10 Sites Every Serious Indie Musician Should Have Bookmarked and Why, Pt. 1

Musicians and artists, there's a lot of crap on the internet.

Yeh, I know, big wake-up call. But if you're anything like a lot of friends of TheGoodLook.Net, you might be a bit disenchanted with trying to sift through all the bull to find something that works for you and your career. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially when Tom, Dick and Jane are constantly telling you that you have to endlessly market yourself online and there are 58 million options out there.

I've been bumping around on the internet for years now trying to make a living for myself as a musician and entrepreneur, and I think out of all the crap I've thrown at the wall, there are 10 that seem to stick, or really be worth checking out (according to my old wizened spidey-senses). Most of these work whether you're a musician or not.

So here are the first five of 10 sites that really matter, and that all of you should have bookmarked. I highly advise setting up accounts and signing up for the feeds. Make it to the bottom of this post and there are some OUTSTANDING musical Good Look goodies for ya....chomp, chomp, enjoy, Lookies.

1. Reverbnation


The URL:

Why Bookmark It:
Reverbnation is the ultimate free online press kit. It gives you all the advantages of free exposure that MySpace gives you with TEN times the functionality. You can manage your email lists (as well as import and export them), filter your email list by demographic (age, sex, location, etc), check out real data on how often your site is getting hit and by whom, and tons of other stuff. There is no pretense here of "friends" and "friending" like a lot of other social networking sites. At Reverbnation, it's all about the music and ONLY about the music, so you know the fans and musicians are genuine and genuinely interested in your music. You can match your "band equity" up against other acts to see who's really moving and shaking, and you can also deploy an army of friendly music widgets across the web to serve your bidding. And those widget hits add up to site hits. Which actually adds up to money.

That's right, they split their ad revenues with you, so at the very least, you'll get paid for bringing traffic to the site, which is more than I can say for most music sites out there claiming to empower artists.

How to Maximize It:
-Make sure you use the email list function and take the time to organize it. It'll come in handy when you have to only send an email to women in Toronto over 23 for your two-day Canadian tour.

-Put your widgets up on your various sites (Myspace, Facebook, your blog). Look, I even have some over on the sidebar.

-Input your press clips in the press clip function. It makes your HTML emails look that much more juicy and turns your page from just another music site into an official and respectable press kit.

My favorite features:
Blog/Buzz- With the click of a button you can see who's chatting you up ANYWHERE online

The "My Band" Facebook application - This basically builds a Reverb outpost on your Facebook page that is inobtrusive, but still super functional.

Stats - Pie graphs and line graphs lay out to you how your buzz is building over time, and give you suggestions on how to bring your numbers up.

2. Facebook


The URL:
if you don't know, I aint got sh!t for you.com

Why Bookmark it:
Plain and simple, there's no more personal way to interact with your fan base than Facebook. You can't even SEE people's profiles if you don't know their name or have their email address, so the MySpace Promotion Cesspool Factor is nipped in the proverbial bud. Which means the people in your friends at least KINDA know you. This is a good thing because it means there's maybe a little seedling of genuine interest in who you are and what you're doing. That's a great start and means this is probably your core network of supporters above any other site...."randoms" number very low in your Facebook friends, relatively speaking.

How to Maximize it:
-You should spend at least as much time if not more on your Facebook as you do on your MySpace page. These are the people that will actually buy your next release.

-Update your status frequently and get the people who know you best interested in your life as an artist, not just somebody promoting your next show at Jack Cotton's Cock Bar.

-Comment on other people's postings, pics and notes. Participate in some of the little stupid games that go on on that site....it might seem dumb, but that kind of stuff gives your (potential) supporters insight into who you are, which goes a long way.

My favorite features:
Linking to Wall Posts-Attaching a video (from YouTube, Vimeo or any video host) to a wall post comes with all the description and meta-data included, so it saves you a hell of a lot of explaining if you just want to make a quick video post.

My Band - (read the Reverbnation entry)

3. Bandcamp


The URL:

Why Bookmark It:
You can pretty much host your site here and handle alot of your business from it. Without seeing a bunch of random ads that have nothing to do with you. The Bandcamp guys help you convert all of your music into different formats and input all the data for you. You can then hook your own site and URL up, then you can name your price for your music. The only way they make their money is if you sell a certain amount of music, and they have yet to determine what that amount is because they're waiting on our feedback. How dope is that??

How to Maximize it:
I don't know, haven't used it long enough.

Favorite features:
Not sure yet, the site is brand spankin' new, but I know it's gonna be big.

A quick INFORMATIVE video intro to Bandcamp:

Bandcamp Screencast from Ethan Diamond on Vimeo.

4. Vimeo


The URL:

Why Bookmark It:
Vimeo was around before YouTube, but YouTube got all the shine because they allowed people to upload copyrighted material. And it is for this very reason that Vimeo is a jewel. You cannot upload copyrighted material, which is a huge plus. People on Vimeo are there for business. You can have your own little portfolio of videos that are ONLY you....and the quality is ten times better than YouTubes because they allow up to 500MB at a time for your upload, and even let you upload and view videos in HD. Sure, on YouTube, you can create your own channel that people can subscribe to, but Vimeo to Youtube is Facebook to Myspace. It's crisper, more personalized, much easier to use and navigate, and there is 0% trash. I repeat, 0%, unless you just don't like somebody's work.

Vimeo's a much classier way to present your music videos, video press kits, or whatever...trust me. It's also a good way to see other artists that are serious about their music videos or live performance footage, so you can compare notes and get some inspiration.

How to Maximize It:
Search for channels of people that are into what you're into and connect with them. When I was working on The Nobody Hole, I looked for animators and found a virtual goldmine of talented artists that I didn't find ANYWHERE else online.

This is a good place to find hungry video directors if you're looking for one, so network it.

My Favorite Features:
The "Explore" Tab - Sniff around the different channels and staff picks and you'll find alot of cool things...most of it is dope.

5. Guy Kawasaki's Blog Site


The URL:

Why Bookmark It:
Guy Kawasaki is basically my hero right now. He is the CEO/Co-Founder of Alltop.com, and has been the brains behind many a successful startup (including a little operation called Apple Mac). The dude makes millions and travels around the world doing what he's good at, and HELPING people with good ideas learn how to make it too. Dude is the truth, he's a forward thinker, and a successful entrepreneur on the cutting edge. Because he's so cool with everybody, Guy gets the scoop on ALL the new trends and technologies in the Web 2.0 marketing world, so if you're an artist trying to make noise online, he knows all the tricks and what's coming down the pipe. And if you're an artist running your own business or looking to start one, you have double the reason to follow The Guy. He's got the wisdom you need.

Some things I learned from Guy:
-The purpose of Twitter and how to use it effectively
-The existence of Animoto
-The Art of Generating Buzz

stay tuned for Pt. 2 of this blog, coming next week...

Thanks for makin it this far....here's a Good Look snack...

Doom - "Gazillion Ear"

And also, here's an extra added Good Look goodie from my buddy DT of Clan Destined/The VJC. This one is called "Auto2ne Master" and is a mellow, hypnotic intellecrunk jewel I just couldn't wait to post. You won't find this anywhere else, I promise. Please snag it:

DT - "Auto2ne Master"