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. ūüėĖ

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!!!! ūüėĚ

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. ūüôā

Tlwtweets

Laura Marie

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

 

 

 

HILARIOUS UPDATE:

Hilarious

 

 

ArtistPR Buyer Beware (Time lapse nerd blog)

Update 3/21/14
I think it’s only fair to note that ArtistPR keeps trying to post on this blog and let people know that they are totally legit. Here’s the thing, this is MY experience. It doesn’t mean you’ll have the same experience. You know, maybe they hired a really bad service to make their calls. Maybe the 3 or 4 emails I get a year from totally different ¬†ArtistPR reps that are word for word the same (except for the part where they insert a different random song in the blank) are just their way of saying they really, REALLY, love my music. Fine. They want to post their clean record with the Better Business Bureau? Thanks for reminding me that I should have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. This is what I’ve learned since I wrote this blog: you are going to hear about the best PR services because artists you know will be using them and talking about them. The ones that spam you on Reverbnation and email are most likely trying to make a buck by casting a wide net. And, if they are casting a wide net, what are the chances they believe in you as an artist and will really push your music? And, what are the chances they are just trying to make as much money as possible from as many artists as they can get in the net? You decide.
Original post March 23rd, 2011

 

12:15pm

 

Phone rings. Unknown number from San Rafael, CA. That’s the second call this week. I’m in a writing session with Mr. Jake Owen (super-guitarist-songwriter) so, I don’t pick up.

 

1:38pm Central Time

 

I got curious and returned the call from San Rafael, CA. The caller said she was from ArtistPR.com. Here is the skinny:

 

Maybe I submitted to them or maybe I didn’t. I submit to a lot of things. I honestly couldn’t recall whether or not I submitted to be featured on their “artist spotlight” but, they told me I had and that I was chosen.

 

The cost: $2.95 for the week I was to be featured in the “spotlight” (slightly misleading and I’ll explain why in a bit)

 

They would also need a CD and press kit in hand to give to licensors who might inquire about my music. ¬†I told the caller that I would not give my credit card info over the phone and that I wanted to do it myself on the website. She asked if I could do it while we were on the call because she would need the approval code in order to upload me in to “the spotlight”. I said, I would be available to do it in a few hours and she said she’d call me back. (My guard was up since this number had called me twice and hadn’t left a message. Also, the caller sounded like she was reading from a script) 

Well, in the meantime, I went to look for the details on the site. Here they are:

 

1. Charges and Use of Service. You acknowledge that artistmusicpromotion.com offers a free membership with limited access to resource and services. You also aknowledge and agree that if you choose to upgrade your account to a premium membership that you will be billed $2.95 for 5 days then automatically recur every 30 days at $60.00 until you cancel. You can also choose to sign up for $60.00 a month without the $2.95 trial. Both memberships recur at $60.00 very 30 days. The $60 a month provides you access to our premium members area at artistmusicpromotion.com.com/members Each member is provided a unique username and password at the time of signup that allows you access to our premium members area.. The services provided by artistmusicpromotion.com are listed at  artistmusicpromotion.com/signup2.html and artistmusicpromotion.com/signup.html  You can automatically cancel your account 24/7 by going to our cancellation page You can also access this page by clicking here. You can also cancel your account by calling customer service at xxx xxx xxxx and your membership will be canceled within 24 hours.

 

Is that a one time charge of $2.95 for 5 days or $2.95 each day? Also, there was no link on “here” for the cancellation page. The caller said nothing about a recurring charge. So, maybe this wasn’t the deal she was trying to tell me about. I’m waiting for the call back to ask her and will keep you updated.¬†But, right now, I’m thinking that this was a way of selling their upgraded membership. If not, I wish they would have found a more personable, professional caller or at least contacted me by email about my being “selected” before calling. And, if this¬†is¬†how they are trying to get people to opt in to their upgraded membership, bad move. A bit tricksy if you ask me.

 

3:34pm 

 

Oh, no….here we go
So, she calls back and asks me for my credit card number again. I say, “No, I want to do it online”. I ask her if I’m going to have a recurring charge on my credit card. She insists that this is a one time charge. She tells me to go to the following link: http://www.artistpr.com/signup2.html

 

Ahem…

 

This clearly says there is a recurring charge. Does she think I can’t read?

 

Me: “It says that this is for monthly membership.”
Her: “No, it isn’t”
Me: “Yes, that’s what it says!”
Her: “You won’t be charged.”
Me: “You know, thanks for the offer but, no thanks.”
Her: “Ok” hangs up…

 

 

ArtistPR? Not so much…

Social Networking No-No’s: Responses (blog)

I’ve drawn a line…

On one side, people who agree that mass emailing people on Myspace is getting pretty pointless (and annoying). On the other side, people who get all offended that we think it’s annoying. 

But, it’s not about who is right and who is wrong. It’s about what’s effective. And, I get it. I mean, if this kind of mass emailing is working for you and it’s translating into tons of people at your shows and sales galore, then, well…I stand corrected. I know that Myspace has been a very effective tool for many musicians. It’s helped me too. And, it’s still important to some radio promoters who say they prefer to listen to bands via Myspace because they always know exactly where to find the music. I just wonder how often they read your emails when they are addressed “Dear, fan”. 

To be fair, it’s not Myspace’s fault that I have to wade through pages of mass emails from bands to get to one person who is actually trying to reach me personally. It’s just that there is no way for me to make a connection this way. So, I’ll put my energy elsewhere and into places where I can better connect with people. 

But, maybe your goal or experience is different. Maybe you’d like to get as high a number of “followers” as you possibly can. Perhaps you’ve heard of all the people who got picked up by record labels and handed all their dreams simply because they had huge numbers. Name them. And, are you sure? I’m willing to bet that most of them did more work for longer than you think they did before they hit it big. Sure, there might be a handful who sprang to fame “overnight” but, of all the millions of musicians out there, do you really want to go with a strategy that equates to getting struck by a bolt of lightning. Believe me, plenty of people want to sell you on the idea that big numbers are your goal. (They are usually the ones selling you a program on how to boost your numbers). I guess I just want to sell you on the idea that good music is your goal. And, I don’t want anyone to lead you astray. 

Think about all the hugely successful musicians who made it because they were simply awesome and don’t stress. Be awesome. The numbers may come slowly at first but, I believe, if you are consistently putting out great music and genuinely connecting with fans, the numbers will follow. Keep the momentum going and they’ll eventually snowball. Have a strong online presence but don’t put your cart before your horse. 

So, anyway, I sent the blog out in a mass email to Myspace. Subject line: Can we all agree this is stupid?

Hypocritical? Absolutely. But, I couldn’t resist. Since I don’t regularly send out mass emails on Myspace about my music, I thought I’d give it a try with my blog and see how many people agreed with me or even bothered to read it. I mean, maybe I was totally off base and missing a gold mine of dedicated followers! I needed to find out. The results were completely mixed. I was actually thinking that everyone that is still active on Myspace would disagree. That was not the case. It was a mixed bag. Several musicians agreed. A couple called me out on the irony of using a mass email to point out the ridiculousness of a mass email. A few were really upset with me and, to my delight, some did just what they always do. Here you go:

Response2Response7Response3Response1ResponseResponse4Response5Response8

 

And, this says so very, very much:

Response10

 

 

Bands: Social Networking No-No’s #2-5

The ridiculousness of adding a bunch of people on Myspace and then treating them like your loyal fans is what has made Myspace a joke. Of all the emails you received from bands on Myspace, how many of them are from bands or musicians that you actually know and like? Chances are, if you’re a band, you’re probably treating all of them like your loyal fans too. If I didn’t know better, I know I would. Why? Because I don’t add people on Myspace. Haven’t in a long time. After I reached so many 1000 friends, Myspace automatically removed my right to approve friend requests and just adds them to my list. The only exception, I believe, is for those who are running paid ‘add’ campaigns. I have to manually approve those and, for the most part, I don’t. Initially, I did this so that I could safely assume that people adding me were fans. But, I can’t assume that at all. They add me and, in the backasswardsness of it all, I’m considered their  fan. 

Can’t we all agree that this is stupid? This was the reason Facebook created fan pages. And, now, bands are trying to bypass that by doing several things that are proving to be HUGE turn-offs to fans and fellow-musicians:

2) Adding you as a personal friend and then bombarding you with excessive event invites and personal email invites to shows. 

That’s a sure fire way to get deleted as a friend or have your events added to the “ignored” list as in “ignore all future invites from this friend?” Um, yes. Do send out invites but, be mindful of how many you send out to the same people or people who aren’t even in your area. You can filter friends by hometown and create lists for different cities. I’ll work on a how-to for that. 

Side note: If someone replies “no” to your event, don’t send them emails telling them it’s their “Last chance…” or “Change your mind….”. Or worse,  if they haven’t replied, don’t send them an email saying “Why haven’t you replied?” . Ugh!  I repeat, people are being bombarded with this stuff. Don’t add to it with your need to have everyone acknowledge you. 

3) Posting their events on your page or tagging you in their videos, pics, wall photos of band flyers so they’ll show up on your wall. 

Oh, no you didn’t! Don’t try and figure out how to make Facebook as “useful” as Myspace was for spreading the word about yourself. That’s not the way it works in other social networks. It’s just obnoxious for bands to post their stuff all over everyone else’s “walls”. Personal pages are for making personal connections! That’s what is important on Facebook. And, don’t get me started on people who post their gigs on other bands fan pages. Unless the musician your tagging is involved in the show: tacky. I even had one person comment on an event link and say “Hey, if you can’t make it to her show, you can go to mine over here…”. Really?!

4) Becoming a fan on any social network and then saying something along the lines of “I’m your fan, now be mine” or “I follow you, now follow me” (which always reminds me of Phil Collins ‚̧ but, that’s beside the point)

The definition of “fan”: an ardent admirer or devotee. Short for “fanatic”. Call me crazy but, I think, if you want fans, you want people who really like your stuff instead of people who feel obligated to like your stuff because you liked theirs. You can’t make people like your music but, if you are nice, they might support your music even if it’s not their favorite thing in the world. It’s fine to politely invite people to check out your music but, don’t take it personally if they don’t. Let it go and remind yourself that they’ll see what you are doing in their home feeds. If they are going to get interested in your music, they’ll do it as they get to know you. Post a link here or there (not everywhere and not all the time). Suggest your page to them (don’t post it on their wall). 

5) Taking it one ginourmous step further and asking you to do the advertising for them.

I’m not talking about bands asking their fans to help spread the word, I’m talking  about bands saying. “Hello, I like your stuff. Here’s my stuff. Tell all your friends about me.”

Can you imagine this in any other business? “Hey, Wendy’s? This is Billy Bob’s Burgers. Love the  value menu you have going on. We liked you on Facebook and/or follow you on Twitter. Could you tell all your customers to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, come to our restaurant and buy our stuff.”   Huh? I have so many of these…it’s like someone wrote a blog suggesting that musicians should do this. If so, please tell me who. I really want to know. 

And, it’s not even about competition…it’s about honesty. 
I don’t mind promoting other bands and musicians at all! I love doing it. I cross promote with several musicians I work with and some I don’t work with but, just because I love them.  I think it should be this way. We should be helping each other out in ways that make sense. It makes no sense for me to promote people I don’t even know or whose music I don’t like. I don’t expect anyone who doesn’t like my music to support or promote it. That would be silly. And,if you are only promoting someone because they guilted you into it (or, even paid you to do it), you lose credibility. No thanks. 
Now, on Twitter, it’s often customary for people to “follow back” when someone follows you. Musicians, please, don’t take this as an opportunity to address everyone on Twitter as your biggest fan. Big, huge, famous people can do this. You know, those that only follow 10 people but have thousands of followers. In that case, it’s safe to say that most of the people following them are fans. Also, on that note, don’t just follow people to have them follow back and then, stop following to drive your “followed” numbers up. That’s just silly and annoying. Again, social networking is about building relationships not making yourself out to be something you aren’t. 
All that said, go on… THINK BIG!
Be EVERYWHERE.  You should be making it stupid easy for people to find you. 
You are awesome, you are amazing, you are all that and a can of confetti! That in itself will draw people to you.  So, put yourself out there in a big way, just not on top of everyone else. That’s the old way. The playing field is different now. You have to find creative ways of standing out while being part of the music community instead of just trying to step over everyone else in it.  
 – Laura Marie
Next Up: SXSW stuff, the low down on apps used

 

For the Indie Do-It-Yourself-er

The following are helpful tools I presented to Elite members of the GoGirls in one of our “secret” meetings at Folk Alliance in Memphis this year. This is a list. It is only a list. If you need further help or have questions about any of these, please post in the comments below. I’ll share my experience as best I can.

These are just some great places to start if you don’t have a team around you and are working on a limited budget. And, yes, you should have your own “.com”. A Facebook fan page will not suffice. And, if you are a band and have a Facebook profile and are using it as a fan page…stop it. Now. Please. 

 

Helpful Tools for Indie Artist

 

Easy and affordable DIY websites: Hostbaby.com and Bandzoogle.com

Both sites now have customizable templates that are affordable and allow you to update your pages and sell your music with very little hassle.

 

Most affordable iPhone app (and Droid to come…): getsoundaround.com

Now owned and also available through Reverbnation.com. Price cannot be beat!

 

Update all your social networks at once: Hootsuite and Ping 

Both of these services allow you to update your social networking sites and FACEBOOK FAN PAGES from your computer and both have iPhone apps for your convenience.

 

Landing pages for your Facebook fan page: Rootmusic.com and FanBridge.com 

Social Networks 4 Musicians has a sweet deal for custom pages but, if you have some DIY skills check out Rootmusic. And, if you are already using FanBridge, they’ve made it easy for you. 

 

DIY CD Sales: Bandcamp.com, Tunecore.com and CDBaby.com 

There are benefits to each. If you haven’t checked them out, do it now.

 

Credit Card sales at your shows: CdBaby.com and Square iPhone app 

Securely swipe credit cards on your iPhone and get direct deposits or get the affordable swiper through your CDBaby.com account.

 

Get your music on the radio: Airplaydirect.com

Get professional and beautiful download cards: Dropcards.com

Get royalties: Soundexchange.com (lengthy application but, do it. If your music is streaming anywhere online, you could have money waiting for you)

Get songs licensed: Pumpaudio.com (They are pretty selective about the music they choose so, be prepared with professional quality recordings of songs as well as instrumental versions. Some people hate the terms so be sure to read them over carefully. All I know is that I’ve received some pretty nice checks without having to shop my songs on my own.)

 J

 

  -Laura Marie

 

Up Next:

Bands: Social Networking No-No’s #2