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How (And Why) To Start A Music Blog With Tumblr

Posted on 5 August 2011

This is a post written out of selfishness.

Every day on Facebook, Twitter (and now Google+) I see people posting their “song of the day” or week or moment. And often these are people whose music tastes I like. But more often than not, their linking to a YouTube page or some other independent website, which is all well and good if I have time to click around. But generally, I like to listen to music while I’m working, so I need a continuous flow.

So this post is aimed at helping YOU make a mixtape for me.

First of all, let me show you what you’re going to be making.

What It Looks Like

I initially discovered this sort of thing was possible via FredWilson.fm. Open that link. Music will start playing. And it will keep playing through 1342 tracks that Fred Wilson has posted since he started this thing. If you click on the tape on the top the top of this page, you’ll open up my Almost Mainstream mixtape. I have less songs than Fred, but still it’s a good way to listen to a continuous flow of music that I’ve selected to share– one track a day, give or take. So this is what we’re working towards.

Why Would I Bother Doing This? And Why Tumblr?

I already covered the advantages for me as a listener– the ability to hit a continuous stream rather than having to hit play on a bunch of You Tube videos.

As a both a listener and audience member, it’s nice to have the customization and permanence that goes with having a blog. I can search the archives. I can customize the design. It can be an actual presence on the web, rather than just a cog in the flow of Facebook and Twitter.

As for why Tumblr– it  is by far the easiest way to set this up, for one. Quick, easy, free.

Tumblr also plays nicely with services like ex.fm which allows me to subscribe to your songs alongside other people, or trntbl.me , which lets me listen to your music randomly. And it works nicely with external mp3s and Soundcloud, which we’ll get to later.

Step One: Make Your Blog

Super easy. Go to Tumblr.com. Enter an email address and a password. I’m not going to go into all the details of how to customize the design and all that, because there’s plenty of information here.

I will give you ONE warning, though. The blog you sign up with is your PRIMARY blog. This is the account that you use to follow other Tumblr users, and “like” individual posts. If you want your music blog to be the one you do with this, fine. If not, create a new blog here. I personally post music and more on my primary Tumblr and post the same music, but nothing else, on my secondary music blog. But it’s not a big deal, do what you want. Fred Wilson only has the one blog, and it works just fine for him (and many, many others). The nice thing is you can make standalone sites that extract only the audio. I’m over-complicating things here.

Step Two: Add Streampad


Streampad is the little bar at the bottom of the Tumblr blogs that shows the track name. Putting it in your Tumblr is the most complicated step, and it’s not complicated at all. Go here, click on “Tumblr” and follow the instructions.

Step Three: Start Posting Music

Also easy. When you’re logged in to Tumblr, click on the word “Audio” or just go to this link. You’ll see a page that looks like this:


You’ll see you have three options. You can upload an mp3 from your computer– you’re limited to one a day. You can search Soundcloud for audio (remember when I said it played nice with Soundcloud? It’s like that.) Or you can post a link to an mp3 elsewhere on the web. Personally, I upload mp3s to a public Dropbox folder and link from there, but again do whatever you find easiest.

One quick note is that if you are posting to a secondary blog (ie not the one you can follow, like, etc with) then make sure you’ve indicated that in the box at the top right that says “Post to”.

And there you go! You’ve just made a Tumblr mixtape that I can subscribe and listen to.

BONUS: Play your music elsewhere

The last, bonus step that you may or may not want to use is the standalone music site like this one. There’s no posts on it, just music. What’s happening is I’m posting to Almost Mainstream, and both this mixtape and my personal Tumblr stream audio from that site. The way to do this is pretty easy. Use the same code as you did in step two, except this time paste this code:

<!– STREAMPAD MUSIC PLAYER –>
<script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://static.streampad.com/streampad-tumblr.js?api=YOURBLOGURL.tumblr.com&clicktext=Click%20to%20play%20all%20audio%20posts&autoplay=false&showpop=false”></script>
<!– END STREAMPAD MUSIC PLAYER –>

Where, obviously, “YOURBLOGURL” is whatever your blog is. For example, if you are posting music to myawesomemusic.tumblr.com replace “YOURBLOGURL” with “myawesomemusic”.

So, hopefully you start doing that I can start following you. If you have any questions, there’s a comment form below, I’m on Twitter or you can email me.

Filed under: how to, music, social media

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