I have a lot of experience using Bandcamp’s Discoverinator tool. It’s great, but it seems as though some bands are just throwing their music on the service and hoping it sticks. That’s not the best policy and here are a few ideas to improve use of the tool.
1) Make Your Album Available – While it might seem like a loss of possible revenue to put the entire album online streaming for free (but charging for the download), it is a worthwhile investment. Most music buyers in today’s diverse environment will not buy an album on first listen. However, it gives them a chance to hear more than one song from you.
2) Make Your First Song Your best – I know practical advice upsets artists sometimes. You might want the beginning of the album to begin with a psychedelic intro inspired by an acid trip you had a few years ago, but if you’re a classical pianist that may not be the best way to go. You can set a song other than the actual first track to be the first one that plays if people preview your album. Do that. Choose wisely. Ask yourself, “what is the song most indicative of my sound?” and use that track.
3) Tag Well – It’s amazing how many artists try to use “catch all” tags. Don’t try to get your music into other genres. Use tags that will perfectly describe the music. If you need help, contact music writers (like us!) to help describe the music. Tag the prominent instruments, stylistic influences, and even other artists, but don’t just tag popular genres. I run into a lot of bands with the tag “folk” that are about as folk as Snoop Dogg.
4) Choose Album Art Wisely – If you’re marketing a remix album, or an acoustic version of another studio album slap some different cover art on it. Again, make sure it’s appropriate to your genre. It’s amazing how much a consumers judge a CD by its cover. While bands don’t have much control over how an image will be received, it is possible to “lose” an audience with a misleading or outrageous cover.
5) Include Lyrics – This, again, may seem like giving too much away. But a lot of listeners like to follow along with the lyrics. If you’re a singer-songwriter afraid of someone stealing your work then hire a better lawyer. This is a fantastic opportunity to extend a second level of connection between artist and listener. When listeners can read along it helps them grasp the message of the song and increases your chances of getting tweeted or otherwise posted. That may seem a flippant point to an artist, but it can make your work spread like wildfire.
I hope these ideas will help a few artists be more precise with their posting. Another thing worth mentioning; please do not post eight songs off of one album as eight separate entries. Do not, under any circumstances, make the listening experience cumbersome for people discovering your music. If they love it they will, indeed, click each song. But if they are on the fence, they WILL move on. Don’t give them that chance.
The bottom line to all of this is to put your best effort forward. Think about how you’ve put hours of effort and often thousands of dollars into producing an album or demo. There’s no reason to shortcut now. Be sure to share your work widely. Get your loyal fan base buying the album (even if that is just Grandma and Aunt Sue). Offer packages with autographed copies. Do what you can to move up those rankings so that listeners are all the more likely to gain access to your music. Thanks for reading and good luck.