Music Marketing

Posted By Rick Goetz on July 6th, 2013

A blog for musicians and music industry people. It is a free educational resource and it is also the way I advertise my music consulting services. I am an entertainment professional with deep roots in the music industry. Throughout my music career I have been a major label A&R representative, a music supervisor, an artist manager, a reality show producer, a bass player and the head of a digital record label.


Neil Patel on Marketing & SEO for Musicians

Posted By Rick Goetz on August 28th, 2013   
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This interview was first published in October, 2010.


Neil Patel is widely considered an Internet marketing genius. Those who know me well know I say the word “genius” a lot, but I am usually being completely sarcastic. I would not be sarcastic at all when using that term referring to Neil.


By the age of 21 Neil was named a top blogger by Technocrati and one of the top influencers on the Web according to The Wall Street Journal. He has founded two Internet companies, Crazy Egg and KISSmetrics, and through those companies he has helped major corporations like AOL, General Motors and Viacom with their web strategies. I first came across Neil on his blog Quicksprout.com. He also blogs at Online Poker Lowdown.

A side note, in April of 1985 I was about halfway through completing Pitfall II and listening to a lot of Van Halen. Neil was born in April, 1985. I am having trouble wrapping my mind around this, but I am also beyond flattered that he would take the time to answer some questions.


Neil Patel

Neil Patel


Musician Coaching:


Neil, thanks again for taking the time to speak with me. I wanted to speak with you because of your background with start-up companies (which I often compare to developing artists) and because you have done a wonderful job marketing your companies and yourself online. Most artists / bands out there are just struggling to be heard. Bearing in mind that having great content is the “X factor” that is completely up to the musicians themselves:  What would you say are absolute requirements when selecting a domain name and trying to get relevant traffic to their websites?




I recommend selecting the name of your band. If you can’t get that, then it’s going to be a tough road ahead. In addition to that, I would also buy the domain names for each of the band members. If for some unlucky reason you can’t get your band name, I would recommend buying it from whoever owns it. Just don’t tell them that it is the name of your band or else they may ask for a bit more.


As for relevant traffic consider leveraging popular music sites like MySpace and some of the websites listed here.


*** Note – the linked list is a bit out of date, as you will see if you explore it. Some of these companies have changed business models or closed all together. I would recommend checking out the sites from that list that still work and adding ReverbNation & IndabaMusic ***


Musician Coaching:


Are there things that should be avoided at all costs, online strategies that could damage a company / band’s online presence or that just aren’t effective?




Spending any money on marketing should be avoided, especially if you are a new band. You can always put your money to better use. Go after all of the grass root marketing before you spend money on advertising.


Musician Coaching:


You have run Internet marketing companies in the past. In terms of SEO, what percentage of the work would you say is on-site vs. off-site? Are the basics making sure that everything on-site is correctly tagged and the keywords highlighted in the right order for search engines? Is the off-site as simple as creating new content and having link-backs?


***Note – if you don’t know about SEO now is the time to learn***




The most important part of SEO is link building (off-site). The more websites that link to yours, the more search engine traffic you will receive. As for on page SEO there are a lot of basic things to consider. But instead of going through each of them, I would rather point you out to a well-written white paper called “The Beginner’s Guide to SEO.”


And as for link building tactics, I would consider cross promoting your website with other local bands. Writing good content is also a good strategy, but for a band releasing your music for free online may be a better strategy.


Musician Coaching:


Before there is significant traffic on your site providing you  analytics and metrics to look at, how do you go about finding the audience for your companies and / or your companies clients, is their a science to this? What methods do you use to size up the competition?




There is a science behind measuring your audience. I wish I could explain it in a few paragraphs or even in a few pages, but it just isn’t possible. Instead, I recommend reading: Web Analytics – An Hour a Day.


Musician Coaching:


It’s a great book.




A good way you can size up your competition is through sites like Alexa, Compete, and Quantcast. These three sites will give you a good understanding of how much traffic your competition is receiving to their website.


Musician Coaching:


Your last few ventures have been very data oriented. Above and beyond determining what online content or marketing strategies were effective for your company, what is the next frontier? How are pioneers using this data today and how do you think they will use this data in the future?




I think the future is giving customers actionable data. There are tons of business intelligence and analytics solutions that spit out data, but consumers are confused about what to do with it. With my new company, KISSmetrics, our goal is to provide consumers with actionable data. The stuff that tells you how to improve or grow your web based business/site.


Musician Coaching:


Given that some of the most important content that artists will have is rich media (photos, audio and video) – does this alter an online marketing strategy? Are the recommendations for making sure this data is found above and beyond alt tagging / making sure the associated meta-data is intact?




Yes, it does alter your strategy. Because of all the rich content you have, you can promote your content through sites many businesses can’t leverage:

You can upload your band photos to social photo sites like Flickr.
You can upload your videos to sites like YouTube.
You can upload your audio to social networks like MySpace and Facebook.


The possibilities are endless; you just have to get creative.


If you do leverage these social sites, make sure you don’t just add your videos and photos to these sites. You need to tag them with the appropriate keywords — not just your band name, but also popular terms that are related to your music.


Most importantly, with every photo or video make sure you are using an attractive title that describes your content as well as a keyword rich description (don’t spam, but use keywords when it makes sense).


Musician Coaching:


There is so much out there on online marketing and SEO.  Are there any other books, blogs or white papers other than some of the resources you’ve mentioned that you think have superior information?




I am not a fan of books on SEO, because the information in the book can get outdated pretty quick. I would consider reading:
1. SEObook – One of the best blogs when it comes to SEO advice.

2. Search Engine Land – General news and tips on search engines.

3. SEOmoz – another blog with good SEO tips.


Musician Coaching:


Last question:  If you had a band and were trying to get their music heard online and offline what would your (very basic) strategy be for getting heard? I know the core music business isn’t your expertise, but the music business is in disarray at the moment. I figure you might have some great ideas.


I would first create band pages with my music on all of the major social networks. After I have done that, I would go to all of the other popular bands that are similar and make them my friends. And lastly, I would then interact with other bands through their social profiles. I would do this through commenting, which is a great way to drive their visitors back to my band’s profile page.


Please visit Neil Patel’s blog Quicksprout for some amazing business advice and to learn more about his story.

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12 Responses to “Neil Patel on Marketing & SEO for Musicians”

Mark Hermann

Hey Rick,

Great interview with Neil and a wealth of information for the music indiratti out there (including me) looking to get a leg up on the competition. That’s quite a freebe of information for your followers. Keep up the great content!



Rick Goetz

Thanks man, looks like I’ve got some CSS editing to do – these comment boxes are hideous!


Brian Armstrong

Interesting, Neil definitely knows his stuff and I’ve been reading his blog for a while. One more to add: make some “behind the scenes” videos of your band and put them on YouTube. The normal everyday stuff that muscicians might find boring, like a rehearsal or killing time in the green room is exciting to fans. If they can see the real band they’ll feel connected. I’ve seen some musicians have great success with this on YouTube.

Andrew Boyd

Thanks for the SEO blog links.

Tools that make our music easy to find, sought out and noticed are benefits any musician/artist needs in these times.
It is an art unto itself.

I’m posting on your blog in part because you did good homework…
You got on my twitter a few weeks ago…today I was hunting around for seo/musician terms and wound up on your site because I noticed the pic and thought…Oh that guy!? SO I read your blog page. That’s how we musicians have to start thinking. Right on!

Musician Coaching

Thanks for stopping by Andrew. Any comments you have on what you would want to see next are welcome.



Always interesting to hear someone of the calibre of Neil comment specifically on SEO for music. I made a site aimed at introducing this very topic, which might be of interest too… http://linkdisco.com

Cameron Mizell

Great interview, it’s always a good exercise to read other’s thoughts on SEO.

Rick, I’m curious what your, and Neil’s, thoughts would be on how bands could approach creating content that isn’t audio, video, or photos. Blogging, or at least regularly updating some sort of news feed, can really benefit a band’s website, but a lot of musicians don’t know what to write or how to write in an intelligent way that utilizes good SEO techniques. I’ve got plenty of friends that give me plenty of reasons why they don’t want to do any blogging, but I feel like it would give them huge boost in their internet presence.

What do you think? How would you advise artists on creating non-media based content?

Musician Coaching

Hey Cameron,

I don’t know what Neil would say about it but your site musicianwages.com is a classic example of someone blogging in a way that helps get them noticed. Your timing is good too as I just interviewed your partner David Hahn who will be the next interview. While not for everyone I think if you are able to write on a topic that is somewhat related to what you do it can be a great reason to get people back to your website and more familiar with what you do. Getting people over their neophobia is a huge part of getting people to spend time with your music so writing on a regular basis about topics above and beyond just the fact that you have shows coming up can be a huge help. Writing about a certain style of music or the business of music or even just a blog of life experiences related to what you are doing can help search and make the classic marketing, email blast, facebook events etc a bit more lively…

Cameron Mizell

I guess to add to this, I’ve noticed that one of my favorite jazz guitar players, Anthony Wilson (@anthony__wilson), talks about wine a lot on his Twitter feed. I’d have to imagine that there are people out there that are all about great wine, find they have this thing in common with Anthony, and then find out they enjoy his music. Wine and jazz are not related, but they pair well (duh dum). I think that’s a good example of being an interesting person beyond the music.

Manisha Shahane

Nice to see some familiar names here! I also follow Neil via QuickSprout and was more active there a year ago. And I met Cameron through Twitter. I’m a little confused about when this post was actually written. The date above the post says 2010, but the first comment is dated 2009. Anyway, I think that there’s a lot to be said for “affinity marketing” and communicating with fellow music lovers through lifestyle choices, so long as you are authentic about whatever it is that interests you. I recently had a cooking site interview me (about the music & how cooking is connected to that for me) and so we put together what I decided to call a “hot cookin’ music video” to go along with it. I’m recognizing that consistency makes a difference in terms of doing things like this (and what you are discussing above) so that people understand where it is coming from and it doesn’t seem entirely out of the blue. My tweets often reference cooking so I didn’t think this would be too outlandish. People thought it was fun and the idea is there to do some of these videos periodically. We’ll see! One step at a time.

Musician Coaching

Hey Manisha,

thanks for stopping by. Indeed it is an article from 2009 but my blog was only about a month old at the time so I re-ran the content about a year later. It sounds like you are on to something with Hot cookin’ and indeed- consistency is everything…

Best of luck,



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