Being a curious person, I decided in 2013 to see how some of my originals might do with diverse audiences at several internet radio sites. This was done as an experiment. Based upon a friend's suggestion, I started with Hardcoremix Radio.
I was amazed by how well my originals -- including Blues for Lester and New Tango No. 3 -- did with the listeners at Hardcoremix. I then branched out to have my music at BluesJazzRadio, Jango Radio, and several other sites.
Importantly, I do not consider the music that I have submited to be "commercial music". This music is quite different from what I typically hear played on these sites. Blues for Lester, for example, is an extremely unusual contemporary jazz piece. Yet, it reached the #1 spot on the Top Songs chart at Hardcoremix.
For me, this broke down a stereotype I had about internet radio -- that it is mainly for pop music. I discovered that original jazz (and other styles of original music) CAN be appreciated by large numbers of internet radio listeners.
A rough demo of my Appalachian Awakening score for mid-size jazz ensemble has been created by George Spicka with the 6 horn lines from the Sibelius midi file and a mock up for the rhythm section. The period of silence toward the end of the recording is where the violin player takes off for an improvised cadenza. The demo can enable one to get an idea of what the horn writing sounds like.
Starting today, different originals will be featured on the Home page of my site. The music presented in the Today's Featured Music section will rotate through the list of my originals that have recordings.
I decided that the Bonus Track and Previous Featured Music pages are no longer needed. Bonus Track has been deleted. The Previous Featured Music page has been converted to More Originals. The new page has a list of links to a selection of my originals. A link to the More Originals page is on the navigation menu.
A new recording has been made of Salt Marsh Rag. David Arivett used a Sibelius MIDI file of my score and with his studio magic created an electronic woodwind quintet and rhythm section. I am impressed with David's work on this project. The recording can be heard on the Salt Marsh Rag at CSIC page on my website.
A rough demo of my Blues For Lester score for mid-size jazz ensemble has been created. It was done in Sibelius with only the 6 horn lines. The solo section and measures in the score where the drums and rhythm section are featured were left out. The demo can enable one to get an idea of what the horn writing sounds like.
My hand-written score for Blues for Lester has been put into Sibelius. Thanks to George Spicka (composer friend in the Baltimore Jazz Alliance) for his help. This piece is for jazz soloist, 5 horns, and rhythm section. Flexible instrumentation is used to enable the music to be played by many configurations of instruments. The Blues for Lester page on my website has a link to the ensemble score. Bands that are interested in playing this piece can write to me from the Contact page.
Being primarily a composer and not having a performing band, I have given considerable time & effort to building an online audience through my website and other music sites I use. Along the way, I picked up a number of tips from musician friends and website developers. Following are several basic tips that have been helpful to me:
Cast a Large Net
There are many music sites on the internet. To name only a few: Youtube, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, Vimeno, BluesJazzRadio, All About Jazz, Last.FM, Hardcoremix Radio, Jango Radio, Fandalism, (the list goes on and on). Having your music on multiple sites is a good way to reach out to a broader audience. In addition, when you have your own website the other sites you are using can have a link to your site. This enables your website to be the hub of a network of music and social media sites.
Your Own Website
Having your own website is one of the most important things that one can do to have an online presence that stands out. The site layout and features can express who you are and what your music is about. There are a number of free or inexpensive site builders that are easy to use (using drag and drop icons). Talk with musician friends to see what they are using, look at their sites, and see which site builder is the best match for you.
When you have your website, think of it as being like a restaurant. What does a successful restaurant do to bring in customers and retain a loyal base? Take a similar approach with a website.
Here is an important tip: Do not let your site become stale or inactive. Do new and creative things with your site on a regular basis to keep it fresh. This includes adding new music, posting news and blogs, making improvements to the site, etc. Active sites typically have more weight with search engines than inactive sites.
A Personal Domain Name
A personal domain name for your site is highly recommended – in particular, using your name. A domain name can be purchased from a website builder or companies like Namecheap. A developer told me that one’s name (with a .com extension) makes it easier for people to remember your site and find it with internet searches.
Without question, Facebook brings the greatest amount of traffic to my site. However, it is my understanding that only 7% (or less) of the people in one’s friend list actually see the messages posted on a timeline. In my experience, one of the best things about Facebook is the groups. With groups, you can find a collection of people who share an interest in music with you. Posting a link to your site within a message to a group (or multiple groups) will usually bring more people to your site than by only posting it on your timeline.
It is also important to have a music page on Facebook in addition to a personal timeline. I have been told that having a Facebook page gives more weight to your name in search engines.
A rough demo of my Sleepy Creek Samba score for mid-size jazz ensemble has been created. It was done in Sibelius with only the 6 horn lines. The solo section and measures in the score where the drums and rhythm section are featured were left out. The demo can enable one to get an idea of what the horn writing sounds like.