Advice: Ready Yourself For Big Hits

Ryan Adams Tweeted to his 695,000 followers about Christopher the Conquered, an independent artist in Iowa. A CD was passed along to him, and he liked it so much he shared with his followers.

After one week these were the results:

Website Page Views – 2489 Views
Youtube Videos: 1653 New Views
Soundcloud: Single from Album – 572 Plays
Facebook: 82 New Likes
Instagram: 40 New Followers
Twitter: 31 New Followers
Spotify: 28 New Followers
Email Newsletter: 12 Signups
Internet Sales (Not including iTunes, Spotify, etc. – that takes a while to get those numbers): $86

He went on to write that he got some press on Noisey and PureVolume but, “those other press bits wouldn’t amount to much.” Ahhh, 2015!

Some of the comments on this Reddit post wondered, “well, how can I buy it?” Here was this enormous buzz and no way to actually sell this new album. The best time to answer that question is before you get a big hit.

What can you learn from this?

1. Always make it clear how you can buy something.

Getting someone to your site in 2015 is a miracle, so make it super easy for anyone – ANYONE – to be able to buy your music. That means links to iTunes, Amazon, BandCamp, whatever.

2. Make snagging emails a priority.

I know, I know. Email isn’t as sexy as SnapChat and Twitter, but you will always have these emails, even when those social media wonders fade. Sure, those 82 new Facebook likes are always nice, so long as Zuckerburg let’s your posts be seen by 10% of them.

3. Make your social media links visible.

Some people do Twitter but don’t do Facebook. Some people don’t do either, but they love Instagram. Make sure you have these linked in one space on your site.

4. Read Austin Kleon’s ‘Show Your Work.’

You won’t get a rush of traffic everyday, but when you do, it’ll be nice if your site / social media / email list is already stocked with great content. Getting in a habit of showing your work (and not just latte art, or guitar pedals) will pay dividends down the road.

Getting your online stuff in order now helps with both a flood of traffic, and also for when that music writer or editor happens upon your site. Remember, to out run a bear you only have to run faster than your friends. Same with this music thing – good presentation goes a long way when everyone’s attention span is measured in seconds.

Seth Werkheiser is the quiz master of metal trivia at Skulltoaster. He’s also the founder of some music sites you may have heard of, including Noise Creep (2009) + Buzzgrinder (2001). He’s anti-Facebook, anti-clickbait, and anti-growth hacking. You should most definitely follow him on Twitter. Yes, right now.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.