Barney from Songeist (Photo source: supplied)
Paul “Barney” Barnes is a man after our own heart, so we were pretty pleased when he got in touch with us to tell us about his new online venture Songeist. The website is a clean, well designed and functional platform, and with Barney’s background of playing in touring bands, it makes sure the focus represents the thinking and mentality of musicians. We chatted with him to find out more.
Tell us about Songeist. What is it? How did start etc?
Songeist is a new online digital platform for emerging artists. The site launched last September and is currently live in its Beta version. It is a site that allows artists and fans alike to discover and buy new music, to connect with each other and it ultimately aims to help emerging musicians to advance their careers.
The site was devised by a family who have had several family members involved in emerging acts and collectively experienced the trials and tribulations that come with that. These experiences have built a passion for supporting the arts and a concern about musician’s rights and the fair discovery of new talent. They worked to create a website that catered to the needs of emerging artists and secured investors to support the site which takes us into the present, where we’re working as a small, dedicated team to make that concept a reality.
What makes Songeist different to other online platforms for music?
Essentially, the staff’s proximity to the bands and fans we’re working with as well as our immediate connection to the music scene that bands are emerging into. I have over a decade of experience being in a DIY band and running my own label for instance and I’m just at the end of an email for anyone who wants to get in touch. Granted, there are a number of fantastic UK sites and resources for promotion of emerging music but the hosting and selling of music tends to be handled by huge global sites. They are great for what they are, but we think that having our nose to the ground gives us an advantage over them as it pertains to our interaction with emerging artists in the UK.
We really want to foster a sense of community on the site and we don’t want the artists to feel lost in the crowd which is a problem on the huge music sites. At Songeist we champion our artists and help spread the word about their music via social media, our home page, featured artist sections and editorial content. It’s a small team, so when we all agree on an artist it’s a great feeling and they can enjoy all the promotion we can muster! Other feathers in our cap that we’re very proud of are our exclusive live showcases and sessions. This year we’re hosting a Songeist curated showcase at The Great Escape festival in Brighton which we’re stoked about. Every act on the bill has their music on Songeist and is an active part of our community and promotion so it’ll be great to present that to the music fans and industry representatives at the festival.
What are you top tips for an indie band to promote their music online?
A little research and organisation goes a long, long way. Know your genre and have a plan. Last night I was advising an act that have a single and a video ready how best to proceed and a lot of the time I was just re-iterating to know your genre, have a plan and stick to it. Don’t let your material dribble out onto different platforms just because you’re excited. Even if it’s your first four track demo, you still need an EPK; a good photo, a decent bio and a press release written to a professional standard. That stuff makes as big an impression as your music and you can’t go back and re-do that just because you’ve rushed to get your stuff out. Leave time in your schedule for the photos and written parts of your EPK to be double-checked by someone who knows the ropes.
Do some research and make a list of the sites and magazines you’re aiming for. There are a stack of links over on the BBC Introducing page to sites and blogs for emerging artists to send their music to. Hit them all together on a Monday morning and hope that across the week some of the sites and blogs may pick up on it. A great way to promote a digital single or EP is with a video. So set a date for the EP release and be intelligent in your use of your social media to hype that over the subsequent weeks. Choose the Monday a week or two before the single comes out to drop the video and use annotations on YouTube to point the viewer towards that. On the same day, send your EPK and press release about the video and single to all the sites and blogs and magazines that cover the genre you’re in. You’ll be amazed how your organisation and preparation in that aspect of your music will be as important to your act’s failure or success as the music itself.
How does a band get involved with Songeist?
To claim your free profile, simply head over to Songeist.com and go to http://www.songeist.com/artist/register. We would absolutely suggest that you check out other acts on the platform; maybe use the ‘browse artist’ function to find other bands in your genre. And then, why not get in touch with the band via the messaging system? We’re inspired by sites that have a strong community. It’s that sense of community that we envision and that we’re dedicated to nurturing at Songeist.
In the short term, we’re spending our time adding technical tweaks and features to the site. We launched in beta because we wanted to be able to remain agile to the needs of the bands that are joining our community, so we’re building additions to the site based on their recommendations, which is a really exciting way of developing. In the longer term, we’re hoping to become the first stop for bands, fans and industry to learn about and interact with emerging acts in the UK. It’s a lofty goal but you have to have a dream!
Any thing else to add?
Thank you to you and the guys at UK Indie Touring. I love what you and others like DemosUK, Fresh on the net, Best of British Unsigned, Help for Bands, Music Crowns and others are doing for the support of emerging UK acts. We know we are the new kids on the block but we are inspired by your work and efforts and we look forward to working alongside you in the promotion of emerging artists in the UK. Thanks for letting us get our voice across and keep up the good work.