Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: You're The Voice
Chapter 3: Brave New World
Chapter 4: Your Audience
Chapter 5: Taking Care Of Business
Chapter 6: Songwriting
Chapter 7: Precursor To The Music
Chapter 8: From Desk To Computer
Chapter 9: Sound Editing
Chapter 10: Converting & Storing Files
Chapter 11: Music Sites
Chapter 12: Garageband & iLike
Chapter 13: ReverbNation
Chapter 14: Audiolife
Chapter 15: noisehead
Chapter 16: MySpace & Twitter
Chapter 17: Facebook
Chapter 18: The Mighty Nimbit!
Chapter 19: A Website?
Chapter 20: Your Blog
Chapter 21: Showtime!
Welcome to “Online Music Traps.” I suspect that by purchasing this book you are in the
right frame of mind for getting your online music experience in order. This book will
help you do this.
“Online Music Traps” is the result of personal experience, extensive research &
countless emails from frustrated independent musicians, disc jockeys & equally
frustrated fans of my music all voicing their displeasure & confusion with the major
organisations and their hold over online music distribution. I hope to not only shed light
on what is really going on right under our noses, but give advice on what WE ALL can
do to improve the situation. It can be done.
Spreading the word is the first step. Taking active steps to utilise & highlight avenues
that are not made readily available, let alone known, to independent musicians & their
fans is the next step. Major organisations within the industry probably can't be beaten
& I certainly don't want to contemplate such a thought. There's no easy ride here, but it
can most definitely be enjoyable& worthwhile.
The online music industry, like any other industry, is a numbers game. If an artist can't
guarantee exorbitant profits for a company they are overlooked. It's THAT simple. As it
stands, the odds of an independent artist making any impression on the online music
charts are extremely slim. To add insult to injury, these major organisations & their
subsiduaries have the nerve to CHARGE independent artists for promotional tools,
recording software and so forth at every turn. Items that nowhere NEAR guarantee a
return on investment & don't need to be paid for!
Giving YOU the option to have a productive online musical presence on your own
terms should be a 'given' but until recently it hasn't been. After extensive research I
feel more than comfortable (& also proud) in saying that there is no other ebook like
“Online Music Traps.” I will qualify this in my now well-known unorthodox fashion by
telling you what this book WON'T give you. These are things that most music industry
sites DO give you.
Firstly, there is nothing more to purchase. No 'paid upgrades,' none of the
aforementioned software or promotional tools. You won't get irksome offers in your
mail as I have no mailing list to join. If you enjoy this book or want to find my music
online, it's easy enough to find on my website without me pestering you. I also won't
send you off on a tunnel-visioned path which typically has a “buy now” at the end of it.
I will show you how to avoid ALL of these outlandish 'schemes' & costs whilst
promoting your material in a top-grade & professional manner, again, on your own
I DESPISE the 'hard-sell' gig. In the spirit of this book, my nature & my view on what
music is all about, I believe it's all about CHOICE. I much prefer going to bed at night
knowing that someone purchased something from me because they wanted to. In
return, you get my 110% effort into everything that I put online.
Due to the vast scope of this book, you will encounter occasional duplication. This is
unavoidable & you will see why on the few occasions that you do encounter it. I do not
cover anywhere near every music site. The sites that I do cover, I cover thoroughly.
Even if you are already a member of any of the sites covered in this book, I
recommend reading the relevant chapter as I do have quite a few promotional 'tricks'
that I want to share with you.
I cater exclusively for the online recording artist in this book as my recording
experience prior to my online venture is, I suspect, far removed from the conventional
recording scene. I also write in the singular for ease of composition. The book is
designed for both solo recording artists & bands.
Towards the end of the book I present you with a scenario. This scenario is designed
to be adapted to suit YOUR needs. Where possible I write very much as I speak so the
book is also designed to be a relaxing read with light humour throughout that I hope
Whether you are new to the online music industry, a veteran or somewhere in
between, I do hope that you find “Online Music Traps” an informative & enjoyable
You're The Voice
The vast majority of independent musicians are of the opinion that they had entered a
new frontier when the advent of internet music thrust itself upon the world, only to be
hunted down by unscrupulous corporations & bled for every penny that they are worth.
The harsh reality is the unscrupulous corporations were here well before we were.
• The sharks were circling before we even arrived!
These guys had such a head start it's laughable! They knew the ropes & what was
coming next & being in the positions they were, all they had to do was what they would
do were musicians any other commodity. Wait for the market to be willingly flooded by
products that PAID to be there & make sickening amounts of money on the trickle-
down effect for them almost as an afterthought.
Yes, we were all dazzled when we first saw our photo & bio on iTunes or Amazon &
heard our songs being played on fancy little widgets. How long did THAT novelty last
before you realised something wasn't adding up?!? Some folks still enjoy that
superficial side of the internet which is, sadly, only perpetuating a badly flawed system.
Never Mind The BoLLockS!
The horse has bolted on the online music industry for the small-time independent
musician as far as creative freedom, financial viability & competitive conditions. “What
can we do, Bob” I think I hear you think.
Firstly, instead of emailing ME, post the overall angst of your emails to sites that
provide message boards & forums.*
*Don't get me wrong, I DO appreciate your emails.*
• Keep it tidy. Keep it clean. You're on display.
Introduce yourself on these boards & get involved, but conduct yourself in a
professional manner. These boards are excellent places to subliminally advertise
yourself for FREE!!!
How many musicians go to such places? Why is this? Because it's not “cool.” Well,
forget about being “cool.” That died off in the 70s.If you're being yourself, then you're
Make a point in these forums, on these boards & in discussion groups of making music
LISTENERS aware of how the online industry is actually run, the actual pressure put
on independent musicians (use yourself as an example to personalise the message) to
provide free music & how much this 'free' music costs YOU. Make mention of how you
feel cornered & overpowered by the big guns & how dedicated & serious music
listeners are being seriously misled instead of being given the TRUTH by those who
can afford to force-feed the market. In other words, call it as you see it.
• You can PRE-SELL an album here!
I receive EXTREMELY surprised & genuine feedback from music lovers from these
forums. I have been as surprised by their misconceptions as they are aggravated by
the way the online music industry operates.
I have listed below just a few areas that you may care to have a look at & post
comments or participate.
The most effective way of informing music lovers of the state of the online music
industry is to write to YOUR followers. ReverbNation & Facebook in particular allow
you to write DIRECTLY to your followers. It doesn't get more personal than THAT
Spend some time writing your letter, keeping it concise & relevant. Save a copy & use
the same letter for wherever else you have the ability to email followers of your music.
Point out how music lovers are being kept in the dark about online music without even
REALISING it. Avoid 'ranting & raving' & stick to the facts. Making the reader feel
'involved' isn't even a task as they already ARE involved. Suggesting any course of
action is purely up to you & you WILL be humbled by the dedication of your followers.
Believe me, I know.
In 2009 I entered a song competition with Riffstar.com. I was only made aware of the
competition 6 days prior to it closing when they wrote to me. I read all of the terms &
conditions & entered one of my tracks, “Let's Go Downtown” I wrote to my followers on
my website, at ReverbNation & on the “Bob Findlay Music Page” on Facebook.
With the support of my followers, the song rocketed to the #3 position with 3 days
remaining. With 2 days to go, “Let's Go Downtown” had VANISHED from the
Riffstar.com competition. Not only had my song vanished from the competition, I was
no longer able to login!
• Expect nothing. Then you can be surprised.
My first reaction was to immediately write to my followers & explain what had
happened. I didn't get a chance to. The amount of emails & wall postings from my
followers all over the internet was incredible. They TOO had been unable to login to
vote for my track!
Riffstar.com received goodness knows how many emails regarding the incident, NONE
of which received a response.
• Riffstar.com is best avoided!
I have returned to the site since this incident but am still unable to login. Their claim as
being “....Americas Number 1 Music Site....” is NOT ACCURATE does nothing for the
American online music industry. It also gives the winner of that competition, whoever
they were, tenuous credibility.
This is NOT the only time that I have heard of this happening with online song
competitions. I am unable, however, to give details of similar incidents as I only have
hearsay evidence & would NEVER accuse any online music organisation of
• Complacency doesn't work.
As irritating & time-consuming as it may seem, 'read the fine print' on every online
document before agreeing to ANYTHING. Yes, they all appear to be the same & yes,
certain online places suggest you skip the formalities & tick 'I Agree.'
After being seconds from entering several song competitions when I initially began in
the online music industry when I scrolled down to read of the 'non-refundable fee.'
WHY organisations practise this subversive activity is, to my mind, far from ethical.
They are, of course, 'legally' entitled to operate this way but it's not in the spirit of what
music is all about.
• YOU can help keep the online music scene real.
Brave New World
Every musician starts off as an independent artist whether they care to admit this or
not. Unless they have a truckload of cash behind them, independent musicians have
had very limited control over the release of their material and any balanced financial
Keen to have their music made available to the widest possible audience they 'climb
aboard' the major distributors without giving much thought to alternative options.