Phil Dorsey, of TheBocX.com, gave a talk at the Oct. 16, 2021 jazz conference put on the the Baltimore Jazz Alliance. This article is a condensation of that talk:
You got your latest and greatest down, as perfect as you can get it, (it can always be better) and yes, recorded! What I like to share with you is a simple two-step process to sell and potentially get airplay. Because the steps are simple to follow doesn’t mean you don’t have to put effort into it. There are two options. (1) you can do all the work and save some money, all the way up to and including final production, or (2) you can work with an agency and pay them to do all the heavy lifting.
What follows are the steps you can take to move your musical career forward.
If you want to get airplay, you need a way for the listening public to buy your music after hearing it, either individual tracks or an entire album. I’m discussing distributing your music electronically, rather than CD or vinyl. Musical web service companies (I have compiled a list) will help you sell your music for a percentage of the retail sale cost. Beware–most of the money made goes to the distributor.
Each of the do-it-yourself companies (for instance Soundcloud, Tunecore, Bandcamp) have an interface to establish an account and a link to your bank or payment service you use, in order to send you any payments due you. The instructions on how to upload your music files, and any album images will usually be sequentially laid out to take you from start to finish.
If you use a do-it-yourself general music website, be sure to state in the first sentence of your promo write-up that you are a jazz musician. I often see on these sites. a long write up on that person’s history—but nothing about the type of music they make. Unless it looks jazzy, I pass on their music. Most legit radio stations get inundated with music nowadays, and they don’t get many chances to spend much time reviewing every submission.
You must correctly tag all the tracks with your name and track name only. Long file names may be helpful to you, but they don’t always display correctly in some online interfaces. This is an example of what you want to avoid: (John Doe_Best Album Ever_Track_5_Song Title _Smooth_version5_NoSax_0200AM_102221)–just saying! After you compile the track(s) you want to promote, have at it!
You should test all the music you upload and verify that it downloads correctly, sounds as expected, and has the complete and correct track information. Put your best tracks first! Also get a friend with a different type of phone (Apple/Android) model than you have and view the website to see if it displays as you want. Upload it to more than one of the retail sites to get maximum sales and exposure.
Now you want to get your music in the hands of radio stations terrestrial and internet. For example, a site like TheBocX.com has listeners in over 70 countries and charges no fees for submissions. There are options from doing it yourself using various sites (Promobuzz, ipluggers, Internet Broadcaster Alliance) for a variety of pricing tiers and services offered. Or paying a music distribution service to do the heavy lifting for you (for instance Groov Marketing, Jazz Promo Services, Scott Thompson Promotion).
Each agency that I have listed has various prices, stations served, and processes. Of some of the services mentioned, some may specialize in one sub-genre. For example, look at Gorov Music for smooth jazz; Kari-On Productions for straight-ahead jazz, etc.. Some artists use more than one agency/service to maximize their exposure. Without commenting on the fees charged, most agencies work very hard and are very responsive when working with artists, and stations. Ultimately you decide what works best for you.
If you would like a digital copy of my contacts spreadsheet email me: firstname.lastname@example.org . And best of luck in your musical journey!
Phil Dorsey runs TheBocX.com, a 24/7 Streaming Jazzy Music Station, with “danceable Jazzy, funky, soulful, electronic chill-out music.” His day job is working in the Social Security Administration