There’s a time at the start of every artists career when the only people that know about them is their friends, family and dogs. Beyond that, nobody else knows about them for whatever reason – they haven’t played a show yet, or they haven’t yet recorded.
But for some reason artists that I know seem to think one of the first steps to building a fan base is getting your music on iTunes. It seems to be the holy grail, and to a certain extent for the biggest artists it is. Even The Beatles (well, Paul and Ringo) realised that they needed to allow their music to be bought digitally, with iTunes being the biggest online music store. But is it really that important for a new artist to have their music on iTunes?
I’d argue that it isn’t necessary, it won’t make you any more money than you would from other sites (I’ll get at them in a minute) and its a little bit pointless. Whenever I hear about a new artist I check for their Facebook page, other blogs posts (if there is any), YouTube channel and twitter – in that order, descending order. I dont hear about a new artist and go straight onto iTunes to listen to a 30 second clip of a song.
It’s unlikely that new unsigned artists will have much luck getting their music on the iTunes home page, and most people won’t bother searching for them. Nowadays people (myself included) have become too lazy. They want to be able to listen to a song with one click. When I’m send new music I like a link that I can click on once, and then press play with one click – I don’t want to faff about downloading the file, opening it in iTunes and then having to press play, it’s way too much effort. And it’s the same with consumers. If they can go on a blog and press play, or click on a youtube video (preferably on the bands facebook page) then that’s much better.
Most people directed to the artists iTunes page will have gone there via a link (from their Facebook or twitter saying ‘buy my new EP ON ITUNES NOW! with a link to the iTunes page. This is how the majority of people that visit your iTunes page will get there.
For this reason, why not just post a link to your bandcamp site. People will still click on the link, they can actually listen to the songs in their entirety and you get to choose how much you sell it for, if anything.
iTunes can be a very valuable tool for established artists. Millions of people have iTunes accounts, so it would be silly not to have your music there if you’re an established artist. It’s also the number one store, with the highest amount of users and subscribers, so it makes sense to have your music up there as the majority of music fans has an Itunes account and so they don’t have to type in their card details each time they buy a song.
But for artists that are at the early stages of their careers I would say dont bother. You’ll have to pay a site like CD Baby or Tunecore to get your music on iTunes (as well as the other online stores – 7digital, Napster, Amazon, etc) and it’s really not worthwhile. If you put a link to your bandcamp site on your Facebook you will still get just as many people heading to that site if the post is marketed properly.
So save your time (and money) and use bandcamp if you’re a new artist. Don’t worry about your music not being on iTunes, because at the end of the day you probably care more about being on there than your fans do.
PS I don’t work for bandcamp, honest!