165 – How to Start Selling More Music Immediately: Online, Live, Anywhere

by | Nov 28, 2019 | Podcast

Are you stagnating in your efforts to sell more music or merch? Do you wish you could maximize your sales and revenue everywhere you go?

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share a new way of approaching the sale that will result in a breakthrough result.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:34 – What is a distinction?
  • 01:08 – Increase your music sales immediately
  • 01:37 – If you’re interested in X, check out Y
  • 02:29 – X and Y are two different things
  • 03:33 – No pressure in the message
  • 05:31 – You’re not asking for the sale
  • 07:11 – What to do instead
  • 08:14 – Things to look out for
  • 09:11 – How to get paid for your passion


I’ve been quietly developing something I call “distinctions” for the Music Entrepreneur HQ.

A distinction is anything that can replace our assumptions and default way of doing things with a new approach that produces a breakthrough result.

These distinctions are only developed over time, through research, experience, observation, experimentation and testing.

After all, I have “breakthrough result” as a criterion for distinctions, so they don’t come together by accident.

I don’t expect to be sharing new distinctions all the time. These don’t come together in a hurry.

But the distinction I want to share with you today is an important one, as it can help you increase your music sales immediately, whether you’re selling online, at your gigs or elsewhere.

Don’t think too concretely in terms of music sales here, because you may be selling fewer CDs or digital downloads than ever.

This could be applied to merch sales, streams, email signups or otherwise.

Whenever you’re making a call to action, I believe this distinction will make a difference for you.

So, the distinction takes this form:

If you’re interested in X, check out Y.

Now, keep in mind this is the default way we do things.

It works well enough but doesn’t offer a breakthrough result.

We’ve all said statements that take this form.

“If you enjoyed our show, check out our merch table.”

“If you dug our first album, you’ll probably dig our second album too.”

“If you liked this episode of the podcast, check out my books.”

So, why is this bad?

It’s not bad.

Again, as I’ve already said, this is the default way of doing things and we keep doing it because it works just fine.

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m not satisfied with “just fine.”

If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got.

But let’s cross-examine why statements that take this form lack power.

1. X and Y are Separate

Ever notice how nobody says:

“If you liked our music, check out our music?”

It’s nonsense, right?

And yet, that form would still be more effective than the one I’ve already introduced.

Why would I say that?

You see, when you gauge interest in X and ask people to check out Y, you’re creating a disconnect, because the two are unrelated.

If people like your live show, does that mean they should like your album too?

You’re rolling the dice here, because the people in attendance might just enjoy concerts.

Maybe they like going for a drink with their friends.

Maybe they like to dance.

Maybe they just need a night out.

There are too many possibilities to mention.

X and Y are separate, so gauging interest in X and trying to sell people on Y is kind of like asking whether they like food and if they’ll check out your new BBQ grill.

I love food and I enjoy the occasional BBQ dishes, but that doesn’t mean I’m a good prospect for a BBQ grill.

I can tell you right now I’m not!

And, the disconnect can extend well beyond that.

2. There’s No Pressure in the Message

Don’t you wish you could speak in a way that results in others acting?

You can!

It’s just that, to this point, you probably haven’t thought about it.

If you’re not talking to cause action, why are you talking?

If you’re not talking to cause action, why are you talking? Share on X

I get that you wouldn’t necessary talk in this manner in everyday ordinary conversations.

But when it comes time to ask for what we need in a meeting, during a phone call or at a show, we often clam up and cower in the corner.

“Oh, I don’t want to offend them” you say to yourself.

Meanwhile, you’re losing whatever power you had in the conversation.

That’s the problem with this form:

If you’re interested in X, check out Y.

There’s no pressure in the message.

“But I don’t want there to be any pressure” you may say.

Well, do you think it’s fair that you’re faced with pressure every single day?

When you choose whether to hit the snooze for your alarm, you’re in the presence of pressure.

When deciding what to have for lunch, you encounter pressure.

When your coworker asks whether you can stay late to help them with their work, you’re faced with pressure.

Contrary to popular belief, “pressure” is not bad.

Contrary to popular belief, pressure is not bad. Share on X

Pressuring, on the other hand, can be a problem.

I would define pressuring as convincing someone of something they don’t already believe in.

That’s called manipulation, and this distinction has nothing to do with manipulation, even if it takes guts to implement it.

But the key here is that if you’re not speaking in such a way that leaves others with the pressure, you’re not making a strong enough statement.

It’s like saying to your crush “I’m kind of into you” without letting them in on your intentions, just in case they reject you.

You’re left with no power, and you’re letting the other person answer how ever they want to answer.

Preferably, when asking for something that’s important to us, we should leave people feeling they need to give us a “yes” or “no” answer.

Ultimately, this is more authentic and genuine than beating around the bush or veiling our requests in wishy-washy language.

3. You’re Not Asking for the Sale

When you say:

If you’re interested in X, check out Y.

You’re not asking for anything.

As I’ve already pointed out, the first half of the statement is just gauging interest.

People are free to answer “yes”, “no”, “maybe”, “kind of” or any shade in between.

They can even respond with something completely irrelevant, like:

“Yeah, your music is kind of interesting. It reminds of this other band. Oh, which reminds me, my friend Sandy told me to tell you that your brother is kind of cute.”

See where that conversation went?

Know it or not, what you’ve been saying this whole time is this:

If you’re interested in X, and only if you’re interested in X, you should check out Y and I’m not going to tell you what to do with Y.

Are you starting to see why this form has limited effectiveness?

You’re not asking for anything.

There’s no pressure in the message, so it doesn’t have the opportunity to go anywhere.

The pressure is not with you and it’s not with the audience either.

It disappeared into thin air.

No wonder it’s “just fine.”

When asking for something, the pressure needs to be left with the person you’re talking to, and you need to be willing to face the answer, regardless of whatever it may be.

But always keep in mind:

If they say “yes”, you’ve gained something you didn’t have before.

If they say “no”, you’re in the same position you were before you asked.

Basically, there’s nothing to lose.

“If you’re interested in X, check out Y” is what we say when we want to skirt the issue completely.

It’s our nonchalant, non-committal way of asking for something so that we don’t feel rejected when someone says “no.”

Once you’ve seen the inauthenticity in the form, you can’t un-see it.

So, What Could We be Doing Instead?

Again, it’s not what we should be doing or ought to be doing instead.

It’s what we could be doing to produce a breakthrough result.

I suggest replacing the form already introduced with this one:

This is X. Will you be buying X?

This statement solves the issues already mentioned.

  1. There’s no separation. You’re not talking about two different things. Your focus is solely and completely on X.
  2. You’re leaving your audience with all the pressure. Now they can’t be wishy-washy about their response. They must answer “yes” or “no”, and if they don’t, you know they’re the ones skirting the issue.
  3. You’re making a genuine and authentic ask. You’re not beating around the bush. You’re being clear and specific about what you want.

This statement could look something like this:

“This is our new album. Will you be buying a copy?”

“This is our latest T-shirt. Will you be purchasing one?”

“This is my book, The New Music Industry. Will you be picking up a copy?”

We still need to be careful when using this form, however, because we can easily slip back into our old way of doing things.

The temptation is to talk about two separate things instead of keeping our focus.

The temptation is to take the pressure off the person you’re talking to instead of leaving it with them.

The temptation is to beat around the bush and not ask for what you want instead of eliciting a binary answer, whatever the outcome may be.

This is what it means to be human.

Regardless of whatever discomfort you might initially experience, stick to the formula as closely as possible:

This is X. Will you be buying a copy of X?

I’ve already been using this new form on Music Entrepreneur HQ and it has resulted in additional book sales.

Give it a try for yourself and see what happens.

I’d love to hear about any breakthrough results you produce.

And, I look forward to answering your comments in the show notes.