To start off, let’s define the term Direct-to-Fan. A Direct-to-Fan [D2F] platform is a way for you, as an artist, to connect your fans by selling directly to them on your website, Facebook Page or MySpace page. Rather than going to iTunes, they can pay you $.99 to download your single. As an artist, it is essential that you develop loyalty with your fanbase – and a D2F platform, we think, is one of the best ways to build into that loyalty.
While sales is a big part of the D2F platform, marketing is also a big portion of it. Most D2Fs that we’ve worked with have offered a way to capture email addresses through giving songs or other items away digitally. So, Sue Jones can come to your website and see a small widget [or button] that says “Free Single from Castle Lights”. Sue can type her email address in, the single is emailed to her and you have another person on your email list. But, why is this so important? An artists’ email list is the strongest channel of sales in the long run. It’s your pot of gold as an artist.
Think about it this way – say there are two artists that you love, both of which are releasing a new album. Artist A offers a D2F connection on their website and Artist B is just releasing on normal digital distribution channels like iTunes without any interaction on their website or through email. Artist A sends an email out letting you know you can pre-order their upcoming album directly from their website or Facebook store. When you do so, you also get an immediate download of 3 acoustic tracks from the album, the album artwork and later that week, you receive a thank you note from the band. Pretty cool, right? Well, Artist B wrote on Facebook that they’re releasing their album and it’ll be out in a month on iTunes…which is great, but I REALLY loved the card I got from Artist A. Seems like they are real people and care enough to send me something directly. I’m sold. It’s not that I wouldn’t still buy Artist B’s album – I probably would and love the album. But that my loyalties would now be with Artist A because I shared more of a connection with them. I am much more likely to go to their concert, buy more merch and tell friends about them. Who hasn’t bragged about personal interactions they’ve had with bands?! Also, if I know that I got cool, free stuff from the band by visiting their website or Facebook page, I’m going to visit it more to see what else is going on there. This keeps me up to date with all of the bands’ happenings and makes me even more of a mouthpiece for their music.
With a D2F, there are so many creative ways to engage your fans, which can build your email list and sales exponentially. Like we said in the Distribution Article, the name of the game is exposure. It’s not that iTunes is unnecessary, but it’s necessary to be as available to different groups of fans as you can be. And your email list is the crème de la crème of your fans.
At My New Release, we will connect you with a D2F by setting up your album and walking you through the functions of your platform to best interact with your friends. We want you to make fans, friends and money and a D2F platform is one of the keys to this type of success.