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« Defining the Music Industry Crisis | Main | Crime and Corruption: Recognizing Unethical Practices in the Music Business »
Sunday
Apr122009

How to use iTunes to drive up your iTunes revenue

I have a friend in Brooklyn who is an accomplished artist/producer, doing astonishingly well selling his music on iTunes. Since iTunes is where the vast majority of online music is purchased I asked him if he would sit down with me and explain to me how he promotes himself exclusively from within the walls of iTunes.

I was enthralled by what he had to say. It turns out being a top seller on iTunes is not just a random thing that occurs. You must promote yourself within the walls of iTunes just like you have to promote yourself everywhere else.

My friend asked not to be named and so it is not revealed (it turns out the top indie promoters on iTunes are very competitive).

He took me on a step-by step breakdown on how to get started effectively promoting yourself on iTunes. This is a labor-intensive process but it yields fruitful results.  My friend earns hundreds of dollars a month from his iTunes sales.

Step 1 - Sign up to iTunes & Buy Some Music!
I am always surprised at how many artists I meet who have their music available for sale at iTunes but they themselves have never purchased anything from the site. The first thing you should do is sign up and buy some music (yours and your friends) so you are familiar with the buying process. This will come in handy when you ask your fans to buy later!

Step 2 - Create 5 Separate Profile Accounts
Did you know that with each credit card that you register with iTunes you get 5 separate accounts? iTunes designed it this way so families in one household can all use one card.

These profiles are totally separate and they are not interconnected so this gives you five individual profiles that you can register and you can use each one to help promote your music. One of the profiles you create can be you but the other 4 will be created to help you promote yourself.

TIP: While you are creating these profiles: Think about your target audience – who are they? Older dudes that like prog rock, or teenagers that like Britney Spears?

Create profiles that would fit the types of people who like your music. Choose a name for each profile so they each have an individual personality. Give them distinct personalities and even imagine where they might be from.

Step 3 - Review Other Artists
With each profile – individually begin to review other people’s music. You definitely want to review three or four other artists that have nothing to do with you or your genre so choose some of the artists that have influenced you or artists that you like and create some reviews.

Step 4 - Create iMixes
You will create 2 catagories of iMixes:


1. iMixes that have nothing to do with you and your music

Examples:

A jazz essentials list

Best of Madonna

Great local bands from your hometown

Best of Bob Marley

Best of the 1970’s

2. iMixes that INCLUDE YOUR OWN MUSIC ☺

Create mixes that include your own tracks with other complimentary tracks (artists you get compared to and who you are influenced by that sound good when played next to your songs). When you create iMixes think of yourself as a DJ or a curator and piece together thoughtful lists.

TIP: Add some of the top sellers from each week in your genre and style as buyers will already be looking for the top sellers when they come to iTunes.

TIP: You should create an iMix at least one time per week per account.

Step 5 – Vote for iMixes
Next you will use your accounts to vote for the iMixes you create and also vote for other iMixes that you like. Vote for your own iMixes using your other profiles.

COOL: iMixes that begin to pick up votes rise to the top where other buyers will begin to respond to them and purchase your iMixes.

A Note about iMix voting:
People who are key users who are also heavily promoting their own music sometimes can be competitive. They may try to vote your iMixes down so that the iMixes that they have created rise to the top.

What my friend says about this: Being malicious on iTunes is awful. Don’t give other people bad reviews. Stay away from this type of negative behavior. Just focus on your own voting and contributions.

Step 6 – Master iMix Sandwiching


When you create an iMix, you want to sandwich yourself between hot chart-toppers in your genre, and add artists that already have five-star reviews.

For each iMix, make it at least 20 songs, but you can go to 40 or 50 songs. To stay on top of the charts for your iMix, you must get the most votes and the most stars.

TIP: Don’t forget to vote for other people’s iMixes so it looks like you are well-rounded.

This is where registering different credit cards and different personalities so you can actually log in and vote for yourself comes in handy.

TIP: Ask Your Band Members & Street Team For Help
So, if you had four credit cards (or if you have one and 3 of your band members or essential street team members each help you out), you can have 20 profiles total, five per credit card, and you can have those profiles voting too.

Step 7 - Remove Unpopular iMixes & Update Them
If your iMix fals below three stars you should take your iMix down from iTunes, add some new tracks to it, and then add it again as an updated iMix.

It will take a few hours for your updated iMix to show back up into the iTunes profiles, but you don’t want to have a poorly rated iMix sitting in the iTunes system with your music in it.

How To Update an iMix
In order to update an I-Mix: Click on the arrow on iTunes. Then click on “update,” and add some new tracks,

TIP: Don’t rename your iMix

iMixes are good for a whole year, so you want to make sure that you start voting, when it goes back up. It takes between 6 to 12 hours for a newly edited or a new iMix to show up.

Here’s The Wrap Up:
For each profile you create: Their iMixes to match their personality:

1. Create then wait for your iMix to show up.

2. Log in as each of your different reviewers and users.

3. Vote five stars from each of the profiles you have created.

4. Start watching your music sell ☺

5. Go in two times per week and create new iMixes.

6. After a while to stay in the most recent, you must continue to make new iMixes. Vote, vote and vote.

7. Remember, you must log in and submit votes for each of the iMixes with each of your separate accounts and many sepearte times. This is the most time consuming part of the process, but if you do this, the rewards and the sales will pay off deeply

8. Log in and vote for: Was this review helpful? And click yes per account. This will help your iMix move up the charts.

9. When you make an iMix, don’t only include the chart toppers, but also include what appeals to you as a listener and what the fans of this iMix might actually like.

10. Remember, you are creating a useful contribution to the iTunes community. The key is make iMixes on Mondays because on Tuesdays the new release schedule will kick in and that’s when your iMixes will show up


Using iTunes as a promotional tool isn’t the only way to the top of the charts…

I recently launched series 2 of my Sound Advice vodcast featuring the band Making April. The series details how they Sell 1,000 tracks a week on iTunes. There are 14 segments in total: come watch them tell how they have become top independent sellers on iTunes using mostly MySpace.

http://www.YouTube.com/ArielPublicity

I am looking forward to hearing about how you promote yourself on iTunes (or anywhere else that drives sales to iTunes) here on the forum.

Reader Comments (48)

Running the numbers, this seems more reasonable than it did at first. Assuming you are your own label, you're getting a 60-65% cut of the $0.99 cents, correct? So 4000 tracks sold per month rounds out to a maximum of $2,600 per month, which is a pretty reasonable paycheck. The biggest time investment would be the first month of establishing these fake, dummy accounts and creating the initial mixes. Once that's out of the way, this is basically an online maintenance gig on par with responding to messages on myspace or pretending to be "authentic" on Facebook.

Of course, as more and more artists jump on this, it will get less effective quick, but the cream always rises to the top.

Overall, a great little slice of innovative DIY hustle. Thanks Ariel.

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

I've known a number of musicians that started getting extremely competitive creating iMixes. They assume anonymity will prevent anyone from knowing what they're up to. But take it from somebody that's been using iMixes in for years... people aren't dumb, they know you're creating playlists as a means of promotion.

There are a number of ways to figure out who's creating certain iMixes, and if there are other people that are "competing" for the same fans' attention, then you sometimes end up with a person voting negatively, (falsely) assuming it gives them an edge.

You may also get negative votes when people think you're scheming. If you make a playlist with your entire album as the first 10 tracks, and then the top 10 tracks from the iTunes singles chart, you're not fooling anybody. My guess is that zero people will be a fan of that mix.

A better approach is to own up to what you're doing. This is web 2.0, right? Make it a positive interaction with other musicians and fans. Be tedious when you create your playlists--make a mix you'd be proud of, just like making a mix CD for your best friend. Make your mixes so damn good that people WANT to know who made them.

Instead of competing with other musicians, work with similar indie artists on your playlists. This is especially helpful if your music is similar. This can really go a long way to help you stick with this idea, and it keeps you honest and positive.

Ariel's article is great, and her friend is really taking the most effective approach. If anybody is interested, I wrote an article about my approach to making iMixes. It's worked great for me for years, and I recommend every musician selling music on iTunes to start turning their favorite playlists into iMixes and then sharing them with their friends and fans.

How To Effectively Promote and Sell Your Music on iTunes

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterCameron Mizell

Hi Ariel

As someone with an album on iTunes, I definitely wouldn't mind an increase in revenues, and I can see how the above idea would work - but I'm not going to do it :)

I've got no problem with the idea of creating mixes, it's clearly a good one, but I do have a problem with the idea of using dummy accounts to promote them. I think that in the online environment being trustworthy is of paramount importance, and to pretend to be someone you're not is a good way of permanently destroying your online reputation.

I think this is important just as a matter of personal integrity, but I also think in the long run it's a wise financial move. I assume most of us hope to be doing music for as long as we can, and as we all know these days, the key to any kind of long-term success is building relationships and having conversations with listeners. How can we do this if we're not seen to be trustworthy?

As a listener myself, if I felt that someone was misleading me I'd feel let down and would certainly never buy anything from them either now or in the future.

I enjoy your blogs and emails and have always found them useful - it's only on this occasion I find myself in disagreement!

Kind regards

Chris

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterChris Bestwick

Nice post overall Ariel. I am a bit uncomfortable with encouraging my artists to create separate profiles to dishonestly promote their music. A good artist with a loyal fanbase should be able to encourage and receive support from them, friends and family, rather than making up "fake" identities. Do you really think this is okay? I am genuinely curious of your (and other readers) take on the honesty part of it.

Thanks,
Spencer Crandall
Crandall's Corner
www.crandallscorner.com

Thanks Ariel,

Back in the mp3.com days, they called this gaming the system and kicked people off the site for it, lol.

Now I just need an intern to do it for me :o)

Doc

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterDoctor Oakroot

My guess is said friend's music blows and he has too much time on he's hands with which he can't do any good. To each their own.

April 15 | Unregistered Commenterphob

I can't believe I'm actually reading how to game iTunes from Ariel. Is this what the music business has come to? Sad.

After reading the "futility of flogging music" along with listening to other top minds in the music industry I have decided to give away all my music. Of course, they have the option to buy it still, but I'm hoping the free album gains some word-of-mouth promotion.

Rather than create bogus accounts and "waste" time rating other people's iMixes, I'm thinking I'm going to ask everyone that downloads my album for free to please, in return, just create an iMix with their favorite tracks on it.

Now, one thing I do like about this method, vs. the old mp3.com days, is, simply getting people to listen to your music won't make any money. They still have to purchase it. This means, it still has to be good.

Monty

I've posted the link to Telling on Trixie's new album, "Ugly, Broke & Sober." It's a belt in the car and bang on the steering wheel pop album. People are buying it, and recommending it to their friends. I still find this word of mouth to be the best promotion of an artists work. The other day I posted something about Amanda Palmer's recent incredible solo album, and was flabbergasted some of my friends hadn't heard of her. They checked her out, and thanked me for recommending her.

Like others, I find using dummy accounts shocking and I would never consider doing such a thing. This is Web 2.0 and you gotta be an idiot if you think you can get away with being dishonest (not to mention that this is morally wrong).

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie

Reading everyone's shock and indignation is...well, shocking. Exactly what planet are you people living on? What do you think major labels do? How do you think 99% of the success stories we talk about happened? Most of all -- where is this invisible rulebook you all seem to be playing from?

What works, works. You're either doing it or you're not...right?

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterJustin Boland

I want to clarify that I am glad that Ariel posted this. But in my post, I just wanted to give a shout out to good old fashioned word of mouth, because I've seen how powerful its punch is. I think Ariel's job, as she sees it, is to help uncover what people do to make a lving in the music industry. And she does an excellent job. So, I don't like the attacks on her. She's been instrumental in helping my band make money with our music, with all kinds of strategies, even if we haven't used this one. You just choose what you want, and leave the rest. What works for some may not work for others.

The best thing about this article is it sits on top of the "unethical practices" article.

That is all.

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterJinsai

Guys, you don't have to make multiple accounts or do anything unethical to get this to work for you. Simply make a playlist using music that influenced your last album, and include your favorite track off that album and turn it into a playlist. Send it to your friends and include a link in your next email to your fans. You don't have to do anything shady, you don't have to stoop to the level of seeding or dishonesty. You just have to share your tastes with people. It's simple and completely transparent. Chances are you'll find supporters that will gladly vote for your mixes.

If people run across your music through the iMix, it'll be in context with other music they already know. Then they're more likely to check out your track.

It's not going to replace word of mouth. It's definitely not going to make up for bad music. But it's one way to honestly sell some music to people that are more likely to become long time fans.

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterCameron Mizell

Just to be clear here - I am neither endorsing nor judging what my friend does to make money using iTunes. I was truly astonished when we sat down and he showed me how he creates an income stream. This is not a judgment about his "integrity" just an article pointing out how he makes money on iTunes. I spend most of my waking hours trying to make a difference in the lives of musicians and it makes me sad when artists who pour their hearts and souls into creating music can't seem to get paid for their art so I am always open to listening to how anyone does it as I was with my friend.

Chris - I am glad you disagree and we all have to do what works for each of us in the world of promotion. I would love to know if you have spent any time at all on iTunes playing with iMixes? If so I would love to know how it works for you.

Cameron - Your article made my heart sing - I just read the whole thing and its wonderful - for everyone here giving this post a lot of shit - go read Cameron's article and take his advice. How about instead of judging my friend and being totally negative about the ethical side to all of this you all just create some iMixes and report back? hmmmm?

I am also happy to hear that Derek from Telling On Trixie manages to drive more fans by just being himself on iTunes.

Monty - I would also like to hear how your fans respond to making mixes including your tracks - that is another fresh and interesting approach. Please do report back how many mixes were created and how the ratings and sales turn out for you.

Justin - I actually asked a few friends that work at major distributors and labels if they use these practices and of course they use these techniques (a few of them became very uncomfortable and even dismissive but after some prying there was a resounding YES and one of my friends has a team of 15 interns doing iMixes and voting all day long) I left that part out of the out of my article b/c I focused on my friend.But there you have it - my theory here, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em....

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterAriel Hyatt

Why stop at iMixes? Heck, why not create fake accounts at Amazon and CD Baby and give yourself some glowing 5-star reviews? Yeah, I'd want to be anonymous too...

Geez, I know it's hard to make money and all, but this just reeks of desperation.

+1 for the iMix tip
-100 for the astroturfing via sock puppet accounts

April 15 | Unregistered Commenterscottandrew

its definitely a clever idea....but if i were to pursue this once i have some itunes-worthy recordings i would definitely take Cameron's route. Having a strong & honest relationship with your fans is EVERYTHING. However, this is coming from someone who is NOT making hundreds a month from my music...so who knows maybe i'm just an idealist. haha.

-----------------------------------------------

Chris Bracco is an aspiring producer/music biz entrepreneur. Chris currently attends Penn State University, working towards a major in Business Management and minor in Music Technology. He is also currently interning for Ariel Publicity & Cyber PR, doing promotion for artists they represent. He also plays guitar in & manages a funky rap/rock quintet named "A.S.B.P.K."

If you would like to learn a bit more about Chris, please visit his personal e-portfolio, his blog or his band's website:
Chris Bracco's E-Portfolio
Tight Mix -- A Blog for Everything Music
A.S.B.P.K. Music

If you would like to contact Chris, please don’t hesitate to e-mail him at cob5020@psu.edu

April 15 | Registered CommenterChris Bracco

Interesting post.

I remember MP3.com very well. You could get on the charts by playing your music over and over again. That being said, I discovered some artists via MP3.com whose careers I continue to follow to this day.

As for iTunes, I know so many musicians who can barely keep up with MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube messages that I wonder whether they (or their staff or fans) will have the time or inclination to do this.

I'd love to see more discussions about what works for various artists so that if you have limited time and/or resources, you know what to focus on.

Some projects work for some artists and not for others. And in some cases, word-of-mouth works just fine on its own. As everyone has seen, the Susan Boyle video sells itself.

Something about this post upset me. I was going to write a long post about it on my blog. Then I clicked over here from my GooglesReader and read through the comments. It seems like I'm not the only one who feels put off by this idea. Regardless, I've been trying to figure out exactly what it is about this practice that bothers me. And I guess what it comes down to is - Is this really where we're at today? Gaming the system for a couple hundred bucks a month? I mean, I'm in no position to scoff at that kinda money. But I guess I'd rather play my guitar or read a book or go for a walk or do ANYTHING other than this with my time. And if that means I'm not hungry enough or ambitious enough, so be it.

Then I realized that, back in the good ol' days, the record companies used payola (and still do, to some extent) to game the system, too. Guess the only way to make any kind of a living at this music thing is to engage in at least some dubious behavior. Or to get someone to do it for you.

April 15 | Unregistered CommenterShawno

Great post. Let's face it music isn't ethical. It's always been who you know rather than what you know and or can do, and how you can manipulate that game to suit.

I agree with all the comments. Self reviewing and promoting your own music is in pretty poor taste. But when you so desperately want to give yourself the best chance to tick over a few albums then it becomes a definate consideration. I'm stuck with people seemingly really liking my album (good official reviews) and yet no many get the opportunity to hear it.

It's obviously no secret that the majors, and others, manipulated myspace song and profile hits to improve the perceived value of the artist as well pulling ridicilous PR stories (bono hates Martin, Foo Fighters and their dedication to the Beaconsfield miners...that had no lyrics!!!)

Desperate times calls for desperate measures. I myself will probably stick to trying to finish another album. It's a journey not a destination right?

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterDave Anderson

I don't buy music from iTunes, so I don't pay too much attention. I either get a physical CD, download for free, listen to satellite radio, or stream online.

iTunes is only set up to play 30 seconds, right? I assume you can't hear more than 30 seconds per song on an iTunes playlist either. Or is that an incorrect assumption?

When I want to hear a song, I go to MySpace or Songza or one of the other streaming services. To what extent are people cruising iTunes to discover new music?

I don't like it as well...

I already have a day job, don't need music to make a living financially, even if i'd like to one day, in order to make more... music is meant to be a pleasure, and I love sharing what i'm doing with others, as well as I love listening to what others do. And I make playlists of what i'm fond of in last.fm, for example...

Music is mainly a passion. It's got to be real, sincere, not calculated...
Why should I turn this passion into an unethical and boring day job ? do you think we could be proud of it ?

Idealist, said Chris Bracco ? ;)

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterBurzinski

I like many of the tips given in this article, but using fake accounts to review or rate my own music is a bridge I'm not comfortable with crossing. I know other people use it to great effect, but I also happen to feel that it is wrong (you're perfectly free to feel different, of course).

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterJim Offerman

One of the challenges with any sort of music marketing is that if one person adopts a tactic and it is successful, everyone does the same thing. Then fans become overwhelmed with it all and no longer pay attention. Even more problematic is when lots of bad or mediocre bands use certain promotional tactics and fans learn not to trust the ratings/rankings.

So if we get a flood of band-created playlists on iTunes, I suspect fans will pay less and less attention to them. Fans may still check out playlists from a few trusted sources, but if bands promote themselves too much and their music isn't any good, then their playlists will become devalued.

Ariel- as usual, a great post with amazing insight. Unfortunately, this is yet another chore to add to the long list of online work that a musician needs to do to stay competitive. Without any support (staff), I don't see how it's all possible. Time to get some interns, huh?

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterEthan

Ethan - get interns here ;) http://www.entertainmentcareers.net

Love, A

April 16 | Unregistered CommenterAriel Hyatt

Thanks to Ariel for sharing this info. Whether or not we agree with, or use, these techniques it is good to know what others are doing and how they are seeing financial benefit from it. I think there is a way to still use these techniques without selling your soul... why not make an iMix and then ask your fans to go rate it? Or maybe ask your fans to create iMix's too. Seems that would be a good way to move up the charts...
peace,
k

April 19 | Unregistered CommenterKen K

As a vet of the MP3.com times, there is nothing new in all of this.

Eventually, if you want to jump ahead of the competition, AND you really have the goods, then you will have to invest in some good old-fashioned advertising.,

Right now I'm pulling about 110 clicks a day to a page which has my store links, song samples and even a widget from another site which helps to lift me in the charts there.

Time will tell if sales offset advertising, but I also have a plan where I pick certain people, give them the free download URL for their favorite song, and then get them to offer their friends the free download in exchange for singing on as a fan.

Blah, blah, blay, yawn....

April 20 | Unregistered CommenterGordy Thomas

Hi,
Thanks for this, will try this option!! :)

April 24 | Unregistered CommenterMicah

This is an absolutely dishonest way of gaming the system. Further, it's not sustainable. An artificial inflation of something will eventually erode the platform it was built upon (ring a bell, anyone?) Instead of falsely promoting your music using fake accounts, how about you spend the same time getting legitimate reviews? Let's not justify unethical behavior just because this is how it has always been in the business, or any other kind of sophistry. Let's bring some legitimacy back to the music business. This just makes absolutely no sense, and I'm very surprised to see it coming from Ariel

i couldn't even see where to make multiple profiles on my one account. so even if i cross my ethical boundaries i can't seem to cross my luddite boundaries.

April 27 | Unregistered Commenterglenroy

Ariel you said that, "I was enthralled by what he had to say." If enthralled means:

-to captivate or charm: a performer whose grace, skill, and virtuosity enthrall her audiences.

Wouldn't this imply endoresment?

endorsement rather said..

It's funny. At my day job (where I idle on my dreams of creating music) I've been asked to write fake web reviews using fake accounts, against my strong professional advice opposing this idea.

Then I read this article and think. Hey, that's a good idea.

Whether it's my personal bias tainting my morals or the fact that I've been sullied by my actions to the point of no return, I think it's interesting that I have such a double standard.

May 1 | Unregistered Commentersc

How exactly are people tricked into buying other peoples music? Before I buy
any music, I always listen to it before I buy it to make sure that I like it. Call me
crazy butI think almost everyone who buys music listens to the track before
they buy it. Unless their little sheep who just buy music because of a 5 star
rating. What moron buys music without listening?

So how is making an imix with your music on it cheating? People still have
to listen to it to make sure they like it. And if they like it they buy it. It's simple.

If I record myself farting in a glass and put it in 100 imixes and give them
all 5 stars, what idiot is going to buy it. Unless you like farts is a glass, you
are probably not going to buy it. And begging you fans to creat imixes is
just having someone else doing you dirty work just like interns at a record
company. You're asking someone to do something they had not thought of
their own. It's not pure either. If you were signed to record label would you
forbid their promotion department from sending out copies of your record
and telling everyone that they thought it was great unless they really meant
it? Of course not. Please, let's get off the moral soapboxes and get your
music out there and let the audience be the judge.

May 3 | Unregistered CommenterEric

Eric,

I never post comments, anywhere. But, that whole "farting in a glass" piece had me laughing so hard, I just had to say thanks. I needed that! :-)

JRH

May 3 | Unregistered CommenterJRH

I'll second that JRH, Eric- Had me laughing hard!

Whilst I agree this is a fairly dodgy topic... Its also very obvious that noone's going to buy your music if they don't like it. Thus, consider this simply a poor-mans (or womans) to paid advertising...

May 12 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

I don't really see why people are bashing Ariel so much. Creating fake accounts is absolutely shady but promoting your music on iTunes is not.

It's the same thing with MySpace. People used to use automatic friend adders on MySpace to jack up how many friends they had. Does this mean if I log on and manually friend request 100 people a day, sending them a message and personalizing each message that I'm gaming the system? Personally, I don't think so.

How is that different from handing out flyers to random people on the street? I mean, really?

There are ways of being dishonest and there are ways of being honest. Just because you shamelessly(and honestly) promote your music, doesn't make you a shallow artist...

What's dishonest about it?
You make a playlist publish it with some of your own songs thrown in...
What's wrong with that?
If you have a song about a sunny day, and you put it into an imix and publish it beside other sunny day songs by other artists... what's dishonest about that?
I think it's a great idea.
If you don't promote your music, who will?
You're just gonna leave it there and hopw somebody finds it?
Good luck!

May 15 | Unregistered CommenterKenny Hogan

Eric - LOL!
Kenny - Word.

May 16 | Unregistered CommenterAriel Hyatt

This method is just the latest incarnation of the Myspace bot. Remember the good ol days when you would get a bot to run up your profile views and plays so you could reach the top of the charts.

I say work it as long as you can, but I'd be thinking about a Plan B.

Inevitably, this is a short term run of success. Consumers will eventually recognize that these reviews are acts of self promotion, just like Myspace play counts and profile views no longer hold any value.

I met Ariel at the 2008 Road Rally Taxi Convention, she was a mentor at one of the luncheons and I attended one of her very informative workshops.

After Ariel’s feature article she posted 4/16/09 about “Promoting Your Music on Itunes” I told Ariel that I would try it out. Since I started putting imixes on Itunes and voting for them, I have sold some digital albums of my CD called “Out of the Blue” and I have sold 8 of my tracks as singles. This is exciting because I have had all of the mixes in the top rated category at least
for a while. The best place was #15 on the top 100 chart.

I have given the links to friends, family, myspace friends, links on Twitter and asked everyone to vote on my imixes, I know that other people have been voting for them too a lot, which is very helpful. The imix must be good or it doesn’t work. Another thing is that I have seen a lot more traffic to my personal website, so I think people are listening to longer excerpts there and the whole songs can be heard on my myspace page which has also seen more traffic lately. People don’t buy something unless they listen to it first. I look at all of this as just getting people to hear it, whether they choose to buy it is 100% up to them.

In the old days I understand the major record labels paid interns to sit and call all the radio stations all day to request the songs of their labels artists, so this type of thing exists and has
existed in the music world for decades.

Since it takes a while for revenues to flow from Itunes, thru CD Baby, I won’t know how much
was sold in terms of dollars for some weeks. I have vowed to continue it until I see those first numbers. It is very time consuming, but I am pleased it actually works! I am just like the next
musician, I would rather spend my time writing the songs then marketing my album. However if
I don’t do it, no one will. That’s the reality of an indie artist.

Some more exciting news is that a few days ago I was contacted by the creative coordinator for Itunes for the Houston market. They have asked me to do a showcase in a “Itunes Live – Houston” event. It will take place July 18th. They will be putting me on the Apple website in the
next few weeks to start advertising it worldwide.

So a very big THANK YOU to Ariel and to her friend in Brooklyn she interviewed. I sure wish I could ask that person some more detailed questions, there are some subtle nuances in the way this marketing is done, but YES IT DEFINITELY WORKS!

Alicia Selby

I'm having a hard time finding how to create multiple iTunes profiles. Can someone point me in the right direction?

have tested this strategy and can confirm its worked for me... :P definitely an increase of interest

August 6 | Unregistered Commenterm

Not to single you out Ariel,

But your article was the last straw that inspired me to speak up.

What your friend is doing and what you are spreading is a microcosm of a larger and longer situation than right here right now.

What is fascinating to me is how many people dive right in and swim in the sea of sheep.

I'm talking about certain individuals, not generalized blanket statements like "all record company executives are bad" or "everyone abuses iMixes," or anything like that.

Man has been dealing with the question of ethics and honesty since the first burn victim following the discovery of fire.

Here's the bottom line. . .

Individuals have more power today than ever with that qwerty keyboard under their little fingers. That computer keyboard is way more mightier than the sword. And internet anonymity is way more mightier than the shield. Like a sword and a shield, power comes with responsibility - whether you like it or not.

Certain individuals either don't understand what responsibility really means - or they are IRresponsible and destructive.

Uneducated or destructive? It's hard to differentiate with a cursory glance sometimes. The truly irresponsible have throughout time somehow seemed like a majority. The way they spread destructive ideas is a fascinating study in itself - it's like a nuclear reaction going from a single truly destructive source to uneducated individuals mostly, while picking up more destructive individuals here and there to help their campaign along.

I do not fault people who are uneducated. I draw the line when an individual is given an effective lesson in what responsibility really means and chooses not to learn in order to continue to destroy.

There is a law of business: Continued unethical practices eventually lead to dried up revenue sources and destroyed relationships.

Very few of the comments on this page seem to travel forward in time and look at consequences, real life consequences. I have my own observation about business:
"$1,000 in blood money is always rewarded with $2,000 in "unexpected" problems sometime down the road."

Almost every person writing on this page is talking about profit. Besides the fact that dishonest profit normally is short-lived, the real point here is that people who hide and fake and lie can become not only less happy, but in their justifications exists a springboard to bigger lies. They then, after time, can tend to become spiteful and angry and negative - and that affects us all. It's the quality of life that has everything to do with responsibility and ethics and honesty. It's as simple as that.

So the next time you find yourself saying, or hear someone stating justifications like,
"if you can't beat 'em join 'em," or "the corporations do it to us so f' them, we're gonna do it to them," or "record companies do this all the time," or "I was simply stating what my friend did, I am not saying it's good or bad," know that the line between quality living with positive, constructive relationships and a lower quality life with spiteful, cynical, snide and destructive relationships is being blurred.

Then look closer and determine if the person justifying is simply forwarding a destructive campaign because of no education or a faulty education - or - are you dealing with a destructive individual. Bullies have always been around and always will be.

There are plenty of cases where they have been removed from the street and gotten out of the flow of traffic - to be either educated and gotten back into the flow as constructive individuals, or had to be kept off the street - if or until they could somehow be willing to be educated.

I find that the people who take offense to what you are doing are trying to point something out to you. You have a responsibility once you start typing and posting. What you type spreads. It creates an effect. It is not a neutral activity. Those that are destructive DO understand this and spread they do. And not just on the internet.

Musicians and record companies have a responsibility once they start recording and distributing music. That will never change.

Education is the first line of defense against ignorance. When that fails, it's a matter of good people acting together in a sensible way to get the bullies out of the flow of traffic.

I hope this helps. I've wanted to say this for the longest time. I was wrong for keeping it inside.I encourage others to spread sanity and true strength - especially when it comes to one of the most powerful mediums in the universe - MUSIC.

May 19 | Unregistered CommenterGary Gray

Hmm I read this article with keen interest. It seems the art of hyping works again and again.
Well my take is this. Instead of creating dummy accounts why don't you just create accounts for your family including the dog ? That way it seems more real.

You can buy the best woof music for the dog and kids music for your 2 year old. Pink for your WAGs and the latest Metallica for your drop out teen son. You could then buy them the music including yours right ? haha.

Whilst on the subject of chart hyping how about setting up 100 debit card accounts or get 100 of these prepaid no name cards and buy 10 copies of your single ? Might be cheaper than advertising at the end of the day.

Hmm 1000 downloads @ 0.99c less 0.70 back to you = approx 29c per person and these are sales. Hmm Facebook CPC ads is arounds 0.30c (if you want to get any meaningful clicks) just to let them hear it.

June 24 | Unregistered Commenterkehinde

This may have already been answered somewhere, but Im curious as to how many song/album downloads (sales) an artist must have upon release of their album to reach the top 10 charts of their genre. Didnt know if anyone knew a ballpark answer or where I can find stats about this. Thanks!

July 4 | Unregistered CommenterBrandon

Missed this article the first time around. Anyway, my take is if you want to make money off of music you will have to do some questionable things to promote it. Voting for playlists with "fake" iTune accounts or having a MySpace robot or a bulk email program or whatever are just tools. Like flyers, the appropriate placement & use is important. You probably don't need to put the flyer for your death rock show up on your church bulletin board, but posting one at the record store is probably a good idea. Harvesting emails from bulletin post & sending out messages about your new album is not a good idea, sending an email out to everyone that bought your previous album is just good business sense, even though some might say both are spam.

As far as "this is going to only bring short lived revenue," at this point that looks true for most people trying to make it as professional musicians & we all need burritos today. Clearly streaming music revenue with less downloads is the future as internet access improves & those of us hooked on physicals die off (either literally do to age or because priorities in life lead to less discretionary income for music (read as "wife & kids")). But right now downloads is a main source of money & if you want to make money off of your music (instead of playing covers in a bar band) then you should take advantage of this system while you can.

There are some other gray issues I have more of a problem with in this same publicity style, so I'm going to mention them.
1) Interns review records - Okay, umm, I know somebody wants to intern at your label because they like the music you work with; but helping them to become a reviewer at Magnet where they give all your releases glowing reviews & never review anything else is not too cool. Granted maybe I'm the only one that's noticed this in the particular label that I know does this (because I research writers who might like the music I put out & noticed the person's name & Googling them listed them as an intern), but it's shady.
2) IM & email blasts with song requests - I probably shouldn't even mention this because it might give people ideas, but if you are going to request your song on a radio station, at least listen to make sure they're playing your genre at the time.
3) Magazines charging for reviews - When I do follow up for a record & you tell me, "I can't guarantee you a review if you place an ad, but can guarantee you no review without an ad," I start praying for the day you go out of business as the pile of crap you are.

This article was created in 2009, and that's great, is there any new info now for emerging artists in 2013?
THANKS...Rock Poetry

March 25 | Unregistered CommenterRock Poetry

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