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Small Musician Startups

Easier Than You Think, but Still Difficult

My dubstep project which is slowly gaining attention, titled Downw4rd. 

As a local musician in a relatively competitive location, especially with electronic music, I know you might be discouraged on your music career if you haven’t started. But with most small artists, there seems to be no reason to start. “It’s too hard” or “I won’t do well.” But frankly, that’s not true. Anyone can make music!

However, I will tell you this, as a beginning musician you need one of two things: time and money. With a lot of money, you can just buy all the loops on a looper app and have 50 songs, but with a lot of time you can shoot out 50 original songs. With both, you can shoot out maybe 50 original songs and promote and self publish all your music. In this article, I will show you some steps on how to start a musical project, even if you’re not a millionaire.

1) What do I need?

Just a disclaimer, I am in now way associated with these apps other than being a user of the apps. 

Any person who has half a brain can shoot out an EP or single with the right equipment. The question is: will it be good? Your equipment should not restrict you on if you can or can’t make music. It may restrict your sound, but not your ability. If you’re using an iPhone, I have found a few apps that are free to help you get started:

  1. MusicMakerJam [iOS and Android, In-App Purchases]: MusicMakerJam uses a large variety of musical loops, including bass, drums, guitar, and even vocals. There is a pack for almost every genre, and once you buy loops you have them. Royalty free. However, the “free” aspect is limited to 10-11 packs, but new free and paid packs are released quite often. 
  2. Medly [iOS, In-App Purchases]: I personally don’t like this app. It’s one of the most limited of the apps, but sounds good. Similar to MusicMakerJam, this app uses paid packs to expand your experience. However, unlike MusicMakerJam, this app uses MIDI instruments, meaning you have to have some musical awareness to use this app. 
  3. BandLab [iOS]: this app is probably the best, if not the best, mobile music app out there. With this app, you have access to loops AND MIDI instruments: all free. Yup. No in app purchases. This app allows you to also throw in your own m4a and WAV files to add a bit of extra content. I’ve done this in my songs, as it allows you to add an iconic line from a TV show or movie.
  4. Any app by Novation [iOS, In-App Purchases]: I know it’s broad, but all these apps are essentially the same: musical looper. My personal favorite is Launchpad. Great for effects, backgrounds, and even main verses and choruses. The only problem is limitations. If you want to play anything that does not use electronic instrumentals (i.e: dubstep, hip hop, pop) this is not your app. It’s all electronic.

2) Where can I post my music?

All of these apps except the Novation apps have their own music sharing service in app to get a bit of early feedback. There’s also SoundCloud, which is pretty world renown. It’s easy to use and tons of people will use it. But if you’re ready for the big leagues, you can upload your music to Spotify, iTunes, etc. for free, using Amuse. I use this app and it’s amazing. You can upload as little as one song and as many as 40. You keep all your royalties, too. Other sites do this, like AWAL, but I only have experience with Amuse. It is free on iOS, and is easy to use. Simple rules, easy uploads within a week or even reserved for next year. 

3) But how will I promote?

Good question. And it’s a question hard to answer. You can spend money and promote on Facebook or Twitter, you can simply post over and over again to your friends, but if you’re willing to sacrifice some sales, give out a free EP to close friends or family. This is a great way in my opinion, because if all goes to plan, the word will be spread all over the place. You can also post on places like Reddit Music, Craigslist, or Facebook Groups. When posting there, be very specific. For example, I would say:

“Hello people. I am starting up an EDM/Dubstep project based in Dallas, Texas. I am currently releasing an EP and working on an album. Please check out my music and give me feedback! Thanks! [link to music]”

You want to be specific because people may be looking for specific artists, like an artist based in their town. Also, this increases your keywords, so if someone is searching they will likely come across you. 

Now you know.

Now you know what you’ll need to start and launch your project. I plan to post more articles to help any musician who is struggling to start. 


Links/Sources:

Music Maker JAM by JAM just add music GmbH

Medly by Medly Labs Inc.

BandLab by BandLab Singapore Pte Ltd

Novation Launchpad by Novation

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