With myriad sites designed for various music interests, it is absolutely essential for new musicians to have an online presence. There are music blogs, music videos sites and social media that all allow for a band to spread its music and increase its following.
One of the first things to do is to set up a presence in social media. The most popular sites to get started on are some of the biggest: MySpace, Facebook and Twitter. MySpace is still one of the most popular social media sites for music with its ability to host songs and keep tally of the amount of times each one is played, display a schedule for tour dates, embed videos and communicate with fans and other bands.
Facebook is integrating most of these features as well and has gained more traffic and users over time. Twitter is almost an expected complement to any band's social media profile as it is the first place most fans will check if they want the most up-to-date announcements. The Arctic Monkeys are a prime example of how social media can spread the buzz if a song is popular — when their first album debuted, it was the fastest selling album in UK history, and the hype and anticipation were largely from a MySpace page.
With the prevalence of sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and DailyMotion, popular videos can spread rapidly and acquire millions of views. With this viewership, new fans can be acquired and directed to the band Web site, social media or iTunes. "Her Morning Elegance" by Oren Lavie was a music video that was posted on YouTube and generated over 10 million views and fueled enormous sales of the song. He was even nominated for a Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video as a result of this success. While Oren Lavie had huge success with a single hit, other people have gained huge popularity from hosting a number of YouTube videos. Across his many videos, Bo Burnham has had over 60 million views and teen pop star Justin Bieber's entire career was from him being discovered on YouTube.
To update fans on a regular basis of all the important happenings of a band or musician, a mailing list is very important. A site like FanBridge is invaluable for gaining, exciting and tracking fans. Other email marketing platforms work as well.
Sites like Pitchfork, Indie Rock Cafe and All Songs Considered are great venues for publicity if you can make the cut, but if you're just getting started there are usually a number of local music-focused blogs and local news sites that are worth calling to see if you can be featured. Benefit shows and/or co-promotion with local businesses can help make an event newsworthy.
There are many other options for promoting yourself as a musician — hosting a virtual radio stations like Blip.fm, podcasting on iTunes, using social bookmarks for interesting articles and building a digital album package with BandCamp. Find out what complements your band and commit to it... just don't forget the essentials.