How To Boost Your Online Music Sales

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It's all about the Benjamin's Baby! Throw back reference aside, the music business is about selling music to your target audience and keeping them coming back for more. The problem arises when artists lack the entrepreneurial skills to build a proper online music business. More succinctly, artists need to take off their musician hats and put on their business hats. Selling music online is as much about music as it is business, which includes e-Commerce, marketing, and promotions. Any artist that is serious about selling music online must become even more serious about learning the ins and outs of online marketing. Having a hot song with good lyrics, club banging beats, and a catchy hook is just the beginning. To succeed in this space you must have a bona fide plan of attack. Too many artists are out there flying by the seat of their pants and eventually will run out of luck. Understanding your target audience is one of the biggest challenges in marketing music online. Who are they? How old are they? What other artists and music genres do they like? Where do they spend their time at online and most importantly where do they spend their money?  The bottom line is; you must know your audience better than you know yourself. Before you haphazardly blanket the Internet with your music, take time to do a bit of research. If you do it properly, you will uncover a lot of information that will help you reach your audience on purpose as opposed to accidentally. Try conducting surveys, joining blogs, or social networking (without bombarding the website with your music or immediately pushing your agenda).  Play the background for a while and get a feel of what the people really want. Once you figure out this mystery, selling your music online will become a piece of cake. Once you have established your target audience you can set-up an e-Commerce website and sell music. Make sure that your music is attractively priced and well recorded. The last thing you want to do is turn off a potential repeat customer because you charged them too much for a song that sound like shit.

Sacrificing the single to sell the album

In the music business as in life, you have to give up to go up. What this ultimately means is that sometimes you have to let the customer sample the milk before they buy the cow. In the brick and mortar record business "singles" are primarily used for promotions. Record labels don't expect to make any substantial money from selling singles and neither should you. Wrap your mind around this for a second. If you give away the hottest single on your album for free, you are already starting your artist/fan relationship off on a good note. Imagine if you went to JayZ's website and he gave you a free single. If you loved the song and appreciated his generosity, you would revisit the site and buy the entire album, wouldn't you? Of course you would. The same applies to getting free movie tickets, sneakers, and buy three get one free tires-it's the law of promotion. Give away as much of your music as you can and your fans will love you for it and respect your kindness, which always leads to repeat business.

Make your fans feel special

The key to cultivating your audience is to treat them like royalty. Yes, everyone likes and wants to feel special, so do things for your fans that you wouldn't do for the general public. First begin by setting up a website that requires "Super Fans" to log in to get the latest information about you, such as, live studio webcasts, exclusive pictures, interviews, new music, and more… All it requires is a little imagination and you will be building your army of loyal followers in no time. Next allow your fans to critique your music in an open discussion forum. By doing so, you will find out what they really think of your music and which direction to take your new material. Also, allow your fans to participate in some of your artistic decisions such as choosing the playlist for your album, video conceptualization, album cover design, and whatever creative process you'd think they would be interested in. Warning, do not turn over creative control to your fans because they will run-a-muck; however give them alternatives to choose from and allow them to decide by voting on their favorites.

Until next time…stay hungry, stay humble and remember, no time spent educating yourself is time wasted.

Music Business Guru with Sahpreem A. King

© 2011, Sahpreem A. King,
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