Bob Baker's Indie Music Promotion Blog

News, notes and ideas on music marketing, self-promotion, artist empowerment and more

November 30, 2006

Free Music Downloads: The Smart Way

A couple days ago I expressed my frustration over the Best Buy/Rhapsody "free holiday music downloads" promotion. (You can read my rant here.)

Now let's shift gears and examine why I was intrigued by the concept to begin with and how you can use this basic idea to promote your own music downloads.

One of the coolest things about this type of promotion is that it combines the power of the online and physical worlds. Most free music download announcements are delivered online -- which makes sense, since that's where fans are looking for digital music. But if you can also reach fans in the offline world and send them to the Internet, all the better.

So here's what you do ...

Design and print something that you can give away in the real world. It should scream something like "Get 3 Free Reggae Songs from XYZ's New Album" or "Download 3 Free Blues Music Tracks from New Artists." Be sure to include a special web address where fans must go to get the downloads.

The item you print this on can be as simple as a colorful business card or post card, or as slick as a shiny candy wrapper package or cardboard cut-out in the shape of an MP3 player.

Then give away these "free music download" promos at your live shows, at festivals, outside concert venues, and at any retail stores that will allow you to distribute them.

When fans go to the special web page, design it so that all they have to do is enter their name and email address into a form and click Submit. This easy process should take them right to the page where they can start downloading the songs you promised. (Most email list management programs can be configured to take subscribers right to a welcome page. In this case, it would be your download page.)

Don't make the mistake of requiring too much of people. Getting an email address alone would be great. At the most, ask for their name, email and postal code. No more.

Here's the thing ...

I suggest that you follow up with these people by email -- maybe a few times over the next few weeks. They have identified themselves as people who are interested in what you play. Make the most of this relationship and send them a few reminders of who you are and what you do.

Through your follow-up emails, thank them for taking the time to download your music. Make them aware of the other things you have to offer: Your CDs, merchandise, paid downloads, additional free downloads, your regular mailing list, where they can get the latest on your live show schedule, etc.

This is the smart way to market music downloads offline. Compare this to what I (and thousands of other unsuspecting people) had to go through to get misled by Best Buy's "free" downloads.

But, as a self-empowered, independent artist, you're smarter then a "big box" retail chain. Right?


P.S. I just completely revised and updated my popular special report 50 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Music on the Internet. Take a look at this guide and the free bonuses that come with it.

posted by Bob Baker @ 10:55 AM   3 comments


At Nov 30, 2006 10:11:00 PM, Anonymous Howlin' Hobbit said...

I like your stuff in general but this one has got to come in at the top of the list.

Thanks for a great idea!

At Dec 1, 2006 9:02:00 AM, Blogger Jay said...

Yeah Bob, I agree with this one wholeheartedly 'cus we've done it with my band Uncle Seth and it worked AMAZINGLY well. We've almost doubled subscriptions to our mailing list!

FYI one of the ways we promoted this was through podcasting. We created a promo for podcasters to play, and contacted many of them directly to let them know about the new single and the promo. We also put this on our page on the Podsafe Music Network:

The promo has been played on a couple of dozen podcasts that I know of. I think this contributed greatly to us having the number #1 song on the PMN for September when we started the campaign.

Keep the great advice coming!
- J.

At Dec 3, 2006 9:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sweet! The ottomen are so doing this. I think we're also about to start a viral project with our mascot...the ottoball. Great ideas! thanks
-Justin D


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