Promoting Your Music as an Indie Artist- Interview with Michael Doernberg, CEO of Reverbnation

By: Jennifer Logue

 Reverbnation is my favorite site for independent musicians, hands-down. It’s loaded with tools artists need to successfully manage and promote their music. With a free membership, artists have access to custom-made widgets, a fan list management system, and easy to use newsletter templates. For next to nothing, artists can even have their music distributed to itunes, Amazon, Walmart, Lala, Rhapsody, and Pandora, among other vendors. What’s more, Reverbnation is constantly partnering with major brands like Ernie Ball and Microsoft to create new opportunities for emerging musicians.

 I don’t know where I would be without Reverbnation. Being such a huge fan and promoter of the site, I asked Michael Doernberg, its founder and CEO, to be the “inaugural” interview for Indieslant. We met up in Midtown for some drinks and chatted about music, the Internet, and how indie artists can create sustainable careers for themselves with a little business savvy.

While the internet has made it possible for anyone to distribute music, Michael says, “it’s a double edged sword, because becoming popular on the internet now is just as hard as it was to get signed to a major.” To become popular these days, you need to be a student of your business, set goals for yourself, and be constantly on the lookout for opportunities available to you.

On the topic of social networking sites and music marketing, Michael advises against spreading yourself too thin. “When you give a song away for streaming or for download, you’re giving away something of value. If you’re only getting one fan in return for that value, you’re not being fairly compensated. You should focus your energy on other sites where you’re seeing more results.”

The possibilities are endless for artists with just the right mix of talent, focus, and business sense. Michael referenced a few Reverbnation artists who are making things happen on their own terms: one singer/songwriter who raised $30,000 from her fans to record her latest album and one Midwestern band who inked a six- figure deal with the Jimmy Dean corporation.

For more on my interview with Michael Doernberg, check out the video portion below. A lot of information is presented, so make sure you take notes!

Interview with Michael Doernberg, Part I:

Interview with Michael Doernberg, Part II:

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