Let's face it, wildfire spread of web-based portals designed to introduce independent music to world has created a bewildering array of opportunities and costs. So where do they all balance out? When does cost of signing up to yet another music promotion service yield results? What results are we looking for anyway?
The key is to make your web promotion targeted, systematic and rich.
What is main drive for independent artists promote their music on web? The fundamental incentive for web promotion is opportunity to get your music heard by people who might otherwise never know that you exist! If people know you exist they can become fans and repeat-listeners. Which of those fans buy CD's and downloads? Targeted listeners.
The most important goal of web promotion is to attract targeted listeners.
Any independent artist who says they use web to sell their music has missed primary target - attracting targeted listeners. Attracting targeted listeners should be every independent artist's first priority. Remember, you don't sell your music - listeners BUY your music. It's a buyers market. The more targeted listeners you have, more sales you make - provided you are systematic in getting your targeted listeners.
The best way to get targeted listeners is to be systematic.
Many artists tend to approach their web promotion thinking that since they have a website and have signed up to a couple of artist showcase sites, that listeners will just come pouring in. Yes you have managed to target some potential listeners, but you still have to shout, "Hey, over here...you'll like sound of this!" A systematic approach to getting listeners to hear your music will attract and maintain their interest. But remember to make sure you have content ready for listener to enjoy.
Sites rich in content will retain your targeted listener.
In independent artist's case, rich content is music. This may seem like old news, but look at amount of independent artist websites that give visitor loads of info about band but very little (or hidden) ear candy. Music should be first thing a visitor gets. At very least they need an obvious link to where they can listen to your music. And not just one or two tracks but a variety of your music. Independent artists have to remember they have not had radio exposure to model presentation of their music after more well established acts. Listeners need to be convinced they like your independent music before they will buy it.
So question is how to make your web promotion targeted, systematic and rich?
Tips for Targeting.
The best targeted listeners on web will be those that make it to your website. Find a way to know who they are. Setup a newsletter and make it easy to sign up to it. People interested enough to want to receive news about you are your hardcore web fans, keep them happy.
The next best group of targeted listeners are those that hear your music on other sites. Try to pick sites that allow listeners to link to your site. If they like your music they might click on that link to visit your site. You can then find out where these visitors are coming from. Find a good web statistics package that lets you know which sites your visitors are being referred from. Take note of those sites and focus your efforts with them accordingly.
When choosing sites on which to promote your music, check to see if they offer any individual stats relating to your music. Like how many track plays or page views you and your music receive on their site. This way you can check in periodically and monitor your performance with these sites.
The key to being systematic is organization. Keep a note of all sites you use to promote your music, a brief description of what they do and how much it costs. Try to get into practice of monitoring all of them regularly. Take note of which sites are getting better results than others and focus your efforts accordingly. You might pay for minimal promotion on one website, while another gets you loads of listeners for free. Naturally you'll want to put more effort into updating sites that are getting better results.