[blog] Looking At Musician Platforms, part 1: ReverbNation

Published April 11th 2016

Like many other artists, I’ve been trying all kinds of websites to promote myself in an attempt to get paid for the music that I love to make. In a series of blogs, I’ll be sharing with you how I’ve experienced some of these platforms. This series will feature ReverbNation, RadioAirplay.com/Jango, Music Clout, Coast 2 Coast, MusicXray and InMusik.

ReverbNation

How Does ReverbNation Work?

ReverbNation

Many years ago, I was quite enthusiastic about ReverbNation. I had a free account, but still managed to network with a lot of artists and producers, which led to collaborations.

As a free member, you are able to start an artist profile there, upload your music for streaming or download, add pictures, YouTube videos, blogs or blog streams and more. Music fans, other artists and music companies can fan you and sign up for your newsletter, which is free to use up to 250 subscribers. You can fan people back, which allows you to message each other.

ReverbNation Charts

They offer widgets for your website and Facebook, variating from music players to fan collection tools.

The amount of ReverbNation tools you use, like the widgets, the amount of fans you have, the number of plays you generate and the engagement you get on your connected social media channels, determine your ranking in the ReverbNation charts.

The ReverbNation charts are set up per genre and location. Your ranking on your local chart is what shows on your profile.

Paid Services

When you are willing to pay, you can create an electronic press kit, you can advertise on partner sites (like MTV) or use their digital distribution services (which I’ve been told is really expensive compared to the competition, but I’ve never used them for this). They also offer you more layouts for your widgets or newsletter.

Opportunities

Once a paid member, you can then also respond to opportunities, which can lead to publications, performances, deals or placements. But this where ReverbNation gets tricky.

Some opportunities are “free”, others require payment. Almost all opportunities require the EPK (electronic press kit) for you to be able to respond, which means opportunities are rarely really free.

Also, many details of the opportunity are left out on ReverbNation. For instance, you could’ve entered the auditions for Songland, which required you paying for the EPK, but ReverbNation didn’t mention you were required to live in the States and be able to work there for the opportunity. Many artists have discovered that most opportunities usually go to American musicians, probably due to the fact that the opportunity was only open to them in the first place.

Trial Version

Once you have joined ReverbNation for free, they will target you to try a free advertising campaign. Even though they are free, you are then signing up for a trial of the paid ReverbNation version, and you are required to leave your payment details.

You have to cancel your premium subscription yourself, which is a bit of search to deactivate (Account > Services). Mainly, it’s not all the clear to many artists where they can find the deactivation link. So, I have heard that other artists ended up paying hundreds of dollars, feeling unable to deactive their subscription.

My Results

As I said, for me, there was a time ReverbNation was really a great free tool to use. Over 250 people have signed up for my mailing list, mostly musicians. I’ve had 5 collaborations come together just using the messaging tool.

I’ve never been selected for any of the opportunities that I’d submitted to, so I quickly quit my premium version and stopped submitting to things. You do always get a notice about whether or not you’re selected for an opportunity. There’s no feedback offered on why not though.

I don’t really get the feeling that there are a lot of music fans on the platform, nor have I managed to run into many labels or anything, but I have been able to connect with a lot of musicians there and producers.

I Used To Like ReverbNation Better

They have made changes along the way, which has caused me to be less enthusiastic now than I was in the beginning.

Recently, they changed the layout of their music player widget, without any announcement ahead, which caused a problem on my website. It was suddenly prompting a full screen music player on the homepage.

ReverbNation are also constantly posting my every move on their platform on my connected social media channels. Twitter in particular. I can’t find how to turn this off, so I usually have Twitter open in another screen to immediately delete the tweets they’ve send out. They do offer a more extensive permission control over Facebook though.

Also, in the past, they offered a little bit of a financial incentive, if you were driving traffic to the ReverbNation website. You could sign up for a share from their advertising earnings. However, they’ve canceled this years ago, which is a shame. It did make me push the platform more.

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