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.
USE AFFILIATE LINKS
Enroll in affiliate programs at digital music platforms like iTunes and Amazon and use the affiliate links instead of the regular links to your tracks and albums. This will allow you to get an extra cut on the front end of the sale in addition to what you already get on the back end when you send people to these stores. There’s another advantage: They’ll give you a percentage cut of anything that the visitor ends up buying. This means that you can also make affiliate links to other music, media, or even consumer items if you end up talking about them.
Fig. 2. Getting placement on a big Spotify playlist can put your music in the ears of legions of potential fans: Spotify’s “Today’s Top Hits” playlist, for example, reaches more than six million subscribers.USE QUOTES FROM JOURNALISTIC REVIEWS AND ADD FAN REVIEWS
People want to see what journalistic outlets think of your music. Think Hollywood: Add quotes from positive music reviews in your descriptions, websites, and digital stores. Also, encourage your fans to post reviews. These ratings can be influential, so ask your fans to post reviews to seed this section when you release the album.
DRIVE A “GET HEARD” CAMPAIGN TO CAPTURE LISTENERS
Once your music is available for sale or stream, get it played in places where people are listening. These channels include MP3 blogs, podcasts, college radio, streaming radio, uncountable music websites, and more. A play can drive other platforms to get interested in your music, so when you succeed in one place, reach out to others and tell them about other listeners who played you as social proof to increase your odds of being played.
GET ON STREAMING PLAYLISTS
Streaming platforms are social networks centered on music and playlists. For example, Spotify allows anyone to make playlists and some are incredibly popular. Find the most popular playlists that fit your music and contact the owner about adding your track. If you can get added to these playlists, you’ll generate more streams (and payments) and get into the ears of new fans. This work may only result in a small amount of money at first, but builds over time since songs on a playlist tend to stay on it.
PROMOTE YOUR MUSIC VIA VIDEO
Videos allow people to sample your music as well as easily share it with others. In the video description, provide the (affiliate) link where they can buy the music. On YouTube, include the link as an annotation/hotspot on the video as well. To boost your sales, include pre-roll or post-roll audio that’s different from the song you’re selling, since it’s so easy to download audio from a YouTube video. This gives fans an incentive to buy the track.
Maximizing sales requires a combination of marketing and continual effort. So you’ll want to capitalize on any success such as reviews, interviews, or song plays, and use these wins to reach out to build more opportunities. Each success can give you a larger platform to promote your music, all while generating revenue.