Online music sales have been a hot topic in recent years. According a recent report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, or the IFPI, music sales doubled in 2006. Crackdowns on digital music piracy have helped fuel the rise of online music sales, as more and more people seek out the latest tracks and albums on the Web. While the music industry itself experienced a slump over the last few years, the digital music revolution is expected to completely revitalize the music market.

The IFPI reports that nearly 795 million online tracks were downloaded in 2006 alone. With such an enormous market, music affiliate programs are difficult to overlook. These programs offer not just digital music, but CDs, music players and other accessories that appeal to music fans. If you want to become part of this thriving marketing, check out this guide to getting started with music affiliate programs.

Music Affiliate Programs 101

Music affiliate programs function based on a simple principle—affiliates earn money promoting CDs, albums, music players and music files on their website. Every time a visitor to your site purchases an item, you receive a flat fee or a percentage commission of the total amount of the sale. Some of the most successful affiliate marketers earn six-figure incomes promoting products and services on the Web. While not everyone can become a top-selling affiliate, you can earn a sizable income by following a few key affiliate marketing strategies.

Understand Your Audience & Know Your Products

If you want to get all that you can from music affiliate programs, you need to understand both your audience and the offers you are promoting. What type of music is your target customer looking for? What format sells the best to your specific audience? If your audience is looking for top 40 hits, you won’t have much luck promoting folk music. Similarly, if your target customers are seeking the latest indie tracks, you will go nowhere trying to sell the latest pop chart smashes.

Before you even join any music affiliate programs, you need to decide what type of music and products your core audience is interested in. If your website’s main audience consists of teens and young adults, then your affiliate choices should always skew toward a younger crowd. If you are instead focusing on a website geared toward older adults, you might instead opt for classic materials. Your choices at this stage will play a major role in the overall success of your online business, so take the time to make wise decisions.

Diversify Your Promotional Strategies

Music affiliate programs are a great way to take advantage of some of the newest and most exciting online promotional tools. In order to ensure that you are reaching out to as many customers as possible, you must utilize several different marketing tactics. Some great tools and techniques include blogs, social marketing, podcasts and online videos. Music offers lend themselves well to many new marketing solutions and are especially well suited for word-of-mouth marketing campaigns.

If you have a website devoted to music or entertainment, music affiliate programs might be a great way to monetize your site. These offers are expected to grow in popularity, especially as more people begin to download digital tracks to mobile devices. Start planning your marketing strategy today to make the most of this promising opportunity.