Most musicians are aware of the best web sites, magazines and other traditional resources for musicians. But there’s a lot more out there! Here are some worthwhile resources you may not know about:
Media Directories – Media Directories are used by PR and Marketing professionals on a regular basis, but many bands don’t even know they exist! By using them, you can find information about almost any media outlet, including music magazines and radio stations (even college stations), who the major staff members are, and what the circulation or wattage is for the outlet. Directories can get very expensive, but you’ve got options. Some offer their directories online, and you can even test out free trials, such as with Burrelles (www.burrellesluce.com). Some libraries offer free access to the Gale’s Broadcast and Publications Directory through www.galenet.com, or offer print versions of one of the directories in the library. Check with yours to see if you have access!
Lulu.com – Lulu.com is known by most self-publishing authors for their print-on-demand services that are second to none in the business. However, what’s less known is the fact that you can also sell your CDs or even downloadable MP3s through the site. They’re also produced on-demand, only when someone orders it through the site. You’re even given a free storefront. It’s a great option for musicians just starting out who can’t afford a large upfront purchase of CDs, and better yet, it’s a great way to offer some of your older albums. You can keep them available without the added cost of keeping them stocked. When you sell on the site, the company keeps a small percentage of the sale (you completely control the mark-up you want for your profit), but if you choose to offer any downloadable work for free, it’s completely free for you too, and the company keeps nothing. Definitely worth a look! www.lulu.com.
CafePress.com – CafePress is probably one of the better-known resources on this list, but I wanted to include them anyway. It might be a little pricey for your fans if you run everything through them, but the site offers a great way to put together a more diverse set of merch. Even if you sell your own tees and stickers, check out some of the other stuff the site has to offer. They’re even testing out a new direct-to-fabric print method now, and should soon be off of the heat transfers completely. (EDIT: CafePress will even soon be offering black and other colored tees!) Have a look. www.cafepress.com.
NPR – When musicians are preparing a radio campaign, they tend to only think about the commercial and college stations that are directly related to their genre. However, if there’s even anything truly unique about your sound, it could be worth sending a press kit over to your NPR station (National Public Radio), especially if there’s something going on that would make you particularly newsworthy. NPR doesn’t just play an artist, they actually feature them. They often run on-air interviews, live sets, and really give the artist a chance to get heard. And you’d be surprised how diverse the audience is! Find your local NPR station at www.npr.org.
NOLO Press – As a musician, you may not think of legal books as one of your best resources, but NOLO Press has released the best series out there. In addition to “Music Law: Running Your Band’s Business” they’ve released books covering legal topics ranging from working for yourself (which you are when you’re a musician) to starting your own business (which you technically do when you become a musician) to tax deductions (which you’ll definitely want, as a musician). Check out some of their titles and pick one or two up from your library! (www.nolo.com)