-be band members the guys in the big recording companies (same guys who mercilessly prosecute those downloading mp3s) have a medium to push their stuff through (if they do not actually own the service themselves). You will see all those famous burger kings among the ads on “your” profile on the free mp3 service – competing for the attention of the people you manage to get to go to your profile. Thank you for promoting Britney & Co.
To promote or not to promote?
It makes no sense at all to promote your free mp3 profile. It gives you no benefit, why should you advertise it? To get more visitors? But why on earth should you promote something you do not own and what does not work for you on its own? You have actually to promote the profile by yourself to get your visitors. I have seen reasonable people falling for this trap, do not feel ashamed if you did yourself.
What to do then? Is there an alternative? This obviously goes back to the mantra you have certainly heard already: make your own website. Hosting packages including domain registration can cost around 35 euro a year, with reasonable traffic allowance of about 50 gigabytes a month. Now you can promote something you really own. Your domain, your website, your band name. If you need more bandwidth, use the likes of rapidshare, but place the links on your own website.
If you are bored, you can make your profiles on Soundclick and other similar websites but do not be stupid and do not advertise them. If you get a visitor or two per month, ok – was it worth the hassle? But do not put the addresses on your promo materials, do not waste your time and effort on promoting somebody else’s business. Promote yours instead.
Premium paid services
The free mp3 sites usually offer some paid services, so it is worthy to give an example here. On lastfm you can get 100 guaranteed radio plays for 16.50 euro – about 25 bucks. Of those, 10 people will click “skip”(it was supposed to be 100 guaranteed plays – it is not, skips do count as played), two will ban your band (never play this again function – counts as played also), 1 will “love”. So 88 people will actually listen, if they are not in the loo, on the phone or walking their dog. You gained one fan for 16.50 euro.
You must be joking guys. Tried it once, never again. At ten times cheaper it would still be too dear from the bang-for-your-buck point of view.
For this money (16.50) euro I can have roughly 300-400 unique visits to this website of which over a half of the visitors will listen to at least one song and browse a couple of pages and a quarter of them will download a whole album, and a couple of them will sign up for the newsletter, and one-two will place some link back on their website, blog, on digg and so on.
Here I am the king, I can do and say whatever I want, I can slag the rich and famous and nobody can delete my profile for the violation of some vague terms of “service”.
How does this compare to the “value” of the premium service offered by lastfm? Odd 88 guys having listened / not listened to one song? Just forget about it.
For 16.50 euro I can have half a year of stable web hosting, domain registration included – and I can concentrate on promoting only one address, the one I own and control, an address where nobody can display bands’ and vacuum cleaners’ ads and distract my hard won visitors by offering services to them.