How musicians can use autorespondersHow to get your newest email subscribers engaged with your music right away

[This article was written by Dave Kusek, founder of the New Artist Model, an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers, and songwriters. He is also the founder of Berklee Online, co-author of The Future of Music book, and a member of the team who brought midi to the market.]

Just about anyone who has music available is using the song-for-email strategy. If you’re not on board, basically you trade music in exchange for an email address. It’s a great way to grow your list, and by now we all know that email is one of the best ways to stay in touch with your fans and push out news and offers.

However, for a lot of musicians, that’s where the strategy stops. The focus seems to be growing the list. What to actually send these new fans becomes an afterthought. Often, artists will just let those new email addresses sit and pile up until they have something new to send out. That means these new fans won’t hear anything from the musician for months. This is a wasted opportunity.

Don’t Block Your Own Leads

People don’t just give their email addresses out to anyone. With all the spam and junk mail flying around, we are all very wary of giving access to our inboxes, so the simple fact that these new fans cared enough to give you their email makes them a very strong lead. And they would probably do more to support you – if you gave them the chance.

I want you to think of this process as a conversation. They initiated the conversation by signing up for your list, but if you don’t give them the chance to engage further, you’re basically putting up a brick wall. You’re limiting how far these fans will go and you’re limiting the amount of sales you can make.

Using Autoresponders to Nurture a Lead

With that in mind, I’m going to show you how you can use autoresponders to continue this momentum with your new email subscribers. Because we’ll be using autoresponders, you don’t need to be hovering over your computer writing messages to all your new subscribers. It’s all automated and that means more time for your music.

Pretty much every email service out there has some autoresponder functionality. Basically you start by choosing a trigger. In this case, the trigger would be someone signing up for your emails. Then, you compose a message that goes out to anyone who activates that trigger. You can choose to have that message send immediately, or have it go out after a certain amount of time.

So now let’s go through an autoresponder sequence you can use to drive your new email subscribers to deeper engagement and even a purchase:

1. Shortly after someone signs up for your email list, you want to send them an email thanking them and asking them to share with their friends on social media. At this point they haven’t had the chance to listen to your music yet, so you shouldn’t push a sale, but sharing music is something everyone is usually down to do (after all, it’s free). Not everyone will participate, but I’ve found that simply asking people to share greatly increase the number of people who actually do.

2. Next, you’ll want to queue up a second autoresponder to go out a week or so after they sign up to your list. At this point they’ve probably had a chance to listen to your free tracks, so give them a link to buy your full album or any other music you have available.

As you can see, just from someone signing up to your email list, we got them sharing and even drove some sales, and it all happened automatically. Now keep in mind that this is just one example. There are a lot of other triggers out there to queue up autoresponders. For example, if someone buys a ticket to your show you could send an autoresponder with a link to your merch store or your VIP and meet-and-greet packages.

The possibilities are endless so get creative and start building out your own autoresponder sequences.


As you can see, jumping on a new lead can have a HUGE effect on your career and can result in more fans and more sales. In the New Artist Model online music business programs you’ll learn how to turn your music into a successful business – a business where you are in control! You’ll create an actionable and personalized plan that will help you achieve a career in music, and you’ll be able to do it all with the resources you have available right now.

If you’d like more strategies like these, you can download this ebook for free. It will take you through some of the best strategies for indie musicians to help you grow your fanbase and your career.

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[Image via Kevin Fitz]