Learn How to Sell

By Shaun Letang

Editor’s note: The post below is a chapter from the Music Industry How To guide: “8 Steps to a More Successful Music Career in 2013.”

Learn how to sell your musicAs I mentioned briefly in point 5, a lot of musicians feel uncomfortable asking fans to pay for even a percentage of their music. This is ok if you’re happy paying for people to listen to your music for the rest of your career. I say you pay for them to listen because you still have to pay for studio costs, equipment, travel costs, getting your music to them via physical CDs or online distributors, and the like. Giving all your music out for free is like you paying for people to enjoy your music, which doesn’t make sense, right?

If you want to be a financially successful musician (no matter what your definition of ‘success’ is), you will need to start selling to a percentage of your fans. It’s as simple as that.

Now, please don’t look at the word ‘sell’ like it means you’re being evil or distancing your fans. The truth is, your music career is a business. And if people like your music enough to want to hear it, you’ll find a portion of your fans will be willing to pay to hear more from you.

If between 1% and 5% of your fanbase ends up buying something from you, you’re doing well. The other 95% – 99% is often happy hearing you for free on YouTube and the radio, and will hopefully help spread the word about you through word of mouth and video sharing. Who knows, they may even get a few buyers interested in your music, or even turn into a buyer one day themselves.

So we know that a percentage of people who come across your music will be willing to buy something. That said, if you don’t offer them something of value to buy, or don’t approach them in the right way, you will miss out on sales. It’s because of this that you need to learn how to sell your music properly.

You don’t have to force sell people anything they don’t want, but you do need to be there with your quality paid downloads and merchandise when fans are ready to buy.

We look a lot more at the process of friendly selling and putting people through your sales funnel in the Academy, so if you’re enrolled on there, check it out for more info.


Shaun Letang is the owner of Music Industry How To. You can read the full guide “8 Steps to a More Successful Music Career in 2013″ here.

  • http://aristake.com/ Ari Herstand

    Shaun, I agree that musicians need to get better at “selling,” but we do need to accept that the majority of our income is not going to come from sales of our music. Meaning, iTunes downloads or CD sales. It’s not that world any more. We have to accept that streaming is the reality and we need to embrace this new paradigm.

    That being said, it’s even more vital to find ways to get that % of our fans willing to spend money on us to actually spend it. How and on what?

    I outlined ways to do this (on tour) in my Double Your Income… No Really post on Ari’s Take: http://aristake.com/?post=44