Music-based mobile apps are one of the most powerful tools in a musician’s digital marketing arsenal. They appear to be a hit with the generation-y market. Beyond that, the apps provide a deeper engagement with your audience.
In order to maximize your potential for connecting with audiences, your app must be user-friendly and addictive. You do that by providing value to users. Make it simple to use and allow opt-in subscriptions for your podcast(s). Subscribers get new podcast episodes forwarded directly to their phone.
Your mobile app should also include additional features that are engaging and addictive for users. These features will add entertainment value to your app if executed properly. Make some app features default and others opt-in so users can customize their experience and dictate their level of engagement with your app.
Ideas for app features:
* Music biz news feed (RSS)
* Twitter feed
* Blog/website feed (RSS)
* A rhythm game like Tap Tap Revenge that showcases your music
* A search engine for streaming your music
* Video feeds for web concerts (on ustream.TV and other digital networks), video blog updates, behind-the-scenes footage, music videos, and anime mini-series
* MP3 feed of your latest songs and mixtapes
Allow users to comment on your app content from their phone via Twitter. Facilitate sharing (and comments) to your social media pages (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). Invite users to live chats with your band members through Skype and other networks.
Don’t stop there though. Give users access to your entire multimedia library of original content. Let them search and download your mp3s, e-books, and other content directly to their phone. But please DO NOT skip over optimizing all content for mobile phone use, otherwise your files will be too large and the user experience will be poor. Get the user experience wrong and people will use your app once and never return.
Free vs Premium
Marketing through mobile apps takes you direct-to-fan and connects you with your audience. It’s your choice whether to sell your app but keep in mind that more users with your app means more people with access to your music. I personally recommend offering a free app in addition to a premium version with value-added features and content.
Even when downloaded there’s no guarantee that your app will be used or your music listened to. But if your app provides value and is engaging for your users, there’s a good chance that your music will get heard.