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Digital Markets

May 7, 2013

The history of digital music retail is relatively short in comparison to it’s physical counterpart which means it is still volatile and can be difficult to choose where to place your bets for the best place to sell. When it comes to physical CDs it is undoubtedly best to try and have your CD in any store that will carry it to get as much exposure as possible and afford people easier opportunities to purchase it. With digital music there are advantages to having it across multiple platform but there are also some major drawbacks.

Digital music has made it harder for fans to sift through all the music and find something they may enjoy. Placing your music on multiple online stores does mean that you have the chance to expose it to a wider audience but it will fracture your sales, which will likely result in you having low priority on most search tools. For larger bands this is not a problem but for someone starting out a new fan is not likely to dig very deep or try very hard to find your music.

Fracturing your sales can also make for a problem with your search engine rankings. Splitting where people buy your music will mean that you are also lowering your rank on certain sites:  while you aren’t likely be huge on something like iTunes, smaller websites like Bandcamp will show a much larger effect on how likely it is that fans will be able to find you. Lower positioning on search engines like Google or Bing mean less clicks to your site and therefore less sales.

Forcing your audience to a single place to buy your music can also help create better statistics on who they are and where they are from. Larger online store like iTunes or Amazon won’t share any details with you besides having made a sale, whereas smaller websites can give you thing like location or even e-mail address. Bands on a major label need to cast a net as wide as possible and are not focused on targeting a specific group, but for a new band gaining this information can be hugely insightful in figuring out how to find these people and assist them in finding your music.

While having your music on a variety of digital sales platforms has its advantages, there are also downsides to consider, and choosing whether one outweighs the other is a choice you will have to make at some point. It will be an early and difficult choice whether to try and push your music to as many people through as many ways as possible or focus on a specific group by sending them to a handful of places.

-Hassan

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