While social media has taken over where online forums once reigned supreme, it's important to remember that many of these forums - or at least ones very like them - still exist, and if you're trying to find answers or broaden your horizons in a very specific niche of the music world, such sites can be incredibly useful.
Guest post by Angela Mastrogiacomo of Soundfly's Flypaper
Remember those early-internet days of scouring forums in search of the meaning behind your favorite song lyrics, or trying to find out if that vintage guitar in the window really is worth that astronomical price, or even just to send a transmission into the darkness to see if anyone else out there has ever heard of that one obscure band you love so dearly?
With social media largely taking over that space of curiosity communication, it’s easy to forget that those forums still exist! Well, maybe not those ones, but similar, incredibly valuable, highly niche forums out there do. And sometimes, when you’re looking for quick, comprehensive answers beyond the scope of what your personal network can offer, niche is the key to finding what you’re looking for.
Here are six forums to hang out in that I personally love for the next time you’re looking for answers. And if you end up participating in any one of these, you’ll have a lot of eyes on your questions and comments!
This is one of my personal favorites from back in the day when it was called AbsolutePunk. There’s a lot to discover here on Chorus.fm, including polls, throwback chats, recommendations, self-promo, tech, and tour forums. I just participated in a “Favorite Gaslight Anthem” poll while I was doing research for this piece and it definitely brought me back.
Chorus.fm might be the most active forum on the list, with perpetual posts as recent as “five minutes ago,” although all of the forums I visited had posts from within the last 24 hours.
100% forum, Music Banter covers an array of topics. Want to post (or read) an album review? They’ve got a space for that. Want to create and write your own member’s journal? There’s a space for that too!
From there, the forums get segmented largely into genres, where you can post and chat about anything under the sun. There’s also the “Artist’s Corner” (instrument chat, stereo and production equipment, songwriting, etc.) and a whole section just for building community through introductions and non-music related topics. Of course, being a big believer in community, this one is my favorites of their forums!
What’s great about AV Forums is they have a slew of resources such as blogs (including things that have nothing at all to do with music), a podcast, and an entire section dedicated to helping you save money and getting the best deal on the best product for your specific needs. Personally, I found that to be one of the most unique offerings on this list, and a definite stand out.
When it comes to the forums, AV has something for everyone, including of course, music. Topics include amp suggestions, a place to post your music, keyboard suggestions, beginner guitar players threads, and a myriad of other topics for all levels and interests not only in the tech world, but the music business and artistry world as well.
Unsigned Band Web
Unsigned Band Web isn’t just a forum, it’s also an extensive library of free music complete with song reviews and charts. Some of the top forums on the site include song reviews (with a great policy of leaving a review before you request one), opportunities for collaboration, general discussion, and equipment. There’s also an entire section for promoting your music that’s segmented by genre. But fair warning, on any of these forums, you’re going to have to give a little bit before you start asking for people to listen to your music — otherwise it could lead to being ostracized. Forums are more about building a trusting community and learning together than promoting oneself.
Boasting a healthy mix of contributors from more seasoned professionals to excited amateurs across all ages and genders, SongStuff is, as you might guess, a hub for songwriters of all kinds. Though they provide great resources in their blogs, it also has entire forums for introductions, tutorials, and reviews, as well as sections on writing songs (everything from critique to feedback to songwriting challenges), recording, releasing music, and an entire forum just for videos.
Sound on Sound
You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? Oft-proclaimed as the world’s “premier audio recording technology magazine” and based out of England, Sound on Sound is touted as the best of the best in terms of music recording industry news, and a hub for producers, engineers, and artists.
With endorsements from Grammy Award winning engineer and producer Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Norah Jones, Tom Waits, Modest Mouse), Grammy Award winning engineer and producer Bob Clearmountain (Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, INXS), Grammy Award winning songwriter and producer Mikkel Eriksen (Rihanna, Ne‑Yo, Béyonce, Mary J Blige), and hundreds more, it’s no surprise that these forums are where you’ll find high-quality help and information.
SOS’s forums include topics on everything from recording gear and techniques to mixing, mastering, and post-production, and they even trickle down into the music business, apps, guitar stuff, and more.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Spotify, Noisey, Substream, and more, as well as the Director of Community and Events for Music Launch Co. Her free training ‘Reaching a Wider Audience Without Spending A Dime’ helps emerging artists cut through the noise and get in front of fans and industry influencers in just a few steps. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.