10 to 15 years ago, the online department at most labels was really a couple of digital-saavy kids stuffed into the closet somewhere in the back of the building. Today, online marketing has become an integral part of the marketing mix for indie artists and the biggest, most powerful labels in the business. While many artists might be lacking in experience, expertise, infrastructure and money, the online marketing space is where you can reasonably compete with the major labels. It's the one place I believe today's artists can and need to own.
This new online world and all the tools that are a part of it, allow artists to build their own infrastructure to distribute and sell their music, to spotlight their photos and videos, to tell their own story, to distribute news about important events like singles and albums releases, tour dates. It gives them a place to connect with their fans, talk with those fans, get feedback from those fans and find valuable marketing information about those fans. The centerpiece of it all is your website.
While you may not be able to afford a fancy office building in all the key music hubs around the world like those labels, you can definitely afford to build a website. There are some great tools out there that can help you do it. Sites like BandPage and ReverbNation and Bandzoogle that can help you build a website with all kinds of bells and whistles thrown in that can help you spotlight that music and photos and videos, collect emails and even help you book a tour, which gives you more time to spend on making some great music.
That website is your storefront to the world. It's where you'll send your fans and your potential partners to gather and interact. That website is your great market research tool. If you set up your infrastructure properly, you'll be able to tell who your customers are, whether they're male or female, where they live. That can be invaluable information when you wanna market your music and plan your tours. From that website, you can link to sites like Youtube and SoundCloud, and social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, and more.
All of which help you extend your reach and provide multiple ways for people to find, discover, talk about, and provide valuable feedback on your music. It's a lot of work to build and maintain all that online infrastructure but it can make a huge difference, and it's the most affordable marketing tool you'll have to work with.