In 2008 I uploaded my first album onto iTunes. I remember the pride and excitement that came with having my music on such a well-known platform. I also remember the feeling that I got once I received my first few sales - it was very surreal! But now, 4 albums later, I realize that I couldn't tell you the name of a single person, with certainty (although I have a few names in mind), who has ever bought any of my music. The reason for this is because iTunes, and other similar platforms, report how many albums and singles were sold, but they don't tell you to whom they were sold. That's a problem...
I have no idea who bought any of my albums, no idea where they live, and no idea how many people picked up several albums or singles... it's all just a world of numbers and anonymity. Now, I'm aware that some people might not care to know who's buying what, and that's fine. But personally, I would much rather see a note saying "John Doe from Lost Springs, Wyoming (population: 4), bought Volume 2 today", than to see a generic note saying "1 copy of Volume 2 was sold today".
As a solution of this, I have built my new website, www.davidsidesproduction.com, around the idea of getting to know who my supporters are. Yes, the site doesn't (yet) offer the convenience of a beefed up mobile app like iTunes... and it probably doesn't look as cool as iTunes... and it forces visitors to buy music from only one artist in opposed to providing the option of buying from any number of thousands of artists... but what it does have working for it is it creates a human element to my supporters. I can see that there's a man named Oscar in South Houston who likes "Without You", or a woman named Angela in West Australia who likes my version of "Forever", or even a man named Marko in Canada who likes Volume 4. These little details are what make this whole thing real.
My music is being picked up by real people, in real places, all around the world, and I (now) have the ability to name each person that buys my music. In fact, not only can I name them, but I can personally mail each and every one of them a "thank you" letter for buying my music - which I'm actually going to start sending today!
At the end of the day, to those who buy my music from iTunes, I say thank you! But to those who buy my music from my website, I say thank you for helping me get to know my supporters.