Selling records to your MySpace Friends

Scott Andrew relates the story of an independent band that spent an entire week featured on the front of — and managed to sell zero CDs.

This is not uncommon, and not unxpected. Here’s why:

It takes a typical American radio listener EIGHTY or even NINETY listens to your song before they form an opinion about your music. Remember that most people use music as background media — it takes a lot of residual listening or exposure for us to recognize something worth spending more time with.

It then takes another SEVEN to ELEVEN “touch points” — moments after new listeners already know who you are, where they interact with you or your music in some way — before they decide “yes or no” to the question of buying your album.

A “featured artist” block on MySpace cuts down the 80-90 casual listens to maybe a handful of exposures over the course of the week — but it still takes a few of those to get someone to add you as their friend, or — even better — join your own mailing list.

Once folks are ON the mailing list, you have you chance to build up those active touch points. If you’re sending out news every week, you can get folks to make that decision in as soon as seven weeks. But, you’ll have to make sure every one of those newsletters extends their experience — and that you’re not just sending meringue (my phrase for blah-blah text and invites to gigs they can’t possibly get to).

Whether you’re selling CDs or tickets to live events, you have to pull those audience members away from the MySpace clutter and build a strong independent relationship build on trust, admiration, and patronage. Only then can you count on your “friends” to really support you.

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