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!!!! 😝

Stars Apart iTunes Pre-Sale!

That’s right! The new CD is on the way!!! Here’s a sneak peak at the artwork. I am super pumped about sharing these songs with you. The musicians are just phenomenal. Their collective credits include Jimmy Kimmel, Augustana, Every Avenue, Josh Abbot Band, Brandon Flowers, Emilio Navaira, opening for the Dixie Chicks and One Direction and New Folk Winner. These guys were and are amazing and they brought my songs to life. Can’t wait for you to hear them!

Pre-order the album now on iTunes http://bit.ly/starsapartpre or pre-order the physical CD via my website pre-order page http://bit.ly/starsapartcd . Either way, you’ll get the download on the official release date June 15th. Physical CDs will be delivered yo the post office on that day as well (international deliveries may take a day or two longer).

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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/

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

The uproar about Tunecore? (blog)

Ok, so, in short:

Tunecore has upped their prices per album per year to $49. The reason? They say it will be better than paying for extras a la carte and they cite these 34 improvements. What I’d like to know is if it’s worth it to you. You’ll have to check out the list of improvements which include things like Apple Artist Ping pages, Tunecore charts and promotion services. 

I would also like to hear what you think of the comments left by other artists. There are several in support of a price increase. Or, maybe they are just grateful for the improvements. I don’t know. But, what I do know is that CDBaby responded by offering 50% for musicians transferring from Tunecore to CDBaby: http://cdbabylovesyoumore.com/  

(Original story here on Digital Music News)

Yes, CDbaby is all about the little guy. It reminds me of how Lefsetz talks about record labels. Make a little bit off of a lot of people. I think it applies to most businesses in the internet era and, from the indie music perspective (or, at least the indies I’m hearing from), it seems like Tunecore is headed in the wrong direction. 

To be fair, it sounds like they spent some real money on these improvements hoping to their customers would benefit. Still, what did they think would happen? Surprising your customers with 150% cost increase? Ouch. 

 – LM

Merch Sales Squared! (Cha-ching)

As mentioned in the previous blog “For the Indie Do-It-Yourself-er”, ladies and gentlebands, SQUARE!

Square is a FREE app with a FREE card reader that allows you to accept credit card payments from your Apple IOS or Google Android device. Oh, yeah it does. 

I downloaded this app when I first read about it a few months back but, I never activated it because I was slightly suspicious of it. It wasn’t until  Claude “Butch” Morgan stopped by my table at one of his events and said “Laura, you need to get one of these.” that I decided to take a closer look. This thing is awesome. No charge for the app. No cost to sign up. No charge for the card reader. No recurring charges. You only pay a fee per transaction. If you have the card in hand and can swipe it it’s 2.75% +15 cents. If you have to enter the credit card number in manually, it’s 3.5% +15 cents. You can then text or email your customer their receipt right then and there. If you are worried about security, read this

Why accept credit cards at your shows? You will absolutely increase merch sales if you do. A lot of people don’t like to carry a lot of cash when they go out and, when they have it, they are spending it on food and drink. It’s all about making it “stupid easy” for the customer to buy. This’ll do it for you. Sign up is really easy. All you have to do is give the pertinent info and verify your bank information and the money gets deposited into your account in a flash. 

Now all you have to do is be sure your device is charged before the show. 🙂

 

Merch

 -Laura Marie

P.S. Even Bob Lefsetz is blogging about it. If you don’t know who Bob Lefsetz is, subscribe to his blog to get a brutally honest take on the music industry. Sometimes the truth hurts but it can also set you free. So, fly my little broken birdies, FLY!

P.S.S Nerd Alert is a dot com!!!! As in: nerdalert4musicians.com and, follow the blog on Twitter: twitter.com/nerdalert4   Follow nerdalert4 on Twitter