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This section is especially for the (DUB) Reggae producers, computer based or not. Find tips and tricks, sample and software downloads, stuff about Propellerhead Reason as it relates to the production of DUB music, and much more. This website has no links to illegal products.

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Aimed at serving artists and producers seeking to upload their music, Messian Dread reviewed a number of Online Music Distributors (OMD's). 

Amazon

Dub Ark

I Compositions

LAST.fm

My Space

Net Labels

Reverb Nation

Sound Cloud

Versionist

You Tube

SITES FOR YOUR MUSICAL PRODUCTIONS PART ONE
MESSIAN DREAD REPORTS FOR STUDIO DUBROOM VISITORS AND USERS

(This Is Part One. Click HERE For Part Two)

WWW, July 2014 - During these last months, the Dubroom has been releasing new original music in a new original sound. This music has been put on the Dubroom website, and equally -without too much noise on the Dubroom about this- put on a variety of sites that enable producers, artists and/or labels to present their music online. Why? Just to see what these sites are doing in themselves for your average online (DUB) Reggae artist. Messian Dread reports how over 10,000 of ads on sites only led to 8 free downloads...

Let's call them free Online Music Distributors or OMD's for the sake of this article, shall we? For that is what websites like SOUNDCLOUD, REVERBNATION and others we're going to take a look at, actually do. You upload your MP3/WAV file(s), some pictures and write a little bit of info and voila, there's your page. Ready to be viewed by what many sites call "fans", your music available for download and/or streaming and/or purchase.

This is exactly what I've been doing during these last months. I've been uploading the new Dubroom music to a number of sites, just to see what would happen. An experiment, of which some results are not yet available which in itself makes a point. Yes, that first. There is no website that will instantly give you "fans" or even views. You'll have to use the OMD's as part of your own route, like they do with your music. You see them as distributor of your music where they see you, us, as content provider for their websites. Nothing wrong with that, but nothing to overlook either. 

Indeed: gone are the days where just one website could boost an artist and could even become a threat for established musical industrialists. Gone are the days where you could reach out to that large audience by committing yourself to one OMD. This here is a scattered Internet, where listeners have to look for the good music using all kinds of websites and we, music creators, have to do the same. We have to use all the websites or at least three or four, and we have to have a website for ourselves as well. Even a facebook page won't do. 

With all this in mind, I took a look at some websites. Just because I hadn't released a track in years, even the websites where I already had an account needed some serious work. It was kind of an opportunity to see the various websites through the eyes of a new artist. Other websites needed me to make an account, so there was my chance to get a quick discovery look at them. Here they are, in a particular order:

VERSIONIST.net

To my shame I must admit that I had to make an account at this, revamped, the Original and Foundational OMD aimed at (DUB) Reggae. I had to see, though, that -like me- Versionist has a lot of starting situations and one of them is that the site's community doesn't suffer from ADHD. It's too quiet, in other words. New tracks are added almost daily but there is little to no commenting, little to no activity in the Message Boards, things that I assume are the results of not too many people knowing about this revamped VERSIONIST.net (not com).

Versionist offers you to upload your music, but you can also upload Zip Files. I did this with a number of files from Studio Dubroom. An Acapella that I recently put out, some Reason Refills, stuff like that. And of course I uploaded my music. Saw the music in the monthly and weekly Top 16, which of course is nice but purely the result of the fact that there is little activity. 

When there is one website that has the potential to at least gather the majority of the online (DUB) Reggae Artist Community, it is Versionist. That's just a fact and anyone who denies this can be considered ignorant to say the least. After all, this is the original website that since it's vanishing a couple of years ago left an enormous vacuum that had never been filled by anyone that tried. And some did try, some domain names are for sale long time now.

Link: http://www.versionist.net/dubroomorg/

Update September 20 2014: Versionist is expanded to Net broadcasting of live DJ Sets and has turned from an OMD website to a website with a DJ and a OMD section. The OMD Section can now be found at http://www.versionist.net/music

DUBARK.com

Compared to the oasis that is DUBARK.com, Versionist is on steroids. DUBARK.com is definitely the most quiet among all OMD's that I've been using these last months. Partly, this is because the website was founded to at least try and fill the vacuum that the original Versionist had left and the enormous frustration that was felt at earlier attempt to do the same and it seems like in this time where even Versionist can take it's own place back, DUBARK.com won't be able to either. 

Even more: the fact that there's two websites for the same -small- community may not be that efficient either. Yes, the community is way too scattered and many new artists have come since, perhaps not even aware of the whole Versionist saga that went on a couple of years ago and to which I have absolutely nothing more to say.

Link: http://www.dubark.com/DUBROOM.org/

SOUNDCLOUD.com

So, let's try some of the major ones and not in the least because both Versionist and the Dub Ark have in common that you can create your account there and link it with a SOUNDCLOUD.com account. I quickly discovered why in these last years whenever I glanced over Soundcloud I discovered "only" 30 second tunes: they won't let you have more music than a mere two hours. For me, and apparently also for the ones that I was checking during the years, that's just a joke. You can't build a steady presence over the years with just two hours of material.

Sure, Soundcloud has a very nice player that you can embed, they let you deeplink to tunes so they can be downloaded from whatever third party site (i.e. mp3.dubroom.org), but then, when you reach the two hours that you have, you'll have to choose and it will either cost you money or you will have to disappoint all those people that have embedded your music on their blog or wherever. Not to forget Dub Ark and Versionist, where you linked to your Soundcloud page. No, thank you. Indeed, in the end you will see yourself posting 30 second teasers and link to full downloads/streams on other sites in your track description. Oh, wait, that was the impression I had about Soundcloud all these years in the first place.

One thing I absolutely do not comprehend is to see people uploading hours and hours worth of mixtapes and podcasts on their Soundcloud account. They make it available for streaming only. They can do exactly that: making a mixtape or podcast and make it available for streaming and do so absolutely free and even legal at MIXCLOUD.com, which -I think- must be a sister company of Soundcloud. 

So, what to do with a Soundcloud account? It was nice, they had a free gift of Ableton Live Lite 8 for all users of the site. Now that's a nice thing because Ableton is top software for music production, even in the Lite version. Even better: it clearly indicates that the websites primary target is YOU, the music producer. It is YOU they see as their source of income, not the listener and not the advertizers. And more power to them, again, nothing wrong with this but it is not something you must overlook. It's like facebook: people think that they are the ones considered to be the customers but in fact they are not. They are in fact the product that facebook offers to the advertizers. The product that Soundcloud offers is hosting for music creators, not music for people that want to listen to music. Which they should make much, much, much more clear than they do now.

Link: https://soundcloud.com/dubroomorg

So let's go over to a website that does make it absolutely clear, the one with the coolest name of all the major free OMD's:

REVERBNATION.com

This website aims at the music producers and they make that nothing to be discovered. It's in-your-face. I had an account at Reverb Nation for years but never did much with it. So when I logged in to upload my news sounds a couple of months ago, I saw an offer of a free trial Ad Campaign and before I continue about the website, I want to show you the hilarious results (click to enlarge):

From June 25 to June 30 2014, 10,233 "fans" viewed my ads on 1,135 "sites" where a the skyrocketing amount of 6 -again- "fans" played a total of 8 streams and one unique download. Now, where you read "fans" these are just "views". That's obvious. Where you read "sites", that's where things become a bit unclear. Is my ad really put on 1,135 web sites where they have been shown on average ten times?  Probably. This could explain the bizarre results. Let's break it down a little bit.

To make the figures more easy: 10,000 views on 1,000 website bring 6 visitors, 8 plays and one download (which could be me clicking on the download link in the "test-ad" section once). In five days. That means two shows per site per day. I have seen Reverb Nation adverts on several sites, I suspect they have a deal with Google Adsense. They say they show it on YouTube etc, and I'm sure they do, but that's not the only place where your ads are shown. As "everyone" knows, ad campaigns are only profitable because of repeat-repeat-repeat. You'll have to pay thousands of dollars to get a succesfull ad campaign, that one is most certain.

Something positive about this: it gives the ultimate argument why it sometimes does pay to try a free trial. Pay as in, keep your money in your pocket and spend it on some soundware. At least, that would -and is- my conclusion.

This is by far not the only thing that Reverb Nation offers, though. Next to free hosting that is -as I perceive it- more than a mere two hours worth of tracks, you can subscribe to daily opportunities. This can be air-play, considerations for reviews on magazines, et cetera. Some opportunities cost you money and others let you submit "for free". No opportunities to make money, as far as I can see. 

You can do this in the store, though. A store you can make for yourself. A store where you can design your own physical CD and T-shirts, which is interesting especially since you can do this for free and Reverb Nation only takes a comission. 

Link: http://www.reverbnation.com/realdubroom

NET LABELS

For me, the demise of MP3.com and sort-of repeating of the same thing at Versionist is very much connected with the rise of the NET LABEL phenomenon during the last decade. Sure, they were always there but they are more present at this moment and more relevant as well. I welcome this development with open arms and even joined in by sort of creating a Net Label for the Dubroom too. 

There's a little problem here, especially for the listeners, for the people who we as producers/artists whatever do it for. Fot all these Net Labels factually all are different websites, offering music by artists. Hand picked and thing. I try to sort of gather the material for the Dubroom visitors when it's Creative Commons and review as much as I can for mp3.dubroom.org, but it should be so Ire when a site like VERSIONIST.net would grow into just that.

We're not there yet.

We're here: July 2014.

WHERE TO PUT AND PROMOTE YOUR MUSIC

You're an artist, producer, band, whatever it is you are, you have this musical production you somehow made and you want to share it with the people who want to listen to (DUB) Reggae Music. What do you do? Let me list this:

  • You sign up at Versionist and Reverb Nation for a more or less steady basis. You leave a couple of tunes on Soundcloud but more important: you keep your space there to provide 30 seconds or so fragments and you link to your Versionist/Reverb Nation Page.
  • You write to one of the Net Labels you can find on mp3.dubroom.org and see if your music would be a good addition to the catalogue of that particular Net Label. You contact them and work out something.
  • You can also write to the Dubroom for review inclusion at mp3.dubroom.org or music.dubroom.org but that is the most uncertain thing to build on since I know for a fact this website has a longer list of requirements than some Net Labels for obvious reasons. But you can always join the Dubroom Message Boards and promote your thing. The Dubroom website and Forum serve thousands of visitors each week, together well over 10,000 so you will expose something to someone. 

Free promotion of your music, actually, I can only see this when websites and reviewers with an audience of Reggae Lovers will write about you. This can be but is definitely not limited to the Dubroom. Not one of the sites I have joined these last months do anything to promote your music, again with the exception of Versionist and Dub Ark. I can easily say that I get more downloads from the Dubroom website itself than all the others combined even though that may change in the future as I kind of like the embed widgets at Reverb Nation but that's for another time.

CONCLUSION

At this moment, the online (DUB) Reggae Artist community is scattered and there is not one website that has been able to fill the vacuum that the original Versionist website left. Just like this very same thing can be said about the Online Artist Community in general after the demise of MP3.com.

The current situation dictates in my opinion that we need a strong website where the online (DUB) Reggae Artist and the online listener of this very same music can find each other. The Dubroom isn't the place for this, but Versionist definitely is. 

One Love,
Messian Dread (
TO TOP)

SITES FOR YOUR MUSICAL PRODUCTIONS PART TWO
MESSIAN DREAD REPORTS FOR STUDIO DUBROOM VISITORS AND USERS

(This Is Part Two. Click HERE For Part One)

WWW, September 2014 - In Part two, Messian Dread continues to report on his experiences with uploading his music to a number of Online Music Distributors (OMD's). This time he revisited MYSPACE.com, LAST.fm, ICOMPOSITIONS.com and talks about creating an artist page at AMAZON.com. And, oh yes, a small website called "You Tube".

The memory hole. It's an absolute hole and it can give you quite a bit of surprises. This is what I got when I tried to upload my music to the revamped My Space website. I know, I know, it's obsolete and for many years I just did not pay any attention to my account. In the mean time, I had forgotten to pay my bill for dubroom.com (about 40 dollars or so) which I used for my email and the folks at NXS Amsterdam decided to sell it to another company which is now trying to sell it for about 2400 dollars last time I checked. Good to know Dubroom.org survived NXS. They shouldn't be in business anyway.

MYSPACE.com

It looks good, especially when you consider that My Space has been bought by the good folks at Fox, known for their love for humanity and truth in general. I thought it would be nice to just revamp my account at that revamped My Space website but to my chagrin I discovered I could not log in due to the fact that I no longer had access to my old email account. 

Problems.

Apparently, I am not the only one with this problem because My Space has this standard link that you can click when you lost access to your old myspace account. I filled in the form, and wrote the proof that I am who I am. That's pretty easy when you are Messian Dread at the Dubroom. Still it was really complicated for the person at My Space who was assigned to my case. He, she, it, did not understand what I meant so I wrote back that I would love a human reply. I got it and I got access. It took several days.

When you have a fast computer running Windows 8 or something like that, my Space is nice but it's not that nice. The reasons are obvious. "Everyone" knows, My Space is a ghost town. There simply is nobody. I have zero plays. Zero.

https://myspace.com/messiandread/music/songs

LAST.fm

I had a page at LAST.fm but because of the nature of my recent productions I wanted to change things a bit more. After all, my new productions are definitely not just about me and I want to title my productions the way I title them. That's not possible at LAST.fm without creating a new artist, or in this case, label. 

So I did. 

I started to upload my new production and I got a notice. I had uploaded my Dennis Alcapone tracks and the system had recognized that name as being known. My account was blocked until it was reviewed by LAST.fm staff. Perhaps you think I was annoyed, but that was not the case. I thought this was a very, very good thing because it doesn't just give credit to the LAST.fm website but also to the artists and producers who upload their tunes. 

Of course everything was easily cleared. This was a very pleasant experience.

The website itself gives you the possibility to upload your music and make it available for free download. Nice thing, right? Even nicer is the fact that they let you deeplink to your uploaded MP3 files, just like I do on the music download page at my website. There's no limitation like with Sound Cloud, so there is another reason why it is a mystery to me why Sound Cloud is that popular.

http://www.last.fm/label/Dubroom+Productions

ICOMPOSITIONS.com

When you're looking for plays and feedback, you should definitely try out ICOMPOSITIONS.com. This website is clearly aimed at musicians and can serve as intermediary vehicle for collaborations. You need to really look, as it is assumed people know their way with computers a little bit more than, let's say, My Space. And they do. I have zero plays at My Space, now look at what I got at I Compositions (click to enlarge):

Click to Enlarge

That's right, 3845 total plays. I got a number of comments as well. Music is actually played and reviewed or at least listened to. 

http://www.icompositions.com/artists/messian_dread

AMAZON.com

Then, Amazon. The mother of all web stores. From a book and CD store into one of the biggest warehouses on the Internet. I had the plan to create a CD, which I have done in the mean time and I'm sure you don't want to read the whole album description again. Or perhaps you do. I did it with Amazon and even though they are not really the place to upload your music for free download, you should consider creating your own album or even (paid) mp3 downloads at this website. They do not offer free downloads, just streaming. 

It goes like this: when there's already a product on Amazon, in my case the album "Showcase" released through Jah Mark, you can "claim" the artist. In my case, Messian Dread. You will have to be able to proof that you are you, which again is a good thing because it ensures some kind of quality. You can subsequently create your own artist page where you will have to abide by certain standards. Create your banner, upload movies and music, and everything will be displayed at Amazon eventually.

You can create your own album for sale at Amazon in no time, too. Just upload the AIFF files and choose a template, and off you go. In my case, the process took a bit longer because I wanted to use my own Cover Art Work. Initially, I had to change a few things but then when the art was approved I could order my own review copy for 10 dollars including postal costs from the USA to the Netherlands. 

Worthwhile, because the quality is excellent

http://www.amazon.com/Messian-Dread/e/B001LHLLRM

The CD: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00N27IMXA/thedubroom

YOU TUBE

Those who follow the Dubroom can not have missed the activities I do and recently did at You Tube. Yes, I am working on getting myself a bit able to produce video's with my musical productions but that is not really the reason why the Video website is mentioned in this second part of what threatens to become a series on OMD's.

Yes, You Tube is a video website. And yet, it isn't just a video website. Countless artists, labels and what have you simply upload their music, where the "video part" is merely a slide show of some pictures or even of just one picture. It is clear that this is not for sight. And true enough, when you're in a conversation about a certain musical work there's a huge change you can just type in the title at You Tube and you will find the tune. True enough too, that "everyone" knows how to download from You Tube even though the website itself doesn't openly offer the possibility. True enough, that You Tube de facto functions as a major OMD.

I have uploaded all Dubroom Creative Commons releases from 1997-2011 to You Tube at a special channel called "Dubroom Dread". Read about it here. In short, these are the musical files with just a minimum of sight. A slide show, if you will, basically saying the track is Creative Commons. You'll have to turn your mp3 into an mp4 but that should not be too much of a problem.

At this time, it's a bit too early to draw any conclusions about the effect of uploading all that music to You Tube. I'm around long enough to know that things take time but you just have to look at how You Tube is used for music and draw that one conclusion: it's not a disadvantage at all to be listed in You Tube's search engine.

http://www.youtube.com/dubroomdread

DO'S AND DONT'S

DO: Absolutely, register at ICOMPOSITIONS.com for plays and feedback. Upload your music to LAST.fm, too, if only for the possibility to deeplink to your MP3 files. You Tube, well, I guess when you don't put your music there eventually someone else will... Amazon is the place to create your own album, even though you need to have a credit card in order to get yourself a review copy.

DON'T: Spare yourself the trouble to upload your stuff to My Space. There is nobody. When you're looking for a place where people can download your MP3, Amazon is not the place.

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