Technology in recording music has evolved so much over the years that artists now have the ability to record high quality music using apps from their bedrooms and deliver those recordings digitally to their fans. The early digital distribution with peer-to-peer sharing seemed to be end of the music industry, as physical music revenues declined 76% over the last 10-year span.
In 2015 digital music sales took over physical sales for the first time ever, whilst subscribers to streaming services grew from 20 to 68 million over three years. Since this digital revolution, it is now easier for independent artists to get their music out there. Also their are now plenty of free tools artists can use which allows them to stay independent and retain revenue streams and music rights.
Here we have 10 free cloud-based apps that are popular in the music industry.
Slack is great tool for band members to keep in contact. Using iMessage is okay but important business decisions and gig dates can get buried in memes and food photos. Slack features a mobile and a desktop app and gives the ability to separate business from playful conversations, and also access important reminders and upcoming events etc.
Evernote is note-taking tool designed to help you remember everything. It has the ability to scan documents, save images and screenshots, create notebooks and much more. Bands have even used this to organise launch plans for kickstarter campaigns.
A lot of bands and artists used to rely on Google Alerts to track web mentions, but it’s effectiveness was not always great. Mention.com is more sophisticated. It monitors keywords that you choose, and includes social media, hashtag and username monitoring, blog mentions and more.Using this app you can keep on top of who is talking about you and engage to gain more fans.
YouTube offers so much marketing customisation, from annotations, info cards to tags and subtitles. It can become a huge time-sink to customise these on each video you upload. TubeBuddy is a free browser extension for Chrome which allows you to bulk process videos for your channel. You can edit, create and delete contentacross your entire video library saving hours of time.
Most artists know that they should be more active on social media but some just aren’t particular savvy in this area. We believe Instagress is the most powerful automated Instagram tool on the market. With targeting options like tags, usernames, locations and many more, Instagress can easily help you grow followers while improving engagement. They offer a free trial but paid services are also very cheap and probably worth it.
Spotify has over 60 million users and 30 million songs. The platform continues to lead with streaming innovations. Whereas Apple Music and Google Play choose to keep their user data private, Spotify launched Spotify Artist Insights which is a new beta platform where artists can view their play counts by day/month, compare metrics with other artists, see which playlists they are featured on, and even identify listeners by cities to help with event planning.
Even if you don’t have your own .com website, Google Analytics has integrations with almost any other website you come across including Kickstarter, Bandcamp etc. It allows you to see where most of your traffic is coming from such as mobile or if people are visiting your website from Facebook. These insights can help optimise your business plans to maximise reach.
E-Commerce & Touring
Bandcamp takes one of the smallest percentages of sales than any other distribution platform from artists. Also, they offer features like discount and download codes. But what really makes them stand-out is their ‘Pay what you like’ option, which allows musicians to let fans contribute what they want.
Touring and gig revenue are usually a large contribution towards an artists livelihood. Promoting shows effectively and getting the word out to your fanbase is a must and can mean the difference between getting a regular slot or not. BandsinTown allows artists to sync show and gig information across all social platforms and websites. It also actively finds fans who are interested and alerts them when you are ‘in town.’ Their is also a free mobile app which can help when you want to engage with fans by regions and manage your live show schedules.
10. Big Cartel
Selling your music is only one part of merchandising. Vinyl, tickets, T-shirts and other branded merch is a great way for fans to support artists and earns you some extra cash. Big Cartel is an online store, which is completely customizable to match your brand or website. It is also great for new artists as it’s one of the cheapest options if your just starting out. You can embed your commerce store into your own website, manage inventory, get alerts and track shipments too.