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“Send me a clean link.” This may be the most important sentence you ever read from a music supervisor. Why? It means that a) they are actively accepting music for a project and b) they will listen and react if it is good enough. You’ll usually see this posted next to a project brief outlining the tempo, style, “sounds like,” etc. It is also something that you might get in response to reaching out about a certain song. For instance, a supervisor may send out an email or a tweet asking if anyone has a track that fits certain guidelines. Presumably, you are on that email list or a Twitter follower, so it is no longer treated as unsolicited; but that doesn’t mean there aren’t rules.
So you get the email or tweet, now what? They asked for a link, so where should you send it and what does a “clean link” mean anyway?
First, you must understand your audience. Just as you probably wouldn’t play a ballad at 11:55pm to a packed room of sweaty, drunken, dancing fans – you shouldn’t send your guitar tabs to a booking agent. Keep in mind that the super-fans who are streaming you on Spotify, visiting your blog daily to see new pictures and running up your ReverbNation numbers are not the same audience as a promoter or venue booker; they are interested in different things. The same holds true for a music publisher or label interested in distributing you versus a music supervisor who is looking for a replacement track. You may think they all ‘like’ your band or are interested in your project, but they are all seeking different information and you should treat them that way by making it easy for them to find it.▼ Article continues below ▼
We’ve all read about the importance of having a website, keeping an updated blog, linking and listing shows and so on. Then there’s social media, EPKs, VPKs, RPKs and all the various sites and channels you need to be active on. That’s a lot. Thankfully, a super-genius music lover by the name of Brendan Mulligan (ArtistData, Sonicbids) created an awesome tool for musicians called OneSheet.com to pull all of these together on…you guessed it, One Sheet. He was interviewed (excellently by our intrepid editor Benjamin Ricci) in this magazine around the launch and if you have not signed up yet, go read it, and go do so now. I’ll wait…. Cool huh? Sites like Onesheet.com, About.me and other “one page sites” are great for many uses, but they do not address the “clean link” request conundrum.
A clean link is simply one URL that goes to the song of interest. That’s it. No bio, no photos, no show listings, just the one song and info including contacts. Everyone listens to one song at a time and those of us who listen to music all day for a living may only listen to a bit of that song. So, in licensing, the attention needs to be focused on one song alone. Lets get specific – here are the best places to do a “clean link” for songs (and they’re all free!):
1. YouTube – The best way to respond quickly and the overall preferred site. Put a picture of the album cover or your favorite little nature shot and upload your song for free in minutes. YouTube is free, easy to share by link and it just feels better than an mp3, even if it’s just a picture. Downside: audio quality.
2. Viinyl.com – “1 Song. 1 Site. 1 URL.” I love this site. Every song has it’s own site and unique URL; that’s as clean as it gets. Downside: you do need some great photography and it works best with a video, but definitely worth checking out.
3. SoundCloud – Best choice for audio quality. The licensing community is really embracing SoundCloud and you should be on there anyway. Remember just send the link to the song, not your page.
4. Box.net – I’ve seen more and more supervisors using this site for storage and tracking, but it’s just a really high-quality mp3 player. Simple and easy to use, though.
There are others of course, but these are the best and most widely used. And did I mention, free?
There you go. The next time you are asked to “send a clean link,” you’ll know exactly what to do, where to do it and hopefully, you will be getting that next big placement. Good luck!