This past year I've been focusing a lot of time on how to sell my music online. I truly believe that internet has changed the game for musicians and I want to be one of those musicians that knows how to use the internet to help promote my music. I've been reading articles, watching videos, taking notes and buying different programs to try out. Here are just some points that I've learned along the way. Hopefully these tips will help you with your album promotion, those who want to promote a band, or for those who just want to get your songs heard.
1. Focus on Digital
Ever since Napster started back in the mid-90's people have fallen in love with digital and have never looked back. Physical CDs, while still good to sell at shows, are slowly becoming the least cost efficient way to sell your music. Think about it. You have to send the artwork out, get it printed, get it shipped (which is usually way more than what you expect), and then lug them around at shows trying to get people to buy them. Selling CDs is a traditional way of getting some money from live shows, but to be a successful independent musician you have to move with the trends. Everything is going digital nowdays.
Think about it. You can go on YouTube and find somebody's video from Japan. They might have a link in their description where you can download the song for $ 1. In an instant you can have downloaded a song from across the world. It's really amazing. People want it now and they want it fast. People are getting used to buying online now as well. I remember people were kind of touchy about buying online and how safe they would feel about it. Now everyone is getting into the action of buying online.
2. Use Social Media
If you have not guessed it yet, the way music is being promoted is completely different a few years ago. The boom of social media changed everything. It first started with sites like livejournal and then MySpace came into existence. You remember MySpace, right? The mass amount of spam and also the profiles that were so super busy it took 3 minutes to load?
Now the world has found a new handful of social media sites to move into … Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Digg, etc … The options out there are endless. The best part of social media is that it's all free and if you have a good following, your post about your latest single can get shared around the world with a few clicks of a mouse.
How to Use Social Media
However, social media is more than just starting a profile and starting to send out messages and tweets and shoving your music in everyone's face. You have to know how to use social media so that you do not become a pushy salesperson. You've seen those people on a social media site. Sending out a post every hour …
- "Buy my CD"
- "I've got a show this weekend"
- "Like my Facebook page"
But those people that send out those postings never asked themselves the simple question … why should they?
Really think about that for a second …
Why should someone who does not know you from Tom wants to share your information or support your music? You're just going to be considered another spammer because you have a bunch of followers who do not know who you. You failed to establish a relationship with your social media fans. I'm not saying that you should not let people know about what's going on with your music, but you also need to communicate with other people too and have a conversation with people online before selling your music to them.
So how do they get to know more about you?
That's the true power of social media that some musicians do not understand. Social media gives you a chance to really say who you are, what you believe, what kind of music you perform, why you love music, why you do anything at all. It's pretty easy to let people know who you are. Just join a conversation or reply to a tweet. Or share another musicians music. Start to collaborate with people online. The options are endless.
3. Collect Emails
A lot of people think that collecting emails is an outdated practice. People think that it does not make much sense nowdays because people are on Facebook and Twitter so much that they just think it's best to market on those sites. That is true, but there is an even larger truth.
Social media is a fad. They come and go.
What happened to all your contacts when everyone left MySpace? Did you have to try and reconnect with many of them or did you just lose them altogether? Think about how easy it would have been to email all your fans and say "I have a new Facebook page, check it out". How many times do people change their email addresses? Another thing is that people still check their email everyday. Your email list is one of the most valuable marketing tools you have.
4. Get Your Own Domain
What is a domain you ask? It's your own real estate in the world of web pages out there. Whenever you see a .com, .net, .biz, or .gov … those are all domains. This means you should have a website that you can direct people to at all times.
Why not use a Facebook page as a website? A lot of people have asked me that and I think that if you do that you're OK, but you also might face some issues in the future.
- What if something happens to FB?
- What if their server goes down?
- What if they do not like what you said in a post and decide to turn your account off?
When you own your own domain, you have complete control of your own site. It does not matter if FB goes away. You still have your own server with your own domain. Plus it looks cleaner.
How My YouTube Account Got Canceled
I'll give you a little story of mine and why I believe so much in the whole "get your own domain" and "get your fans emails". I had my YouTube account for about 5 years now. In the past year, I recently started using YouTube more to make videos and share them with people. I would go and message people that I thought would like my music. While some people did not like the message I had 1000's of people support me and share my music. Some even signed up to my email list. I absolutely love YouTube and it is one of my favorite social platforms.
The sad part about it is that YouTube shut down my account last month. I had to start all over again. Why did they shut me down? Because enough people said I was spamming them for them to shut my account down. They did not give me a warning. They just shut it down. It was my fault for not backing up my videos, but I lost most of my videos. I had to re-upload all my videos which means I had to put the description in again, put the keywords in and do all the annotations over again. It took me a whole weekend of burying myself in my apartment to get it done.
The worst part of it all? I lost 95% of all my contacts. People from all over the world that really liked my music and would comment on my channel are now gone and I might never get them back.
Master How To Market Your Music Online
I hope that you found this article helpful. As musicians we have to move with the trends. The internet and digital age has changed everything for every business and music is no different. As musicians we should be leading the charge on how to get creative using the internet. After all, most of us do not have big budgets behind us so we have to carry most of the load ourselves.