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Ten Ways to Encourage Fans to Download Your Song

On Wedneday I read a great article by Brian Hazard on how to encourage fans to hand over their email address, and I decided to do a bit of a follow up on how to encourage fans to download your music, rather than just bouncing off of your song’s landing page.

349683814 00c588a513 Ten Ways to Encourage Fans to Download Your Song

In my opinion, none of the tips below will increase the rate of visits to downloads (or conversion rate) quite as much as an improvement in song quality, but these tips are still likely to have a positive effect when used to complement great music.

1. Offer your fans exclusivity
We all love something that’s special to us, exclusivity in itself is a form of incentive as it gives a feeling of superiority. Offer your mp3 exclusively to your mailing list subscribers or Facebook fans or live show attendees before the rest of the world to reward them for their actions.

2. Make your fans work for it
Although contradictory to the point about making it easy, you can also make your fans do something for the mp3 to make them appreciate the value of the download more. A good example would be to offer the download for free once a fan has tweeted about it (such as Tweet for a Track do), that way the track has perceived value, but is also free.

3. Excite your fans about downloading the song
Your landing page needs to match the quality of the song and keep the fans excited, ensure there is an easy play feature for fans to listen to the song for free and a cool design that anchors the story of the song.

4. Incentivise the download
One of the easiest ways to improve your rate of downloads is to bribe fans with an incentive. A competition is always a great way to incentivise a free download – you could perhaps offer ‘Tweet about song X for a free download and chance to go to dinner with the band’.

5. Have your song recommended by a friend
We can’t fight it – a recommendation from a friend or someone you know is always going to mean more than a recommendation from the person trying to offer a product. Encourage fans who have download your song to share it with their friends via email or a tweet or Facebook and perhaps Incentivise that sharing.

6. Make it dead easy to download
Don’t make your fans have to enter in every personal detail known to man to download your song, don’t send it in a weird format that requires them to install software, and don’t make them wait around for confirmation emails. Downloading a song should be incredibly simple, anything other is just reducing your ratio of visitors to downloaders.

7. Make it free to download
The stats are out there, free downloads are in the trillions, paid downloads are in the billions. Yes it’s still a revenue stream once you’ve built a good fan base, but relative to the promotional opportunity and the increase in visitor to download conversion rate, the benefit of offering a song for free download is often better.

That said, the problem with ‘free’ is lack of perceived value, therefore encouraging fans to do something like tweet about the song or join your mailing list allows you to give away the song for free without hindering the songs perceived value.

8. Personalise your fan’s experience
At very least ensure your emails are personalised with the fan’s name, but you can do better than that. Build personal relationships by hosting a live chat between fans and the band on the download page or off site, or even just ask your fans personally in a clearly personalised message – this may be impractical for a large quantity of fans, but even by doing it with some you raise the probability of that fan spreading the word about you to their friends – the ‘Justin Bieber’ effect.

9. Encourage your fans to respond to you
If you offer someone a song and say “hope you like it”, there’s a possibility that the conversation and level of intrigue the fan feels ends there at a low level. On the other hand if you said “let me know what you think about it, there’s a bit that reminds me of you” for example, then there is so much more intrigue (which part? why does it remind you of me?) that they will need to download the song to satisfy their brain with an answer.

10. Build Hype
I remember the reason why I first downloaded Guns n’ Roses – November Rain, it was because I heard that there was a bum note in the guitar solo somewhere, which I was told by a friend. Rumours are a great way to get fans to not only share music but build up expectations or desires to listen to the song. If you can’t think of a rumour then any good hype or recommendations around the song will help improve listen to download rate.

I’m sure there are kazillion other ways, so if you can think of any more please share them in the comments.


Image Credit: jqpacifist

About Marcus Taylor

In 2013, Marcus Taylor won the award for 'Young Visionary of the Year' at MIDEM. Marcus is passionate about marketing and the music industry, and has consulted to some of the biggest names in the music industry through his agency, Venture Harbour. Marcus founded this website in 2009, and has reached over half a million musicians ever since.


  • Brian Hazard says:

    Great ideas Marcus! For me personally, the first is the strongest. The question is, how far do we take it? Do we let everyone stream the song, but only exclusive members download it? Or hide it away completely, hoping potential fans will take the leap of faith that the download was worth it? I need some new material to run a few experiments. :)

  • Hey Marcus – there's no doubt Number 5 is a kick arse result. Also number 8 is very effective. As well as making sure their name is used in auto-responder emails (I still gotta set mine up! Agh! Guitar is so much more fun!) I find that if you constantly encourage people to email you personally, then take the time to chat to them a few times in emails, while it is time consuming, is very, very rewarding. Firstly, they download your stuff. Secondly, you end up with a fan for life (most of the time), and true fans are brand advocates. And thirdly, it is great market research – what KIND of person resonates with your music and general offering? Nothing like a series of email convo's to help answer that hairy question. Yes, time consuming, but after a few emails it runs its course and settles down. Anyway, if it's your passion, you love spending time on it, right?

  • Might be cool to add a little bit of scarcity in there like, “This new song is going to be free for the first 100 people who hit the page but then it will be gone…FOREVER!”

    That's a bit of an over the top example but you know that I mean.

    People hate to miss out on stuff.

    – Chris

  • themusicguide says:

    Great idea Chris!

  • CD has been a blessing for fans. The biggest benefit listeners have seen — or heard — is practically unlimited access to music. Besides digital download sites like iTunes and Amazon, there are now a myriad of ways to find your next favorite song. ..

  • Mobile Disco says:

    Some great advice, hints and tips. A great read

  • hqessay.com says:

    wow, really good advices and tips. our hints are wonderful dude

  • good ideas Markus, I believe that it will work. ROCK IT UP!!

  • Dan N says:

    Making a song free to download is one of the best ways to promote your music. It is proven that the more a person hears something, the more they like it. So, by getting listeners hooked on your best single will ultimately lead them to come back for more and check out your other new songs.

  • Dan N says:

    Making a song free to download is one of the best ways to promote your music. It is proven that the more a person hears something, the more they like it. So, by getting listeners hooked on your best single will ultimately lead them to come back for more and check out your other new songs.

  • Alan Roberts says:

    Try allowing fans to download one of your tracks for free when they join your mailing list. That way you get their email address for future sales and get them to download your music.

  • Steve says:

    The first one about exclusivity is a winner for me, give them that and they'll download anything!

  • Jazzyblueband says:

    Hi Marcus, one idea I don’t see here is to ask people to tell what they think the song is about. You may be able to start a discussion on your music…..maybe offer the song for free to any who comment.


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