Creating a direct link to your iTunes tracks 2016

imageIf you’re having trouble creating a direct link to your music on iTunes, you’re not alone.

I was about to launch the pre-sale campaign for my new CD when I decided to check the links just one more time. Imagine my face when I realized that the links that worked on my desktop computer did NOT work on my mobile devices. 😖

Not wanting to make some lame post like “Order my new album by going to iTunes and searching for my name”, I desperately googled solutions. Luckily, I stumbled across this blog post that got me more than halfway there.

The article was great at explaining how and why Apple was now forcing links to open in the music app instead of the store. And, it gave a detailed description of how to find and use the iTunes link maker to create links. But, there was still a problem. It wouldn’t work for me! Arrrg!!!

To create a link, the link maker asks you to search for “popular content” using their search tool. As a pretty much unknown indie artist, I didn’t come up. I searched for my name, my album, one of my songs and…nothing! Mwap mwap.

But, not to worry, the handy-dandy blog post gave me the tools I needed. Thanks to blog poster Kirk McElhearn for including examples with screenshots of the direct links. All I had to do was substitute my details for Taylor Swift’s and I was good to go!

Here are my links. Simply sub in your album name and ID or your artist name and ID and happy linking!

Link to my album:

https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/album/stars-apart/id1117414650?app=itunes

Link to my iTunes catalog:

https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/artist/laura-marie/id266036410?app=itunes

You need to have that question mark after your ID and app=itunes to force open the store app instead of the music app.

How do you find your ID? Simply search for your content on iTunes via your desktop computer’s browser (that’s the only way) and your ID will be in the URL address. I just put “iTunes Laura Marie” into google search to find mine.

Much love,

Laura Marie

P.S. Be sure to share this info with your fellow indie artists. Pay it forward, spread the love!

P. S. S. Pre-order my new CD on iTunes: http://bit.ly/starsapartpre or the physical CD from my official pre-order page http://bit.ly/starsapartcd

P.S.S.S.Since my album went into pre-sale, my name is searchable in popular content. I’m famous!!!! 😝

Social Media Presence Required

I know, long time no blog. Well, I’m promoting the new CD, trying to maintain my health and I’m still a mom, wife and responsible dog owner…a lot of bases to cover. Plus, I’m taking some time to catch up on some reading and participate in community events. So, micro-blogging from now on. Here’s the latest:

I recently attended the Austin Music Foundation‘s panel “How to Get Booked at a Festival”. Panelists included the booking powers that be at SXSW, ACL and Lollapalooza. I just wanted to share with you something that everyone on the panel agreed with when asked if there was one thing that would cause festival booking agents to immediately dismiss a band/performer: No social media presence.

Now, there were other things they agreed upon, obvious things like bad music or music not compatible with the festival theme. Rudeness was also mentioned. But, it was very clear that if you were not making a real effort to engage with your fans through social media, none were going to take you seriously. Here this:  festival booking agents are expecting you to promote yourself and their festivals if you want them to put you in front of their crowds. They will choose someone who is doing the work to engage fans over someone who does not.

But, please don’t think you can fake it. They are on to those who buy followers. If they don’t see real/organic engagement, they’re going to pass. And, I don’t believe you have to spend 24/7 on social media to have a presence. If you want, you can help build it with legitimate ad campaigns and promoting your pages at shows. Then, take a few minutes a day to engage with those who follow you. You don’t have to overwhelm yourself with it. If your goal is to break into music festivals, it’ll be worth your time. The more you know… 🙂

Next up: This Friday I discuss royalties: How to Get Paid as an Indie Artist – w/ @cindypluggedin at 5PM EST: WVQC.  Blog to follow…

Scam alert! Thanks Google image search! (Blog)

Alright, here we go again. I seriously can not imagine a mind that would go to such great lengths to attempt to scam someone. They dangled faith in God and money in front of my nose. Ridiculous. But, for the sake of teaching others how to check these things out using Google search tools, I decided to write this blog.

For those who don’t want the whole story, here’s the skinny:

Who: Mary0 on Soundcloud or Mary Swaggart on Facebook.

What: one of those “I’m sick/dying and I need help distributing my large sums of money to the poor” scams.

What to do: Ignore and dismiss their attempts to contact you

For those who want the dirty details and google search tips:

I was first contacted via soundcloud and asked for my email address (which is publicly available) so that she could send me an urgent message about a project.

Then, she contacted me on my Facebook fan page with a fake profile. We had a back and forth conversation. This is what she asked me to do if you care to read it.

marys

Yeah. Ridiculous. Just reading it will tell you it’s a scam. And, she had no info, uploads or identifying pics on her Soundcloud page. But, her FB page had a picture of someone hospitalized which seemed consistent with her story. So, I checked out the pic using Google image search. How? Easy. I learned how to do it on the “What is one cool internet trick you’ve learned?” thread on Reddit.

1) Right click the profile picture of the scammer and save to your desktop

jade

2) Go to Google.com images and click on the little camera in the search box.

googleimages

3)Choose the picture from your desktop or drag and drop if you have that option (be sure not to change the name of the photo)

googleimages2

4) Bam! Yeah, fake profile pic.

jadegoody

I know people use other people’s images as their profile pics all the time but, the fact that this person contacted someone they don’t know to distribute millions of dollars, got defensive when I said “no” and had no traceable connections or identity other than a very recent entry on “Apostles International Seminars” website that repeated the same vague info, screams “scammy scam scammer!”!

Oh yeah, also did a search on the bond company. While several entries made it look as if it is a company that actually exists, the fact that it turned up in posts on meetup message boards in spammy ways gives you a hint that it is being used for non legit purposes.

Now, I’m not completely savvy on ways to scam people so, I’m sure there are other details I’m missing. Just hope I can give you an idea of some basics to look out for.

🙂

Peace out.

Building a Fan Base: You’re Doing it Wrong

Fans

 

Not to be harsh but, really, this will not net you results. What will? Build real relationships with other musicians you admire. Play gigs with them if your compatible, comparable and on or near the same level in your careers. Or, share ideas. At the very least, get to know them first. Other musicians don’t exist to promote you. Of course, we all appreciate it if you are a musician who likes our music and shares it with your fans. I share the music of musicians I like with my fans because I like them and not because I owe them one for liking my page. That’s not what a fan is. And, trust me, you don’t want fans who are only “fanning” you out of obligation. You want fans who truly admire your work. 

So, go ahead. Introduce yourself. Even invite musicians to listen to your work or tell them about your projects. That’s awesome. But, the above…is just silly. 

RED ALERT! Twitter Scam Targets Musicians!

If you recently received a DM message from a record label A&R person asking you to submit your tracks for sync licensing via MCMA.com, you guessed it, scam. 

 

This is the message I received on Twitter:

Thx #FF! If you’re interested in sending me your music or beats for placement consideration please send it through MCMA .com

It came from this account:

Columbia

 

So, I checked into it. Signed up on the little free account thing. It looked harmless. I even uploaded a song. (Yeah, I know…stupid. But, the song is available all over the internet so I figured I wasn’t risking a whole lot…hopefully). 

For a scam, they didn’t really make it easy. I mean, the site was a b*tch to use. Very tempermental. Alarm bells started going off when I couldn’t get a consistent response from links on the pages. Then, hunting for what it was really going to cost me made me realize I’d almost been had. First the site said, “free trial”, then it said “8/ per month paid annually” then, it said “29.99/month” so you could contact the person who supposedly contacted you. What? 

I shudder to think, had they made it easier, they would already have my money.

So, back to that. 

A simple search on Twitter brought me to the real Teresa Whites:

Therealtlw

Who, by the way, had been graciously tweeting to followers about the scam. No telling how many A&R reps they are misrepresenting. And, who knows how long it will be before this site gets shut down. Please, do a good deed and RT this blog or just let other musicians know not to fall for it. 

And, follow Teresa Whites. She’s good people. 🙂

Tlwtweets

Laura Marie

“Making stupid mistakes so you don’t have to”

 

 

 

HILARIOUS UPDATE:

Hilarious

 

 

THIS IS NOT SPAM (blog post)

Gotta love it. Just got a spam message from a band. The subject line read: THIS IS NOT SPAM. The content: Check out my this that and the other thing. 

No. 

No, no, no, no, no.

I wish I could pop your nose with a newspaper. 

But, in case no one has explained it to you before, here it is.

 

The definition of SPAM as it applies to email/internet correspondence:

Any direct and unsolicited self promotive communication.

This includes, but is not limited to, sending emails to people who have not personally opted in or signed up on your email list or inquired about your services (exceptions would be close friends and family who “know you like that”) and posting promotion without permission on someone’s website, message board, fan page, wall, comment box, etc. 

 

Again, I’m not saying “Don’t promote yourself”. We have to and we can’t all afford to buy ad space. I’m just saying, connect with people first. If you’re desperate, even go so far as to ask people to help promote you. But, if you are going to spam people, know this, you will be shunned. 

 


 

Pay to play? Watch out for this one (blog)

So, that’s what they mean by “token opportunity” …

Okay, so, does Sonicbids even bother to screen opportunities anymore? I just got an “opportunity” to pay to play in my inbox. One word: AFTON. If you are a musician who has spent any time promoting yourself via social networks, the name might be familiar. .

Out of morbid curiosity and to confirm my suspicions, I’ve actually talked to one of their reps on the phone. They want to “book you”, have you sell tickets at $10 a pop, (you have to prebuy the tickets to guarantee at least 10 if I remember correctly) but, they can’t tell you who else you will be playing with or in what order you’ll be playing. Um, so, tell your fans to pay $10 bucks to see you who knows when with who knows who. And, you get the grand prize of being able to get a few bucks per ticket sale. Yeah…sure. MEH! 

There’s plenty wrong with this deal and unsuspecting indies can certainly get hosed. Another has detailed the problem and I’ll direct you to them if you want to read more. I’ll just say, stay away from pay to play opportunities. You’re better than that. And, if you aren’t, you should be trying harder.

http://neverpaytoplay.com/Afton/&NP2Pafton.htm

Here is another GREAT blog if you want to avoid scams in addition to some great ideas on how to survive the music world. Rose Cora Perry doesn’t hold back. She’s a great one to follow: 

http://soyouwannabearockstar.blogspot.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Onesheet BAM! Just like that.

One sheet:

In the entertainment industry, a one-sheet or one sheet is a single document
that summarizes a product for publicity and sales

 

Thanks to Madalyn Sklar for posting this link on my Facebook page: http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/07/onesheet-is-about-me-for-bands/

Madalyn never fails to alert me to great stuff on the web for bands.  This time it’s Onesheet. Founder of ArtistData, Brenden Mulligan (@bmull) , has created an easy way to compile all the info about your band into a beautifully simple, virtual onesheet. The beauty of it: you hardly have to do a thing.

It’s like this:

1) Upload a background image

2) Connect your social networks by filling in the blank URLs

3) Save

 

Then:

Onesheet

You can customize color and position if you want to but, otherwise, you’re done. It’s all there! You don’t have to update. It’ll update itself. Sweet! Super easy. 

You know how everyone keeps saying that you need to maintain your Myspace profile because programmers and booking agents want a uniform place to find all your info? Yeah….beat this!

 

Custom websites for musicians! Easier than you think…(nerdblog)

My friend, producer and studio owner Mack Damon (Hollywood Studios), once said something to me that blew my mind. I’m going to paraphrase because the conversation took place a long time ago. But, it went something like this: There’s three things you want anything to be: fast, inexpensive and awesome. Pick two. 🙂

Think about it. You can make something awesome and inexpensive but, chances are it’s going to take you a while. You can have something fast and inexpensive but, I’m pretty sure it won’t be that awesome. And you can have something fast and awesome but it’s gonna cost you. I’ve found this to be true where almost anything is concerned. So, when it came to building my website, I knew I had to give this some thought. 

There’s no doubt that I wanted an awesome website. That’s one. Resources that I could allocate for it’s construction were limited so, it had to be inexpensive. That’s two. So, I was prepared for the fact that it was going to take a while. I either had to wait until I raised more money to hire someone or get to work researching and slowly constructing the website of my dreams. 

Lucky for me, this is where label owner Joe O’Brien (RatPakRecords.com) came in. He said, “Why don’t you try Bandzoogle?” 

Here’s a phrase I rarely use: O M G!

Inexpensive? Why, yes. I compared to other website building platforms for musicians and it’s all that and the bag of gluten-free chips. We’re talking features that include email, stats, fan clubs…plenty of space for music, you can run your own store. It has just about everything. Features: http://bandzoogle.com/features.cfm

Fast? Um…the easiest tools ever mean you can put up a website in no time. Try it. For FREE! Put something basic up and you can expand it later. 

Awesome? See what you think of my site. I did this in less than a week’s time. They have some beautiful templates but I wanted a custom design. So, with a set of professional pictures by my friend and photographer Kimberly Scott and a photo editor for cutting pics to fit my design and creating graphics (I use Photoshop), here she is:  www.lauramariemusic.com

Website

Did I have any complaints?

Well, the Reverbnation site builder is powered by Bandzoogle and I made the mistake of thinking both services would be identical.  They aren’t. If you’re in love with their store feature, you have to sign up directly through Bandzoogle to get it. The site builder through Reverbnation only allows you to use RN’s store widget as your store. On the plus side, if the RN widgets will do for you, going through them will be a snap. 

A complaint I heard from another user was that they wished they could set metatags for individual pages to better optimize the site for search engines. I have to agree with that one. That would be pretty slick. 

So, here you go. They give you 30 days to try it out which, trust me, is plenty of time to see how easy it is. Click the button and 
you get 60 days instead of 30 by using the referral code: 
m6bb6f  

Bandzoogle: band websites that work

And, yes, now that I’m a customer, I also get a discount for referring you. But, spend some time using it and you’ll see why I am referring every indie musician who wants a website upgrade to this site. 

If you can’t afford your own web designer, Bandszoogle looks like the best bet to me.


Here are my favorite things about using it:

1) Easy to integrate with my social networking sites and blogs

2) I LOVE the built in store feature. 

3) I can go totally custom or I can use their templates and choose from a number of fonts. 

4) Customer service is fantastic! They are on it!


Some custom things I added:

1) A share button: http://www.addtoany.com

2) HTML code to feature both my blog feeds with the help of https://feedburner.google.com/

3) An ArtistData calendar 

4) An additional ReverbNation music player for the music page

5) Graphics and spacers (for my custom look) 

All other features were provided by Bandzoogle. Woo-hoo!

 

If you need help adding any of the custom features I added, let me know. I’ll be happy to post a tutorial.

Let me know what you think?  – LM

 

 

 

 

 

Facebook, what have you done? (nerd blog/FB groups)

A word to bands: avoid adding your Facebook friends to groups without their permission or risk annoying them permanently. 

I simply don’t understand it. They give people the option of creating groups and automatically adding their friends to these groups AND the default setting for is for friends to receive email on all postings to the group. NO!!!!

Now, you can go to “notifications” under your account settings and uncheck the box next to “adds you to a group”. BUT, then you won’t know when people add you to a group and that could be annoying down the road when you start receiving all the posts to the group or chat messages from the entire group. This has happened to me and it took me several minutes to figure out how to unsubscribe from the chat. 

Me: UNSUBSCRIBE!!!

Chat: DING! hey what’s up DING! nothing much, how you doin’ DING! What’s going on this weekend DING! Love the new pics on the group page. ❤ ❤ ❤ DING! DING!

Me: UNSUBSCRIBE!!!!

 

Here is how to UNSUBSCRIBE FROM GROUP CHATS: 

1) Go to the group page

2) Hit “edit settings” at the top of the page

3) Pick and choose what you want from here

Group

You can also unsubscribe from the group by hitting the “leave group” link on the right hand column. Oh, and you see that “add friends to group” link there too? Leave it alone unless you know, without a shadow of a doubt, that your friends don’t mind being a part of whatever group you are creating. I can say that there are only five groups I’ve been okay with people adding me to. Two were created by very close personal friends. Two are for organizations I fully support and the last was created by someone who asked my permission before adding me. 

If you have a different opinion of groups, please share it with me. I am clearly speaking from my own perspective here. What do you think of groups and/or people adding you to them?