Many musicians are very creative and prolific; releasing albums by the minute and performing nonstop at local and regional venues. After a couple of years of this, the artist begins to realize that he or she is not going to get that big label contract. Some give up on the dream of being able to make a living with music. That need not happen and the artist need not starve forever.
The major music industry has been in decline over the past years due to the rise in the internet music industry. The internet provides artists with an alternative way of promoting their music with minimum investment while retaining the bulk of the income. Consequently, the need for major record labels is diminishing. Indeed, many major music artists are abandoning large record labels for the lucrative internet market. The problem is that most small and moderate indie artists do not know how to capitalize on the popularity of the internet marketplace and lack the knowledge and skill set necessary to launch a successful marketing campaign. Internet Marketing is not as difficult as it appears and the process can be broken down into several concrete steps.
The first steps is setting up a personal website. This is the store where you sell yourself and your music and the home page is the storefront. The home page; the first page a visitor sees, is the key to your internet success or struggle.
Your home page needs to be creative enough to capture the attention of the viewer in less than 30 seconds. If the viewer likes what is seen they will stay or bookmark the site for further review. If the viewer does not, they leave the site right away. This is called a “bounce”. A good web server will give you the “bounce rate” of your site, or how many people left your site in less than 30 seconds. If you have a high bounce rate, consider redesigning your home page to one more appealing to the average consumer.
Keep a few things in mind when designing your sites. Studies show that most people bolt from sites with lots of dark colors so think twice before using these. We all love black, but the truth is most people still associate too many dark colors with “negative” things. the average consumer is not a Goth and prefers whites and color. If you do use the “dark theme” look, your text needs to be light and your graphics must be spectacular, colorful and bright enough to capitalize on contrasts with the background.
Make your site is as easy to negotiate as possible. Your links need to be obvious and clearly state where they will take the visitor and go where they say they will go. Include a back back to the home page on each page you post. Nothing is more frustrating than getting “trapped” in a site and not being able to find home. Your user will eventually close the tab and never come back to your site. Furthermore, they will tell their friends and you end up with a bad rap from the start. Create a user friendly site and much of the battle is over.
Include samples of your music on your site. You do not need to have a whole album. One or two good samples at least 45 seconds in length will catch the attention of your visitor. You can use this single track technique to create visitor returns to your site by building anticipation for your next release.
Your sample clip should include the “meat” of the track. Long introductions that do not have good musical development may cause the viewer to get bored and leave the site. If you have not captured the listener in the first 20 seconds you are not going to: So take time setting up quality samples.
More images and fewer words is a rule I have learned and will pass on. People like pictures and videos. Show them, do not just tell them what you do. The highlight of my marketing debut was when my stats showed 80% of my visitors staying at one of my sites over an hour because of the addition of videos, images and directive captions. I have found that if visitors choose to stay, they will eventually choose to pay. Viewers who linger on your site will tell their friends about your music. The saying, “Word of mouth is the best marketer…” still applies in internet marketing. Use interesting graphics, images and videos.
Your text should be concise and to the point. Consumers do not like to read long texts nor small print. Remember to break up long text into shorter paragraphs. Long, rambling, and overly mysterious sentences confuse and can agitate your reader so make your point, quickly, before your consumer becomes angry and turns away.
An Indie musician with a track record of solid performances can improve the business aspect of his or her art. We indie artists do not fail because of our music, we fail because we do not know music business. We can enhance our business success by utilizing internet marketing strategies and tools successfully utilized by commerce for years to access the global marketplace.
A well designed website is the first step in a successful internet marketing campaign. A site that is attractive, user friendly, and well written can be the Indie musician’s best friend on the journey towards creating a successful music business.