There’s been a bunch of hoopla about whether or not iTunes is going away and if Apple will be exclusively a streaming service. I’m not sure it’s true, (I did spend a good 55 seconds on Google trying to find out) but in a way, it makes sense. iPods are a thing of the past. Streaming is the thing of the… future? Who knows. Definitely the present. So what could actually replace iTunes as an mp3 service?
This idea gets me VERY excited for indie musicians. And let me be clear that I, personally, would like to continue using mp3s. If people like me want to download their music, then we don’t need a platform to do find it and download it! We just need to know where to go.
Train Your Fans (to ditch iTunes in favor of you)
Listen, when you get a puppy, you train it not to pee on your couch. We have to be JUST AS DILIGENT with our fans so that they purchase our music from our website.
Sure, I have my music on all of the streaming and download platforms (Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, Amazon, etc etc etc), but you know what gets the most sales? The sales that come directly from my website. And it’s only because I’ve been sharing with my fans from the beginning that my site is the spot not just to grab my music but to see the changes (I update it often) and engage with me and my music career.
Of course, I let people know they can purchase on other platforms too, but they can find all of those links on my site. Bringing them into my website, is like inviting someone into your living room for a muffin: once they’re in, they’re more likely to accept a muffin than if you offered it to them on the street.
More About Muffins
I’m liking this analogy so I’m gonna run with it. Your songs = muffins. With me? So if you saw a neighbor on the street, you could call out and say “hey, go to this great store in town and grab some of their muffins”. (The store = iTunes. Still with me?) If your neighbor didn’t even know she wanted a muffin, chances are she’s not going to go to town just to take you up on your recommendation. Maybe she would next time she was near the store, but who knows…
Or you could say “hey, would you like a freshly-baked muffin?”. This is like sending an email asking fans to buy your music off your site directly. But they’re still not ON the site. If you were to actually invite her inside… “I just baked muffins and my kitchen smells like heaven- would you like one?”… Once she comes in, since it’s right there… and you put all that time and effort into it… and it’s homemade… by someone she trusts… then…
BOOM. Muffin consumed. (Your kitchen = your website. You get it.)
Let’s Talk About Your Website
Questions for you:
- Do you have a website?
- Can you access your website so you can edit it?
- Is it easy and painless to update your website?
- Do you pay a reasonable monthly fee to host your website?
- Do you use Facebook, ReverbNation, or another branded site as your website?
If you answered NO to any of the above questions, it’s time to spend about one to two hours (less if you watch some tutorial videos and more if you’re doing a deep dive) on a fresh start. I strongly encourage musicians to utilize the amazing templates and built-in-tools specifically for hosting music, promoting shows, and engaging with fans with the website host Bandzoogle. I like them so much (and I’ve used everything from WordPress to Wix to Squarespace) that I convinced them to give me a special code so you can try them out for a month AND get 15% off for the rest of the year if you decide to go with them.
A cool thing is that you can even host your email list right through the site, eliminating the need to learn more platforms. The extra cool thing is you can upload your music and sell it right there- and keep 100% of the money, which is practically unheard of these days!
Having a website (no, not just a Facebook page or ReverbNation page!) has always been important. But with the uncertainty of mega companies and what their next move is, one thing is for sure: your website is your hub. Use it wisely.
There is no better time to be an indie musician.
Go try out Bandzoogle now. Your fans, your bank account, and your sanity can thank me later.