Online music biz booms for indie artists

Producer and New Realm Recording studio owner John Sevilla earned a 2008 Grammy nominaton for his work with contemporary blues band Buck 69.

If youâ??re a musician without a record contract, chances are youâ??re still looking for that big break. The internet is the new tour bus of the music industry, and millions of independent artists are going online to hit the big stage.

From garage bands to mobile disc jockeys, many artists are using the internet to connect with fans and promote their music. The success of music sales on Amazon and iTunes opened a new door for musicians looking to cut costs to promote and distribute their material.

Toledo singer/songwriter Tom Clawson makes a living helping independent musicians create an online footprint. He calls the current state of the industry â??Music 3.0,â?? where digital technology allows musicians to connect directly with their fans. Clawson exploited resources on the internet prior to the release of Buck 69â??s Grammy nominated album, â??When She Whispers Your Name.â??

â??I knew that we were going to need to do our own marketing,â?? said Clawson. He continued, â??For two years straight I learned all the places, how to get the music onto the internet, how to sell it worldwide, how to get it to the right places as far as blogs.â??

Clawson suggests web pages like as an all-in-one resource to sell indie music through channels such as Spotify, Facebook, iTunes, and Amazon.

â??You have to go to every place that allows you to upload your music or whatever for free,â?? Clawson added.

Youtube has become a free go-to webpage for bands to upload live performances, music videos, interviews, and other content for fans to instantaneously view. South Korean rapper PSY gained fame in 2012 after his hit song Gangnam Style received a record 1.5 billion views to date. Pop star Justin Bieberâ??s career took off after he uploaded Youtube videos of himself covering Top 40 songs from other artists.

Toledo band Thirty Three and a Third is one such group that promotes on Youtube, recently adding their single â??Jungle Cats.â?? The group has also found Facebook to be a great resource to promote. Not only is their full album available for digital download on their Facebook fanpage, they also use the social media site to advertise their live shows around Toledoâ??s dozens of music venues.

â??We create an event online and just basically invite everyone we know,â?? said Jordan Haynes, lead singer and guitarist for 33 & 1/3. He continued, â??Hopefully the people that are interested in it will catch their eye and come to that.â??

Club DJs like Toledoâ??s 92.5 KISS FM DJ Rob Sample, use websites like Soundcloud not only to share music with fans, but to collaborate with other artists. He said cloud music services like Soundcloud and Beatport are great places for producers and artists to remix music.

â??I can go the next day to Dropbox and pull their song back down, do another funky remix to it then upload it back to them.â?? He continued, â??Now us two artists are the only ones playing this remix.â??

DJ Rob Sample is a 15-year veteran of the dj circuit, and remembers promoting with business cards, flyers, and cds was expensive when he first hopped behind the turntables. He says the internet has made promotion a more cost-efficient endeavor.

â??Now I can just pull up my email, pull up my Facebook, pull up my Twitter, and my 3000 followers can go we love your mix, we hate your mix,â?? Sample said. He added, â??Itâ??s a lot easier to approach that many people opposed to how much would it cost to print up 3000 cds and send them out for free.â??

The rapid expansion of social media even has heavyweights like Twitter entering the music sharing arena. The #Music service began on April 18th, and brings music-related Tweets front and center for users to follow their favorite artists, songs, and more.

Artists like Tom Clawson, who consistently earns about $30 every few months from his own CD Baby music sales, says the lasting impact of the internet means songs that go viral will "Always be there, theyâ??re there forever, theyâ??ll never die.â??

Clawson is planning a speech about the evolution of the music industry, which he will present in the Toledo-area as schedules are determined. He and other independent artists will continue to log online, and blend the transition from the live stage to the web.