Most musicians – myself included – prefer to spend their time making music rather than promoting it. But a little promotion can go a long way, and is vital if you plan on making a living from songsmithery; so you’ll either need to outsource your promotional activities, or embrace the network…
Convenience Is King
If you want people to buy your music, you’ll need to give them a reason to part with their hard-earned cash, and you’ll need to make it easy for them to do so. Part of the success of iTunes is its ease of use, and its integration into the immensely popular Apple product range.
But Internet marketers know that a good contact list is more valuable than a once-off payment. Derek Sivers recommended this widget at Pledge Music, and although it’s still fairly rough around the edges, the idea is good – offer people a free mp3 in return for an email address, Facebook like or Twitter follow.
If you are serious about promoting your music online, you’ll see the advantage of this approach straight away. Building up a following is a long-term process, and if you don’t have time to do it yourself, you should hire someone who is good at it to do it for you. Email lists (and followers) are valuable because they open the door to communication with someone who is interested in you (at least to some extent)…and once you have someone’s attention, you can draw them in with new and interesting content.
It’s easier to get someone’s contact details than their credit card number, so giving a song in exchange is a very sensible way to begin a relationship with a potential fan…if you are a small or relatively unknown act, ‘what am I getting from my audience?’ is not as productive a question as ‘what am I giving my audience?’.