Resources for Songwriters!
The goal of Songwriters Marketplace is to present you with quality songwriting and music industry content, and to also put the tools and resources that are necessary for you to implement what you learn at your fingertips. You’ll find that as you read and listen to the blog articles and Songwriter Insights podcast, that we may comment on, or recommend specific products and services. So to make it easy for you we’ve put this songwriters resource page together for your quick reference.
Tools We Use and Recommend
At the top of our list are the resources we use everyday. They all work well for us and we feel confident that they will for you too.
We only recommend products and services that we use ourselves, and those that come highly recommended that we believe will be beneficial to you. We advise you to always investigate and compare any product or service before purchasing. Some of the products and services we recommend are affiliate partners who offer small commissions for referrals. There is no additional cost to you and you will be helping to support Songwriters Marketplace should you decide to make a purchase.
Songwriters Marketplace is hosted on Bluehost, and has been from our beginning. The reason is simple, they are dependable, have sales and technical support second to none (located in Utah, USA), and offer the best solution for anyone launching their first WordPress site. Just use their fantastic 1-click easy install and you will be up and running in minutes. Visit Installing WordPress for a simple tutorial on getting up and running with your new WordPress website.
We use WordPress.org for our website platform. We feel it’s the best web based software application for developing websites, whether you’re doing a simple blog or fully featured multimedia. WordPress is extremely flexible and capable of infinite applications for design and functionality. The learning curve is fairly quick, and you have literally thousands of free and premium themes, plugins and widgets to choose from which empower you to include nearly any feature on your site that you can dream up. It’s the perfect solution for solo performers and bands.
The most important asset you can have as a performing artist is your email list. It’s how you stay in touch with your fans and keep them up-to-date on your latest news, performances and music releases. We have found MailChimp to satisfy all our needs from collecting and managing email lists, creating professional forms and newsletters, to automated tools and analytics. MailChimp also integrates wonderfully with WordPress and hundreds of apps and services like Eventbrite, Google, Twitter, Facebook and Shopify, plus they have a fantastic FREE start up plan that allows you to Send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers per month. Powered by MailChimp
We use and recommend any PreSonus Product. Here is what they say about their company.
“We call all of this “The Sweetwater Difference” – a combination of customer service, after-sale support, and as much extra value as we can possibly pile on top of an already great deal to ensure that you come away from dealing with us with a smile on your face and with the gear you need to achieve your musical and audio goals.”
It’s our opinion, but if you’re a performing artist you have to have your own official website. An artist website gives you complete freedom to market you and your music, interact with fans, sell your merch, promote and sell tickets to upcoming gigs and events, collect and manage a fan email list, and much more. Read this article to take a basic look at creating your website.
The following platforms enable you to build a fully functional artist website.
WordPress has more free themes, plugins and apps than anyone else. Although there is a learning curve, for us this is the best route. Taking the time to learn WordPress is a worthy endeavor and will payoff in having greater flexibility while achieving a polished, professional site. Songwriters Marketplace is built on the WordPress platform which enables us to install any features to the site we have wanted to add, and without having to write one line of code. And if you didn’t already know, It’s Free.
Build Your FREE WordPress Musician Website
To learn how to register for a hosting account, install and setup WordPress and Build a Free WordPress Musician Website refer to the following tutorials.
Bandzoogle is a site that provides already made sites that allow you, with simple instructions, to add content. What is fantastic is that most of what an artist needs is here for you. They have three plans each incrementally giving more features. $9.95 a month for the basic, $14.95 a month for the mid, and $19.95 for the pro site – this includes a ‘sell’ ability.
Host Baby was created by the same folks that created CDBaby. It is designed specifically for music artists and authors. Pretty cool and simple to use – everything a musical artist needs. Cost is $20 a month, all features included.
WordPress Themes and Plugins
Theme Forest represents hundreds of premium theme and template designers. Here you can find the theme to match just the look and feel of the website you have in mind. All themes come with complete documentation and generally have good author and community support. Prices for single license purchases vary, but generally range from a few dollars up to an average $60 or so. We have purchased several themes from Theme Forest, including Songwriters Marketplace, and have been happy with all of our purchases.
Trusted, dependable and easy. Need a domain name, go here!
We have purchased all of our personal domains and business domains from GoDaddy. Why, because it’s easy, priced right, good support, and very intuitive to navigate their site. We think it’s a good idea to keep all our domains together where we can keep them organized and easily accessible. GoDaddy serves this purpose perfectly.
Is this your first website?
First go to GoDaddy.com and buy your Domain Name (Your website name) for example ‘bestbandintheworld.com. It is best to buy a .com rather than .net or .info or .org – because your fans will remember it. If you are convinced you are going to be a huge star with a name that will be recognized everywhere in the known universe then by all means buy them all up, otherwise .com is just fine. After you have purchased your domain name you will need to subscribe to a hosting company. The host will store your site on their servers and help you to configure your site, and supply you with technical and customer support.
All of the following Companies are recommended for hosting your site. We use BlueHost for our sites, but can safely say that the other companies mentioned below also make great choices for hosting, depending on what your needs and preferences may be. All of them are user friendly, perfect for individual and band music sites where you can reside on a shared server at a much lower cost, and you can upgrade to a more powerful server anytime as your site grows. We encourage you to do your own research before making your final choice as to who you want to host your site with.
As we previously mentioned we host all our websites with BlueHost. They are dependable, offer all up-to-date technology, are affordable, and their 24/7 technical and customer support service in our opinion is tops in the business. Because we use WordPress our association with Bluehost is even more crucial to us since they are one of the premier WordPress hosting companies.
Clicking on the company logo will take you to their official website.
Recommended by WordPress.org since 2005
Unlimited Domain Hosting/Unlimited Hosting Space
Free Instant Set-up and 1-click Free WordPress install
Free Domain & Unlimited Email Accounts
Excellent 24/7 support & money back guarantee
Okay for us, this home studio rocks! The free version allows you to learn the program while the PRO version is what Ken used to record his new CD at Desert Windsong Studios.
What’s a performing artist’s most important asset…the mailing list, of course! It can’t be stated strongly enough. Having a powerful email marketing platform is essential. Listed below are three solutions we recommend. They all have similar features but depending on what your needs may be one may be better suited for you than another. They all offer good standard features such as list creation and management, newsletter and form design, subscription optin functionality, auto responders, drip campaigns, customer support, etc.
Songwriters Marketplace uses MailChimp as it satisfies our needs, and we find it to be easy to understand and use. Two other platforms mentioned below are also excellent email marketing solutions, and may for various reasons be a better fit for you. We encourage you to review and evaluate for yourself before deciding on the one that is right for you.
You can click on the company logos to go to the official websites.
Direct to Fan
D2F are artist marketing platforms that connect you directly to your fans. They enable artists to sell directly to fans without the need for any 3rd parties such as labels, agents, managers, publishers, etc. When you subscribe to a service your account provides you with an impressive suite of tools to display and promote your talents. This gives you complete control over what and how you market products which can include, MP3 digital downloads, physical CD’s, promotional merchandise, event tickets, and more. Fans want to be able to connect with their favorite artists and D2F sites serve this purpose well. The subscription plans vary with each service, and while some offer you a complete package with your monthly cost, others have premium upgrades that you pay for to have whatever features you’d like to use.
D2F is a wonderful way to make a bond on a deeper level with your fans and keep them updated with your latest news and events. But keep in mind that it doesn’t replace the need for broader range services like distribution companies and the huge network of streaming services they connect with that give you greater exposure and retail distribution of your music.
All of the companies listed below are top online music distributors. What does a distributor do? They submit your music to a multitude of Streaming Music Services where your music can be found, heard, and purchased. If you have recorded music, digital or physical product, joining with a distribution company is a must. They do charge fees which are comparable, but reasonable. Do you need to join them all? Probably not, but connecting with at least one is essential as part of your career package.
Click on the company logo to visit their official website.
Streaming and Sales
Once you have registered and uploaded your music with a distributor (see above), the distributor will submit your music to multiple sites where it can be streamed and/or downloaded and purchased. Depending on the service they may just allow streaming, while others give you the option to purchase. The companies listed below, as well as many others, are examples of music streaming and sales sites.
Music Placement and Licensing
There are basically two approaches to getting your music licensed and placed. 1) Do it yourself…a daunting task at best. 2) Join a professional company who has the experience and connections, and can also advise you on your work. They are the experts and know the business inside and out, and through their networks and relationships with music supervisors they can get your material to the decision makers. Through their relationships and industry tip sheets they know who is looking for material, whether it be for a recording artist, cinema or television, the gaming industry, advertising, video and audio products, documentaries, private industry training productions, the list goes on and on.
We feel that if you are serious about songwriting and music composing as a career you should be affiliated with a placement company. There are many out there from which to choose…we’ve listed three below for you to consider. We are recent members of broadjam and will be submitting material to them (we will keep you updated to any placements or worthwhile news), and we know associates who have placed material using Taxi. Musicpage is a company we’ve recently come across which seems worth giving a good look at also.
Visit each company by clicking on the logo. And please let us know of any successful placements any of you have. We’d love to know about it!
Design it yourself – see how your design looks on a cup, a baseball cap, a sweatshirt. or a tee shirt. file it away. Put their shop on your site with your band name on the top. All orders are filled on demand, or have it printed to sell at your next road trip. Pretty cool folks!
Get the best deals on anything you need from our Songwriters Marketplace Store. We have teamed up with Amazon and can now offer you an awesome selection of merch, with bargain prices and special discounts.
Everything you need and a bunch of cool stuff you’ll absolutely want.
Check out more great songwriting books.
Event Promotion & Ticket Sales
Crowd Funding is huge today. Both Ken and I know of many performing artists who have raised money to fund a new music cd. And it doesn’t stop there, any project you have in mind that you can present through a crowd funding platform creates the means of raising the necessary capital you need. It’s innovative, and actually quite fun and exciting to run a campaign, if not also nail-biting-intensive as the allotted funding time ticks down to the final hours.
Three great sites you can check out are recommended below. If you run a successful campaign we’d love to hear all about it, and may write up a blog article to post on Songwriters Marketplace telling about your experience. Let us know, and Good Luck!
Visit each site to learn the specifics of how each of them operates by clicking on the company logo.
File Storage and Transfer
When it comes to your files you want them to be both secure and accessible. What we mean when we refer to your files is all your images, audio, video, and documents. As an artist that’s basically your entire livelihood. Having a dependable file storage and transfer provider will safely store and backup your files and enable you to take and have access to all your media wherever you go. It’s convenient, secure, gives peace of mind, and a great space saver for your own personal computer or storage devises.
We’ve listed two services below that you may want to consider. Visit their sites and learn more by clicking on the company logo.
Video Sharing is the most popular media on the web today. Someone I know recently stated “It I’m on a website and given the choice between reading a blog article or watching a video about the same subject I’ll choose the video every time”. This may not be true of everyone but it does reflect on the fast paced, media consuming times that we live in today.
YouTube started out where people could upload a video to share with others, which is still what it does, but the platform has grown so popular that now YouTube is considered the largest search engine on the Internet. Want to hear a certain song, learn how to cook your Thanksgiving turkey, or find a tutorial on how to play the ukulele? You’ll find it on YouTube.
As a music artist you can’t overlook the value of having a YouTube Channel where you can include your profile, and upload your videos to share and embed on your website and social media. It’s a valuable tool that everyone should be using to promote you and your music.
Vimeo offers an alternate platform for hosting your videos. It caters to a tighter niche of people who put more focus on quality and content subject matter. With Vimeo your videos will reach a more discriminating community who may offer you greater value with their reviews and new connections that you can make.
Vimeo offers a professional and clean look and feel to their pages with no ad banners or commercials before the video begins. A nice feature Vimeo offers is password protection of videos allowing you to share them with only those you choose.
You can join the Basic Plan Free, Plus is $9.95 per month, or Pro for $199 per year.
Performing Rights Organizations (PROs)
The following agencies license and distribute performance rights royalties for published works. Some offer free membership while others have yearly fees. To learn more about each of these organizations just click on the company logo to be taken to their official website.
The Harry Fox Agency ( HFA) is the foremost mechanical licensing, collection, and distribution agency for music publishers in the US. HFA licenses the largest percentage of the mechanical and digital uses of music in the United States on CDs, digital services, records, tapes and imported phonorecords.
You automatically own the copyright of any original work that you create provided you have recorded proof. You can register a copyright through the US copyright office which creates legal evidence of your claim of authenticity should the need ever arise. You can also register with CopyrightsWorld which offers immediate world wide protection.
Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States (title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.
Since 2008 CopyrightsWorld™ offers immediate worldwide protection that never expires to thousands of creators from 186 countries. CopyrightsWorld is the only service that protects each creation individually with triple proof of ownership that nobody can deny.
Need to design a band logo or cd cover art? How about a new website or a subscriber popup form for your website to collect new fan emails. There are hundreds of items that come up that need professional help, and not just for design. For anything you need done that you don’t know how to do, or don’t have the time to do yourself you can outsource to highly creative and competent people at competitive, and negotiable rates.
We compiled a group of wonderful companies you can contact the moment your next need arrives. Click on the company logos to be directed to the official websites.