In an effort to look ahead of the trends happening in the music industry, I’m advising all independent artist to give up on the Compact Disc from here on out. Chances are, by the time you put the finishing touches on a new project, it will be like handing over an 8 track tape to a potential fan. Not sexy.
For the naysayers I’ve created this post to show you all of the different ways you can measure your success with a digital release. You can read Part 1 of this post here.
Having a Myspace page won’t cut it anymore. Especially when there are a variety of easy to use blogging platforms available to us (i.e. Wordpress, Blogger, and Squarespace). Google Analytics will allow you to see how many visitors, page views, and even the amount of time people spend listening to music on your site. More advanced features like visitor loyalty, can show how many times fans come back to your site for more. It will take some time to get used to the reporting tools, but here are some valuable tutorials from Google to get you started. If you are a budding artist, I suggest creating a blog with a unique URL, insatlling the Google Analytics plugin and playing around with its functionalities.
This site allows you to determine how many times your links are being shared. Retweeting (RT) is the highest form of flattery on Twitter, so if your links are not being shared, I suggest you work on improving two things:
#1) Your content
#2) Your delivery
Force feeding mp3s, release dates and random shows held in your Small Town, US is unacceptable. Tweetmeme will put things in perspective by reporting who, when and how many times your content and delivery have passed the RT baramatoer.
Googling yourself as an artist is not pretentious at all. In fact, in order for you to maintain a healthy online presence, searching for your bands name is absolutely necessary.You may or may not be aware of some of the following search engines (Technorati , Ice Rocket and Regator), so I’ll refrain from boring you with details on this post.
Bing vs Google allows for a side by side comparison of how you appear in both search engines. Give it a try, you might be suprised by what you find. Come to find out, the most heavily searched person with my name, Kevin English, is a body builder who makes the incredible hulk look like a little bitch. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but its defintaltey kept me in the gym for the last year and a half.
Probably the most innovative, user friendly email campaign solution on the market. Not only does it manage your email list, it also provides intelligent analytics on opens, click thru’s, bounce rate, unsubscribes, etc. To make it even more attractive, its free for users just starting out (lists with under 500 subscribers).
This site creates short links for you to share on Twitter and other social networks. It also turns them into real time statistics on how many clicks and RT’s for each link on a daily basis.
By now you should already know the value of a Twitter search. In my book, it has become even more valuable then a typical search engine, since Twitter users are generally the first to respond to interesting and useful information online and offline. This gadget allows you to enter a certain search query related to your band and embed a real time widget on your website, blog, myspace or facebook profile.
As I was researching this post I came across this real time analytics site that blew my socks off. After entering a few bits of code in the header and footer of your website or blog, it tracks how many people are currently on your site, how many people are reading what posts, writitng comments, or just idling. It also keeps track of page load times, geographical data and where your visitors are coming from. With Chart Beat, you no longer have to wait until tomorrow to see if what you posted today has had any effect on your visitors. See it in action here.
A site in beta that you should keep your eyes on is, Band Metrics , owned by Duncan Freeman, brilliant programmer and all around nice guy. Also check out, The Next Big Sound, which is more geared to the mainstream artist, but well worth adding your profiles to them now. I’m also hearing good things about Rockdex, but have yet to receive my beta invite, so I’ll leave them off until my follow up post.
I should warn you about the side effects of following all of these metrics. At least from my web designer’s point of view…
Don’t You know looking at all those stats will make you go blind!?!?!
I’ll just have to take that chance. These are just a few of the many sites popping up on the web that can give you a sense of how well or how poorly your music is doing. CD’s are dead to me now. For the sheer fact that CD’s can’t talk but mp3’s sure can.