[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Davin Riley, CEO of MSCLVR, one of the Artist Services provided by TuneCore that allows artists to track URL clicks and earn extra commission. Learn more about MSCLVR here.]
As a reader of this digital blog it is safe to assume that you at least reasonably comfortable with what I call the “click-access” nature of the Internet. Right? You point. You click. You consume your content.
This is today’s Internet in a nutshell (more or less).
But if we (artists and entrepreneurs in music) seek to take full advantage of the Internet that it sits upon we need to dig a bit deeper!
With so many platforms for music discovery, you are already doing the wise thing by distributing your music through TuneCore. But now what?
How are fans (old and new) finding your music?
Are those platforms hosting your music helping you to:
- Facilitate a 1-to-1 relationship with your fans?
- Sell your fans more Music or access to live experiences?
- Introduce fans to your merch or other ventures you are involved with?
At MSCLVR (read ‘Music Lover’) we find that there are often ‘disconnects’ in the feedback loops between artists and fans. And these disconnects are why we are preaching the importance of the most basic interaction we take for granted on the Web…your fans’ clicks!
More than Mouse Gestures
Okay, if you are still with us let’s do a quick breakdown of what exactly we are referring to when we say “clicks”, shall we?
Specifically, we want to dissect the value of clicks on the URLs that you share with your audience via social media, email, your website, paid media, et al.
These clicks represent:
- Key signals of Interest and Consideration,
- Engagement & Upsell Opportunities, and
- A chance to track the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of your marketing channels, all simultaneously.
Clicks: Signals of Interest and Consideration
Let’s take a quick look at a simplified “decision funnel” (see image below).
Decision funnels illustrate the journey a theoretical customer travels towards the purchase of your product (e.g. music, tickets, merch, etc.)
While this may seem mundane or obvious it is critical to examine your marketing and promotion in this way because it is really easy to ignore the intrinsic value of the “clicks” we drive since most of our energy tends to go into driving ‘Awareness’ (top of the decision funnel).
For instance – most artists will spell far more time on their upcoming YouTube music video then on fostering the conversation once someone shows Interest as a result of watching said video.
Once we begin to view clicks and fan ‘Interest/Consideration’ as one in the same we can begin to expose some of the subtle opportunities therein.
If every click on your music links were actually an individual fan at your physical doorstep, you would probably take that opportunity to deepen the relationship, right? He or she represents growth potential for your business as an artist. More sales (albums, singles, tickets, merch), more fans through their social sharing and word of mouth, turns into more music – you doing what you love!
We argue that the same experience can and should be replicated online.
The common cliché tells us, “You can’t change what you don’t measure”. So ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you measuring how many clicks you drive on a weekly and monthly basis?
- Do you know what media drive the most clicks (‘Interest/Consideration’) for you? (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc.)
- Are those numbers growing? (i.e. is there more or less ‘Interest/Consideration’ and why?)
- Are those interested fans converting (i.e. Buying music, following you across your relevant social channels, etc.)
That last question brings us to the next step in the funnel – ‘Decision’ or ‘Intent’ – which, through the right ‘call to action’ can be converted into…well…’Action’! This is typically some form of additional engagement beyond the click (submission of an email, a new subscriber/follower) or an upsell or other type of financial transaction. Or perhaps both if using the right tools.
Clicks : Engagement & Upsell Opportunities
Every day music fans around the world are clicking, discovering, and consuming music content from a variety of sources and increasingly those sources are sites where you, the artist, provide the content. For the sake of this conversation we can refer to them as content aggregators since none of them actually create the content being consumed.
Most of the music related links being clicked are taking fans from one of those aggregation platforms to another – YouTube to iTunes, for example, is a very common click pathway for music discoverers.
- Artist creates a compelling video and uploads it to YouTube
- Potential new fan sees the video [Awareness]
- That fan sees a link to buy the song in the video annotation or the description and decides to click [Interest]
- That fan now lands within the iTunes store and ponders the purchase [Consideration]
- They Click on the buy button [Intent]
- The song begins to download [Decision or “conversion”]
When this process works well the Artist benefits directly from that unique sale. And if the video in our example reaches a certain level of virality this YouTube to iTunes process could turn into a meaningful pay-day!
These platforms are have contributed tremendously to the discovery of music, and simultaneously, the ability for entrepreneurial artists to make a living creating their art.
In our YouTube click to iTunes example, the status quo is such that Google (YouTube) knows a whole lot about the clicking fan. It’s also true that Apple (iTunes) knows a lot about that fan and even has their credit card on file! Unfortunately neither YouTube or iTunes are proactively finding legitimate ways of sharing information that will allow the artist to know (or build a direct connection with) that viewing and purchasing fan.
This is actually a huge gap in the world of music (whether indie or commercial) and this is something we think about everyday here at MSCLVR. If you want to hear more about how we are working to solve this feel free to sign up to our newsletter here or create your free account here to receive updates on concepts and features.
Clicks : Tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
If you are still reading – phew – you have made it to the end!
The final piece here is brief because it’s already been woven throughout this entire blog post. Artist’s ought to think more deeply about clicks because, like all entrepreneurs in a digital age, their entire (yes, ENTIRE) business depends on both the quality and volume of the online click traffic they drive!
Sales of albums, merch, tickets, etc are almost exclusively done online and alternative income opportunities (e.g. brand sponsorships) will always be driven by your digital reach. These are the KPIs that will make or break your business and tools that you use should be contributing to the capture of these data.
Your click traffic is comprised of old, new, and potential fans. In this final section I’ll once again refer to that old adage – you can’t change what you don’t measure. The quality of your traffic (your audience) is determined by the likelihood you will be able to monetize that traffic assuming music is your career or you’d like it to be someday.
So remember – clicks on your content are sort of like the heartbeat to your business. The more you understand their intrinsic values the more you can extract the maximum benefit from their data.
And believe me – there is whole world of value in that data for your business!
Artists have generated, tracked, and monetized tens of thousands of clicks, resulting in thousands of dollars in additional music revenue using MSCLVR platform. Read a couple of testimonials below:
“I love to see analytics around which of my songs are converting better…I also love that MSCLVR makes me more money!” – Peter Hollens
“We value seeing the performance of our music promotions over time…MSCLVR makes driving our traffic to the iTunes store quick and easy!” – Michael Schneider – Manager, Kurt Schneider