In this day and age, no one can doubt the fact that the world of networking for musicians has taken a leap into cyberspace, and whether you like it or not, there is no turning back now. Coming to terms with the new wave of technology will actually be such a beneficial tool you can use as a musician to connect with other likeminded musicians and brands waiting to collaborate on their next big project. The biggest complaint we hear from people reluctant to hop on the social media bandwagon is that they feel like a small fish in a big sea of online platforms. To help you narrow down on the overwhelmingly large number of community based websites out there, we will break down the top 5 online platforms for musicians and tell you about all the basic information you need to find your online niche.

Soundcloud

It only makes sense to start with the mama bear of music platforms. As the biggest music and audio platform in the world, Soundcloud has formed a huge and diverse community of musicians and artists sharing their work and receiving feedback from fans and other musicians. Kygo and Kehlani are just two out of many successful musicians who started out sharing their music on platforms like Soundcloud. Utilizing live streaming music sites will give you a leg up in today’s music industry since physical sales aren’t selling like they used to. Soundcloud has web, mobile, and tablet templates so you can take the cloud with you wherever you go. Streaming music from thousands of new and global artists has never been so easy.

Creating an account with Soundcloud is free, however there are options for paid memberships that include more features and valuable statistics like what country people are mostly listening to your music from, the names of the people who listen to you the most, as well as the social media sites by which listeners are mostly discovering you on.

Some advantages of using Soundcloud include its Twitter like feature of being able to ‘like’ and ‘repost’ tracks that people post. When someone likes or reposts a track, it goes on their feed which gets more eyes and ears on that song. Another interesting feature of Soundcloud is that it allows you to insert a comment into a specific place in a song. This allows listeners to give very specific feedback on various aspects of the song which can be so valuable to musicians.

One disadvantage of Soundcloud is the fact that you have to pay to upgrade your account to the Go+ version which allows users to see more advanced features of the site and costs $9.99 per month. While the standard version allows musicians to see basic statistics like how many people listen to their tracks, likes, reposts, and comments, only Go+ members have access to the more specialized statistics that many would find useful.

Bandcamp

When it comes to pulling a vast and unique base of talented musicians from around the world, Bandcamp and Soundcloud are tied to for first. While Soundcloud’s platform is more revolved around the social media type of template where users can like, repost, and comment on free streamed music, Bandcamp focuses on a classic sales platform with full songs, albums, and merch available for its users. You can sign up for Bandcamp as a fan, musician, or a label and access different features of the site through each portal. As a fan, you can see new and featured artists right on your home page, go to their album, and purchase what you want. As a musician, you can set your own price for songs and albums and interact with labels looking for new talent. And as a label, you can discover hundreds of thousands of new musicians on their way to becoming the next big star.

Signing up for Bandcamp is free and connects you to so many up and coming artists which you can access on their mobile app as well. The standard account allows musicians to see in depth statistics about their traffic like who is buying their music and where their fans come from. The upgraded account version which is $10 per month gives paid users the ability to see more serious data about their music sales since their statistical review is connected to Google Analytics.

Some of the perks of Bandcamp include being able to pick the genre you want to listen to, as well as setting new artist recommendations to immediately show up when you log in. The fact that users are able to log in as either a fan, musician, or label is also a very nice feature of the site as it allows more goal focused use of the platform. An added bonus for musicians on the site is the fact that they can sell merch on their accounts as well.

A disadvantage for one person is often an advantage for another. The fact that Bandcamp has users pay for the songs they want to listen to is a disadvantage for many people who are used to getting tracks for free on sites like Soundcloud.  On the other hand, the ability for musicians to charge even a small fee for their songs can make such a huge difference in their ability to stay afloat and keep making music.

Reverbnation

Reverbnation does so much more than just providing a platform for new music to be heard. It also helps artists connect to venues, festivals, brands, publishers, labels, and fans. It is hard to come across the high level of career management and online marketing tools that Reverbnation offers their users. Their site allows you to sign up as a fan or an artist however there are also tools geared towards brands, labels, and venues. Once you join, Reverbnation helps artists set up their own mobile friendly website so they can start sharing music anytime, anywhere. They will also advance your digital distribution by helping you get your music on sites like Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Beats Music, and more.

Signing up as a fan or an artist can be free if you choose the basic option, however there are two other levels of membership that have monthly fees associated with them. Its seems there are actually quite a few extra tools and features you gain access to when upgrading to the paid accounts. There is a Free option, a Basic option with is $9.95 per month, and a Premium option which is $19.95 per month.

You know you’re onto something when you find a platform that is easy to praise and difficult to find fault in. While there are endless cool features on the Reverbnation site, here we will point out a few that any musician would find useful. The fact that this site helps musicians find venues and brands looking to hire new artists is huge. It’s one thing to create a platform where musicians can share their music, but it’s so much more beneficial to help them find actual jobs making money off of their music. There is even a feature on this site that automatically looks up venues and concerts going on in the city you are in.

Another important aspect of Reverbnation to note is that is allows many opportunities to make money whether you are a brand or an artist. Both artists and brands can pay to advertise themselves on the site getting more eyes and ears on their material. Artists can also get in depth reviews from fans as well as detailed statistical analysis of who is listening to them the most.

The fact that Reverbnation allows musicians and brands to advertise on their page is so inviting for those looking to use that tool, but can also provide a nuisance to fans purely looking to discover new musicians and upcoming concerts on a daily basis. There is an option to block adds from being viewed on your page, but it is only a feature for the upgraded accounts with a monthly fee.

Sonicbids

Looking to get down to business and take your music career to the next level? If so, then Sonicbids is just the place for you. Sonicbids is an online platform exclusively for musicians trying to grow their career and venues, brands, and labels trying to hire them. There are no features for fans on this site, its all business over here.

The list of tools available to musicians to help them grow their careers is never ending. One of the most useful features they provide musicians with through their platform is the professional Electronic Press Kit. An EPK is a way for musicians to approach venues and labels with a concise and detailed package that explains who they are and what they are all about. Sonicbids listens to what promoters and booking agents want and helps musicians design their EPK accordingly. Sonicbids also enhances this feature by including artist metrics to help you stand out against other musicians competing for the same gig. They do this by including your social statistics from websites like Facebook, Soundcloud, Twitter, and YouTube in your EPK which brings in more opportunities.

Gig booking platforms like Sonicbids are leading the way for new bands and musicians to get hired. This tool helps artists find gigs, book shows, manage their calendar, and nail down deals quick and easy. And the same goes for the promoters and booking agents looking for musicians to hire. The Sonicbids Band Search tool provides venues with everything they need to book their next big show with the help of our wide and diverse database of musicians. Agents can narrow down their search results by location and genre and even directly message musicians when they have found the one.

A lot like Reverbnation, Sonicbids allows members to sign up for free with the Basic version, but charges a monthly fee to upgrade to a more advanced account. There are two payment options, $11 per month for the annual membership and $19.99 per month for the monthly membership. One downside to this pricing plan is that their basic version doesn’t include a lot of the bells and whistles that are available to paying members. With the free membership, users can have an EPK made for them, but only have it sent out 5 times. And on top of that, the basic membership plan doesn’t provide users with any of the gig applications that help musicians find shows and apply to get booked. As a musician looking to use Sonicbids, throwing down a few dollars every month might just be worth it to get the most out of this platform.

Bandsintown

While Sonicbids has a very specific audience in which they are trying to reach, Bandsintown is taking a bit of a different approach. This platform is geared at helping, well, everyone! Fans, artists, brands, promoters, publishers, you name it, they want to bring the music to you. When you go on their main site, you will choose which of those titles suits you the most, and then you are taken to a separate portal that is geared towards meeting your artistic needs.

Bandsintown Concerts is geared towards fans who want to track their favorite musicians when they go on tour and discover new artists performing near them. Using the app, fans can choose location and taste in music to discover upcoming shows every day.

Bandsintown Manager is one of the top promotion apps giving musicians a platform to reach their fans from. Using their social media marketing tools, artists can promote tour dates, interact with fans, and display their work for booking agents to view. The app even allows musicians to sync their tour information with all their social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, WordPress, Squarespace, Beatport, and more!

Bandsintown Amplified is a Brand’s best friend when it comes to connecting with music artists and their fans. Using their 120M+ fan base each month, they can use their Music Insights tool to predict consumer purchasing behavior based on music taste.

Bandsintown Promoters provides promoters with advanced tools to help them hone in on what fans want to see and which shows they are most eager to buy tickets for. The huge community of concert-goers on Bandsintown are at the fingertips of promoters who are looking to advertise their next big lineup. The users of the promoter platform will also have access to analytics based ticket campaigns and click through rates.

Bandsintown Amplified is a network of experienced publishers who are given access to over 120 million fans each month. These publishers are constantly creating and curating cutting edge content for their audiences to hear. Keying publishers in to what passionate listeners really want to hear takes away some of the busy work from their job allowing them to focus on what they really love doing. Their engaging ad formats also make it easy to create high impact ads for both desktop and mobile platforms.

And to make this platform even more accessible to all its users, Bandsintown is totally free to sign up! All the features are available to everyone who signs up for a free membership. Now that is a good deal! No matter how you are looking to get involved in the vast world of music, Bandsintown will surely have something for you.