Dear upcoming musician: can we talk about your online distribution strategy?

I promise not to bore you with any marketing speak or a lecture on what you’re doing wrong. But I would like to highlight two things that may be costing you sales on your online distribution strategy. I am guessing you have one.
This information will benefit independent musicians more than it will signed artists.
I wanna talk about product accessibility and purchase convenience – online. These are king in today’s online audience.
Online accessibility demands that you to know where your target audience buys its music products. For example the assumption that most people in South Africa are using Apple products is an expensive mistake. In fact the majority are not. I am sure you understand that Google’s Android operated devices are as reliable, more user-friendly as Apple products. But wait they a winning advantage, they are cheaper as well.
This means that they are the preferred purchase option over Apple or Windows Mobile (We won’t mention Blackberry because its exiting the markets and they don’t have a music store). But for the purposes of this article, I will narrow my comparison down to Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.
This is what Vodacom’s 2016 finding showed:
“Looking at smartphones, Android is by far the most popular mobile OS at 61.4% – followed by BlackBerry on 17.7%, and iOS on 7.9%. Symbian and Windows have 5% market share each.
“Android also dominates the tablet market with 84% market share, with Apple’s iPad on 16%.”


If  then your market uses Android operated devices, why not release your music on the Google Play store first. Then after you have built enough sales momentum or leveraged your promotional costs, then follow up with Apple and hard copies. Or better release on both platforms at the same time and make your comparisons on which platform gathers the most sales.
This brings me to my second point. Convenience.
Marketers will tell you that it costs a lot of money and time to interrupt your target audience’s perception of current products – especially if you are still working on penetrating the market. Persuading your potential consumers to think about your product as another option during their purchasing process is another cost. It costs even more to work your way up until you are thee product they want buy. This is the battle for positioning and it takes months and sometimes years to achieve.
But then after all that trouble. At the end of the purchasing process, the customer wants CONVENIENCE. Android offers that – cheap in store vouchers compared to Apple for those users who are weary of sharing their payment details online (Even though studies show that people trust online payment options now more that they do over the counter card payments).
Think about the most basic members in your planned target audience reach, for example students with no salary or a parent with no time to set up payment options on any music platform.
My experiences in Marketing management, Sales, Brand management, Product and brand activation, Retail systems and Public Relations have proven that nothing builds brand loyalty more than teaching your consumers “HOW TO,” I will write about that some other time, this encourages purchase confidence and therefore guarantees repeat sales.
But for now, my advice to you would be as part of focusing on accessibility and convenience, make teaching your consumers how to access your music an intentional part of your promotional activities – work out something as simple as a 3 step process on how to load a Google Play voucher for example, then share that with your audience during brand launch or direct marketing activities.
Remember there is no such thing as common sense in Sales. That’s just an expensive assumption.
Let me know if you think this information was helpful.
Vodacom –

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