|The "Secret" to
Selling Lots of Music
Article by David Nevue - March 2009
Back to Internet Music Promotion 101
I recently received my biggest single payout ever for digital music sales from CD Baby.
How much? Nearly $3,000 just in digital music sales. That completely
blows my mind. Considering that I make "about" .60-some-odd cents per track
sold on average, that means this single payment represents about 4,800
It's amazing to know there are that many people
buying my music. Lest you think my success is the result of some
gimmick, think again. I'm just a pianist.
Nothing extravagant. I just play, write, and record my music. I have a
few cover tunes, yes, but surprisingly that's not where most of my
sales come from. A hefty portion of my digital music sales comes from
my original music. In fact, my best selling song is an original tune
called "No More Tears." If you look at my top ten best selling singles,
six of the ten are original tunes I wrote.
I have been enjoying
great digital music sales for awhile now. I typically average between
$1,500-$2,000 over a month period. But to get one single payment of
that size (CD Baby pays out weekly) is a marvelous thing. My lovely
wife, the love of my life, is rejoicing.
I posted a simple comment about the event on my personal Twitter account (http://www.twitter.com/davidnevue) . Here's what I said:
received my largest deposit ever from CDBaby. Record month for digital
music sales! I'd do a happy dance if I wasn't so full from dinner!"
And that prompted this response from a fellow musician:
"Hi david...to what do u owe your great digital sales success?"
Why Do People Buy Music?
got me to thinking about it. Why do people buy music? What is it that
makes someone, a total stranger, actually go out and PURCHASE your
music? Especially when, in this day and age, people can find so much
music for free on the Internet? To what do I owe my great digital sales success?
Now, I could get spiritually-minded here. I could say, To Whom do I owe
my great digital sales success and then thank God for His great
provision. That would certainly be correct and true. However, it would
be a bit prideful and silly to say that God is out there telling people
to buy my music. Yes, there certainly is a spiritual element to what I
do. My music is faith-based. But there's more to it than that.
My response to my fellow musician was this; two reasons for my success came to mind:
1) I write music that some folks love so much that they can't wait to share it with others.
2) I have a large catalog. I have a discography of elevent albums now, containing somewhere in the neighborhood of 160 tunes. More product = more sales. It's easier to sell a little of a lot than it is to sell a lot of alittle. When someone discovers a song of yours that they love, they'll
listen to your other songs as well. And that single sale might turn
into a whole lot more sales. The more product you have, the more you
have the potential to sell.
It's All About the Music...
When all is said and done, it comes down to the music.
You can be the best online marketer out there, have a fantastic web
site, get widespread distribution and all the press in the world and
still not sell very much music.
True? Yes, absolutely. A great web site and publicity will help you sell great
music. But it won't help you sell mediocre music, or even skillfully
played music that people don't connect with. You can watch someone play
and be amazed at their skill on their instrument, but is that what
makes you buy their music? No. You don't buy the music because someone
is a great player, you buy the music because you like it. And even if
you get caught up in the moment and buy someone's CD because you were
amazed at their skill, what happened when you got home and actually
listened to the CD? The excitement faded, didn't it? Because what you
want to listen to for enjoyment is music that speaks to you
emotionally, not technically.
It's About Emotion...
Music is all about emotion. For
total strangers to buy your music online, especially if they are
hearing it or sampling it for the first time, they have to fall in love
with it in that very moment. Call it "love at first listen." They have
to want it, to desire it, and then for you to find real success, your
buyer has to love it so much
that after experiencing it they can't help but to share it with their
friends, family and co-workers who, in turn, fall in love with your
music. That's how real success happens. That's how you grow a business
based on your music.
At its core, music is more than just dials
and buttons. It's more than good production. It's more than a great
mix, more than a marketing plan, more than a skillfully played
It's raw, untamed emotion. Capture that, and you just might have something.
1) Focus on your music and songwriting, first.
2) Then focus on the recording and production, taking great songs and making them sound the best they can possibly be.
3) Then focus on the marketing, distribution, and promotion.
A final word of advice:
Never, ever, ever release an album or song before it's time. Never be
in a hurry to release your music. Make sure what you put out there is
100% what you want it to be and that it represents you well. Once you put it out there, you can't take it back.
Do it right,
no matter what it takes. If you settle for doing less than your best,
then less than your best is what others will perceive as your "best."
And is what you are about to release really your best work?
Make it your best. Do it right. And then enjoy life.
is the founder of The
Music Biz Academy
Solo Piano Radio. He is also a professional pianist,
recording artist, full-time Internet musician, and author of the book, "How to Promote Your Music Successfully on the Internet."