Email Lists for Music Artists: Yes, You Should (Still)

By:

Sean McCauley

| Posted:

November 5, 2020

Are email lists worth your time as an independent musician? That's not the easiest thing to answer right away. Artists are different, audiences are different, and the kinds of connections artists want with their audiences are too different to say 100% YES or NO to email lists.

What is easy to say, though, is that it's definitely something artists should consider.

Let's talk about why.

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Email Lists for Music Artists: Are They Still Worth It?

There was a time when any purchase or transaction you made would be followed by the request for an email address. The inbox was a frenzy of activity, filling up with offers from companies you had never even heard about, let alone dealt with. Then internet privacy became tighter, your details could no longer be sold, and the inbox traffic slowed down a little.

However, the damage was already done, and many believed email never really recovered. When was the last time you opened inbox news or an email offer from someone you had dealt with? Below, we discuss if email is still relevant as a marketing tool for music artists.

The Argument Against Email Marketing

If you are living in Europe, the European Union brought in the GDPRlaw to stop the mishandling of sensitive data online. With it came rules and regulations about how data is stored, retrieved, and used. This meant that it was no longer viable to collect peoples details from a gig, then use the information for whatever you liked.

If collecting information to build an email list, you must be compliant about how you do it. You must also then store it in a safe, secure way, and if you fail to do both you may face a heavy fine. You should consider this when thinking about collecting data for email marketing.

In the US, your mass emails must include a single-click UNSUBSCRIBE button at the bottom by law.

You also need to weigh your time spent against the expected response. Is the effort of planning an email and sending it to 500 people worth your time if only one recipient opens it?

And of course, your indie-music news could be delivered instantly on any number of social media channels.

So why even bother with an email list?

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The Argument for Email Marketing as an Artist

If you do work out a compliant collection strategy and begin saving emails from your fans, then you've added a weapon to your arsenal: people have signed up to your list and want to hear what you are doing. It has neither been spammed nor forced on them by a global marketing company.

That's useful because, despite what people think, statistics show that email marketing is still very much alive and well. In fact, despite the rise in social media and instant messengers, three-out-of-four teens still use email daily. Most people check their emails around 20 times per day (!) showing it can be an asset to someone building an online music career.

In fact, email and text messages now serve much the same function. With phone notifications and synchronization of emails to mobile phones, most people now check emails as they would a messenger system, making them equally effective.

The trick lies in making your email relevant and of value. Once people see that the message in their inbox is something to get excited about, like a new release or concert dates, then they will come to trust your correspondence. This makes them even more likely to open it in the future.

That's the pro/con treatment of the email-marketing-for-musicians question. We'll talk about how to gather names and what to do with them next week. Watch this space!

[Note: this post was guest-written by Ellie McKinsey of our friends at knowyourinstrument.com]