I live in the desert of New Mexico, and it’s pretty much a musical void for the most part. There is a small community of people who are interested in actually doing something with their music, but not many. Because of that, I’ve had to do a lot of things on my own, and I haven’t really had that many people to talk and share experiences with. I’m sure some of you can probably relate to this!
But over the years I’ve been fortunate to meet many other musicians over the internet and talk to them about their experiences. This, combined with just reading the accounts of others that I don’t know has brought me to kind of a strange realization about album sales and downloads. For a while now, I’ve been getting album sales and downloads every single day. I honestly thought this was just normal for anyone who’s been doing music for a while. But after talking and reading about others experiences, I’m realizing that this is a much rarer thing than I thought.
So that led me to the question… why am I getting such consistent sales and downloads of my music every day? What am I doing that’s different, and how can I help others experience the same thing?
I feel like one of the best ways your music can be spread around is just via word of mouth. But I also think that in order for word of mouth to sustain consistent sales and downloads, you have to already have a fairly large fan base. And honestly, I don’t think I’m there yet. Word of mouth plays a part I suppose, but I don’t think it fully accounts for what I’m seeing.
But let’s think about word of mouth for a second. Essentially it’s just a bunch of people willingly working to do promotion on your behalf. They’re excited about your music, and they’re telling their friends, getting them excited too. And really, what’s better than that for your music? Nothing, of course. But like I said, this needs to be happening on a pretty large scale in order for it to turn into something sustainable.
So it seems like the next best thing to word of mouth promotion would be something that works similarly but doesn’t require quite the existing fan base. What if you could set up something that was constantly working on your behalf to show people your music, even when you aren’t working on promotion explicitly?
I think this is exactly the thing that I unintentionally stumbled across, and I think it’s the reason that I’m seeing such consistent sales and downloads of my music every day.
In case you haven’t already figured it out, YouTube is what I’m talking about. I’ve been making YouTube videos for like five years now, which is crazy. I didn’t think when I started that they’d be the key to these consistent sales, but when I look back I’m realizing that I’ve created five years worth of videos that are constantly working on my behalf and bringing new people to my music.
So what does this mean for you? Well, I’ll tell you that without YouTube, my story would likely be the same as a lot of other artists in that I’d spend a lot of time working on an album, I’d finish it, and then I’d try to promote it a little. But as soon as I stop talking about it, interest also stops. So maybe I’d start working on a new album, and since I don’t have time to promote the old one as much, sales and downloads of it basically stop. See what I mean?
What I don’t want you to take away from this is simply that making YouTube videos means having success in your music. It depends on so much more. YouTube has worked great for me and I’d highly recommend you see if it can work for you. But what I’m really saying is that you need to find something to create outside of your music that will serve to draw them to your music. Basically, find the thing that works for you and mimics the word of mouth style promotion. Find the thing that attracts people and then use that thing to send them to your music. It doesn’t have to be YouTube. With the possibilities of the Internet and your creativity (you’re an artist, right?), I bet you can come up with something that will do for you what YouTube videos have done for me.