Strategies for increasing your income

Having a sort out over the Christmas break, I came across some notes from a Music Week conference session with Terry McBride, CEO and one of three founders of the Nettwork Music Group. McBride was talking about ‘Millennials’, a new generation of music fan who have the power to ‘pull’ music. Songs ‘belong’ to them as an emotional memory that they want to share. Consumption is ‘get it when you want it’. Music used to have a scarcity value. Now digital is always available.  Fans do not need to own music. What they value is access.

McBride spoke a lot about strategies to maximise income. His conclusion – create a continuous supply of music to buy, not a piecemeal one album a year, but a track every month. That’s 12 tracks a year with a constant presence rather than one album a year with a short blip then forgotten presence. Versions of songs can generate multiple sales to different fans, including multi-lingual releases (Averil Lavrine: 7.5m downloads of one song, 200 million hits on Youtube). Releasing stems may work for fans who are musical. Use releases to grow your fan base.

But where does scarcity come in? The value is in creating scarcity of access to the artist from loyal super-fan gig tickets to special one off concerts and merchandise and access to ‘backroom’ activities like rehearsals, and songwriting sessions.

Someone in the audience asked McBride for his predictions and observations: brands will sign acts – especially acts that will align their tribe to the brand.

And the year? 2008.

Build your fan base then record your album

Here is an interesting recent article from Fox News.

CJaye’s first full-length album was uploaded to iTunes on 12th July. Her fans were watching out for it and they started buying it as soon as it was up there.

CJaye has invested a lot of time on Facebook.  That’s the right thing to do for her fans. She invests in connecting with them.

CJaye neatly demonstrates the power of building a fan base before you record an album. It is much easier to sell in larger numbers, creating a buzz. And it’s also much easier to recoup your costs quickly.

It will be interesting to follow CJaye’s progress from here.

What to look for in a fan email management tool

There are many tools out there so it’s best to do a bit of research before you decide what to use. Think about how you want to engage with your fans and what will make your life easier. Then look for a tool that fits the bill. Apart from the basics of creating a message to send to your list, other basics are to be able to:

  • add a sign up box to your website
  • add a fan yourself, eg after you’ve collected their email address at a gig
  • set up specific welcome messages, eg if they signed up at your website or if they signed up at a gig
  • automatically send follow up messages (often called an ‘autoresponder’), eg to send a free track as a reward for signing up
  • download your list regularly – they are your fans and you’ve put in a lot of effort in to get them so you need to have ownership of your list.

Email marketing tools often do a lot more. Just be careful not to go for something that is too complicated – you are unlikely to need everything they provide.

Using a list manager can be a little daunting for non-techy musicians. If that’s you, have a look at their help tools. Are easy-to-follow tutorials provided and do they suit you?

Make a list of how you want to use an email list manager to connect with your fans and what would make your life easier, then compare tools.

Next week – the basics of transferring your email list to a managed list.