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The Musician’s Internet Essentials Kit

The Musician’s Internet Essentials Kit
Photo By athrasher

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The internet is the technological colossus that runs our modern lives. It is truly a source of near-infinite knowledge and wisdom, the mass adoption of which has lead to a cultural revolution. Previously straightforward concepts such as “fair use” copyright laws have been challenged by the phenomena of Wikipedia and peer-to-peer file sharing.

On the other hand there is the Internet’s equivalent to the Kardashian clan. LOLcats and memes consume our attention, and clicking on “related” videos on Youtube always seems to lead us to watching something completely unintended. That’s why, unless you are the Bear Grylls of the internet, you are going to need some tools to avoid wasting hours watching your Facebook news feed scroll by.

In this spirit we’d like to provide you with a list of what we feel are the must-have musician tools of the Internet. This list will be updated as frequently as possible in order to provide the most up-to-date information.

Simply the only email client you will ever need, Gmail is intuitive and has every feature you can possibly imagine. It also integrates with other Google services like Google Calendar and Google Chat. Make this your centralized email account and then use these features as explained by Lifehacker in order to supercharge your email account. 

HootSuite or Tweetdeck
We won’t go over all the features of each service, but they both basically aggregate all of your social profiles into one, easily-managed place. While TweetDeck allows for unlimited accounts and HootSuite has a limit of five, Hootsuite comes with Klout scoring built in (more on this later). HootSuite has another advantage over TweetDeck in that it's a web-based application and can be accessed through any web browser. To be fair, TweetDeck does have a web version but it is limited in functionality compared to the TweetDeck app.

You have other things to sort out in your life if I’m the first one telling you about this music streaming service.

We Are Hunted
This is single best barometer as to which artists are going to be the trend-setters in the near future. We Are Hunted aggregates mentions in blogs, social media, message boards, and P2P networks to form a list of the 99 most-discussed songs. There is a bias toward indie and electronic/dance music, but it can be filtered according to genre and is an overall great tool.

Developing an email list is something that will prove to be exceptionally useful if used correctly. It provides a metric which shows your ability to maintain an actual, involved fan base to labels and is a way to target the people that genuinely like your band rather than those who are just following you because they like to press a button and then forget about you. MailChimp is a service that allows you to maintain a list of up to 2,000 email addresses for free and send out an almost fully-customizable HTML email campaign. After 2,000 people, you must upgrade to a paid plan. But if you aren't just spamming people left and right, 2,000 is nothing to sneeze at, right? In addition, the service’s paid features are awesome and they even sweeten the deal by including some lessons on how you should use MailChimp to run an email campaign effectively and even a guide specifically for musicians
If you’ve ever wondered about something concerning the music business and wished you could ask an industry insider (it’s okay–I’m not a hot shot either), then this is your new favorite website. It’s a non-profit run for education purposes and is encyclopedic in nature. There are simply too many articles and videos to even possibly begin to cover but this has to be my favorite find so far. This video was shot in ’06 but I feel it’s still very relevant.

Sometimes you run out of a certain size of t-shirt or maybe you want to see if anyone will actually buy your merch online, introducing Payvment! An online store that is guaranteed secure (TRUSTe certified) which allows people to buy your stuff online without them ever having to leave Facebook, and guess what? It’s completely free. 

Satisfy any audiophile with this online tool to distribute digital copies of songs or albums. You can even stream your music!

Klout measures your social media accounts and other users' influence on their networks and gives them a score out of 100 based how influential they actually are. How would you like to be able to target people who have the potential to spread the word about your band most effectively? I thought you might like that; it comes standard with HootSuite.

RootMusic’s BandPage
There are alternatives, but BandPage is by far the most widely used service to play music on your Facebook page.

This or any other artist aggregator will do the job when it comes to getting your music on services like iTunes and Spotify

So let's say you meant to burn some CDs and left your computer at home or you need to send a large file to someone. You could take advantage of Dropbox to access your files from anywhere or have multiple people edit the same document together in real time. This service really has the words “break glass in case of emergency” written all over it; it is a remarkably useful cloud service.

If you're still hungry for more, here is a thought provoking article from Paste Magazine about the state of music. It’s extremely well written and makes several great points not really seen elsewhere on the Internet.