Monday, 9 August 2010

3 Easy Steps To Getting Your Music Online (For Free)

My blog grew out of a regular email update I used to send to about 20 people in my church music team. In the 18 months since I started my songs have been downloaded over 1000 times from my blog by people all over the world and it hasn’t cost me a penny.

Since I set up the Newfrontiers Underground page a short time ago a few people have asked me for advice on how I did it and in the next few posts I’m going to show you how you can get your songs online for nothing even if you’re the most web phobic musician out there. If you’re reading this blog, you already have enough know-how!

There are 3 basic steps

1) Get your mp3 web ready
2) Get hosting for your files
3) Get a blog

Web Ready mp3s

Before you throw anything up on the web you want to make sure it’s worth putting there. Web ready means two things.

Having the right type of file and including the correct info with it.

It isn’t enough to have your music ‘available’ online. You want people to be able to find it, and once they’ve found it, be able to play it and to know what it is and who it is.

And if they like your song they need to be able to find where to get more.

Make sure it’s an mp3

It’s no accident that I’m talking about mp3s. Not WMA, not AAC not WAV files or anything else. Mp3 is a universal format - others aren’t. WAV files are HUGE. Unless you’re some ultra mac-snob make sure your music is in a format everybody can play.

When you save your music from whatever program you used to record it, it should give you the option to save it as an mp3. Ditto for if you’re ripping it from a CD. If it’s stuck in another format and you no longer have access to the original master, free programs like Wavepad or Audacity will allow you to change file types.

Rename the file

Do you know what the most covered track in the history of the world is?

No it’s not that one. It’s ‘Track 01”. Seriously I’ve got hundreds of versions on my computer. Closely followed by ‘Track 02’, ‘Finished Mix’ and ‘Hi-quality’.

Before it gets out into the big bad world rename your file with the real title (and you could add your name or website for good measure).

If you download my song The Greatest Commandment you’ll see the file name is


Add metadata

Metadata is all the info that magically appears in your media player when you rip a CD by Jellyfish or download the Black Sheep track from the hamster ad. Album artwork, who wrote the song, track numbers – it’s all there!

How did it get there? Well it’s either typed in by an infinite number of monkeys (iTunes store) or by one old guy in Norway (Gracenote used by Windows). Guess what? Neither Olaf nor the monkeys know about your music. Don’t know and don’t care. So you’ll have to input it. Here’s how.

  • Open the mp3 in Windows Media Player. 
  • Right click on file and click on Advanced Tag Editor. 
  • Type in your info. 
  • Don’t forget to click ‘Apply’ when you’re finished. 

  • Open the mp3 in iTunes. 
  • Ctrl+click on the file and click on ‘Get Info’. 
  • Click on the ‘Info’ tab at the top. 
  • Type in your info. 
  • Click ‘OK’ when you’re finished. 

Try to fill in all the fields. That probably means typing your own name repeatedly but that’s OK Dahling – you’re a star!

Upload a ‘cover’ (a nice photo of your face is fine – but remember how teeny it will be) using the ‘Get Info>Artwork’ tab on the mac or ‘Advance Tag Editor>Pictures’ tab in Windows.

Give your ‘album’ a name even if it’s a solitary track. It could be as simple as ‘2010 Songs’ but why not have fun? The Eglon Song is apparently from an album called “Singalong Assassination Songs For Kid’s Vol. 2”. Dang! Even I want to hear the rest of that album!

The bottom line is, anything you don’t fill in will appear as a big fat empty space in someone’s iPod. Even if they know the name of you or your song without metadata, they just be searching for you among a million other anonymous tracks.

Over to you. Go get your song ready.

I'll see you back here tomorrow for step 2 when we'll get hosting.

Step 3: Get a blog

If you’re way beyond excited about this series you can get it the second it appears by subscribing (it’s free) via email or feedreader (like google reader), or by become a follower. See the right hand sidebar for details.

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  1. Good advice Matt.
    Hope your well mate.
    Your old student..

    Fran Halen

  2. Hey Fran - good to hear from you!

    Do you have any of your bands (plural) songs up online?


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