“How do I sell my music online?” Try these sinfully effective suggestions
How about instead of a million fans this year you got BILLIONS for the next 2000 years?!? You could sell your music online for a long, long time, and in massive numbers.
Resurrect your band’s profile and wake your fanbase up from the dead by employing these marketing strategies today.
The Bible is more than just a… bible. It’s a marketing guide! And for musicians, no less.
Take these lessons from the founding of Christianity and employ them to grow your audience – just like Jesus.
What would Jesus do? He did!
But first, a caveat
No offense intended for those sensitive to this topic. The divinity or historicity of Jesus is not discussed. Just good, old-fashioned marketing ideas.
You must make great content
Whether it’s the Sermon on the Mount, raising Lazurus, or a great ending track (and a cliffhanger!), the story of Jesus has some great content. Billions of people have read these stories and been inspired, puzzled, and guided over the years. Just like your songs! (pardon the blasphemy)
Be sure when you are sell your music online, you are creating great content.
This is the most obvious key to being successful in your music career, but it’s missed often. Throwaway demos and tracks you’re not confident in should be held back until you are a superstar compiling a rarities release. Until then, make sure you are putting forward your best material on every release.
Mike Mowery says often the secret to success is “great content, done consistently, over time.” Start with the great content. Then do it consistently. Then keep doing it. In that order.
Get 12 followers
The story of Jesus wouldn’t be what it is without twelve dudes following him around all the time. These dudes were devoted to Jesus over all else… well, except that one time. Regardless, they spent their lives telling folks about the dude they followed and are absolutely critical to popularizing Jesus after the crucifixion.
So, get yourself 12 followers too!
My favorite Ted Talk is one by CD Baby founder Derek Sivers called “How to Start a Movement”. If you haven’t seen it yet – run! Derek watches a crowd at an outdoor festival and breaks down how to start a movement. Any movement!
Spoiler alert: it’s all about the first follower.
So, once you get that first follower, go after the second, and third, until you have twelve. Just like Jesus!
And, um, don’t forget to buy them a supper.
Get a Manager
Building your team is something Mike Mowery writes about in detail in the Music Management Primer. The manager is a crucial part of that team.
You need an advocate for you in the music industry.
The industry could be the promoters you’re working with, media, or other artists. Early in your career, the manager’s role is to advocate for you to the industry. If you have someone with connections in the industry, great. If not, make sure they take our Connected: Strategies for Modern Music Business Networking course!
This has its parallels in the character of Paul in the Bible. Paul was Jesus’s advocate after the crucifixion, writing to various groups to organize their efforts and popularize the new religion.
Having a “super-fan” with some industry and influencer connections is absolutely crucial. When you tell people you are great it comes off badly. But when you have someone do so on your behalf, that can be awesome.
Make tribes out of your fans
In the early days of Christianity, there were lots of different groups practicing radically different versions of the religion. This is part of the reason Paul was writing so many letters, to the Corinthians, the Galatians, Thessalonians, and so on. Even today, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of groups practicing the religion in different ways. Some of these groups formed due to geographic differences and some had different priorities as to what they liked about the religion and what they believe is real.
Allow your fans to form tribes as well.
Encourage local groups to form. Allow for some fans to like one release over another. But actively make sure people are coming together with their beliefs about your music. Social media is an awesome tool for making this happen.
But you can also encourage this when you are playing in different markets. When meeting fans, make sure they are meeting each other as well. Be the reason they come together. Be the foundation of their friendships and you will have lifelong fans.
Always promise to come back
It’s important, as leader of your band, to always have the “next” thing planned.
Never finish a tour without the next opportunity scheduled. Don’t leave a studio without knowing when the band will reunite for the next task.
This can be exhausting! But it keeps your band members together, focused on getting to the next opportunity. And it keeps your motivated to keep the momentum going. You can definitely take breaks, but still know what will be next. Otherwise, days become weeks, and weeks become months before you know it. Hell, 2000 years later and people are still waiting!
This goes for your fans as well. Keeping your fans excited for what’s next keeps them focused on you and your music even between album cycles. Don’t just use social media when you have something to promote and sell! Use social media to keep your fans aware of what you are working on, or not working on, at all times.
And if you can’t leave a stage without promising you’ll be back soon, maybe even with an exact date, so much the better.
Let’s just stick to the New Testament
I’m not sure there are too many good marketing lessons in the Old Testament. Needless to say, animal sacrifices, worldwide floods, and painting doors with blood haven’t proven effective marketing techniques, to my knowledge.
But if one fan is begatting two fans, who is begatting four more, and so on and so on for a few pages… Well, that’s effective marketing to sell your music online.
How to sell your music online
These marketing strategies are applicable online and off, but will be super effective as you are selling your music from your website and various distributors. Build your fanbase and make them passionate fans. Passionate fans will always support you and your career, especially when asked.