Frequently Asked Questions

So what's Kicktone?

Kicktone is a place where music fans can stream, download, and share music produced by thousands of independent artists around the world. We're building a better discovery experience for fans of independent music. We want to help you find music to fall in love with and artists you can connect with. If you're anything like us, you're probably sick of listening to endlessly same-y, overproduced pop hits on the radio - you want to hear something you've never heard before, maybe something that nobody's ever heard before.

Well, you're in the right place, because that's what we're all about.

Can't I just buy music on iTunes?

Sure, but if you want to find new music you're probably wasting your time. When was the last time you saw an independent artist on the front page of iTunes? (And no, Macklemore doesn't count.) Point is, iTunes is great if all you want to do is buy the latest Top 40 music, but it's pretty rubbish for finding new music by independent artists.

There's a few reasons for that - and you can read more about it on our blog - but the big one is that label-backed artists have the benefit of a huge amount of marketing and distribution support, which means heavy airplay and access to marketing channels that independent artists are locked out of. If you're an indie artist, you're pretty much screwed trying to make sales on iTunes unless you already have a huge fan base outside of iTunes, because it's still up to you to drive people to buy your music.

Kicktone is changing the equation. We're building a network of true music lovers like you who can discover new artists and new tracks quickly and easily, and who understand the unique, intimate relationship indie artists have with their fans.

You are a part of that. You can change the music industry.

Well what about Bandcamp?

Bandcamp and Soundcloud and iTunes are fantastic distribution platforms (we use all three every day), but distribution isn't the problem for most artists, and it definitely isn't a problem for fans of indie music. It's not hard for an artist to put their music online, or share it on Facebook or whatever - literally anyone can figure out how to do that, and there are a hundred different sites you can visit if you just want somewhere to host your music.

The real problem artists face is discovery: how do new fans find them, and how do they engage them?

iTunes is useless for bringing new fans to anyone (you can read more about that on our blog), and while Bandcamp is slightly better, their fan accounts are basically just a glorified transaction listing.

We're building a music ecosystem that helps fans share discoveries with their friends and helps artists connect with their listeners. We don't just want you to show up and buy music like happy little consumers, we're setting up an environment where you can meaningfully engage in the music discovery process.

We know there will always be people who prefer Bandcamp over Kicktone, and as long as they're the incumbent we'll always have an uphill battle to fight. But it's the same fight that any indie artist has - we don't have million- dollar marketing budgets, so we just engage with our fans honestly and openly, and do the best we can to make it work.

Why do I have to use my Facebook account to sign up?

When you sign up to Kicktone, we collect a bunch of simple information about your music tastes so we can generate fast and accurate music recommendations for you. Requiring a Facebook account just makes that process much faster and smoother, and it also makes it easier for you to connect with your friends who are using Kicktone.

We never post on your behalf without your explicit permission, and we'll never abuse your trust. We don't have access to your Facebook password or anything like that, and we keep all of our data extremely secure to ensure your privacy is respected. We'll never, ever, ever, ever sell or license your personally identifying information to anyone, for any reason, at any time, in any way, ever. Ever. We mean it.

What's your take on DRM?

We're a DRM-free zone, and we always will be.

Look, we're not worried about pirates. People who pirate music are jerks who weren't going to buy the album in the first place, so the only people who get harmed by DRM are the people who actually buy it. You're not a criminal and we're not going to treat you like one by forcing you to jump through hoops like installing special media players or having to be connected to the internet to listen to a track you paid good money for.

Instead, we rely on the natural DRM that's built into all good people - if you buy an album, don't just give copies away to your friends. Share the album link with them through Facebook or by email or whatever, let them have a chance to stream it and fall in love with it just like you did. If they like it enough that they want to own it, they can buy a copy too and help support the artist who made it.

What format should I download?

MP3 is the default format and unless you're a hardcore audiophile with thousands of dollars of sound equipment it's the format you'll probably want to use. MP3s work in iTunes, Winamp, Windows Media Player, on your phone - basically everywhere.

If you're one of the hardcore audiophiles mentioned above, we also provide lossless formats like FLAC and ALAC (Apple Lossless), as well as AAC and Ogg Vorbis. For reasons best known to Apple, iTunes doesn't support the FLAC or Ogg Vorbis formats so if you want to download lossless tracks you'll need to choose ALAC.

I bought some albums before I got a fan account, how can I claim the points?

Just drop us a line and let us know the PayPal transaction ID for each of the purchases you made, and we'll associate those purchases with your account. All the juicy points you've earned will be awarded to you.

Got any badges or buttons?

Sure do. Our badges come in three sizes: small, medium, and big. Use this handy form to generate the kind of icon you want to use, and we'll generate a ZIP file containing all three sizes of the variation you've chosen.


Download

You can also download a ZIP containing every size and variation here.

I have more questions!

Contact us any time through Facebook, Twitter, or email and we'll get back to you right away. If you have an idea for a new feature or suggestions for how to improve existing features, head over to our feedback and support forums and share your thoughts.