It’s funny how the universe works. A few days ago, a band I like posted some codes for a free download of their latest EP on Bandcamp. As I worked my way through the list only to be told that each code was no longer valid, I kept thinking that there had to be a better way to share free downloads on Bandcamp. At the same time, Chuck Blake, the creator of a website called GetMusic.fm, stumbled upon this very blog after seeing that I’d liked a review of an album by his former band, Garlands, that Darrin Lee had posted on Janglepop Hub. He followed me on Twitter, and I looked into his website only to find that it offers exactly the “better way” I was looking for.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Chuck! What is GetMusic.fm, and how does it work?
Thank you for taking the time to interview me, Marc.
GetMusic helps independent musicians promote their music. We primarily do that by making it easier for artists to grow their following by distributing Bandcamp codes.
For those who don’t know, Bandcamp provides artists with codes to distribute to fans, allowing them to download music for free. It’s a great tool, but there are no great ways to get them in the hands of fans, and that’s where GetMusic comes in.
We are also in the process of building other tools and services to help independent artists promote themselves.
I mentioned in my introduction that you were a member of the band Garlands, which made music from 1993-2003. Is there a short version of how the music industry has changed since then? How does GetMusic fit into that story?
The most significant change is how easy it is not to be able to get music to fans. Anyone can write and record music on their laptop and upload it to all the streaming services. It’s unbelievable how much power that puts in the hands of artists. The problem is that DIY and self-promotion take a lot of effort, and many musicians prefer working on their music vs. the business side.
Are you still making music yourself?
Yes. About a year ago, I started writing music under the name Corvoco. It’s a solo effort and primarily electronic. It’s very different than the indie-pop that Garlands made, and there are no more rehearsal spaces or setting up drums and amps. Now it’s all DAW, laptop, and headphones. I needed to develop a setup and process with zero friction and a way to be creative and productive when I only have 30 minutes to dedicate to making music.
What was involved in creating the site? Specifically, did you have to work anything out with Bandcamp, or is everything done on your end?
Everything is done on the GetMusic with no formal interaction with Bandcamp.
How long has it been around?
I built and launched the initial version of the site in November 2022. I created a minimal site in a week to test some ideas I wanted to explore. When I started seeing folks using the site and sending many positive comments, I doubled down on the site, incorporated feedback from the artists and fans using the service, and added more functionality.
How have people responded to it? What’s the reaction?
Connecting with artists and hearing about their success using the site has been one of the most rewarding aspects of working on this. I get positive notes on social or in my email daily. Honestly, it’s been fantastic. One of the most incredible experiences I have had building and operating startups, and I have been involved in a number of them.
How can an artist get started with GetMusic, and what kind of results should they expect?
I’m trying to make it as easy as possible. An artist needs to sign up at our site, give us some information about their release and upload some codes and we take it from there and set everything up. We are also very active across social networks, and we have a variety of activities that we do to promote releases.
To help artists get started, we give the first release promotion for free and charge $10 for subsequent releases.
Using GetMusic, $10 can get you 100 new followers on Bandcamp. You can notify those followers of future releases or any other communication you send from Bandcamp. One CD sale can offset the GetMusic cost and drive much more value to the artist than trying to promote to get streams.
I’m trying to make this a “no-brainer” add to an indie artist’s promotion budget.
Full disclosure: I immediately signed up to make my latest EP available for free through GetMusic, but I imagine some artists might resist giving away their music. What’s your response to skeptics?
Artists already using Bandcamp codes to distribute their music “get” GetMusic immediately. There is a learning curve for folks that aren’t using codes, but I have been busy enough working with artists on GetMusic to overthink that.
I’ve noticed that there’s a lot of ambient and electronic music available through GetMusic. Any thoughts on why artists in those genres have been particularly drawn to your service?
The first user of GetMusic was an independent label, Stargazing at Blank Skies, which focuses on electronic, ambient, synth-wave etc. My project, Corvoco, put out a release with them, and when I had the idea for GetMusic, they signed up right away and began promoting their artists on GetMusic.
That said, artists from a wide range of categories are also represented on GetMusic.
Do you envision GetMusic as a site where artists of all genres can share their music, or are you going for more of a niche audience?
I listen to the music on the platform as much as I can, and I honestly enjoy it all. Hearing all the different ideas that people come up with is great fun. GetMusic welcomes all styles; I am really interested in helping promote independent music.
Do you have any thoughts on where GetMusic might go or how it might change and grow over time? What’s your dream for the service?
I want GetMusic to be a community for independent music artists and fans. Artists put so much of themselves into their music; a little appreciation and acknowledgment from fans for their work goes a long way. I want to help foster those relationships.
One specific thing that I have been talking to artists about is music discovery. Music discovery is a complex problem that the major players haven’t solved. An indie artist might only need 1,000 true fans, but how do you find them? How can GetMusic help build and maintain those relationships?
Thanks for taking the time to talk to me, Chuck!
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