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April 27, 2014

WordPress Your Band’s Website

Filed under: WordPress, Music Marketing, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 3:00 pm

Shiplosion - Party Metal for your booty

Chris Seth Jackson of @HowToRunABand has written three extremely useful articles named: How To Create A Band Website With WordPress.

Seth is experimenting in music marketing with a real band, Shiplosion and he’s doing it from scratch. And along the way he’s blogging, podcasting, video-blogging… well, you name it he’s doing it, to inform and teach you all the tricks of how to run a band! Is he a Seattle Seahawks fan?

So, as I heartily recommend new bands to get themselves a WordPress blog/website, have a gander:

  1. How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 1: Domain, Hosting, and E-Mail
  2. How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 2: Installing WordPress
  3. How To Create A Band Website With WordPress: Part 3: Themes

December 2, 2013

How To Become A Successful Independent Recording Artist

[EDIT] A couple of weeks ago, mid November, Francis Gane of Chartburst (a platform for unsigned artists, that says they will get you heard by major labels, producers, bloggers, pluggers, etc.) asked me if I would be interested in contributing to Chartburst’s blog. Very flattered, I said, “Yes.”

However, on reflection, I have got to decline the tempting invitation, because I haven’t got time to write for myself! Blogging, as informative content creation, is such a time consuming taskmaster. Sorry, but LibreRock Records and UnsignedBandPromotion must come first. Being independent means taking responsibility for yourself, and that’s what I’ve got to do!

Find, support and follow Chartburst on Twitter and Chartburst on Facebook - Good Luck Francis.

Anyway, How To Become A Successful Independent Recording Artist WAS destined for Chartburst; I’m sure Francis will be pleased that I posted it here instead.

“How do I become a successful independent recording artist?” is just the sort of puerile question a schoolboy would Google right after he had Googled, “How do I get a girlfriend?” I can hardly believe someone posed this innocent question so sincerely to me. But they did, and I can’t believe that I am actually going to genuinely bother to answer it. I’ll not over inflate the article with fluff, and as a convention, I’ll use “artist” meaning artist, musician, band, etc….

Firstly, at what point would you say, “I have become a successful indie artist?” Here are a couple of my favourite answers: 1. When I can jack in the day job and earn a living playing music. 2. When the mainstream media starts to take notice. I’m sure you’ve got your own individual answer, maybe it’s relative to the artist? Set your goals - and maybe that’s too unfluffy for you!

How good at doing it are you?

It’s my belief that if an artist wants to become a success on the music scene and make a living from their music, the most important area to get right is their musicianship and stage act (Music and Performance). This is The Core Essential and best indicator of whether you are going to make it or not.

Seek criticism and advice from an independent and qualified person whose opinion you value and trust. Then act on their advice and continue to seek their feedback for continuity. I am Not talking about crowd-sourced, public opinion here; I am talking about a qualified individual who can tell you the truth.

Do you have a Business Plan?

To make a money out of your music, you need a Business Plan - talent is sometimes (usually) not enough! Running a business is a big subject, too big for this blog post anyway; it includes: finances, technology, marketing & PR, sales, staff, regulations & legal stuff - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, off the top of my head!

Being an independent artist doesn’t mean you that have to do everything yourself, you will need professional help and advice - maybe it’s an accountant or maybe it’s a website designer? Find the right professional for the job. There are a number of music industry pros. worth contacting, here’s a list: 22 champions of the independent music community - one should be able to set you on the right path. Personally, I’d start off by talking to a specialist music industry accountant.

How do you connect with people?

The third element in this trilogy is Connectivity. Actually it’s a subsection within business - Marketing and PR. It is how you connect with people and how you get them to take notice. It’s being on the same wavelength as the person with whom you are talking, it’s empathy and rapport. It’s marketing - bringing yourself to the attention and consciousness of your potential fans. Yet another massive subject, however, it’s a key factor in becoming a successful indie artist. Talk to LibreRock Records for some personalised information and help.

So there you have it, a simple, candid answer to a puerile question! The Three Core Essentials are: Music and Performance, Business and Connectivity - get them all right and you’ll do okay …even though in reality, the odds are set against you ;)

July 6, 2013

Championing Unsigned Bands - Releasing It Yourself

Filed under: LibreRock Records, Music Marketing, Band Promotion — ian @ 7:35 pm

Championing Unsigned Bands | Releasing It Yourself

Andrew @dubber, founder of New Music Strategies, academic, author, public speaker, blogger, music reviewer and all round music industry guru, has set up Any And All Records; their mission is to sign up our planet’s entire list of unsigned artists, and beat the word Unsigned to ignominy and extinction! You might think that I’d be affronted as I use the name Unsigned Band Promotion (God knows what Unsigned.com think?), but no, I’m not upset, I’m pleased; many unsigned artists, or maybe I should now say independent artists, Do beleive that being signed to a record label is the panacea to all their problems, and it’s often their only goal.

Of course it’s all about the money. Money. Money. Money - the three reasons bands are so desperate to get signed to a record label. It’s the deal and how much is in the advance that attracts so much attention, it’s a lot like the deluded expectation of making a music video go viral, they’re nothing but pipe dreams for most independent bands.

That clinking, clanking, clunking sound. Is all that makes the world go round. It makes the world go round!

The benefits of getting signed to a major record label are pretty obvious; they mainly revolve around huge investment and music industry expertise, power and influence, especially within the marketing sector, which could easily account for thirty percent of the overall investment. This article Investing in music [ifpi edited link since publication] is well worth a gander. So, giving it a shot is very understandable!

Okay, well, this blog post is meant to be about championing unsigned bands! I’ve been standing up for them and supporting them fervently since 2004; I’m no guru, I’m a website promotion geek and that’s something I’ve been doing since ‘94.

And now for something completely different: Releasing It Yourself…

My mate Matt Early and I have set up LibreRock Records, an open source record label that empowers indie bands to be truly independent and liberated. We’re not about the semantics of Unsigned, we’re about freedom. We will help and support you to release your music yourself, under our name. (I’ve left LibreRock Records)

Here is a list of resources for all of you unsigned bands who want to release your music yourselves and are proud of the title Unsigned (Independent)

  1. Bandcamp - A publishing platform for publishing your music on/ through!
  2. Band Name - World-wide band names registry. Register your band’s name to help protect it.
  3. CDbaby - is one of the most popular websites for selling music.
  4. Couchsurfing - “You have friends all over the world, you just haven’t met them yet.” Handy site for giging bands, discover new friends around the world, rediscover your city and host new friends. It’s a travel community.
  5. CreativeCommons - Copyright Information, make a copyright license. We like: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
  6. CreateSpace - Self publishing and free distribution for books, CD, DVD. A little like Lulu and Amazon!
  7. Crowdfunder - UK fundraising platform for social and creative projects. “Crowdfunder is a great way to gain a massive fan base and test your idea out on the crowd, thus validating your idea. A fun, easy and fast way of raising money without borrowing from the banks.”
  8. dmoz Open Directory Project - A great place to get a linkback to your website.
  9. feiyr.com - German, European website, sell your music on all download stores worldwide, inc. iTunes. One-time account activation payment due before publishing: 9.90 €, they also take 20% (at time of writing)! So why am I recommending them?
  10. Gig Guide Ltd UK - Gigs, band listings and music information… it’s got the lot!
  11. Gracenote - “Has the largest database of music and video meta-data, powering the world’s hottest entertainment products, apps and services. The numbers say it all. Gracenote is the standard for music and video meta-data, featured in more than a billion devices and entertainment platforms.” That’s what They say folks! You’d better have a gander at: FAQ - Artists, Labels & Publishers!
  12. GS1 UK - “GS1 UK are an independent, not-for-profit organisation working to make UK organisations more efficient by getting everybody speaking the same language when it comes to locating, transporting and trading goods.” Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) we’re talking bar codes for your physicals! See: GS1 UK - music
  13. LondonGigs - Gig Promotion London! I love websites like these, they need supporting, they’re great resources for independent artists, musicians and bands.
  14. LibreRock Records - Open Source Record Label - They (we) strive to empower indie Artists, Musicians, Bands and Songwriters to be truly independent by taking an open source approach. “We assist and support artists who release their music under our name. We share the know-how and the artists get all the Kudos and Revenue.”
  15. lulu.com - Are very good for self publishing resources? Lulu.com lets you publish and sell and print on demand books, eBooks, online music, images, custom calendars and books. Did I mention books?
  16. Music Law Advice - The first ever Independent Music Law site for musicians in the U.K.
  17. musicmoz The Open Music Project - A comprehensive directory of all things music, edited by volunteers, listing music-related reviews, articles, factual information, biographies and websites.
  18. BBC Introducing - Bringing together all of the BBC’s supporters of unsigned music. Upload your music here. All you need to make it! [worth a gander anyway!]
  19. PayPal - Allows you to accept credit cards and handle customer contact like invoices, receipts and returns. They do take a small percentage from each transaction, on the sale of a CD it should be less than £0.50, but there is no minimum or monthly charge. The PayPal shopping cart is very easy to set up and integrate with your website. Sign up now and start accepting credit card payments instantly.
  20. PledgeMusic - “A direct-to-fan platform that provides artists and labels with the tools needed to get fans to engage early. The PledgeMusic direct-to-fan campaign allows fans to pledge without any transfer of money until a specific fund-raising goal is met.” PledgeMusic take 15% (at time of writing).
  21. Pressbox - Free press release distribution service, they also provide a professional copywriting services to targeted audiences globally.
  22. PPL - A performance rights organization. Licenses recorded music played in public and distributes the fees as royalties to its members. Free to join! What’s the difference between PPL and PRS? PPL collects and distributes money on behalf of record companies and performers. PRS for Music collects and distributes money on behalf of songwriters, composers and publishers.
  23. PRS for Music - Three companies exist under the PRS for Music umbrella: Performing Right Society Limited (PRS), Mechanical-Copyright Protection Society Limited (MCPS) and The MCPS-PRS Alliance Limited (the Alliance)! Songwriters, composers and music publishers become members of PRS in order to get paid for the use of their music.
  24. PRWeb - Press release distribution for small businesses (that’s you if you’re in a band). (PRweb charge).
  25. Radar Music Videos - An online network enabling record labels and independent artists to connect with professional, affordable music video directors worldwide. “New music video directors worldwide. Affordable music videos.” Want to make a video, need a director and crew, start here!
  26. Songkick - Allows you to organize and track your favourite bands and track concerts and dates. Get instant tour dates from your music library. Songkick Tourbox allows artists to add their tour dates to a number of websites.
  27. Soundcloud - An almost essential site for indie bands who want to give out and promote their digital music.
  28. Tourdates - A gig listing website for both signed and unsigned bands, side by side, in one place. Tour Support - is a site offering tour support, however, it may be a little juicy for most indie bands!
  29. TuneCore - “Sell your music, not your soul” (good strap line)! Get your music into all the leading digital stores: iTunes, Spotify, eMusic, AmazonMP3, Google Play… fast and easy, and keep all your rights.
  30. Villa Music Rights - A Dutch company that makes it possible for artists, who write their own songs, to make their music available online. Free for home users. Business users, like shops and restaurants, pay a fee, on the basis of licenses in which the composers themselves determine the price and the duration of the license.
  31. Web Presence - Facebook and Twitter - for social networking!
    Tumblr or WordPress - for free a blog that would happily double up as a website. If you’ve got the energy, create several websites, tailored to attract different groups of fans!
    YouTube or Vimeo - for video networking!
  32. Word of Mouth Marketing Association - The official non-profit trade association dedicated to the word of mouth and social media marketing industry. Through best practices, industry education and member value, WOMMA advocates word of mouth as a solution to business challenges and a key component in the creation of Talkable Brands.

Written by Ian Robson
IanUnsigned Band Promotion help musicians and artists to get their websites noticed by fans, search engines and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own. Find UBP on and Twitter. Ian has been working on website promotion techniques since 1994.

Creative Commons Licence
Championing Unsigned Bands by Unsigned Band Promotion is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

October 16, 2012

How to get your music heard - Making it big online #MusicMarketing

Filed under: Music Marketing — ian @ 10:08 pm

How to get your music heard - Making it big online infographic

Jessie Kuwada from @TopInfographics Killer Infographics sent us this trendy infographic, Check out how to get your music heard & make it big online!

Killer Infographics have produced an artful visualization of our 101 Resources for Marketing Music - nice one :) xx

June 13, 2012

22 champions of the independent music community #MusicMarketing

Filed under: Music Marketing — ian @ 11:54 am

101 Resources for Marketing Music

Marketing Music - Resources & Team Building

  1. Adrian Fusiarski of Buzzsonic - Music industry & disruptive tech news content curator.
  2. Andrew Apanov of Dotted Music - Musician’s Web Keeper!
  3. Andrew Dubber of AndrewDubber.com - Reader in Music Industries Innovation at Birmingham City University. Academic, author, public speaker, blogger, music reviewer, radio and music industry consultant.
  4. Ariel Hyatt of Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR - A digital PR and social media strategy firm.
  5. Bob Baker of The Buzz Factor Author, musician dedicated to showing indie artists how to get exposure, connect with fans, sell more music, and increase their incomes.
  6. Bob Lefsetz of Lefsetz Letter - Famous for being beholden to no one and speaking the truth on issues that are at the core of the music business: downloading, copy protection, pricing and the music itself.
  7. Brian Hazard of Passive Promotion - Focuses on “set it and forget it” methods of music promotion. Interesting music industry insights.
  8. Brian Thompson of Thorny Bleeder - Music Marketing, Branding and Motivation.
  9. Caroline Bottomley of Radar Music Videos - A 21st Century music mideo commissioning platform for record labels, managers, independent artists and talented directors worldwide.
  10. Christopher Bracco of Tight Mix - Digital music marketing tips, promotion strategies, industry news, music reviews… [Worthwhile]
  11. Chris Seth Jackson of How To Run A Band - Real life experiments in music marketing, getting more fans and making money for your band.
  12. Chris Rockett of Promote Your Music - Looking into the dark secrets of music marketing.
  13. David J. Spangenberg of Professor Pooch - Music business consultant, author, educator and music legal & contract specialist for over 30 years.
  14. Derek Sivers of Sivers.org - Founder of CD Baby. Nuff said!
  15. Don Harrison of neoDev Solutions - Provides solutions for artists, entrepreneurs, and small business.
  16. Ian Robson of Band Promotion Blog - Helping musicians and artists to get their websites noticed by fans, search engines and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.
  17. Jon Ostrow of Mic Control - A musician’s resource & webbloging community.
  18. Krzysztof (Faza) of The Cynical Musician - Telling you what the experts don’t! A music biz snarker.
  19. Madalyn Sklar of MadalynSklar.com - Helping musicians and businesses rock their social media presence.
  20. Michael Brandvold of Michael Brandvold Marketing - Music marketing speaker based in California expert in online and social marketing, ecommerce, fan acquisition and retention.
  21. Scott Honsberger of Your Band’s Best Friend - A music industry insight for the new breed of emerging artists.
  22. Wes Davenport of WesDavenport.com Music Marketer. Blogger. Publicist.

Compiled by Ian Robson
IanUnsigned Band Promotion help musicians and artists to get their websites noticed by fans, search engines and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own. Find UBP on and Twitter. Ian has been working on website promotion techniques since 1994.

May 3, 2012

16 gig and ticketing resources for the independent music community

Filed under: Music Marketing, Band Promotion — ian @ 4:39 pm

london gigs, music & venues

Where To Post Your Gig Dates & Gig Resources

Playing live gigs is very important for music marketing

  1. BBC Music Going Out goto [IN YOUR AREA]: the latest music news, reviews and features in your area. Plus: BBC 6 Music - Gigs. [UK]
  2. Alive® entertainment guides are a series of monthly local and regional multi-media magazines, published continuously since 1993 and providing unrivalled free coverage of a wide range of entertainment and leisure persuits for Young and Young Middle Aged (Y/YMA) readers.
  3. Aloud.com Online tickets.
  4. Ents24 Tickets UK entertainment guide, covering live music, comedy, theatre, shows and days out.
  5. Gig Events Guide UK The free online Gig Events Guide is provided to enable the independent music industry to advertise their UK gigs or events.
  6. Gig Guide Ltd UK Gigs, band listings and music information… it’s got the lot!
  7. GigMaven Streamlines the booking process for musicians and venues. [USA]
  8. GigsWiz A ticketing company for venues and promoters that pays artists to promote ticket sales online, providing instant and seamless updating and synchronization across all social media platforms. (UBP: a bit of an annoying website, sorry guys!)
  9. Lemonrock a dynamic live music gig guide updated directly by 1000s of bands, artists and venues.
  10. London Gigs they’ve got a big list of London venues.
  11. National Gig Guide for live music gigs and events across the UK.
  12. NME.COM :)
  13. Rave Magazine Publish your press releases, gig listings, classified ads and more…. all for FREE!
  14. SplitGigs a social network that helps emerging bands or musicians find gigs to play, through a simple but highly effective idea: the "SplitGig" i.e. I let your band play at my gig, then you return the favor by letting my band play at your gig.
  15. Ticketometer Lets concert organizers create shows that only take place if a minimum number of tickets are sold. Propose a concert first and book it after selling tickets – the audience has your back. [USA]
  16. Tourdates A gig listing website for signed and unsigned bands.

May 2, 2012

10 digital music distribution resources for the independent music community

Filed under: Music Marketing — ian @ 1:26 pm

TuneCore

Sell Your Music Online – Digital Music Distribution

There are loads of websites that give bands the opportunity to sell their music online. Watch out for Terms & Conditions and costs!

  1. CDbaby is one of the most popular Websites for selling your music.
  2. Emubands a digital distribution service which allows unsigned bands and artists to sell their music through major online stores such as iTunes, Napster, HMV Digital, Virgin Digital, Tunetribe…
  3. INgrooves Digital distribution of music. Global distribution service, access to over 400+ online and mobile partnerships all over the world.
  4. IODA Independent online distribution alliance. Comprehensive services for record labels, physical distributors, artists, and filmmakers.
  5. ONErpm A global digital music distribution service and a direct-to-fan social commerce solution for musicians and record labels. Sell Your Music on Facebook. Distribute to iTunes.
  6. Overplay is a music Website dedicated to the promotion and exposure of unsigned bands. It’s a full blown Website that offers a good chance to sell your music online, and yes there is a growing music community.
  7. PayLoadz A secure Digital Goods eCommerce service for anyone to sell downloadable goods online - Sell Downloads - Click Here.
  8. Spotmeup Simple Spotify distribution. Free way of adding your own music on Spotify.
  9. Trackseller manages paid music downloads for musicians of any kind and all around the world. Buying music from trackseller means buying directly from the artist. Trackseller lets you add a buy download now-button to your website in minutes. Upload files, add pricing - ready for sale …that’s what They say, anyway ;)
  10. TuneCore sell your music, not your soul (good strap line)! Get your music into all the leading digital stores: iTunes, Spotify, eMusic, AmazonMP3, Google Play… fast and easy, and keep all your rights.

April 8, 2012

Sell Downloads #MusicMarketing

Filed under: Music Marketing, Marketing — ian @ 8:03 am

Payloadz 234 X 60

Sell Downloads with PayLoadz

PayLoadz offers another outlet for bands to sell their music online as a download. There is a free demo account so you can try, before you buy :) I’m an affiliate I hope that doesn’t put you off! The Payloadz platform supports PayPal, Google Checkout, 2Checkout, Amazon Payments and TrialPay - the coice makes it easier for both you and your fans to use ;)

February 29, 2012

Marketing Music With Affiliate Marketing

Filed under: Music Marketing, Marketing — ian @ 12:11 am

Ages ago @JonnyScaramanga Tweeted: @BandPromotion I want to run an affiliate scheme to pay my fans a commission when their friends buy my merch. Any idea how I could do this?

Such an interesting question, I couldn’t possibly answer it in 140 characters. I conversed with Jonny and I’d love to share my additional thoughts with you.

A Brief Overview of Affiliate Marketing

Firstly, there are usually four parties that make up the affiliate marketing circle:

  • The Advertiser (the merchant - the seller)
  • The Network (the intermediary)
  • The Publisher (the affiliate - the referrer - the reseller)
  • The Consumer (the purchaser - the website visitor - Joe Public)

Looking at affiliate marketing from the Publisher’s point of view; affiliate marketing is the practice of getting rewarded by a merchant for sending visitors or customers to their website. After joining an affiliate marketing network you (the affiliate) select merchants to be affiliated with; when approved, you display their advertising banners and/or text links on your website. After your website’s visitor makes a purchase, fills out a contact form or clicks their link (clickthrough marketing) you earn a commission; typically your commission is a percentage of the sales price or fixed amount per lead/ clickthrough. It’s a simple way to earn some extra money and get paid for your performance!

In the case of @JonnyScaramanga, he wants to be the merchant and run his own in-house affiliate program. Jonny wants to pay a commission for referred business - maybe by utilising affiliate tracking software?

Affiliate Tracking and Management Software Providers

Please Note: I think I had better state, I am NOT endorsing or promoting any of these affiliate program products. You use them at your own risk!    Warning: always be cautious of ‘free software’, do your homework and check them out.

If you want to run your own in-house affiliate program, you will need a real website and an affiliate tracking software package (hosted packages do also exist). Fans, friends and family will be able to join as affiliates, then login, get links, view their stats and get paid! You, as admin, will be able to perform all the administration duties:

  • Cosmic Affiliate Click They say it’s lacking in detail and doesn’t have any major features but, it works and it’s free! Because this script is free it isn’t supported - which is normal, most free scripts usually have a helpful forum - somewhere!
  • Best Option (@JonnyScaramanga ?maybe?) (Basic, Hosted $19 (£12) /month): Post Affiliate Pro Affiliate software to power your affiliate program - so they say… Easy to set up and manage - recruit new affiliates, give them promotional tools and track their referrals. Integrates with many third party payment processors. BTW I am NOT an affiliate of PAP - maybe I should be, but I’m not!?

Note: Professional Affiliate Tracking and Management Software costs range from approx. £200 - £1,000 (for a hosted option there’s usually an additional monthly charge from approx. £15).

Be Aware Of The Security Issue

Security (in all senses of the word) is a very important and wide-ranging subject from the consumer’s, the affiliate’s and the merchant’s point of view. It can simply be about trust as in, “would I buy from that website!” Most affiliates are small-time, they worry about getting ripped-off, they want to feel safe and they want to get paid for their hard work; but obviously there is more to security than trust! Where there is money, there is corruption and the merchant who doesn’t prepare for trouble will get into difficulties and fail. Before using affiliate tracking software or signing up to a hosted affiliate package, carry out exhaustive checks and ask questions about their fraud protection and security arrangements - one can’t be too thorough; we all worry about the security of our personal information online, don’t we?

Low-Fi Methods of Running an Affiliate Program

These ideas are not perfect, they all have flaws or loopholes, I would recommend that you only invite superfans, friends & family to begin with. Do a lot of testing and keep a close eye on progress, because what makes these ideas work is trust, for instance: a real world affiliate might come round to your house and pick up 20 T-shirts & 20 CDs on a sale or return agreement, then proceed to market them to his friends - choose the wrong, aggressive salesman and it may harm your band, not help it!

1. This first method isn’t really an affiliate scheme, it’s promoting your band through ‘affiliate style’ marketing in the real world. This should be a casual and friendly project that you can expand, develop and improve.

To start, pick ten close friends and offer them five CDs each at cost price (e.g. 5 CDs x £2 = £10). They can sell the CDs for whatever they feel is the correct price (e.g. recommended retail price: £7 each). They keep all the profit. You give them a complimentary CD and a fake tattoo - get yourself a photograph of them for your website. BTW, make sure you include all your contact information on the CD and rear inlay or cardwallet.

I also recommend that you get your music on to a website like http://www.tunecore.com/, they distribute to itunes, amazon, emusic, nokia music store and others. Fans, friends and family can join amazon’s affiliate program and promote your music from their social media. Tune Core is always looking for affiliates as well!

At this early stage it would be worthwhile creating a database of names and emails of superfans, friends and family who may be interested in helping your band. Use http://mailchimp.com/ a brilliant free email marketing program.

2. An advancement of the first method would be the “Sale or Return.” method; Sale or return is an arrangement whereby the merchant (you, the band) sends CDs to an affiliate (the reseller) who pays the band when they’ve sold the CDs. The CDs (or goods, merchandise) remain the band’s property (the band is known as the ‘title holder’) until they are paid for in full (by the reseller). The band should allow a reasonable period before unsold CDs are to be returned by the reseller and/or payment is made, say 30 days; the reseller receives an agreed discount (a commission payment) of say, 20%, depending on their performance (how many they’ve sold).

Obviously you, the merchant, will need to set up a Reseller Agreement. The terms of agreement should include: Ownership and copyright details. Recommended retail price. Commission rates. sales/payment time scale and recovery of CDs due to late returns. Loss or damage. Transit liability. Their consumer legislation responsibilities, and your liability waiver. Etc. etc.

The reseller, affiliate is able to sell your music (and merchandise?) under agreement from their online shop :)

3. I’m sure you are thinking what most people are thinking by now, affiliate marketing is, “a fan sticking up our banner add on their Facebook page and selling our music to their friends!” O.K., here is how you do it Low-Fi style:

Sign up to PayPal and get yourselves a merchant account. When you have joined, go to: My Business Setup & click: Website Payments Standard. Go to: Create A Button Now. Set up a buy now image button (your CD cover) for each affiliate (could take about 15 minutes per affiliate, no advanced programming skills required!). Send your new affiliate the code to paste on their ‘web pages’. When “Joe Public” clicks and buys your music, you get the email from PayPal, so *You *Must keep records of the who, which, where and why affiliates, are selling your music. Then you pay-out a commission (10-15%) to the referrers/ affiliates.

Big Tip: treat your affiliates like gold dust. Why not get some distinctive and individual fake tattoos made, send them (maybe as a prize) to your top affiliates and post images of them flaunting themselves and having fun on your website’s blog. Definitely blog about your top affiliates and link to their ‘web pages’, it encourages others to join and buy.

Please be aware that most of your affiliates will only sell to about 2% of their audience - no one is going to make a fortune.

The Serious Online Marketeer

I’ve been an online/ affiliate marketeer since about 1994, that’s a long time in the affiliate world. Here is some sad news if you are a band looking to join an affiliate network like Commission Junction to market your music; NO serious online marketeer is going to touch your band with a barge pole - unless they are sleeping with the lead singer! Why? Because there wont be enough reward for the effort. It is the same for you (the band), joining an affiliate network (to market your music) would be too expensive! However, serious online marketeers do look for niche products and good profit margins - what’s your product & what’s the PM? Affiliate Marketing is a numbers game and it doesn’t matter what side of the affiliate marketing equation you are on, whether it’s the merchant or the affiliate, understanding the numbers is important - BTW, they’ll check you out!

However, the benefits of running an affiliate program could be worth the effort and expense: you should increase your website’s targeted traffic by 100+%. You will widen your fan base and get the opportunity to engage with, and reward your true fans. And ultimately sell more product.

Resources

February 26, 2012

The Most Frequently Found Website Promotion Mistakes

Filed under: Music Marketing, SEO, website promotion, Band Promotion — ian @ 12:32 pm

Sorry that it has been such a long time since I posted, I’ve been working!

If you are The Unknown Band who wants to get their name out there and would love some help with your website promotion, then take a quick gander at this Open Email - it’s a sort of ‘Most Frequently Found Website Promotion Mistakes’ compiled from my 2011 email correspondence with bands ~ no names mentioned ;)

You Are Not Maximising Your Website’s Promotional Effectiveness

Your opening page is a splash page! Having a splash page is one of the biggest and most extravagant website promotion luxuries and it is a colossal mistake. A splash page is nothing more than an introductory opening page that precedes the main home page; it usually just contains a massive attention grabbing image of the band that acts as a link to the band’s home page (CLICK TO ENTER). Here is some real source code copied from a band’s splash page (Only the band’s name & javascript have been changed):

<html> <head>
<title>The Johnson</title>
<script language="javascript">
<!– {
/*Bollox javascript*/
image_load_javascript_here();
} //–></script></head>
<body bgcolor="#CBBB9B">
<div align="center">
<a href="home.html"><img src="images/artwork.jpg"
width="800" height="569"></a>
</div></body></html>

…No Content There Guys! Personally, I think a band’s opening page should be a simplified version of their press pack, that contains everything a new visitor or fan is looking for :) Please have a V.quick gander at: Press Packs What Should They Include

Quick Fix Get rid of the splash page and replace it with your Home-Page which has loads of content.
Further Reading Search Engine Optimization - SEO for Bands and UBP’s Response To Matt Early’s Blog Post - Splash Bang Codswallop!

Your Links And Linking Are Totally Up The Spout

Linking errors will ruin your chances of success. The question every noobie band’s webmaster wants to know the answer to is, "How can I get people to visit our website, become fans and buy our music?" The answer is simple, traffic increases with the number of Links pointing to your Website in addition to the quality and quantity of your website’s Content. It’s a simple answer, but quite difficult to accomplish.

Most of your links are pointing away from your website to Facebook, Twitter, ReverbNation, MySpace and various other profile pages, and they are not reciprocated. Your website is acting as a landing page to your social media and that is wrong, it should be the other way around.

Also, create a user-friendly navigation structure so it is easy for visitors to find their way around your website - don’t use loads of different and confusing text sizes and colours. NEVER make regular text look like a bog standard link (underlined &/or blue), it confuses people and stops them clicking the real link.

Quick Fix Link with 10 other websites each week. For linking think networking and for networking think conversations. So that’s, get into deep and meaningful conversation with ten new people each week - and swap links!
Further Reading Links and Linking - The Dark Art and Check Your Link Popularity

You Have Got 153 Coding Errors On Your Home-Page

Coding errors are actually the most common of all website mistakes - by a country mile - I’m sure I’ve got some myself ;) Most HTML errors are very easy to solve, go to W3C HTML Validation and run a check to find out more.

However, you haven’t got enough technical flexibilty on the type of web platform that you’ve chosen to build your website on (one of the free web hosts) - which means, your web host, where your website resides, doesn’t allow you to get hands on with the coding (they do it all for you), your website is not created in the most optimum way and there are a shed load of SEO & html issues! Your problems would be solved by moving your website to a real web host like iPower.

The most common HTML errors are: Not including or incorrect use of DOCTYPE declaration. Forgetting to close a tag. Nesting tags incorrectly. Not opening or closing quotes within tags. Not encoding special characters like ‘"‘ and ‘&‘. Not including the image alt attribute.

Note: a lot of the free Web hosts use too much javascript, Flash and frames which can cause problems with Web crawlers; this may result in your website being indexed incorrectly (and slowly) in the search engines.

Quick Fix Get a real website from iPower then visit: W3C HTML Validation
Further Reading Band promotion for unsigned bands

Your Website Is Mind-Bendingly Boring

A band’s website shouldn’t look like a 1990s Online brochure for a small engineering firm. Boring - unless you’re a small engineer ;) A band’s website should be entertaining. And what makes a website entertaining is good content. Content is the all important key word here; if you want people to spread the word about your band, you’ve got to give them something to talk about! Give your visitors regularly updated, interesting and maybe a tad contraversial, newsworthy Content.

It is So easy to get sucked into social networking and at the same time neglect one’s website, because websites take up so much fucking time, and, quite frankly, updating websites can be boring. However, if you want to make money from your music, it is worth putting in the effort. You are posting some lovely images of your band on Facebook, publish them on your website instead. Write loads of compelling description around the images to enlighten and titillate - especially for the people who don’t know your band. Do the same for the wacky photos of your fans enjoying themselves.

Stop using images to replace actual textual content (words).

Quick Fix Turn your opening page into a Blog.
Further Reading Quality Content

There Are Problems With Your Band’s Name

You often abbreviate your band’s name or write it as an acronym, I wouldn’t do this until you are Very Well established. Promote your full name at every opportunity.

Because your band’s name is a Surname, you have got strong competition when promoting it in Google. Write a strapline that describes your band, eg: The Johnson are an indie folk band from Reading, Berkshire Put it in to your title tag and write an extended version (about 150 characters including the spaces) for your description meta tag - Write many different versions and tweet them regularly (note: tweets are 140 characters including spaces).

There are other bands with the same band name as you!

Quick Fix Choose a unique, short and memorable name that reflects your band’s image - make sure it’s O.K. to use.
Further Reading A Band Name That Everyone Cares About

You Are Not Promoting Relevant Keywords

This is how a search engine sees the textual content of your opening page: ‘official’ ’site’ because you do not have any other textual (written) content!

Aim to be found for your bands name and for something else other than your band’s name, like: ‘folk band reading’ or ‘function band berkshire’. What is someone going to type into Google to find you? Second Guessing (attempting to predict or anticipate what people are going to search for to find your website) is an odd topic with plenty of scope for both error and success, but, it’s important - your band’s lifestyle choices could be the way to go! Don’t bother using extremely popular keywords like: music, sex, free, mp3… they’ll never work!

I wouldn’t normally say anything about keyword density here on my blog, however, I would aim for approximately 4 or 5 keywords and or key-phrases per 100 words of written content (not including the header meta tags) - ‘Johnson’ is a keyword, ‘folk bands reading’ is a key-phrase!

Quick Fix Find the top 20 keywords and key-phrases that best describe your band and genre, add them to your website.

Your Free Hit Counter Looks Very Amateurish

Nobody cares about how many hits your website gets - apart from you ~ true! But, the fact that you’ve got a hit counter means that you are interested in monitoring your website’s success, brilliant. If you are interested in marketing your music, keeping track of your website statistics is vital as they will tell you what your visitors like and dislike.

Obviously, by keeping a regular check of your website’s statistics you will be able to build-up a good understanding of your: Advertising success. Traffic sources (the who, what, where and why of how people are finding you). What pages are successful… i.e. the overall performance of your website’s various aspects.

Quick Fix Get Google Analytics - so you can evaluate your progress.

Cold Hard Fact: Your Website Design Is Unprofessional

Sorry, but the one ingredient that separates an amateur website from a professional website is the speed at which the crucial message is delivered to the visitor. A professional website delivers the crucial message immediately, however, your website delivers your album and gig details eventually (one day, someday, never - only if one looks for them), V. negative!

There are two VERY important areas on the opening page of your website:
1. Centre Opening Screen - this is where your most important messages should be going.
2. Top Right Corner Opening Screen (between 1 and 2 o’clock) - the perfect place for a sign up button, a music player or a 300px x 300px ‘clickable’ image of your psychedelic album cover.

Keep the layout simple and obvious, i.e., Upcoming Gigs should be listed with new gig dates at the top and old gig dates at the bottom - why would you make visitors scroll down the page to find your next gig date? BTW, Don’t forget to blog about ‘it’ too!
…Talking of blogs, if you use Blogspot or Wordpress, make an effort to make it look like the rest of your website. Post 3 times a week.

Quick Fix Think about what your fans want. What is your website like from the their point-of-view? Ask them!
Further Reading Make A Sexy Website And Get Laid Like A Rockstar This Weekend
Make Money From Your Band’s Website

The $64,000 Question: How Can We Get More Traffic?

Well it’s the question everyone wants to know the answer to! How to get targeted and consistent traffic visiting your website - quickly, like today? After all, it’s what we build a website for, isn’t it?

The fasest way initially is to collaborate with others. Big Warning: collaboration will kill you if your band is crap and has a pisspoor website!

Create a ‘Target Fan Profile’ and figure out how they will come to your website; there are three usual ways (with multiple criterion): 1. By searching in a search engine. 2. By clicking on an incoming link. 3 By typing your URL directly into the address bar.

Create the right environment on your website that will satisfy your target audience. Point your potential fan towards your website using both online and real world techniques. Visitors will keep returning and become fans if they are continually entertained - i.e. they like you!

…How Fast? Well it is not going to be a 9.58s 100m sprint, getting traffic is much more like the decathlon! Visitor numbers improve with the quality and quantity of Content, in combination with the quality and quantity of Incoming Links, and Time.

BTW, the three most common requests I receive are: Help us get our name out there. How can we get more web traffic. and, Help Promote My Band. Unfortunately, promoting a band Online through its website and social media, doesn’t lend itself to a quick fix answer; like building relationships through networking, promoting a band Online takes time! See a simple and basic outline of a typical website promotion effort in: 100 Fan Decathlon

Your problem is that you are too focussed on social media, that you don’t pay enough attention to your website!

Lastly, and to conclude, did you know only about 20% of bands have a Real Website! That’s it for now, hope that helps a little, if you’ve got a specific question, please feel free to ask and I’ll do my best for you.

Fond Regards

TURN UP THE VOLUME
Unsigned Band Promotion
UnsignedBandPromotion.com
Helping musicians and artists get their websites noticed by fans, search engines
and the music industry in half the time they could do it on their own.

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