Taking Full Responsibility of Your Music Career

Taking Full Responsibility of Your Music Career

Abstractions and emotions rule most music careers. Because career activity is driven by abstractions and emotions.

Think about songwriting. What is a song, really? It’s a personal expression, right? Even when you aren’t talking about yourself, technically you are, because you’re expressing an idea, thought, or opinion. So, abstraction and emotions can help the songwriting process. Especially since listeners relate to human emotions.

But when it comes to something more exact like business or marketing, you can’t just rely on gut feelings or fly by the seat of your pants. You’ve got to be able to track your activity, look at the facts, and make hard decisions to pursue that which works and makes sense to do.

That’s the responsibility that some artists have a hard time accepting. They either don’t want to do it, or they just want someone else to do it.

And I’m not going to say that getting someone else to do it isn’t an option. But you’ve still got to act on the data, right? Or else it makes no sense to collect. We can stubbornly insist on things we think we should be doing, or we can use cold, hard facts to make better decisions on the activity we should be engaged in.

If you want to create something because you want it to exist, that’s fine, but recognize it might not be the fast track to getting what you want in your music career.

And I get that this is a scary thing. You’re trying to blaze a trail and make your way all on your own. You’re trying to make things work in your music career.

But turning a blind eye and following emotion or opinion is the least attractive option.

You’ve either got to start tracking relevant data yourself, get someone to track for you, or some combination thereof. Otherwise, you’re unlikely to grow your music career into a sustainable, profitable one. You’re just going to be ruled by your opinions and emotions, as most artists are, and end up in the same desperate bucket they are.

The most successful artists do things differently. That’s why they’re successful.

The most successful artists do things differently. That’s why they’re successful. Share on X

For a proven, step-by-step framework in cracking the code to independent music career success, and additional in-depth insights into making your passion sustainable and profitable, be sure to pick up my best-selling guide, The Music Entrepreneur Code.

iTunes for Artists

iTunes for Artists

Looking for iTunes for Artists? Trying to figure out how it works?

You’re in the right place at the right time.

In this quick guide, we’ll look at what iTunes for Artists is, how to get your music on iTunes and Apple Music, who should use iTunes for Artists, as well as how you can use data to grow your music career.

Ready? Go!

What is iTunes for Artists?

iTunes for Artists is now Apple Music for Artists. Don’t worry – you also get access to your analytics concerning iTunes (i.e. music sales).

Apple Music for Artists is a powerful tool that gives you access to data concerning your music on Apple Music and iTunes.

From a bird’s eye view, the Apple Music for Artists dashboard gives you access to:

  • Your music’s performance (plays, average daily listeners, song purchases, and Shazams)
  • Milestones (e.g. When your song is added to a playlist or your song hits a certain number of plays)
  • Trends (e.g. which of your songs are getting Shazamed the most)
  • How your listeners are finding your music (e.g. which playlists)
  • Demographic information concerning your audience including where they are located

You can sign up for Apple Music for Artists here.

Also note – you will need to request artist access and connect your social media profiles, music distributor, and relevant label and manager information (you can still request access without a label or manager).

How do I Get My Music on iTunes or Apple Music?

You need to go through a music distribution service like CD Baby, TuneCore, Ditto Music, or DistroKid.

We covered this in detail in an earlier guide, and even offered some additional tips on how you can show up more prominently on the Apple Music platform.

Who is Apple Music for Artists for? Apple Music for Artists

If your music is already being distributed everywhere, then there’s a good chance your music is also on iTunes and Apple Music.

The question is – is your music getting purchased or streamed on these platforms?

I could see Apple Music for Artists being great for Apple Music power users. Artists who consistently use, and see traction from their use of, Apple Music and iTunes.

If you aren’t, then looking at your Apple Music analytics might be depressing and/or pointless. You’ll probably only check in from time to time.

With that in mind, we love what the folks at Beatchain are doing, and even had founder Ben Mendoza on our podcast a while back.

Beatchain can give you a lot more usable data to work with, because they will automatically find and connect your various social media profiles, as well as all of the streaming services (note – you might need to connect to some of these manually).

How Can I Use Data to Grow My Career?

Again, you might want to check out the interview with Ben Mendoza. I included the video version of the podcast in this post just in case.

This is a deep subject deserving of its own space, but here are a few ways data can be leveraged to give your music career a boost:

  • You can see exactly where your music is being streamed. That means you can stop wasting time on platforms where your music isn’t getting played and focus on the ones that are.
  • See which of your posts are performing well (especially on Beatchain). That can give you a good idea of what type of content to create next, and even which content you should boost with advertising.
  • See where your fans are located. I have listeners in Jakarta, Kuwait City, and London. I wouldn’t know any of that without looking at my stats! This info helps me plan my future marketing campaigns and tours.
  • See which artists have a similar audience to me. Collaborative opportunities anyone? Also, I can retarget these artists in my advertising campaigns (hell yeah!).
  • Discover which playlists I could be/should be on. Another great feature via Beatchain!
  • And more. You can draw tons of conclusions from the data you gather. The key is to get data that’s usable. Data that’s easy for you to understand and leverage. Again, Beatchain makes it easy.

Before You Go…

Just wanted to let you know I’ve got a book called The New Music Industry where I’ve compiled practically every strategy and tactic to promote your music online you can even think of!

The New Music Industry book paperback

Better to have it all in one place than go hunting around the internet for all the information you need, don’t you think?

After all, you should be spending time making your music. Not trying to figure out how to become an entrepreneur, digital marketer, or full-time publisher (that’s what I do, and I do it for you!).

This is what Buddy Love had to say about The New Music Industry:

A ton of valuable information. If this guy doesn’t list it, it probably doesn’t exist. Really a great tool for musician on how to gain traction on social media.

Either way, be sure to get on the email list for more updates concerning Apple Music for Artists.

iTunes for Artists (Apple Music for Artists), Conclusion

So, there you have it. iTunes for Artists is now Apple Music for Artists. And it offers great functionality to help you get a better sense of how your music is performing on these platforms, where your audience is located, which of your songs are getting Shazamed, and more.

While it’s always good to take advantage of the tools platforms like Apple Music and Spotify give you access to, don’t forget to take advantage of great catch-all solutions like Beatchain too.

Is there anything else we should have covered here?

Let us know in the comments below!

020 – The Music Entrepreneur Traffic Analysis 2016

Will you be taking the time to reflect on this last year? Will you be gleaning lessons from what went right and what went wrong? I know I will be.

In this episode of The New Music Industry Podcast, I share invaluable lessons I learned from building my website throughout 2016, and look at how it performed overall.

Podcast Highlights:

  • 00:16 – Hi, I’m David Andrew Wiebe…
  • 00:23 – The Music Entrepreneur HQ traffic analysis 2016
  • 01:46 – Stipulations you should be aware of
  • 03:14 – Where 33 to 50% of my traffic is coming from
  • 04:15 – Tops posts and pages
  • 05:14 – Important lesson: Focus on your top posts and pages to increase email subscribers
  • 05:41 – How Leadpages is helping me build my email list
  • 07:27 – What people are clicking on
  • 09:12 – How I moved my site from one domain to another
  • 10:58 – Traffic sources
  • 13:50 – Thanks for joining me

Transcription:

Hi, I’m David Andrew Wiebe with The Music Entrepreneur. You can find my website at davidandrewwiebe.com.

Today, I decided to do something fun, and it’s a presentation I’m calling “Traffic Analysis 2016.” First, I’m going to get into some of the things that I learned from building out my website, as well as how my website performed throughout 2016.

Now, 2016 was a breakout year for The Music Entrepreneur, which is quite exciting. But that isn’t to say that I have a ton of traffic. It’s entirely possible that you have a website that gets more traffic that mine does. But what is great is that it’s on a growth curve and I’m excited about that.

2016 was a breakout year for The Music Entrepreneur. Share on X

If you’re a musician watching this or listening to this, know that you might get some value out of it but probably not as much as somebody that owns a website in the music industry. And that’s because we are talking about a music industry website case study. So, anybody that runs that type of website is more likely to be able to take the lessons and apply them to their business.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t something for everyone, so go ahead and keep watching if this is something that interests you.

And if you happen to be listening to this on the podcast, know that there is also a video version with accompanying visuals and stats and things like that, so you’ll be able to get more out of it.

First, I have to cover a couple of caveats:

One is that tracking of the stats began at the end of August, and I was still in the midst of moving my site to the new domain. What happened was my website used to be at dawcast.com. But marketing expert Tim Francis told me that it sounded like a steel company. So I decided to register a new domain at davidandrewwiebe.com.

Now, for obvious reasons, it took me quite a while to move the site to the new domain. And that’s something I’m going to be talking more about. But there was some interruption in the tracking, because the stats were being tracked at dawcast.com, and then later at davidandrewwiebe.com. So we’re not working with a full year’s sample, but I think it’s still a pretty good sample.

Two, the stats are from Jetpack. So, if you use WordPress, you’re probably aware of the Jetpack plugin. It’s free, and it will track stats on your site. It’s quite handy, and it gives you a lot of in-depth stats as well. And it also does seem to be on equal footing with Google Analytics, so within a small margin of error, you’re basically getting the same stats.

Now, here’s an important lesson. A third to half of the daily traffic to my site is coming from a single blog post. This is pretty amazing to me. And it’s not even a blog post you would expect. It’s not about marketing, Facebook, social media, and it’s not even about music entrepreneurship. Can you guess what it is?

It’s a post called 6 Things I Learned From The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy. It’s basically a book review, and as you can see, it was published on December 4, 2015. So, it has actually taken a little while to gain traction, but it has picked up throughout 2016. People keep clicking on it, and they keep reading it, so the dwell time on my site goes up, engagement goes up, and that will also boost your search engine rankings, which is exactly what happened with this particular post.

Let’s take a look at some of the other top posts and pages. You can see here – it’s not a full list but it’s quite a few of my top posts and pages on my website – the 6 Things I Learned From The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy post has 8,334 views since August. I don’t have anything else that’s even close to that in terms of traffic, which is pretty amazing.

The number two post is another one that’s had quite a bit of traction, and it’s called Top 10 Social Media Sites For Musicians to Focus on [INFOGRPHIC]. It’s an infographic in addition to being a post, and it’s gotten 903 views.

You can review this list for yourself and see what else is getting some traction. Obviously, my homepage – which my top three and four results – a lot of people are checking out the homepage and archives as well.

And one of the things that I learned from this is that you need to focus on your top 10 posts and pages. Why is that? Well, they’re getting the most traffic, and if you want to get email opt-ins, then these are the posts that you’d want to put compelling offers on so you’re converting more people. If you want to build your email list, you should focus on your most visited pages.

Focus on your top 10 posts and pages. Share on X

I wanted to talk a little bit about Leadpages, because I’ve actually known about them for quite a while, it’s just that I hesitated to purchase the product because it costs money. But I’m thankful that I did, because it’s the best tool I’ve found for building my email list.

And I just use Leadboxes. I don’t really use landing pages or anything else. Not that I won’t in the future, but it’s just not a major focus and doesn’t even need to be. And I’m not even that aggressive right now with building my email list the way that I am. I’m just giving away PDF downloads of the blog posts and transcriptions and various other things that I have.

So, I could be more aggressive, but as you know, with traffic it’s about quality, not just quantity. It’s the same thing with email subscribers. You want quality people that are going to stick around over the long haul.

Traffic is about quality, and not just quantity - it's the same with email subscribers. Share on X

And honestly I tried a lot of other things that didn’t work. I have a MailChimp account, and that’s still how I manage and build my email list. But I don’t use whatever forms they give you to build my email list anymore, so that should tell you something.

And even though I’m kind of promoting Leadpages right now, I’m not even an affiliate. I probably should sign up as one, so I could start earning commissions, but this is completely free promotion for Leadpages, so that tells you how great of a product it is. And if you’re not using it to build your email list and you’re frustrated and you don’t know how else to build it, I would suggest having a look at Leadpages. Maybe check out some other reviews or what other people have had to say about it and see if it’s the right thing for you.

Let’s talk about clicks. This basically describes where people are clicking most on my website and analyzing this is a really good thing, because if you’re trying to drive traffic to your “about” page for example, then you want to know that people are actually clicking on it and finding it through your blog posts or wherever else you are directing people to your “about” page.

So here are some of the results. You can see that the number one place that’s been clicked is Leadpages, which means opt-ins. I’ve grown my email list from a humble 200 subscribers to nearly 500 here close to the end of the year. I probably will have 500 subscribers at the end of the year, so again, that’s a testament to the power of what Leadpages can do for you.

The second result is links within the site, which is always good to see, you want people to stay on your site, check out more pages while they’re there, keep them on your site for longer. That way you have a better chance of converting them in whatever way you want.

Number three is Gumroad, which is where all my products live. And that’s also a really good thing, but there is only a total of 34 clicks. So even though it is my number three, as far as number of clicks is concerned, it’s still low. So my goal will be to boost that moving forward and to increase that number so I’m getting more clicks on products and more interest in them.

And you can see some of the other places people are clicking, such as Amazon, in which case they’re having a look at my book potentially, or they’re being forwarded over to an affiliate product.

I want to talk about my domain name, like I mentioned earlier. It used to be dawcast.com, and now everything has been moved over to davidandrewwiebe.com. I still have some work to do in terms of getting some of the images up. When I moved the site over, even though the image folder carried over, some of the images within the blog posts didn’t, so there’s quite a bit of work for me to do still. You have to update your links – that can actually be done pretty simply with a plugin called Search Regex, so I wouldn’t even worry about that. That’s pretty easy.

But changing my domain overall has led to more links from outside sources, more coverage from people who are interested in what I’m doing and want to hear about my opinions and thoughts on the music industry. It’s resulted in more traffic… again, it’s been a gradual increase – it has taken time to build up to this point, but it keeps on going up. And it’s also got me more recognition, so it’s been a good thing for my brand.

Now, this is an important lesson, because if you have a domain that isn’t that great, or if you’re not happy with it, or if people just don’t seem to be resonating with it in the way you intended, and you’re thinking about re-branding and moving your site over to a new domain, I would encourage you to do so. But just know that it is a lot of work, and I’m far from done all the work that I need to do to optimize all the posts and pages on my website. I have so much work to do, but a website is a living, breathing thing, and you’re never really done with it.

If you aren't happy with your domain name, it may be time to re-brand. Share on X

Let’s talk about the part that everybody has been waiting for, which is traffic sources. This is simply where my traffic is coming from.

Now here are some of the stats. You can see that search engine traffic is number one, and that’s not surprising because most of the traffic to the post I mentioned earlier on the power of your subconscious mind is coming from search engines.

Now, I have been working hard to diversify my traffic, and I think you can see even from this list that I have been successful in doing so, but far and away my top traffic source is search engines. That should never be a problem as long as Google doesn’t de-rank me, and I don’t think there’s any reason why they should – it’s not like I’m using blackhat SEO tactics or anything like that – but preferably you want sources that could compensate for that difference should that traffic go away.

You can see that my top social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, and StumbleUpon. People ask me a lot about social media, and you can see that I’ve had traffic from Instagram and stuff like that from that list, but it isn’t a lot. And I often say my top traffic sources for any website in any niche I’ve built so far from social media, has been Facebook and Twitter. Others haven’t really worked well for me.

And I know they work great for a lot of other people, and I continue to experiment with everything – Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn – all that kind of stuff. And that gets me a bit of traffic, but by far, Facebook and Twitter are my top social media traffic sources. So, I would encourage you to maintain your focus as well, because if you diversify too much, you might get one, two, or three visits from other sources, but you’re not going to get a lot. And unless your audience is very specialized and niche, there’s really no point in going elsewhere. Experiment, figure it out for yourself, I’m not going to tell you what to do.

And you can also see that some of the traffic has found its way over from the old domain at dawcast.com, which shouldn’t come as surprised. Obviously I have it as a domain forward, so that’s why. I can see that Musicgoat is one of my top 10 referrers as well. Thanks so much Corey, thanks for your support. He also did a testimonial or an advance praise quote for my book, so I’m really grateful. Thanks for sending that traffic over.

That’s all I have for Traffic Analysis 2016. Thanks so much for joining me, and if you enjoyed this video, you can find more at davidandrewwiebe.com.

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