Can they be trusted?
I recently read an article written by DJ Andy Ward about the possibility of promotional music hosting websites (and in this respect, any service hosting website) inflating or “falsifying” it’s visitor numbers to get more money out of you. For example, some services will charge you a premium depending on the amount of “plays” you get from site visitors or number/size of mixes you host with them. The more visitors you recieve, the more of a premium you pay!
While I agree with him in principle about the falsely inflated numbers floating around the internet (a lot of it is a sham), I’m not sure about the companies, particular the major ones, inflating visitor numbers to get more money out of you (although it would be an easy scam to pull).
But can the numbers be trusted?
As well as DJing I’ve also been building websites with Guru Online for a fair few years now as my day job, including this one and the Save Our Soul main website and consult in online marketting for various small companies and “personal” web/blog sites. I had previously written an article on promoting yourself as a DJ outlining some basic promotional ideas. While there are services out there that offer you “100,000 YouTube views for $300” there may be dubious ways about how they achieve that. Some will be through good old fashioned marketting, some through use of “bots” (automated programs design to generate “click” on the web), some will pay someone to click on links all day. Whatever the ways they achieve this, I believe you can be sure of one thing…only a small percentage of those new “views” would actually be genuinely wanting your music and would probably never come back to you in the future. While it looks like you have lots of plays on your mixes you can never be sure if people actually heard the mix (which is the point of putting it out there in the first place).
I’m a firm believer in what we call “organic growth”. I recently reached 1500 likes on my DJ page on Facebook and as stated in my “Milestone section” was/am very happy as I know they were genuine numbers. While this may seem like a small number in comparison to a lot of pages out there in Facebook landia I’m happy of the loyalty of that group. Small time DJ like me…well n truly happy that these people weren’t paid to click “like” and they really like what I do!
So, can the numbers be trusted?
There are varying factors that could account for the rise in plays on Soundcloud / Youtube e.t.c. All it takes is a “drive-by” click on the play button by a random viewer and your plays go up. In this respect it would be very easy to inflate the number of plays. But there is the fact that the number of people using these services, from a listeners point of view, rises greatly each passing hour. This is one of the advantages of using these services as you would get exposure to a vast array of new listeners with no promotion of your own…some will like your music…and some won’t. Considering the number of people using the service and the varying degree of musical tastes, you will undoubtedly get a lot of hits from people just “browsing”.
Use of the services such as Soundcloud/Mixcloud/ Podomatic e.t.c. do give you some added advantages but basically offer many services you can do yourself. The main advantage of using them is that they give you exposure you wouldn’t normally achieve with your own site without putting in A LOT of self promotion.
Can they be trusted? My honest answer is “not really” but you can either use the service or not. Also, to be honest, if you can’t build a site yourself and promote it then these sites serve as a great alternative. It really does depend on your individual needs and wants.
Personally speaking, I have this site titopulpo.com and use the basic services on Soundcloud/Mixcloud as more of a social network than an area to directly promote my music. I have a steady growing number of great listeners and I promote it regularly although not as much as I’d like. The advantage of this is that I have full control over my mixes, unlimited bandwidth (unlimited number of listens allowed on my mixes), full podcast services (not yet but will be linked to iTunes directory) and I can have any content on there that I want. I can promote what I want, when I want. I also have mixes on Mixclound which is also picking up a steady amount of followers with minimal promotion. Mixcloud is a FREE service and has unlimited uploads but unfortunately your listeners can’t download from the site.
In closing, you can trust them as much as you can trust any other internet company. In my opinion “Ownership rocks” and the more of this you can do yourself, the better.
Do you use any of these online services? What’s been your experience in using these sites? Answers in a comment box below please…it would be good to hear about your experiences
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