Recently an extensive series of posts from Eliot Van Buskirk revealed that Twitter was replacing iTunes links with affiliate links in their preview panel. In the course of figuring out one solution, I've gathered some additional information for musicians who want to incorporate affiliate programs into their social media and related web efforts.
The news of Twitter hijacking iTunes links led me to check out some alternatives including using short codes for affiliate links.
Use Short Codes to Bypass Twitter
Using the short code keeps Twitter from hijacking the affiliate link but it also means there's no preview panel. If you think that's important for marketing, then a more recognizable link can be used.
Use Affiliate Links for All Music Sales
In addition to Twitter, affiliate links for your music can be used in social media, email and on your website. iTunes and Amazon are obvious choices for music sales.
Content Blogging with Affiliate Links
If you blog about other people's music or art, you can include affiliate links to their CDs, DVDs, books, etc. using most major web retail outlets.
The Add-On Shopping Effect
One discovery I made on previous music sites is that most of my affiliate revenue from Amazon came not from music sales but from sales of other items from back-to-school to Christmas shopping. The music was an entry point to additional needs served by Amazon from which an affiliate can profit.
Some ticketing services such as Brown Paper Tickets offer affiliate programs for referred ticket sales. Additional possibilities such as EventBrite's affiliate program offer the chance to benefit from recommending services.
You can also use affiliate programs for other services you use. For example, Page.ly is a hosting program I've considered using. If I did and I was a satisfied customer, I might then join their affiliate program and recommend their services.
Not a Get Rich Quick Scheme
Unfortunately affiliate programs are unlikely to make you rich in the short or long term. However they can help you create revenue streams that will grow stronger over time.
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (Twitter/App.net) blogs about music crowdfunding at Crowdfunding For Musicians (@CrowdfundingM). To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.