Growing an email list is always a challenge and it often boils down to what one has to offer in exchange for an email address.
As musicians, what we have to offer is usually music—whether it is an album track, or something unreleased/live. This is, after all, why people connect with musicians in the first place.
Unlock: A great solution
Unlock.fm, by Lee Martin, is a neat free (see later) tool that lets you create embeddable download widgets. Fans can download a track by tweeting, joining your list. Here is an example (oh, the piece is mine, by the way; Phototactic for solo piano performed by Ben Laude):
It works great, right?
Unlock.fm integrates seamlessly with SoundCloud and automatically displays the available tracks; you just have to pick the one you want to use. Simply copy the embed code (an iframe) and paste it anywhere on your site.
The email addresses are collected in the back end where they can be downloaded. You can also connect your MailChimp or AWeber list for $9.99 a month.
If you’re serving your web pages over https (secure protocol), simply replace
https://unlockfm.herokuapp.com in your embed code to avoid any SSL issues.
Finally: Tweet or email address?
I think it’s a no-brainer: Always prefer an email address to a tweet. The fleeting impressions you’ll get from somebody tweeting your copy cannot be compared with the potential relationship—and revenue—you can create from an email address.