How To Force People To Buy Your Music

You heard me right. Just force people to buy your music, and watch the money start rolling in. Now before you think I’m out of my mind, let me explain. Many years ago, I decided to direct my own independent film. I spent just over $2000 on a Panasonic DVX 100 camera, a couple of hundred dollars on a tripod and couple of hundred dollars to make a skateboard dolly so I could get cinematic shots. I couldn’t afford anything else, or to pay any of the actors. Everyone worked on the film for free, and I shot it locally, with no permits and a lot of people doing me favours. I decided I was going to take the film out independently. The first night, it was sold out at one of Toronto’s largest theatres with a capacity of almost 800 people. By the third showing, there was about 20 people in the audience. It seemed posters and word of mouth wasn’t enough to make the film a local success. It was disheartening. I wrote it, directed it, starred in it, filmed it, planned all the locations, did the cinemetagrophy, all the editing, all the foley and sound effects, and of course, the entire movie score. I had worked on it 16 hour days, for almost a year. In the end, I was pretty happy with the results. But now, what was I to do? I had no money, 2 kids at that point and was living with my in-laws. I decided to try to sell the DVD on my own. I set up a website and I signed up for a Google adwords account to advertise online. I was spending money on ads and was not selling any dvds. I really had a lot of pressure to start making money on this project so I scrambled my thoughts and tried to think of the most bizarre and unconventional things I could come up with.

The Moment Of Genius

It finally hit me. At the time I was looking at some bizarre auctions on Ebay. People were buying practically anything if it was marketed to them right. So I came up with what I thought was a brilliant idea. I would try to have the movie with the longest end credits in the history of film, and enter it in the Guiness Book Of World Records. I would do that by selling people a spot at the end credits of my film. For only $1, people could email me their name or website and I would include it as a thank you in the end credits. For some odd reason, it started to take off on Ebay. People were buying spots for their whole family,  their friends, and some people would buy multiple spots repeating their business name for publicity. Here is the clincher: although most of the sales were for a single name, for only $1, many of these people went on to order the DVD, just so they could see their name at the end credits. Just imagine someone sitting through 1 hour of end credits just to see their name, lol. But people were doing it, and I suddenly was earning an income after one year of just expenses . At it’s peak, I was selling a couple of hundred dvds per week, at $9.99. I had taken a product that no one really wanted to buy, and sold it to them anyway. I had suddenly become a clever marketer.  The movie, by the way, was called “Giovanni Di Mexicali” It had a ridiculous title, but it was in English; a somewhat cheesy Italian American comedy. I contacted the Guiness Book Of World Records, and received an official reply from them. They thanked me for the submission, but at the time, they were not going to create a new category for my record. As it stands, I believe I still hold the unofficial record for the movie with the longest end credits.


So my point is this. No one really wants to buy music from an unkwown  rapper, or another band handing out flyers in front of a bar. It seems everyone knows a bunch of wannabe musicians. So how are you any different? How are you going to sell downloads on iTunes and hopefully one day hit the top charts. You can have the greatest songs in the world, but if you don’t get them in front of enough people, your career won’t take off. Start thinking out of the box. 

Here are a few ideas that can help you brainstorm:

Ebay, Your Own Website, Or Any Marketplace

Are you an Ebay seller? Let’s say you sell running shoes, and you charge $8 for shipping. Why don’t you write something in your listing that says, “contact me to find out how you can get free shipping”. When prospective buyers contact you, you let them know that if they buy your single on iTunes for $1 and email you the transaction id, you will offer them free shipping. Now of course, make sure you are still making money on the item. Can you see how you can begin reaching a totally different and larger audience that would have never heard your music in the first place? People love a bargain, and I’m telling you most will take you up on your offer. If your music is good, you will gain some legit fans through the process. If you are or become an Ebay power seller, imagine selling a couple of hundred downloads of your songs that previously, had sold none.


Do you have an area of expertise? Maybe you are an expert in vocal techniques? Or maybe you are a fitness guru and can teach people how to lose weight quickly. Why don’t you write an ebook about it. Make a 1 page website, price it at $19.99 and then give them the sales pitch. For a limited time, you can get this incredible ebook, for only $1.00. Simply follow the link to the iTunes store, buy my single and email me the transaction number. Within 24 hours, you’ll receive this informative ebook, completely free!  If you start gaining success using an unconventional method, you can write a press release and market the story to the media and gain even more publicity.

Offer Services

Are you good at anything? Let’s say you can design a very basic website and charge people $50. You go to Craiglist, post an ad and begin to get leads. Guess what, you can tell prospective buyers that for a limited time, if they buy 3 of your albums (total $30) on iTunes, Cdbaby or where ever you are selling them, you will provide your services in exchange. That’s a savings of $20. Who wouldn’t jump on a deal like that? You can take this basic concept and apply it to basically anything. Do you mow lawns for a living? Guess how your customers are going to pay you this week? That’s right, they are going to buy your music at the iTunes store and you are going to give them a generous discount.

You have to be relentless with your pursuit for fame and shouldn’t be afraid to take risks. If something doesn’t work, no big deal, move on. Keep making music and keep marketing yourself. These are oddball ideas that will hopefully get you to think in a new way. I’m not saying you should use these exact methods, but the whole point is to get you to see new opportunities for exposure. Music marketing is a highly competitive business, and if you want to market yourself as an artist, you’ll have an edge over your competition if you can think of something clever. Of course, you should keep marketing yourself the traditional way as well (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, live shows, etc). 

Comments are closed.