It’s now obvious that in order to promote a band these days you have to play online. MySpace was a ‘go-to’ place for a long time, although it is fast losing its cache as record companies start to – ethically or unethically – virally seed their own acts, sometimes even using robots to add hundreds of friends to an artist’s site or just employing people specifically for this task. And while the likes of Lilly Allen and Sandi Thom have managed to shoe-horn their MySpace exposure into a real-world record contract, the likes of Imogen Heap has some 330,000 ‘friends’ signed up to her myspace – a fact which still didn’t get her into the charts.

Instead, some bands are starting to bypass the whole record industry infrastructure (MySpace included), with some evidence of success. Koopa, a punk band, recently made it into the UK top 20 charts based on their sales via – which is now hooked-up to the official chart system.

Indiestore enables artists to build their own download store, earn cash from the sales of their tracks and secure a chart position in official charts in the UK, US and 20 other countries. In addition, artists can promote their gigs and stay in touch with their fans on their own indiestore. Bands receive 80 per cent of money from sales.

The UK-based Bandwagon, too, has the advantage that people can download a single from the site and it will be chart eligible.

Now Bandwagon has launched a This plays a jukebox of a random track from Bandwagon bands, and displays pixels which you can buy to advertise on the page (via paypal).

So the deal is: over a 12 week period, 120 bands will be streamed through the jukebox; 10 tracks from different artists will be playlisted and streamed each week; an industry led A&R panel will chose 20 winners at the end of the period; each winner will receive £25,000 for development (music videos, publicity). (My favourite so far is Lucky Soul, but then I always like music which sounded like The Cardigans!)

You can get a feel for how these sites are doing from Alexaholic. There, you’ll see IndieStore has had the most traction so far. However, it’s worth reminding you that page traffic figures on e-commerce sites have never been that useful a measure.

Meanwhile, the opportunities to sell or push your own music online have never been bigger. Just check out Soundclick, CDbaby and Garageband to get a flavour. Soundclick, which offers free music, is the biggest of these obviously. Here’s a traffic comparison.