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Editor's note: has provided the following article, one of a series of marketing articles written with unsigned bands in mind. The articles, which will be reprinted at MTC over a period of several weeks, cover topics such as social networking, email marketing, press releases, forum creation, blogging, and other step-by-step guides.

Four Online Promotional Steps Every Band Needs To Implement

Today's artists have a wide range of possibilities to promote themselves, especially online. But that means you must compete with other groups to gain an online presence. There are four key steps in online marketing to gain a successful start with promoting your music on the internet.

Submit to Directories

1. The first step is to submit. Submit to directories, online radios, and online magazines – anywhere that plays or features music. The more places that play your track, the more people will hear and recognize your music. Thousands of people listen to free online radios daily and most of these stations allow artists to submit their music to them. Similarly, directories permit you to add your website with a brief description, which is then added to the directory site. An even better idea is to make a friend submit your site or music for you so you are not always pushing your own music.

You must be careful when submitting to sites, however, because search directories like Google will downgrade you if your incoming links look unnatural. This means that when someone performs a search for your site, it will not show up in the top search results because the search engine is punishing you. Try submitting your site or music to a couple sites weekly with various anchor texts. For example, the words "an awesome rock blog" are the anchor text to the link Also, do not always submit your site with a link pointing to your homepage. Sometimes submit your site with a link to the secondary page of your website to make the links seem more natural.

  Anchor text –   visible, descriptive   text you click on for   a hyperlink

Give Away Music

2. Secondly, offer your music at no cost. With the plethora of options available to users to download free MP3s, strictly offering your music for purchase hurts your online status. When a listener gets your MP3 for free, he or she has a greater possibility of returning to your site to hear more music by you if they liked what they heard. Only after listening and liking your music will they purchase your album. You have to be sure not to give away too much music, though, because the listener will have no reason to purchase your album if they can find everything for free.

Adding a podcast or MP3 to your sites also allows users to hear your music without paying anything for it. The hardest part in adding music to the site, however, is the recording, so start by focusing on a quality recording of your music. To add music to the site:

a. Find a computer with audio input capability and an easy to use audio encoding application. This is easy if your music is on CD, just rip it with iTunes or a similar application. If it is in some other analog or digital (mini-disc) format, it gets a little harder, but applications are freely out there.

b. Then with MP3 file in hand, you can upload the file to your web site and link like you would link a web page or other media/image file.

c. From there, there are more complicated ways of doing it so it is more "presentable" with a nice embedded player, etc.
Make Business Friends

3. The third step is to build professional online relationships to boost your online presence. You know a lot about music, so comment on it. Look up blogs related to rock music and add meaningful comments to help others reading the blogs. Most of the time the comment box asks for your URL, which is a great way to promote your own website or blog while helping others by posting comments.

Blogger ethics state if one blogger comments or links to another’s site, the other blogger will comment or link back. This is a great way to build an online relationship and promote one another’s music. An additional option, besides just commenting on their blogs, is to help them out somehow. When you find online radio stations to submit your music to, compile a list and send the list to them. They will in return promote your music to thank you for your help.

Besides commenting on blogs, creating a blog can prove very beneficial in online rock music marketing as well.

Utilize Social Networks

4. Connect yourself to tons of different social networking sites. YouTube, Yahoo Video, and Google Video allow you to post different videos onto the site at no cost, like the OK Go video that was fairly inexpensive and still receives views daily. Post all your music videos and add links to your website to these videos.

MyBlogLog allows users to share different sites and build a community based on various interests. You can also add your site to your profile and view who else has your site as their favorite. Although just over a year old, MyBlogLog is quickly gaining popularity, which presents a great way establish yourself early in the community. Similarly, Ning allows you to create a social network for any topic. Joining and commenting on various rock music networks and creating your own network for group provides the best methods to get the most out of Ning.

Finally, joining the additional social network sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and MySpace are all necessary in promoting you or your band. Finding friends and friends of friends can boost you music and be helpful in additional ways. Network as often as possible both online and offline.

These four simple steps provide a great way to start promoting your music online. Remember to submit, give away, and comment. Online marketing is a continuous process you must constantly work on, but it pays off in the end.

By Lance Trebesch

Copyright © 2007
Reprinted with permission.