Heather Fenoughty is a British composer and sound designer for film, television, theatre, and multimedia. She’s also a violinist. Heather just wrote a great post offering marketing ideas for composer over on Scorecast’s site. I recommend you swing by their site and read the post.
I’ve been working away on new album and a new live show. In preparation for all this I’ve also been hard at work re-designing the entire web experience for my artist web site MarkMosherMusic.com. I redesigned the site from the ground up to introduce new branding, create a more fan-centric experience, and also reduce the time it takes for me to maintain my online presence. One of my other goals was to create a more efficient way to communicate so I could spend more time on music and less time on web updates.
Here are some insights that might help you with your online music marketing.
Make it about the visitor by using the word “You”. Many artists I’ve talked to have mentioned it’s really hard for them to write about themselves and their work. They don’t want to sound like “Enough about me – now what do think about me?” One way to overcome this is to remember your writing for the visitor. What’s in it for them? So, when possible write for the visitor and make it about them by working word “you” into your marketing copy.
Accommodate strangers. Lots of people are blazing through web sites during their day. Many might stumble on your site. For this type of visitor, you’ve got about 15 seconds to engage them enough to buy another 30 seconds of ther attention. One way to do this is to create a very simple landing page for them to land on to get your current message across quickly. For my new site, users first stop is an non-flash based Entry page. I can toggle this on and off if I have newsy item I want to share. If your are running ads, route your ads to a targeted landing page just for that ad. If you decide not to use an entry page, I recommend a simple message on the first page they hit.
Build relationship. Make it easy for your fans to show support and reward them for following along. Street teams, fan exclusives, and message boards are just a few ideas. Just make sure if you implement something you have time to manage it.
One or two clear actions. For most pages you should have one, maybe two clear actions you would like the visitor to take. Currently I’m building my email list so you’ll see “Join the Mailing List” clearly visible on most pages.
Keep the good stuff “above the fold”. Many pages on your site might have enough information that they don’t fit forcing the user to scroll to read the whole page. Make sure you put the good stuff “above the fold”. In the example above I’ve placed a “What’s New” blurb, "Join the list" box, social links above the fold. You also get a partial view of content below which can compel readers to scroll.
Post once, syndicate many. A lot of the elements of my site are actually content coming from another source and are syndicated into my site via Javascrpt snippets and widgets. The mailing list is from ReverbNation, the links page is build completely using “linkrolls” from delicious. In other words, I'm centralizing content management. For example, I add a bookmark via delicious, it automatically updates my site. One downside of this strategy is if the third-party provider goes away, you’ll need to find another, so backup your content from these systems. I also connected my artist blog to Facebook and Twitter so every time I post it auto-updates.
Branding. Try to come up with some consistent branding elements like – typography, color palette, and graphic styling. If your not a designer, you might want to hire a freelancer. It’s important.
Set integrated audio players to “pause”. I’m using an integrated player that acts as a jukebox as you surf from page to page. Rather than blow up someone's speakers and scare the crap out of them, I’ve configured it so the visitor has to take action to play music.
Hosted service with integrated web content management. There are some pretty great hosted solutions out there that will allow you to quickly create a site, manage your content and integrate with social networks without having to make a call to a web developer. No need to get your buddy to build the site and host it in his basement. If you use a template try and tweak it out so it’s unique. There are freelancers that can help configure these systems as well. One the biggest advantages of many of these hosted systems is that they have tools that automatically do some search engine optimization to help you get found.
Learn more about “Permission Marketing”. Internet marketing is about relationship building. You need to build your list and deepen relationships with your fans. As an indie musician it’s in your best interest to take some of this on and learn a little more about that dreaded topic - “Marketing”. I recommend you follow master marketer Seth Godin’s blog - http://sethgodin.typepad.com/. Two of his books - “Purple Cow”, and “Permission Marketing” – are quick reads that might change the way you think about marketing and make it easier for you to connect with your fans in this noisy internet world.
I’ve posted some of these shots on various social media sites in the past and some shots are exclusive to this album.
Obviously, there are huge PR advantages to posting images and music on various social sites. However, don’t forget to re-post this information on your own web sites as well. Social sites come and go, so duplicating posts on your own sites means you won’t lose out if a site goes away. Also, posting on your own sites helps you build “home turf brand equity”.
By the way, I think I just coined a phrase :^).
Enjoy the pics. More to come…
Mark Mosher Electronic Music Artist, Composer, Sound Designer Louisville/Denver/Boulder
If you are interested in “branding” or “promotion” of your music, this “Digg Dialogg” video interview of Nine Inch Nail’s Trent Reznor is must see. In the video, Reznor candidly discusses everything from business models used by NIN to pactical tips for up-and-coming artists. He also talks about the new NIN iPhone App.
I've begun releasing .mp3 singles for my new album REBOOT. Prior to releasing the songs, I spent a fair amount of time researching the the best way to tag my MP3s. I wanted to add information to the .MP3s so that I could "bind" songs together into a virtual album via the tags, make my album art show up in your favorite player, and embed info within the tracks so you could find my web site from within the song info.
One issue with tagging with your favorite media player such as iTunes or Windows Media Player is these applications don't support all the tags all the possible tags and tag formats. Also, media players assume you want import your songs into your music library. Rather than import songs into my music library, I wanted to leave the songs where they were - in their own project folders on my system - and simply edit their tags.
The solution I picked is MP3TAG. Here is the marketing blurb:
"Mp3tag is a powerful and yet easy-to-use tool to edit metadata (ID3, Vorbis Comments and APE) of common audio formats. It can rename files based on the tag information, replace characters or words from tags and filenames, import/export tag information, create playlists and more. The program supports online freedb database lookups for selected files, allowing you to automatically gather proper tag information for select files or CDs."
I've added another new category to the blog, "Marketing Your Music Online". I'll kick off the first post in this category with a discussion of Flash technology to server audio from a web site.
Flash is such a fantastic tool for presenting audio and video on the web. Why? Well because the flash plug-in is pretty much standard issue on all internet enabled computers which means your audience will spend more time listening to your tracks and not messing with downloads and media players. As a side note, Flash is the technology used by www.youtube.com to stream video.
I'm fluent in flash programming, so I used it to create a custom audio player to promote a track from the an audio book project of mine www.wwiiaviator.com. I embed the actual player in this blog so give it a try.
I used an image of a vintage WWII Radio, then edited the image to place display surfaces for my player controls. I then created some embossed text and wings to brand the player. The player streams audio so even on a slow connection, users will hear the audio before it has finished downloading the entire file to their system. The entire player application is 21k!!!
Now I realize you might not be a Flash programmer, so below is a list of Do-it-yourself audio players. To use these you'll need to know how to upload files to your web server, as well as need to have enough web skills to place a chunk of html into an existing page.
CoffeeCup Software's Web Jukebox is the easiest way to go. It has a wizard like interface that allows you to take mp3's and publish them so fans can listen to them on your Website. It comes with over 20 player designs. The program has a built-in tool that automates file uploads to your web server, and gives you the html code you need to plug into your web page. To learn more and check out a free trial, go here - Coffee Cup Free Trials, click the "Products & Downloads" Link, then scroll down to "CoffeCup Web Jukebox" link.
A more advanced player is the Wimpy player. Don't let the name fool you, this player has many advanced features like; playlists from folders on you servers, jukebox audio from podcast feeds custom skinning, eCommerce integration and more. This player is more complex and more difficult to implement, but worth a look if you are a technically savvy with web sites. To learn more and check out a free trial, go here - Wimpy Player Website