As an independent musician you probably all ready know it, if you do not, you better get with it. Marketing and promoting your music online is the way to go today. Even major signed artists are going this route, some major players even going to the extent of releasing a new album in digital download format only.
In a pretty detailed telephone conversation with a good friend and associate who is the president of a pretty big independent record label he reports that digital music sales or digital music downloads has now reached the 50% point of all music sold. That means that pretty soon there may not even be a need to have a physical product. Needless to say it will sure beef up the budget for independent artists not having to put out for CD pressing and manufacturing. Not to mention how much easier it will make your music distribution initiatives.
So, long story short, where am I going with this? What I am saying is that you should be putting the majority of time, effort, and money, into promoting your music and project online. You should seek Internet music publicity in a larger proportion over traditional print publicity. After all, look at all the print newspapers and magazines going out of business today or transferring all their publications to a strictly online version. Yep, we should face it,; If you are not not on the Internet band wagon yet for promoting and marketing your music, you better get there quickly. Keeping in touch with your fans in as many ways as you can is the way go today. Do not make them come to you, reach out to them.
To briefly summarize, here are a few of the methods you should be employing as an independent artist in order to promote your music and music career, and stay in touch with your fans in the today digital age.
Para Social Relationships Online
You should be setting up a presence for you or you band on as many social networking websites as you can. Surely you have a myspace website, which we all know is important, but today, that is just not enough. You should be keeping your fans and potential fans informed constantly by using social websites such as Twitter, Facebook, iLike, Squidoo, iMeens, Reverbnation, and there are many more. Socializing in music forums specific to your music genre is another thing you should be doing a lot of. Setting up meet and greets via these Internet portals is also quickly becoming a new way to keep interactive with your fans.
Official Band or Artist Website and Blog
Your official band or artist website is important as well. It should be as professionally designed as possible and be consistent with your artist image. This is your home on the web and should be updated and kept fresh constantly. It should have a news page, a press page, and audio page which should be kept fresh with new news, press clips, and music. You should also have some interactive functionality going on at your home page so fans can get involved, place comments, and interact with you. A blog is another great way to keep fans informed provided you keep it fresh and updated as well. With a blog, fans can subscribe via RSS Feed, and everything you post will be delivered instantly to their desktop. Very powerful.
Online Press Kit and Publicity
An online press kit, also known as an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) is a promotional tool that every artist or band should have, even if you have a print or digital press kit. The online EPK allows you to quickly send out your bands information and music samples to venues, labels, agents, and even fans for the purpose of music promotion.
Widgets — A Big One
Widgets, as I write this article, are a relatively new form of online music promotion but if used properly are an extremely powerful method of viral Internet marketing. Essentially a widget is a digital screenshot of your profile and can contain streaming or downloadable music, bio, publicity, etc. It also enables you to gather fans email addresses. The widget code should be placed on each and every website from the official, to as many social sites, including your myspace site as possible. The beauty of widgets is that they enable fans to actually grab the widget from your website and place the code on their own website, hence spreading the word to eventually thousands of new fans. You can get your widgets free just by signing up for an account on a place like reverbnation.com. Are you starting to get the meaning of Viral Music Marketing?
Digital Mailing List
I should not have to mention it but unfortunately most new artists at early stages of development I take on still do not get it. That is, the vital importance of a digital email sign up module on all websites. Gathering your fans and potential fans email address and storing it in a database for distribution is crucial. What you can do with that mailing list is amazing. Announce all show details; hence bringing out more fans, send out a new news or publicity announcement, broadcast a contest, and announce new CD releases; hence more record sales. A digital mailing list is something no artist, either independent or major should be without.
Advertising on Genre Specific Web Portals
Another good online idea, if it fits your budget, is to consider banner advertising on music portals that are within your music genre. You can advertise a new release, a tour, or a new deal of some sort. Some music portals get many thousands of visitors a month and this can definitely increase your exposure. Make sure however, that the banner is professionally designed and animated if possible. Some of the genre specific music portals I speak of will only charge twenty to thirty bucks a month to advertise your brand. As I mentioned, if you have disposable money in your budget, it sure cannot hurt.
Search Engine Marketing, Drive the Traffic to all of Your Websites
Needless to say, you can have the most professionally design, stunning, and functional websites online but if no one visits them they are not much good, are they? So you want to take some time and effort to explore search engine optimization. Find out all the techniques search engine savvy techies use to get ranked high in all of the search engines and especially in music related results. Search engine optimization, done right, is not easy if you do not know much about it. Again, if you have a few extra bucks in your budget you may want to consider hiring a search engine optimization expert. Getting your band found in the search engines can be an awesome boost to your awareness.
Distributing your music online is key. As I mentioned in the first or second paragraph of this article, digital downloads now hold 50% of all worldwide music sales. It will very soon be exceeding physical CD sales completely, never to turn around again. You should make your music available for digital download on as many digital distribution portals available. Some of these include iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, and there are a ton more. When making your product available online for digital download make sure to include a profile on each portal. Also find out how they do their sales stat reporting. You want to make sure you are getting the proper credit for sales in the industry as on sound scan and sound exchange for your downloadable sales.
These are only 8 tips and suggestions for marketing your music online. There is a great deal of other methods as well. The way to gain exposure for your music on the Internet is exploding with new strategies everyday. Make sure to keep up with this and use every possible technique at your disposal for a greater chance of music success. Good luck!