Why No One Is Buying Your Music


I’m surprised by how many bands still think it’s OK to have a Facebook page and nothing else. Rather than managing their fans, they let Facebook do it for them.

Yet Facebook openly admit that they restrict how many of your fans will see any of your posts. This ranges from 15-20% for pages with a small number of followers to as little as 2% for pages with millions of Likes.

What does this mean?

Every time you post an update to your fans on Facebook less than 20% of them will see that post.

If you have 1,000 fans, less than 200 will see that post.

And it’s the same 20% that see each of your posts.

The other 80+% will likely never see your updates again.

So how do you reach the other 80%.

If you play by Facebook’s rules you will need to pay to boost your posts. It may only seem like a small amount, but did you really go to all that effort to build up your following to have Facebook then charge you every time you want to communicate with them.

What’s the alternative?

If you don’t want to play by Facebook’s rules then you should look to email. Yet every time I mention email to a band they roll their eyes. I’m sure your doing it right now!

Email is still the most effective direct marketing tool.

In a recent study by Adobe, researchers found that Millennials (ages 18–34), who are the most digitally mature demographic spend 6 hours a day checking their email. If you look at the infographic below you will see that they are constantly checking their emails.

Millennials spend 6 hours a day checking their email.

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millenial email

Social Media V Email

In a recent post by Contently they compared Social Media to email in terms of views and clicks. They concluded that the results would be as follows:

Note: this is based on a page with 100,000 fans where fan impressions are as low as 2-3%, where smaller pages will see impressions of 15-20%

Over the course of a month, here’s what the optimal cadence of content sharing would get a company:

  • Facebook posts to 100,000 fans, 5x per week: 52,000 impressions, 2,600 clicks per month
  • Emails to 100,000 subscribers, 5x per week: 400,000 reads, 120,000 clicks per month

Looking at the above you can expect that eight times more people will read you messages when emailed than they would through Facebook. If that isn’t enough, the big difference is when you look at clicks and the email is 46x more effective than Facebook.

These email numbers are taken from Mailchimp’s industry averages, but when you consider that most bands don’t engage their mailing list properly, you can expect much higher percentages for your efforts if done right.

Engaging your fans with email

There are hundreds of email service providers out there, but the most commonly used and the best option for someone starting out is Mailchimp.

Mailchimp is easy to set up and is free for the first 2,000 subscribers. After that you can research other options based on your needs, or if you are happy with Mailchimp then you should stay with them as they’re priced fairly.

Set and forget.

One of my favourite features with Mailchimp is you can set up Autoresponders, which is a series of automated emails that get sent to subscribers after they sign up. You can create as many as you like and adjust the delay between mails.

For instance. You can send them a thank you email after they sign up and then 2 days later send them a link to your latest video. A week later you can send them a link to some other content you created, followed by another email a week after that promoting your latest release.

Reasons to set autoresponders.

#1 More engaged fans.

When someone signs up to your mailing list they are engaged with your band. But if they don’t receive another email from you for 3 or maybe 6 months, then they will not care so much. I have signed up to lots of mailing lists only to receive my first email some six months later, when I’ve forgotten why, or if I ever signed up. By emailing them regularly at the beginning you will ensure that they remember why they signed up to your mailing list and that they listen to more of your music.

#2 Easy to manage.

You only have to edit them when you update your content. Once you have created your autoresponders they will quietly run in the background. You only have to check on them every couple of months to ensure all the links are still working.

#3 Increased music sales.

By building your promotional emails right into your autoresponders you can ensure that people see them when they are at their most engaged and are therefore more likely to purchase from you. This is why radio still breaks more music than any other media format. Repetition is the best way to convert a casual listener into a fan.

#3 Higher fan value.

You should look at every subscriber in terms of their value. If you have an album due, are planning on touring soon, or have a few previously released EPs then you can start selling these to your mailing list. As you grow your list you will be able to put a figure on what each email subscriber is worth to you not only at that time, but over the expected life of your band.

Topspin released a feature in 2013 that showed the average email subscriber for Arcade Fire was worth $6.26 at that given time, while Sigur Ros fans were worth $10.91. For a relatively unknown artist called Umphrey’s McGee subscribers were worth $32.96. These figures were based on what products each bands was selling, what they average sale amount was and what percentage of the mailing list had purchased off them.

For every 1,000 new subscribers to Arcade Fire’s mailing list they could predict $6,260 in return. By knowing this figure, they can work out how much they should spend promoting email signups.

Both Arcade Fire and Sigur Ros are signed to large Indies, who sell most of their music through iTunes and Amazon. These sales are not accounted for in these figures and your average would likely be in the $20+ region.

This is a lot more than a Facebook Like is worth and depending on how you release your music your average lifetime value for a band will go up. If you release limited edition content and perform house concerts then you will be able to earn hundreds off any one subscriber.

By engaging them from day one, you will increase the percentage that will buy from you, which will increase the average value even further.


This doesn’t mean you should delete your Facebook page, just change your focus. Rather than using your Facebook page as a one-stop-shop for communicating with your fans and promoting your music, you should build a mailing list and focus your promotional efforts around getting people to sign up.