Mar De Miguel shares some of her insider tips for Tumblr music blogs
Nowadays bands don’t need labels. They can do almost everything by themselves. They don’t need management or agencies either: they can save money (perhaps 20% on every gig) if they’re good at booking their events and promoting themselves. If you’re a band or artist without a label, you probably can’t afford a manager. But for no money at all there are platforms such as Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, MySpace, Reverbnation, Last.fm, Noisetrade, Songkick… so why not use everything these resources can offer?
Some bands start an account, upload three bad pictures and two tracks – but then rebel against (or simply don’t care about) doing anything else. Maybe you really don’t care about success and you’re just making music for fun – but then why open an account if you’re not going to do it properly? You’re simply defeating yourself – wasting your work, your time and all your chances.
By all means go ahead and make music for your grandma if you want to. But don’t waste everyone’s time by asking bloggers to listen to it, if you can’t be bothered to supply the links and info we need to share it with our readers. In 2013 it’s part of your job as a musician to do these few simple tasks to help your work get heard. If it all seems like too much trouble, go and work in an office 40 hours a week instead.
Rant over. For most platforms the principle is simple – don’t leave any sections blank and, well, use the platform. Post on your Facebook, tweet on your Twitter, put videos on your YouTube, update your Songkick etc. Put links on all your web pages to all your other web pages.
And – for anyone who’s interested – here are some specific insider tips on how to get the best out of your Tumblr account. You’ll need to be logged in to Tumblr to see some of the links below…
Tumblr has recently started a new tag for music. We Tumblr users have been asking for this since they deleted the Tumblr Tuesdays recommendations in 2010 and all of us music blogs hosted in there lost the chance to be seen.
At Tumblr there is a spotlight section for Music, for Musicians and for Labels. Very few blogs are in the spotlight, but as a Tumblr user you have the possibility to be seen on the new music tag. And how do you get there? You will appear on the music tag if one of the music editors (there are 16) promotes your post.
I’m one of those 16 editors and our main job is simply to add the music tag to people’s posts. Those posts will then get a blue mark and go to the music tag section on Tumblr, a page that can be seen by the 77 million blogs that have been registered there to date. From this moment, you’ll begin to receive many visits, notes and new followers.
Getting promoted to the Tumblr music tag isn’t that difficult. Here are some guidelines that should make your post eligible for the tag:
- Good content: Your post should have good music or interesting content. I can’t help on this, this is your post.
- Use Soundcloud or Spotify for Audio. Use official accounts. If you own your work, it’s possible to directly upload audio and video to Tumblr, but I strongly recommend using Soundcloud for your audio posts and YouTube on the video ones. We editors read posts very fast and we will skip any audio & video directly uploaded to Tumblr.
- Edit your post and be clear: Band Name – Track Name using bold letters for tracks and videos. Add a very short piece of text (Tumblr users don’t like long posts) and add all your links. Don’t be messy.
- No external images: Upload all your images. Don’t add external images to the text box (for any of your posts: text, audio, video, etc). External images will leave a grey square when seen from the dashboard and Tumblr editors will skip your post.
- Reference everything you use and link to original sources. Tumblr editors require all posts to show respect for copyrights.
- Avoid Bandcamp: Unfortunately, Bandcamp posts look black from the dashboard. Regular users don’t bother to play them and music editors won’t even look at them. Hopefully they will sort this out, but for now: avoid. A good alternative for a Bandcamp post is to upload the cover art and add a link to stream the music at Bancamp.
- Avoid html embedded videos: they play slow and they look black from the dashboard. Vimeo sometimes works, sometimes it doesn’t.
- Use tags: At tumblr you can use up to 5 tags, after that number tumblr search engine won’t read more tags. Use #name of the band, #music, #indie rock, #rock, #pop, #folk, #singer-songwriter, etc. Avoid the symbol “&” (it will appear as “&”). The only way to be promoted is to be followed or seen by any of the music editors. And the only way for them to see you is by these tags if they don’t follow you.
This is the “correct” way to post on Tumblr, but remember that your Tumblr blog is also a window that will let your fans get an idea of your personality. Posting “correctly” could kill your quick, funny, spontaneous posts. So it’s best to use a combination of approaches – and just be sure to use the “correct” way when promoting important new releases, etc.
LAST UPDATE: Tumblr fixed Bandcamp posts. Now any Bandcamp track can be posted as “Audio”.