UPDATE: This post is getting a lot of attention! If you’re here from some website or re-Tweet, I hope you stay and check out my site, and download my free Christmas CD!
I also have a permanent continuation of this page here.
I’m sure at some point in your lifetime, you’ve thought, “Gee, I really like Josh Belville’s music, and I really want to help him become rich and famous, but I do not understand these Internets. What can I, a simple beggar, do?”
First and foremost!
Let me know that you’re listening! One easy way to do this is to get the last.fm scrobbler. I could explain to you why it’s called a “scrobbler” but that would be boring and nerdy, so I won’t. I’m not sure if you have to sign up for an account, but even if you do, it’s worth it (for me, at least :).
All you do is download the software and install it. Then when you’re listening to music, it puts what you’re listening to on last.fm. This may freak you out if you listen to Britney Spears every day on repeat forever, but don’t worry, chances are there’s another dude in Germany who does the same thing. You guys can be friends!
They also have software downloads for your iPod and iPhone, so there’s no excuse to say, “I can’t scrobble you cause I have an iPod!” Plus almost every song I’ve ever recorded is available for listening there. For free! So if you wonder, “Should I buy such and such album?” well, just go to last.fm and listen to the whole thing!
What This Does for Me: Two things. First, it lets me know how many listeners I have, and how many times my tracks have been played, either through the last.fm radio, or through scrobbling. Second, I get a very teeny royalty for each track that is played. So the more tracks that are played, the more money I get! It’s not gonna pay the bills or anything, but it could buy me some new strings for my guitar, something I desperately need!
Second, and slightly more obviously!
BUY MY MUSIC!
I had a discussion with my friend Rhett about getting an audience, and my thoughts basically boiled down into one sentence, which was:
do i offer my albums for free for anyone to download, and by doing that, feel like my stuff isn’t good enough to be bought, or do i sell my albums and risk losing listeners because they can’t get it for free?
(I type in lowercase in chats and IMs because I am ultra 1337)
The truth is, if I could, I would offer everything for free, but then I couldn’t have a website, because I would go over my bandwidth every month, which would require me to get more bandwidth, which would require the cost to get bumped up, which I can’t do. Plus the psychology of the whole thing does get to me. By giving away things for free, I feel like I’m lessening the value of my work, which is kind of ridiculous, because it’s art, but unfortunately these days value is measured in money, which we all need to survive. So if you have a couple of bucks and can spare those bucks for some good music, then I encourage you to do so. That way I can keep making more music!
What This Does for Me: Pays for my website, future pressed CDs, future uber-digital distribution (iTunes, AmazonMP3, etc, instead of Snocap), gives me more time to tour and make new songs!
UPDATE: After giving it a lot of thought, I’ve decided to scrap Snocap. Or as I shall now call them, Snocrap. Ingenious, I know. I’ve had too much trouble with their system. I’m currently looking for an e-commerce site specifically on my website. So DON’T BUY FROM SNOCAP, er, SNOCRAP.
Twitter — Facebook — Myspace! Use them! Add me to them! Pay attention to updates! Ultimately, this may sound stupid and hokey, but I want to be your friend. (Okay, it does sound stupid and hokey.) I would much rather talk to you through social networking sites than write a long blog here about how you can listen to me on last.fm. It’s more fun and I get to meet a lot of very cool people.
There are a lot of cool new sites out there too, that offer a lot more for fans than those three do. Sites like ReverbNation, iSound, The Next Big Sound, they’re all out to help listeners like yourself find new and exciting music. So do yourself a favor and check them out! I can’t guarantee that you’ll enjoy every one of those sites, but if you do, I heartily recommend you establish yourself on those sites. If you like ReverbNation, then join a street team! Sign up for a mailing list! Make yourself known, because if you do, the artist (i.e., me) will pay attention and appreciate that.
What This Does for Me: Keeps me in touch with YOU, the listener. The age of untouchable celebrity is waning. The future is connected.
There are all sorts of other things you can do, like giving my music to your friends (burn CDs! trade MP3s! I don’t care), coming to a show of mine, putting up flyers for shows, etc, but in the end you will only do those things if you like my music (and, by extension, like me, I guess). So before you go crazy, take a listen. If you like it, follow through, please. If you don’t, no harm done!
And that is the end of that.