A modern record label is built on social media and digital music sales. In 2011, digital downloads surpassed CD sales for the first time. Since the early 2000s, the Internet has consistently strengthened as a vehicle for selling music. Social media has become a direct way to reach fans and market not just music, but other artist merchandise, from T-shirts to calendars. Use several social media channels to direct fan attention to a central storefront where entire artist repertoires and merchandise can be purchased.
Post music videos on YouTube, Vimeo and similar sharing sites to help promote the music. Use videos of live performances, montages and interviews to sell CDs and downloads. Songs that relate to current events can be associated with news commentary. Consider offering creative licensing that allows fans to create their own personal videos or mashups for certain songs to share online. Create short video promos that showcase an album or artist career that directs users to the storefront for purchasing music and merchandise. Keep in mind that music can also be used to market other online products such as video games.
Offer free downloads of acoustic versions of songs to promote sales of produced studio versions of songs. Corey Smith is an independent country artist who generated millions of dollars from concerts, CD sales and downloads without radio airplay after he began offering free downloads of his unique storyteller songs. Follow the path of storyteller artists whose songs become stories talked about in social media conversations. Release free minute-long medleys that promote artist albums for sale. Consider giving away free live albums through websites and social media channels. Give the most active social media fans content to share.
Newsletters and Polls
Use social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and ReverbNation to engage fans deeper with the artists and expand fan bases. Newsletters help strengthen relationships with fans by providing the latest details and stories about artists. They also serve as marketing lists. Use listener polls on label and artist websites as well as newsletters to generate artist data, which becomes news to report to other media in press releases. Create a constant steam of fresh polls such as ranking artists' most popular songs, comparing artists with other artists, and asking people to rate artists, their shows, albums, songs and videos.
Offer digital downloads and CDs for sale all over cyberspace beyond label and artist websites. Ask partners, fans and as many websites as possible to link to pages where music is sold. Every song and every album should have its own landing page with plenty of entertaining content. Encourage people to buy music online since the more successful digital music becomes, the less you'll have to worry about the expensive traditional label costs of manufacturing, distribution and inventory of CDs. Use social media as market research to gauge how many CDs to manufacture based on demand.