iTunes is an influential platform where artists can sell their songs to, potentially, millions of users. Getting your music on iTunes is the easy part; selling music in iTunes, however, requires a certain degree of effort and know-how. Here is a quick primer explaining how you can sell your music on iTunes in the UK with this effective iTunes sales strategy:
How to sell your music on iTunes
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not just superstars that have their work promoted by iTunes: there are numerous ‘charts’ dedicated to all kinds, genres and styles where independent artists can reap the benefits of a feature.
The massive exposure generated from such a high-profile placement could introduce legions of new fans to your work — massively boosting your music and merchandise sales as a result.
The following tips are designed to help independent artists boost their online music sales, and kick-start the journey towards securing a coveted position on the iTunes promotional pages.
#1 Use only high-quality recordings on iTunes
Creating exceptional music, alone, might not be enough to guarantee high numbers of music sales on iTunes sales, but it’s certainly the place to start. It doesn’t matter how great your songs sound live, if all you have available to download are sub-quality recordings.
Yes, professional recording and editing equipment is expensive for independent artists to access, but only professional-sounding, high-quality recordings are going to shift in the incredibly competitive world of online music retail.
Therefore, wait until you can afford to produce great sounding recordings of your music before you initiate your iTunes marketing campaign.
#2 Choose your iTunes release date wisely
iTunes allocate front-page features to artists weeks in advance of their actual placement. So, be tactical about when you upload and release new music to improve your chances of being allocated a slot.
It’s advisable to upload your music about a month before you intend to release it, giving yourself plenty of time to promote, generate pre-orders and get noticed!
You’ll need to prove that people are excited by your music, and hungry for new material before iTunes will consider promoting it on their front-page or charts. Hence, you need to allow enough time to get people hyped for your latest release before it’s made available to download.
#3 Create buzz and get exposure
There are plenty of things you can do both on and offline to create buzz about your work. Effectively managed social-media profiles are a must for keeping fans up-to-date with the latest developments in your career.
Make sure your posts are professional, relevant and exciting; the aim is to create shareable content that your fans will be likely to spread to their own followers — leading more people to your music.
It’s also important to maintain a visible presence in the real world through gigs, supporting other acts, and selling branded merchandise.
Getting your songs synced in other forms of media, such as film, television and advertisements is another effective way to gain exposure. Just hearing a snippet of a song they like on TV could be enough to persuade new listeners to seek-out, and buy, more of your material.
#4 Make your music easy to find
Most of your potential customers will be busy: they don’t have the time or patience to waste trolling through the internet in search of music to download.
So, make the most of your online presence by embedding links to your iTunes page on your website, and all social media profiles.
You need to maintain enough of a presence so that potential fans can access and purchase your music simply by entering your name in a search engine, and being directed to iTunes by your social media profiles or website.
#5 Consider the type of release
An album is more likely to be selected for the front page than a single, but iTunes also has separate singles charts, which provide an opportunity for featured artists to quickly generate reputation and exposure.
Releasing singles will also help you develop a sales history, which will give your profile more clout with the executive board who allocate front-page and chart features. However, single-song releases will never get as much attention as a new album.
So, take into consideration how much music you’re able to produce and release, as well as the amount of marketing you’re prepared to undertake when strategising release dates, to ensure you’re taking full advantage of all the promotional opportunities available via iTunes.
#6 Give away some songs for free
Create demand for your music by offering a single download for free — one complimentary download could be enough to convert new listeners into dedicated fans excited to buy your next album.
Retain exclusivity by running the free-download promotion for a limited time only, and share the offer across your social media profiles — making it clear that this offer will only be valid for a short time.
#7 Encourage friends and fans to review your music on iTunes
Positive reviews of your music will help cement your reputation as an artist who has a strong backing, and therefore persuade fresh audiences that your work is worth checking out.
Reviews should be honest, and give potential downloaders an accurate idea of your unique sound.
You could also get in contact with music bloggers and influencers — ideally those who specialise in your genre, to see if they’d be willing to do a review of your music for their website.
Getting a positive mention from a respected blogger is a sure-fire way to draw new fans to your music, and therefore boost your iTunes downloads.
#8 Third-party music marketing?
An online search will uncover hundreds of businesses claiming to provide professional music-marketing services in exchange for an agreed fee, or a percentage of revenue generated from record sales.
IMPORTANT: Be cautious of unregulated, rogue promotion companies looking to scam amateur artists with hidden fees, or a poor-quality service.
Professional expertise is always a bonus, but you’ll receive more profit if you learn basic marketing tactics, and manage promotion yourself — especially in the early stages of your career.
If you do choose to enlist the help of a third-party marketing company, research the business thoroughly, and look for positive reviews from artists they’ve worked with previously, before you make a binding agreement.
Also, make sure that you’ve read and understood the contract fully before you sign, so you’re absolutely certain of everything you’ll be expected to pay in advance of making the deal.
Have you sold any of your music on iTunes? What were your experiences? Do you have any tips for beginners? We would love to hear about them in the comments below.