Sell Music Online
How to Net More By Selling Music Online
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It’s Your Party, Not Theirs.
As we move into 2019, it’s never been more important for artists to sell music online and increase their net profits. Think of yourself as a brand. Your name matters. What do other third party sites offer that you can’t do yourself? Sure, having a solid online presence is key, but think about how many other artists are doing the same thing with their music. Don’t be a follower, be an entrepreneur and pave your own path. With this in mind, ask yourself: What can I do differently to get more access to my niche fan-base? The first step is having your own domain name. To attract and build your customer network, your customers need to know your name. This starts with your website.
Sell Your Music With Your Own Domain Name
To own your music career, you have to have a place that you can direct your fans to that’s yours. This is the key to having a website. Now you are in control of your own content. Purchase your domain name at GoDaddy.com, but make sure to do your diligent research first to see if the name you have selected is available on the top social networks.
This includes Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & YouTube. Remember, you are working on building your brand, so make sure you have a consistent name on all platforms. Following along these lines I recommend using namecheckr.com. With Namecheckr, you cut out the work in checking availability on every social network. Just type in the name you are looking for and namecheckr.com will instantly alert you to what is and isn’t available.
Once you find a consistent name you can use, it’s time to choose your website builder platform. I recommend WordPress, Wix or Squarespace. Each website builder has its pros and cons. If you want something simple and you are not too familiar with coding, go with Wix. It’s easy to drag & drop and free to get started. WordPress is pretty fantastic if you like using plugins and provide a variety of audio theme templates that will compliment the look/feel of your brand. Squarespace seems to be more tailored to the corporate business community, but again, they have easy drag & drop functionality so find the right platform for you. Once you’ve selected your website builder, set your home-page up for success with a call-to-action newsletter.
Sell Music Online With Call-To-Action Newsletter
The key to doing business from your website is having direct access to your fans. This task can be accomplished by using a simple e-newsletter plugin your visitors have the option to sign up to while browsing your site. I recommend, Mailchimp because it provides an assortment of design templates essential in keeping your business looking professional to your fans. Fact: Not all visitors to your site will sign up on your e-newsletter. Good. This is key marketing 101. Your job is to find active buyers, not passive listeners.
With this in mind, offer an incentive to folks who would like to hear your music. This could be a free download, album artwork, secret footage of your band in the studio, new music video, etc. Keep it digital because it’s affordable and costs you nothing but time. Does this technique work? How many times have you given out your email to get more information on marketing, recording, etc? Exactly. Everyone wants a free gift. Be generous and your list will grow exponentially.
Why do you want to continue to grow your mailing list? If you follow Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans rule you can make a living from your music for the rest of your life! Actually, you don’t need 1,000 fans, you could have 500 True Fans and if they each spent $200/year on your work, that’s $100,000. Not a bad living huh? Now keep in mind a “True Fan” is someone who will sign up on your email list, buy all of your albums, visit you in the studio with the VIP passes you offer, buy your T-Shirt, Keychain, magnets and then share your music with their friends.
If You Build It. They Will Come.
How do you find your true fans? By starting your email list! From here, work on coordinating a live show that you book. Example: Can you put together a show with three artists/bands in your town that share a similar sound to you? Now you have just tripled your potential fan-base and created a powerful network in seconds. The best part is you can use Twitter to take this same system on a national level.
Book a tour 6 months out by connecting with other bands in communities and offer the opportunity to open for your band when they come to your town. At every show, have someone at your table who is not the band selling your merch. Think about it, isn’t this is a great way to find a possible manager? With this in mind, put them to work and see what they can do. This could be a friend or look at your local college community and reach out to the business marketing department of students. Most of these majors require real working experiences, so offer a commission for a bulk amount of product sold at your shows. Best of all, you now have someone who knows how to sell stuff and you’ll get even more emails!
Finally, be timely. Make sure that you email your new signups within 2 days. This will separate you from everyone else. You want to make sure to act when that memory of you is still in their mind. We live in an ADD culture. Everyone these days is “Squirrel!” So, when you have your fans’ attention, be in the moment and get the job done. Once you get in this routine and turn it into your business, you will be on your way towards sweet success.
Sell Music Online Directly From Your Website
Now that you have your website and a call-to-action e-newsletter, we have come to the most important part: Your Music! To sell your music online directly to fans visit TunePort.com. TunePort provides a digital audio store to musicians and beat-makers they can place on their website like a YouTube video and go into business for themselves. For example, let’s say you just finished recording a track in your home-studio and want to get it on your website and facebook to share with friends. With TunePort, you can upload your track/s and start selling instantly. No waiting around to get approved and uploaded by a third party site. Your store, your business.
Now, while I understand building a website takes time, that doesn’t mean you can’t still sell your music right away. If you don’t have a website, embed your store on your Facebook Page. Easy Breezy. Furthermore, if you don’t have a Facebook TunePort still provides you with your own unique URL, so you can share your music with fans directly from their website. If you want to hear some of my tunes, here’s my store: https://tuneport.com/profile/deronwade.
The key here is to provide a user-friendly experience for your fans to find, listen and buy your music. Remember the squirrel mentality we discussed earlier? This applies here too. Embed your music store on your home-page (frontpage) of your website so fans don’t have to click on a variety of tabs to find your music. Think about it, your fans like your music, sure they will want to read about you, but the key content is your songs, so make your music the star of your site.
To Sell Music Online Successfully – Build Organic Relationships Offline
I know this article is about selling music online, but the truth is you need to be a part of both worlds. We live in a crazy social media world where influencers have the run of the land, but no matter what, stay connected to your community. Go do stuff offline and meet other like-minded artists who are doing the same. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
- Visit your local open mics and connect with the movers and shakers in your music community.
- Talk to the Music Shop owners in your area and coordinate an event. Get three or four of your music friends to play with you and tell the shop they can sponsor the event. Now you have the music shop and you promoting your show. To add to this, you built a great connection with a brand and your show will bring new faces from your community together which may present new opportunities for your music.
- Hand out your Business Cards. It says you’re someone and validates your presence.
- Go find every booker/promoter in your community and ask them out for coffee because you want to learn more about what they do. Don’t be needy. You are there to appreciate what they do for artists. Anyone who is business savvy, already knows you want them to book you. Your job at these meetings is to listen and gain knowledge on what these people do. The more you learn, the more value you will bring when you book your band.
- Be nice and wait your turn in line. Patience is a virtue and it starts with you understanding how the business works so you aren’t desperate. If you truly love what you do, you will be doing this forever. Stop being in a rush, take smart steps every day towards learning how to sell music online and how to build your fan-base organically. From here, the sky is the limit. I will leave you with this.
As an entrepreneur/singer-songwriter/booker/promoter my road has been long and windy. Each experience helped build me into who I am today. I had a day job and quit it to sell my CD’s out on the streets. First I was a busker and later as the guy with an mp3 player and headphones selling acoustic rock. I built up a huge email list from my work out on Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood & Highland Mall, Venice Beach Blvd and the Grammy’s (LA LIVE)
From here, I realized how important it was to have this email list and stay connected with my fans. This, in turn, led me to look at iTunes and becoming seriously discouraged because I wasn’t receiving my customers’ contact info to follow up and build that relationship. From this disappointment, evolved into working with my beat maker friend Momchil on developing a service where we, as artists, had complete control of our music selling needs and knew who was buying our tracks.
We shared our idea with our friends and we found we weren’t alone! So many musicians and beat-makers wanted the same thing we wanted and with this in mind, TunePort.com came to be. My point is, don’t get hung up on what you’re doing right and wrong. When I started selling my music on the streets, I did everything wrong. Trial and error taught me what I needed to improve on and move forward. Take risks and as Derek Sivers (CD Baby Founder) would say, live with this mentality: Let’s just see what happens.
The Only Way To Succeed Is To Fail
Fail and fail big. At least if you fail, you took a risk. Learn from each failure and grow. You have an unbelievable gift, which is providing music to the world. These days we need it more than ever! As we become more integrated online, we tend to lose touch with the real world. This can be isolating and lonely. Music is a universal language and there are so many human beings who are looking for a connection right now.
Be this for them.
With this in mind, work hard at your craft, but don’t ignore your friends and family either. You have time, be patient, be kind, build your e-newsletter one loyal fan at a time from your website and facebook page and you will be successful. In 2019 it’s never been easier to sell music online, build your fan-base and live the life you want to live. But it starts with you. Own your dreams.
Here’s to your journey,
Deron Wade is a Musicpreneur. Co-Founder of music tech company TunePort.com, singer-songwriter, direct-sales/online marketing consultant and live music community enthusiast. He currently resides in Missoula, MT and in his spare time, enjoys a good book, exploring new breweries and helping artists sell music online.