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HOW TO: Be a Smart Music Marketer

March 2, 2016

There’s a lot to do when you release your music: Distribute it, promote it, get it heard, and get it sold. Using the right strategies, you can maximize revenue and sales and make the most out of how music buyers use digital sales platforms. Plan your next release around these 10 techniques:

Fig. 1. Indie artists Pomplamoose gained fame through their offbeat covers. Their version of Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” earned more than ten million views.
INCLUDE A COVER SONG

Most listeners of streaming services or customers of digital stores search for music that they like. Leverage this behavior by recording a cover of a well-known song. This can boost your sales since people will often listen to cover versions of the songs they are searching for, and if they like the cover, they often check out the rest of the music from that artist. Keep in mind that if you choose to record a cover, you need to clear the rights with the publisher or through services like the Harry Fox Agency.

USE WELL-KNOWN SONG TITLES

If you don’t want to record a cover song, try giving your track a similar title to other wellknown songs or common search phrases. Since song titles can’t be copyrighted, you can legitimately name your song “Freebird” if you’d like. The only exception to this is you cannot use trademarked words in your title. This could make movie titles or names of sport franchises (think “Superbowl”) off limits.

CREATE STRIKING COVER ART

Browsing a streaming service or digital music store is as much a visual experience as it is about the sound. People will see your record before they get a chance to hear it. If you can make a design that stands out next to the other albums on the store, you’ll improve your chances of getting your music streamed or purchased.

LINK CUSTOMERS TO MUSIC STORES THAT THEY ALREADY TRUST

Lead with links to stores where your customers likely already trust their credit cards—such as iTunes and Amazon—making it more of an impulse purchase. Although you should also use stores that might give you a bigger cut, customers are unlikely to type in their name, address, and credit card information simply to buy a $0.99 track.

BUILD SMART KEYWORDS IN ALBUM TRACK DESCRIPTIONS

Make the most of your album/track descriptions by using keywords that customers are familiar with. First of all, always mention the genre of music that you play and your catchphrase if it helps describe the music (“hip-hop rockabilly madness,” “modern vintage”). Also, if the platform will let you, list other well-known artists that you sound like so you can piggyback on their notoriety. Lastly, if there are terms, topics, or lyrics in your song that touch on a cause or topic your fanbase relates to, add that to the description. These could trigger a play or purchase.

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