Whether you are a new musician or an established artist, making money selling music online may be illusive without the right marketing and promotion. According to several articles I have read, there are some labels successfully making this happen. Some would argue that the quality of the music being offered is the real catalyst to online music sales.
So, it is possible to generate income using the internet to distribute your music. Many artists give away mp3 downloads as a vehicle to introduce new listeners to their sound. Several bands give away music in exchange for your email address, many rappers give music away by contributing to mixtapes, many of which are free downloads. Free is always good especially with music. However, if folks dont know about your download or giveaway, it wont help much will it?
This is a good place to introduce the benefits of social media to market and promote yourself. These concepts are quite universal and could be applied to just about any product you wish to sell or promote, online using social networking websites like MySpace, Facebook, et al.
The most overlooked tool when using social media, is probably demographics. Networking online is tricky at best, you will go through a slew of spammers and get rich quick guys, unless, you research your new buddies, friends or what have you. This is a case where quality surpasses quantity.
Each person you connect with, has the potential to want to share your quality product with the slew of people in their own immediate network. Friends will trust or at least explore the information shared by another friend that they trust. The word viral comes to mind. Potentially, with the right audience *(people who probably like the style of music you are selling, promoting, etc.) you could reach several hundred people instantly.
Just as in life, choose friends, networks, wisely.
I have added a link to a great story about tools for marketing your music online.