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Getting more people to listen to your music is extremely hard.

Very few musicians get to a point where they can actually make a living from their music, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.

If you want to turn your music into a career, you need to be gaining new fans by taking action - trying new things every day.

Here are some things you can try to make your music more viral.

Increase Your Music's Viral Coefficient

The best way to grow your fanbase is from referrals. They're free, and can result in exponential growth.

Here's an example of what exponential growth looks like, compared to linear growth (X is time, Y is the size of your fanbase):

linear-vs-exponential-growth

Linear growth isn't necessarily bad. In fact, most artists never experience exponential growth. The purpose of this graph isn't to say you need to go viral to be successful, it's simply to illustrate the value of referrals.

Exponential growth can be measured using what's known as a viral coefficient - a numerical value used to describe the virality of a product. This term is usually used in relation to technology products, such as Facebook, where viral growth can be easily measured, but it can be applied to music too.

In more simple terms, the viral coefficient is the average number of fans each fan refers to you. So if, on average, each of your fans refers one more fan, the viral coefficient is 1, and your growth is exponential.

When calculating a viral coefficient, you want to use 2 different variables:

  • The average number of people each of your current fans shares your music with. (S)
  • The percentage of those shares that convert into fans. (P)

If your viral coefficient is K, here's the formula for calculating your virality using the above variables:

K = S * P

So, for example, if each of your fans is sending one of your songs to an average of 5 people, and 10% of those shares convert into a fan of your music, your viral coefficient is 0.5 (5 * 10% = 0.5).

To determine how many new fans you can acquire through your existing fanbase, simply multiply the viral coefficient by the number of fans you have now. So if you currently have 1000 fans, a viral coefficient of 0.5 means you'll gain 500 new fans (1000 * 0.5) through your viral marketing funnel.

Make sense?

Unfortunately, it's very hard to really measure the size of your fanbase with a numerical value, let alone measure the virality of your music, since your music is likely consumed on many different platforms. However, understanding the mathematics behind viral marketing can help you make smarter decisions about how you promote your music.

It's unlikely that you'll ever obtain a viral coefficient of 1 and your music will actually go viral, but the goal of increasing the viral coefficient isn't only to help you gain new fans for free, it's to help reduce the overall cost of fans acquisition.

Here are some ways you can increase your viral coefficient.

1. Add Referral Buttons to Your Emails

If you have a mailing list (which you should), an effective way to have your music shared to friends of your mailing list subscribers is to simply add a button to your email template.

I'm not talking about share buttons, I'm talking about a "Send to Friend" button, like this...

send-to-a-friend-button

If you use Mailchimp as your mailing list provider, this is extremely easy to do.

How to Add an Invite Button to a Mailchimp Template

Step 1: Add a button to your template.

add-button-mailchimp

Step 2: Click "Edit" on the button in your template.

click-edit-mailchimp

Step 3: Change the "Link to" dropdown to Web Address, and add the Forward tag to the Web Address box.

change-button-to-forward-tag-mailchimp

Now, your mailing list subscribers can easily forward your emails to their friends. The emails received by their friends will even have links for them to forward the email and subscribe to your mailing list.

2. Add Your Music to New Music Services and Apps

Newer music streaming services, like Dozmia, are often attracting a more loyal following than more established music services. This has to do with the technology adoption lifecycle.

innovation-adoption-lifecycle

Newer apps and services attract Innovators and Early Adopters, who are extremely likely to share their experiences with large audiences since they have higher social class and opinion leadership than the other three categories of consumers.

This means that people who discover your music on newer music services are more likely to share it with their friends or followers, so uploading your music to services like Dozmia and other music services can help grow your fanbase quickly.

3. Send your music to everyone

The best way to start the viral growth trend is with a solid foundation of listeners. If someone is going to share your music, they need to hear it first.

You can easily send your music to all of your contacts with Dozmia. Our invite system even sends automatic follow ups, and it's easy for your contacts to re-share your music with their friends.

Here's how to do it.

1. Sign up for Dozmia

You can sign up here.

2. Upload your music

upload-to-dozmia

3. Import your contacts

import-contacts

Once you've done this and your music is approved, we'll send your music to your contacts with up to three follow ups. Not only that, but sending invites through our system helps us optimize our product to generate the most shares for your music.

4. Increase Virality of Social Media Posts

Social media is a great way to gain a loyal following. Getting more Facebook page likes and more Twitter followers can result in greater awareness of your music.

When utilizing social media for marketing purposes, it's important to follow the social media rule of thirds:

  • One third of your posts should engage fans in some way to build a relationship, such as a question or sharing a post from a fan.
  • One third of your posts should provide value to your fans.
  • One third of your posts should be promotional.

The idea behind this is that your engagement and value based posts result in shares that get you more followers, then when you share your music through these channels, you gain new fans of your music.

For more on social media marketing, check out this article: 6 Ways to Get More Likes on Your Band's Facebook Page

5. Provide Incentives for Referrals

Dropbox and PayPal are famous for using incentives as a referral strategy to fuel their growth. Dropbox gave away free space to users who invited their friends, and PayPal actually paid both the inviters and invitees for new signups.

Think about some ways you could provide incentives for your fans to refer their friends to your music. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • If they send your song to 10 people, they get a free download of your album.
  • For every 10 people they get to subscribe to your mailing list, they get a $10 merchandise credit.
  • Send them a free T-Shirt if they get 100 people to sign up for your mailing list.
  • Work with venues to offer buy-one-get-one event tickets. This way if they buy a ticket to your show, they can bring a friend (who likely hasn't heard your music before) for free.

If you can successfully implement a viral marketing/referral strategy for your music, then with the help of standard music marketing practices like radio promotion, building playlists on streaming services, and paid advertising, you're likely to see dramatic growth of your fanbase.

Are you promoting your music online in a creative way? Let us know in the comments!


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