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!!!! 😝

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. 

 


 

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? 

 

 

 

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

That’s APPropriate (wink wink)

Some new iPhone apps that are making me happy:

 

Reverbnation: If, as an indie musician, you don’t have a Reverbnation account…get with the program. Seriously, it’s easy to use and integrate with Facebook and other social networks. Basic account is free so no excuses and NOW there is the iPhone app that lets you update your status, check out your profile stats, create an email, check email stats and (TUN TUN TAH!!!!) contains a mailing list sign-up form. Yeah…sweet. Imagine you and your minions at gigs standing around with your iPhones and signing people up directly like geniuses hovering around the genius bar at an Apple store. Serious nerd alert. I love it. 

It’s called CONTROL ROOM it’s in beta for and available through iTunes for iPhone. Check it out. And, thanks to fearless GoGirls leader and Social Networks 4 Musicians founder Madalyn Sklar for giving me a heads up on this one. 

Reverb

Speaking of dumping that mailing list clipboard, FanBridge has a FAN COLLECTOR that works for that purpose as well. It’s simple, it works and now I just have to have my minions set up to use it. I love using FanBridge for managing my mailing list but I really need to update my landing page. Ugh!

Fancollecter

 

And, believe it or not, I’m going to heap some praise on My_____’s new iPhone app. Yup. That’s right. I really like it. I’m not kidding. Let me tell you, it makes it easier. I don’t have to log in on my computer. I don’t have to be bombarded with auto-players on my new and “improved” home page stream. I can easily CLEAR all my notifications. I can even DELETE messages with telltale subject markers that reek of spam without having to read them. Yes! YES! WTH, My______. I don’t know how or why but “pat, pat, pat” on the back for that one. 

Myspace

If you will notice, my friend requests are cleared. My notifications are cleared. I can totally avoid the stream if I so choose and I now only have 3 unread emails. Woo-hoo! Get it here

 

 

Okay, so good stuff. Well, I think so. Plus, here is another one that Madalyn sent my way that is a ton of fun. 

Instagram

INSTAGRAM according to the site it’s a “fast, beautiful, fun way to share your life with friends…” ( I ❤ alliteration)

SUPER NERD ALERT! You will be SHUNNED by some users on this app if you edit your pictures prior to uploading them. I’m just sayin’…it’s some sort of nerdy rule but whatever…

 

That’s it for now. Let me know what you think about any of the above. 

 

Laura Marie

(check out my other blog too: http://lauramarie.posterous.com/