If you are a person using sites like Blip.fm, Last.FM and others to share your favorite music with the world, you know how frustrating it is when you can’t find a song you are looking for. Sites like SongTwit.com help somewhat by allowing you to upload a song, but then you run into potential copyright and ownership issues. We all know you are just showing your favorite band some love and not stealing, but some labels are not so open minded and don’t see the long view of sharing as a benefit to sales.
The artist can help us be the engine of their discovery by allowing sharing, and better, by proactively ensuring their content is out there to share. I would have never discovered some of my favorite album purchases without a friend sharing a link to a song with a “you must listen to this” note attached, and I am not alone in this. After all, those who find music online are several times more likely to make a purchase.
How can an artist help their music get found? Uploading songs to sites like Blip.FM is a great start, but just slapping a song on Blip or a video on YouTube is only the beginning. Artists need to proactively tag and title their work, from the ID3 tags to the file name, to make them more discoverable. If your ID3 tagging isn’t up to par, what I find when I search for your music to share are a bunch of crappy covers on YouTube or hundreds of junk links to poor quality fan recordings of your music. That’s not what you want for your music brand!
If you are really good, you will learn to embed purchase links into your YouTube videos on your official channels. After all, 91% of those who proactively look for something on YouTube make a purchase related to their search. If you are full of awesome, you’ll learn to be shameless about putting purchase info into your songs themselves. Some musicians use analytics in their file links to track listeners and reach out to them. Some simply end the official song file with a voice over saying to find them on their website, spelling the URL. As a listener, that is fine with me – it gives me a way to find you and pay you for your art. Musicians who have sharable links on their sites increase sales dramatically as well.
If you are a musician or label, what creative ways are you encouraging sharing and turning it into a purchase?