Marketing Your Music Online

Using your website, social media, YouTube and more to promote your music

Stand Out in iTunes and Keep Them Coming Back

Not including the full metadata in your free mp3 downloads can be devastating to your marketing efforts.

Take this screenshot from my iTunes as an example…

Metadata for mp3 song file

Take a look at the ratings column. You’ll notice there are several songs here that I’ve rated as three and four star. In my world that means I would like to hear more from that artist. But I can’t…

I have no idea who they are because they didn’t take the time to include the metadata as part of the file!

Maybe at one point I did know who they were. Somewhere someone gave me their song. More than likely, I received them as a free download from their website. I don’t remember, but somehow I ended up with their music on my computer.

I don’t always have time at the moment the file hits my iTunes to go in and add all the relevant data so I can find them later. But I shouldn’t need to.

It’s not my job!!

As a fan I shouldn’t have to fix your mp3 file so I can find you later. It’s basic marketing 101. Put your name on stuff.

Have you ever gotten a free pen from the bank and they DIDN’T put their name on it? If the bank is going to give out free pens they want you to remember where you got it and think about them. Maybe you’ll come back and open an account.

Same for your music. Don’t give it away without a way for people to find you in the future.

The basics of mp3 metadata

Metadata is hidden information within your mp3 file that identifies some standards about the song. Including

  • Artist
  • Track Title
  • Album Name
  • Album Art
  • Composer
  • Producer
  • Year
  • Genre
  • Lyrics
  • Almost infinite possibilities

This information is used by programs such as iTunes, Windows Media Player and others to display your song information in their directories.

 How to get your metadata in an mp3 file

If you’re a PC user then download this FREE mp3 tag editor. It’s the most powerful one I know of and it’s the one I use on a daily basis to edit client files.

edit mp3 file metadata


If you’re an Apple user, sorry. I don’t speak Mac.

You can use iTunes to edit your tags. However, a word of caution. Not all devices can read Apple’s data. Better to find a universal editor for your Mac.


I found a great tutorial video for using MP3 TAG. Watch this short video to get the basics of how to edit your file.

What fields to use

At an absolute minimum you should fill in the following fields:

  • Title
  • Album
  • Artist
  • Year
  • Genre
  • Album Art

If you are editing files to be given away as free downloads add your website URL to one of the fields. Make it easy for prospective fans to find you.

Follow these tips and you won’t get lost in the iTunes shuffle.


Why do Musicians Focus on SEO

Liner Notes March 4, 2014

So many musicians waste time focused on SEO. Stop spinning your wheels and focus on what will really move the needle.

See what I mean in this week’s video….

What are your thoughts on chasing SEO?  Shout out below…

Is Your Blog Hurting Your Website

Liner Notes February 25, 2014

When a new visitor lands on your home page what do they see? If it’s your blog you may be doing more harm than good.

See what I mean in this week’s video….

Do you agree or disagree with my blog theory?  Shout out below…

Mobile Friendly Content is a Must for Today’s Indie Artist

I’ve been shouting to anyone who will listen about the importance of mobile-friendly content.

The following infographic just hit my inbox this morning. It shows the overwhelming number of web-based email users who rely on their smartphones to retrieve their emails.

So what does this mean for you?

I still receive a large number of emails that force me to pinch and zoom to read them. The font is soooo tiny I can’t make it out. I spin my phone to landscape mode and sometimes it’s still not enough.

If your fans aren’t 100% committed, they won’t do the pinch-zoom-spin dance. People are lazy.


People are lazy.

You need to make things as easy as possible for them. In this case that means making your emails easily readable on a smartphone.

If you don’t know how to do that, I’ll get a tutorial up here soon for some of the popular email services.

Or, check out our new Music Fan Attractor. Everything about it will be smartphone friendly.

Now check out these stats if you still need convincing…..

Source: Litmus — Where Do Webmail Users Open Email?

Beyoncé Proves Facebook Fans are Meaningless

beyonce-albumWith the recent release by Beyoncé I started thinking about why she isn’t selling MORE copies of her album. In the first few days she sold about 850,000 downloads. But if you looked at her social media following you might assume she would sell more. After all, she has almost 54 million Facebook fans!!

With each mega-star release we hear the media and music business moguls talk about the stats. Singles sold –  albums sold – by country –  by language – and so on. But the one stat I never hear any of them quote is Facebook Fans. Why?

Facebook Fans are irrelevant

That’s because the number of Facebook fans just doesn’t matter.


In the indie world everyone is enamored with social media stats. I hear it all the time.

“I have 4,379 Facebook fans.”

“I have 2,981 Twitter followers.”

“I just picked up 29 new Instagram followers.”

But you’ll never hear Beyoncé brag about her 54 million Facebook fans. Because Facebook fans don’t buy albums. Sure SOME Facebook fans buy albums, but for the most part Facebook fans aren’t fans. Using the term ‘fan’ with Facebook is very misleading. They should really be called Facebook Curiosity Seekers.

Clicking LIKE takes no effort. It doesn’t mean I’m invested in what you’re doing or that I even LIKE what you’re doing. It simply means I’m curious. And if it doesn’t cost me anything, sure, tell me what you’re up to once in a while.

At least if someone gives you an email address it took some effort on their part. It took a small amount of trust. Facebook is far too anonymous.

Facebook Fans by the numbers

To prove my point I decided to geek out a bit and do some math. I charted the first week album sales for popular artists in 2013 as a percentage of their Facebook Fans.

Here’s what I found….


Facebook Fans vs First Week Record Sales

1st Week Album Sales as a Percentage of Facebook Fans (click to enlarge)


If major label artists can’t even rally half of a percent of their supposed fans then what good is Facebook? It’s not like they asked their fans to buy a luxury car or a new couch. It’s a $10 download. Why are their sales so pathetic?

An Indie Artist with 1200 Facebook fans posting a similar percentage of sales in their first week would see sales of about 14 albums! Personally, I would be crushed. Most indie artists I know are getting numbers closer to 20 or 30%.

So what’s your point?

Don’t get hung up on Facebook stats, because in the end it just doesn’t matter.

Clive Davis would laugh in your face if you went on about how many Facebook fans you acquired.

What matters is the relationships you build and the sales you make. So have a plan to turn your Facebook ‘fans’ into real fans.  Something big name acts with 79 million fans can’t do.

How can you start a conversation with your Facebook fans to build a relationship?

Better yet, how can you transition fans away from Facebook and onto your email list before Facebook crashes, burns and lands right next to MySpace?

Facebook is a great place to find new fans but you can’t leave them there. You need to do something to solidify the relationship.

  • Regularly offer incentives for Facebook fans to sign up for your email list
  • Start conversations/ask questions
  • Share more than just “buy my stuff”
  • Be a real person by sharing other parts of your life than music
What else have you done to turn your Facebook fans into real fans? Please leave a comment below…


Where is that Freakin’ Music Coming From!?

auto-play music is scaryIt happens almost every time I cruise ReverbNation looking for new bands. I click through to a band’s website and suddenly my office is shaking!

Where the hell is that music coming from?

As my pulse quickens and my adrenaline surges, I frantically scan for the pause button. But where is it? It’s usually so buried in the sidebar or blending into my bottom toolbar that I can’t find it. So what do I do?

Should I continue to be assaulted by music I didn’t ask for or hit the big red X in the upper-right corner?

Artists think they are being smart by setting auto-play to on. After all, everyone that lands on their site will hear their music. And once they hear it they’re going to be compelled to buy it ’cause it’s so freaking awesome!

In reality musicians are only hurting themselves.

People don’t like to be told what to do. Setting music to play when they first land on your site dictates their experience. So at the very least you have ruffled someone’s feathers by forcing them to turn off your music. Instead of allowing them to make the decision to turn it on.

On the other extreme, you may have blown their speakers or eardrums. Or caused them to stain their underpants. None of which will endear you to a new potential fan.

But one scenario you may not have considered is the worker cruising the internet while they should be working. Suddenly the entire floor knows they are on your website. Again, you’re not making new friends.

Instead, try placing your music player in a prominent position on your home page. Give viewers a reason to click play. Use testimonials or reviews to intrigue someone enough to try it for themselves. They will have a much better experience and will stick around on your site a lot longer.



Build a Website with Purpose! Attract New Fans

Use your website to attract new fansRecently I reviewed a TON of websites from independent musicians. I was on the hunt for some new music and I let myself just wander aimlessly through the interwebs on the lookout for a cool new artist or band.

As I wasted (was it really a waste?) the afternoon away, I noticed one critical mistake in every website I saw. Over and over I realized the band or musician didn’t answer the most important question before they started designing their site….

What’s the purpose of this website?

A website can serve many needs.

  • It could be a place for your hardcore fans to hang out and connect with each other.
  • It could be a brochure to introduce your band to new fans.
  • Maybe you want your site to be press friendly.
  • Or maybe you need a combination of all of the above.

When someone starts building a website before answering the critical question of purpose, the site becomes a jumbled mass of information and worthless gimmicks. By being clear about the “why” first, you’ll have a much clearer vision of the pieces that need to be on your site.

An artist’s website has one real purpose.

Attract new fans and give them a quick introduction to what you’re all about and why they belong in your fandom. I came to this conclusion by thinking like a fan.

People end up at your site in many ways.

  • They found you on YouTube where you had a link to your site.
  • They saw you on Twitter and followed the trail.
  • They see you’re going to be opening for their favorite band and want to know if they should get there early or skip your set.

The common thread running through all these people is curiosity. They want to learn more about you and get to know your music. On the other hand, your serious fans aren’t going to your website – unless you give them a reason.

Case in point – I LOVE the Black Crowes. I go see them almost every time they’re in Chicago. I have all their albums….I NEVER go to their website. Why? I’m on their email list, I follow them on Facebook, I follow them on Twitter. I have no reason to go back to their site unless they tell me they’re having a special sale or contest. I only land on their site when they send me an email with a link. That’s it.

Try looking at your site with fresh eyes. If you had never heard about you before, what would you think when you landed at What do you want to know? How easy is it to find this information?

By thinking like a new potential fan you’ll see your site in the correct way. Now just answer the questions running through your mind and your site will be on its way to attracting new fans!

The Mind Tricks behind Eli Lieb’s Cover of Miley Cyrus

It happened again. On Friday Eli Lieb posted a video cover of Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball. By Monday it had been viewed almost 500,000 times and Eli had gained over 100,000 YouTube subscribers and 30,000+ Twitter followers.

It’s another case of an unknown artist gaining huge online success by covering a popular song. Recently we saw the rise of Karmin thanks to Lady Gaga’s Born This Way (it now has well past 3 million views) and numerous other online sensations.

But why do cover videos work so well?

Look at the Video Eli Lieb posted. It’s just him in front of a white background playing a dulcimer. A dulcimer? Granted, he’s a great singer and the video/audio quality is professional, but honestly, is there really anything special here? Why are people drawn to this?

Because cover videos satisfy two of our basic human needs.

Best-selling self-improvement guru Tony Robbins points out that we all have six basic human needs: Significance, Connection/Love, Growth, Contribution, Certainty, and Uncertainty. Cover videos satisfy two of those needs – Certainty and Uncertainty. Say what?

How can we have two seemingly opposing needs?

Think of certainty as stability. Humans like to be able to count on things. It’s in our DNA. We need to count on the spring coming again and crops growing. We need stable relationships. We don’t want a surprise bill from the IRS. We need to feel safe and secure; otherwise we’ll go insane with worry and fear.

So in terms of our cover video, we want a song we know. We want something we’ve heard before and are familiar with. But…

That’s boring. We also desire uncertainty. We want some variety in our life — some of us more than others. Someone who walks a tightrope over the Grand Canyon is looking for more variety in their life than I am. But at the same time, I don’t want to stay locked in my house. I need some adventure and to feel alive.

So in our cover video, the different version of the song keeps us interested. We know the words and melody, but he mixes it up and puts a new spin on it.

Plus there’s the anticipation. Will the song be any good? Will he be able to hit the note? Outwardly we’re rooting for Eli, but inside we’re secretly hoping for a train wreck. But in the end, Eli prevails and we cheer. It’s a roller coaster of emotion and we thrive on it. We crave variety. Otherwise we’d all own one album and listen to it everyday for the rest of our lives!


What do you think of cover videos? Have you made one you’re proud of? Show us.