written by David Anglin

My Thoughts Is That, Services Like itunes Hold Out On Artists

How does it make sense that as an artist, you do the hard work of gaining fans who buy your music, but than itunes takes a percentage of your music sales, gives you no direct access to your fans and all itunes essentially does is act as a gateway for purchasing music!
(Warning Long Article)

I'm going to give you a scenerio, lets imagine in your spare time you like to sell peanuts, peanuts by the bag, now lets say you have customers who you have built up a relationship with, now imagine a "Peter" see's what you are doing and see's the potential of these peanuts and says to you " let me sell the peanuts for you, you stay in your house and relax..." now this goes on for a little while and true to his word Peter sells the peanuts on your behalf to your old clients while also gaining new clients due to the quality of your peanuts.
My question to you is who is in control Peter or you?
Let's progress the scenario, Peter works directly with your previous clients, building up relationships with them to the point they decide to exchange numbers, Peter finds he can get a better deal on the peanuts he gets from you and decides to go else where, taking your previous clients and new clients with him, as you're no longer able to contact your old customers,
You have to start back from scratch

But what could of been done differently?

For me I say if you had a peanut shop where customers could go to eat your peanuts, you wouldn't have to worry about having others handle your customers, because the customers would know that to get these peanuts that they enjoy, they need to go back to your shop. You have complete control of the customer experience.

The music business runs on these same principles, but currently for many artists they have been taking the "Peter" route. They have been doing the initial hardwork of gaining a fanbase but when there fanbase go to buy their music, itunes aka "Peter" steps in selling your music, on your behalf and taking a percentage! but giving you no access to your fanbase.
When you think about it you brought your customers into itunes shop!

Some may not agree with this and say "but I know who my fans are because they follow me on twitter, facebook etc," but I simply think there is a big difference between a person who follows you on twitter and a person who actually buys your music, these twitter followers may help share your content raising your profile, (I have issues with just brand awareness click here to see) but ultimatly it's just that raising profile! sales is what will fund your passion.
I remember talking to a friend of mine about my thoughts on itunes and he told me, "but every month they send me a report, so I know my last sale came from Japan so I know to target Japan." But I had to tell him,  Japan is a very large place, finding that customer will not be easy or at a minimum it will cost you. Me personally I prefer to know that Daniel Cole with his full mailing address and email address purchased my track, because with these details I can easily and at no cost find Daniel Cole again, this information allows me to easyily treat Daniel Cole for being such a loyal fan, so I can send him merchandise or invite him to listening parties.

Loyal fans is what will keep your music business going 

When in business you will find that what keeps your business ticking over is regular customers who spend with you month in month out, most businesses will look after these customers as they know their true value and will give them incentives like you get in supermarkets such as Tesco's and Sainsbury's who have reward card system. But for this to work knowing who your customers are is essential, services like itunes, google play etc keep your fanbase to themselves, so how will you know who your customers are?

It really surprises me when I see so few music artists with an ecommerce website, having a website is like having the shop that your customers can come to. When built well a website acts as a shop on the high street, allowing visitors to look around and if they like what they see, they can easily make a purchase, fully confident that there card details are secure just as if they were shopping in a physical store. The plus of having a website is that this sales cycle is maximized to full effect working around the clock 24/7! if your sales process is right you will find your website will make money for you all hours of the day.

Here's an example of a a website selling cycle

You've been promoting your track on lets say twitter, a person visits your website from your promotion they look through your music, they like what they see and they purchase your track which is automatically emailed to them. This cycle will continue because for your next music release you can send an email campaign to your fan letting them know about your latest track and again if they like they can buy, what I will add from experience and working with a range of businesses is that if someone buy's from you once it's highly likely they will buy from you again (repeat custom). With this cycle you can start adding in further things such as selling new merchandise or using some of your profits to purchase relevant ads but the same cycle foundation is retained.
Now tell me where is itunes needed? 

In my "Ultimate Cheat Sheet, The Easiest Way To Gain Relevant Traffic And Sales To Your Website" I talk in depth on this sales process step by step, to buy the the guide for for £1 click here

Lastly I will leave with this as food for thought, Tech n9ne who constantly makes the forbes riches rapper list (click here to view) is an independent artist and co owner of "Strange Music" have a look at their website here and look at the only way fans can by there music and merchandise.
If I've sparked an interest and you would like to know more about websites, marketing and how I can help feel free to contact me, where not strangers to this. The latest ecommerce website we have worked on is www.slewdemmafia.com

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