What do Shawn Mendes, Karmin and The Weeknd have in common? They were YouTube stars before hitting it big in the mainstream world of pop charts and top 40 music stations. Armed with laptops, each used the groundswell of internet to gain listeners when they’d upload music and make money online. It’s the great thing about the internet is these individuals aren’t the only ones who can make it, you can too.
Begin with your music in a shareable format using a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) on your computer. From there, you’ll want to distribute your tracks in all places with good discoverability. One of the best-known sites for this purpose is Soundcloud. Create an account and start uploading for free. Like Halsey, before she signed with Astralwerks when her song, “Ghost,” went viral within hours of posting.
Last.fm is another user-friendly distribution site. Account holders might see your tracks automatically added to their playlists if they already own music in or listen to your genre.
Social Media for Music
YouTube is just one of many platforms available to upload music and make money as well as to help get your career as a professional musician off the ground. But don’t just upload a video to YouTube and let it sit there without earning its keep. Register your songs with a collection company or a PRO and collect royalties.
Reddit helps you navigate past the primitive front page and abbreviations, but once inside, a world exists to welcome your new music. Reddit users share links that are up-voted or down-voted, affecting your ranking and how you’ll move through a community that boasts over 600,000 unique visits per day. Shared links on Reddit helped Macklemore became the second unsigned artist in U.S. history to hit number one with his single, “Thrift Shop.” You’ll need to put on your thick skin here. Reddit users can be your biggest fans, but the criticism can also be severe.
Jump on Twitter and use hashtags like #music, #rap, #jazz #NewMusicFriday or #MusicMonday whenever you tweet your links. Follow people who retweet with these hashtags or other relevant tags and check out @TwitterMusic. Search hashtags of television shows or movies that your fans might like. Join the conversation and gain followers who’ll check out your music and share with their followers.
Research what blogs are popular in your genre and geographic area. Send a nice, brief email introducing yourself and links. Include your professional looking EPK. Keep them updated with a list of your upcoming performances for nearby fans to see.
How Uploading Music Makes Money For You
These sites are free to use for music creators and fans. It’s a great way to expose your music to listeners and turn them into ravenous fans who will buy show tickets, downloads, CDs and merchandise.
Get Direct Cash in Your Bank Account
You should already be selling your music on your website, along with your merchandise, tickets and VIP experiences. Another way to get paid for your music directly each time someone listens is through Spotify and iTunes. For this route, think big picture, because there are multiple steps to upload music on these huge platforms. You will need an artist aggregator and a few weeks. Be patient and thorough and soon the royalties will hit. Especially if you get on a playlist.
Start by creating your own playlist and sharing it with your fans. With your follower stats, honed music blogger networking skills, professional EPK and the most excellent music you can produce, approach the people who curate playlists. Finding the right curator for your music will take a little research, but the results can be life-changing. Land on one of their heavily followed playlists and you may find yourself getting downloaded millions of times.
Crowdfunding sites like PledgeMusic, Kickstarter and Patreon set you up with a revenue stream straight from the fans. This is a way to get funding throughout the creative process. You’ll be expected to share your progress and behind-the-scenes-moments as you work.
Think of the value you bring to people–new music, a new perspective, poetry–and how you can deliver it in a way they need. Experiment with different platforms and track your results. Don’t lament the long-ago days before the internet created file sharing. Back then, musicians had to sell from their car trunks after gigs. With so many easy ways to get music online, the internet has emerged as the fastest way for artists to upload music and make money while growing a supportive and eager fanbase.