10 Tips for Using Music Sales Reporting for a Healthier Business

January 29, 2014

By Chris Mooney
TuneCore Artist Promotions

Recently we’ve been talking about health and wellness and how they relate to musicians. We learned how to go green while touring, and then we got active with a fitness-themed Spotify playlist. Now we’re turning our attention to business, with tips to help improve the health of your brand by taking advantage of your sales reports and daily iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Spotify trend reports (both of which are in your TuneCore account).

1. Leverage Your Best-Selling Music.
Analyze your best selling albums and singles.  Find out which songs and releases most resonate with music consumers. Think about taking your best-selling songs from multiple albums and create a ‘Greatest Hits’ album for your fans.

2. Measure Promotional Results.
Did you run a major promotional campaign for the release of your latest album or single? Use your sales and trend reports to measure the campaign’s success. Did the marketing dollars translate into sales? And how did the results from that particular campaign compare with the sales activity following your last campaign?

3. Be Smart with Your Budget.
Use the data to get smart when it comes to managing your wallet.  Look at where you’re making money, and make sure that lines up with where you’re spending it.  Long-time TuneCore Artist Gavin Mikhail uses the daily trend reports to make “more timely and accurate business decisions.”

4. Use Your Data as Proof.
Maybe radio play is what you’re after.  Or perhaps you want to book a hard-to-get venue. Well, now you’ve got the detailed data of your sales success to back up your pitch, so you can approach radio programmers, DJs and bookers with confidence.

5. Plan Your Tour.
Let your sales information guide the planning of your next tour.  If your iTunes trend data shows you have a solid following in the New Haven – Milford, CT area, make sure your next U.S. tour includes a show at a club nearby, or try to book a gig for the college crowd at Yale.  Going international?  See which countries are really eating up your music and plan tour stops accordingly.

6. Craft the Perfect Set List.
Use your daily trend reports to help plan your set lists for the stops on your tour.  Determine which songs are selling best in the locations you’re headed to, and use that insight to build a set list your fans are sure to love.  Since you’re getting daily trend data, you can check to see which songs are trending in the location you’re playing that night, and change up your set list before your show.

7. Go Where Your Fans Are
Let your reports give you insight into whether or not you’re in the right stores. For example, if you’re seeing a big spike in streams in France, make sure your music is available in all of the streaming services that have France as a territory.  Give your fans as many opportunities as possible to buy your music.

8. Be Active in Stores.
Once you know which services your fans are using to interact with your music, make sure you’re as visible as you can be. Seeing lots of Spotify activity in your daily trend reports and monthly statements?  Make sure you set up your Verified Artist Account and build your community of fans.

9. Pay the Songwriter.
If you distribute cover songs, make sure you use your monthly sales reports to correctly pay the songwriter.  Remember, each time someone downloads one of your tracks on a digital download service in the U.S. or Latin America, a mechanical royalty is owed to the songwriter.  And you, the owner of the sound recording, are required to pay it—$0.091 per digital download.

10. Collect Your Publishing Royalties.
On the flip side of the coin…  If YOU wrote the songs you’re distributing, and your sales reports show that your compositions were downloaded or streamed outside of the U.S. and Latin America, you’ve got songwriter royalties to collect.  In order to get the money you’re owed, you’ll need to have a publishing administrator on your side to collect your worldwide songwriter royalties.

We hope these tips for using reporting lets you gauge and enhance the health of your business.  Let them eliminate some of the guesswork in determining what’s working, what isn’t, and where to go next.  One last important tip from TuneCore Artist duo 11 Acorn Lane: “Take advantage of the sales reports interface! Have some fun with it! Not that we think numbers are much fun, but when the numbers represent people downloading and streaming our music, we can’t stop looking at them.”

Did we miss some key tips? Let us know in the comments.