January 6, 2010, 12:00 AM

Internet sales rise 20% in 2009 for Musicnotes

Musicnotes, an online retailer of downloadable sheet music, reports 2009 sales of $10.8 million, up from $9 million in the prior year.

Musicnotes Inc., an online retailer of downloadable sheet music, reports 2009 sales of $10.8 million, up by 20% from $9 million in the prior year. Continually adding relevant song content and improving the customer’s experience spurred the growth in revenue, Tim Reiland, chairman and chief financial officer, tells Internet Retailer.

Musicnotes, No. 500 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, (a PDF version of the company’s financial and operating profile can be ordered by clicking on its name) put social media to work last year, including stepping up its marketing efforts via Facebook and Twitter. The company’s roster of Facebook friends topped 3,500 recently, beyond its original target, Reiland says. Facebook followers want to keep up with the latest music, such as new Christmas songs. “It’s about awareness and word-of-mouth,” Reiland says. “They want to hear what’s new at Musicnotes, but it has to be relevant because we’re all drowning in information. If they are following you it’s for a reason.”

The company also used its blog to issue a call for new or unique Christmas songs. One of the songs consumers asked for is titled “‘Zat you Santa Claus?” by trumpeter and singer Louis Armstrong. Songs unearthed through blogger suggestions can pay off right away only if Musicnotes owns the rights to publish them. If not, the company seeks the rights and then makes songs available once obtained.

The search for new music offerings is ongoing, and Musicnotes strives to make it easy for shoppers to download and print sheet music once they find it, Reiland says. Last year the company upgraded the reviews and recommendations on Musicnotes.com and worked with analytics and site search application provider Omniture to fine-tune internal search tools, Reiland says.

A constant goal is improving conversion rate, which hovers around 4%, Reiland says. A few big sales days in December pushed the rate toward 5%, and one in particular registered 130,000 visitors and about 6,500 orders, he says. He is aiming for an average 5% conversion rate in 2010.

Aside from annual holiday requests for “O Holy Night,” late into Christmas Eve, and “Auld Lang Syne” on New Year’s Eve, the sheet music business can be hit or miss. If shoppers find the music they seek, it’s up to Musicnotes to speed them through the ordering and downloading process. “But if they don’t find the song they are looking for, they’re not going to buy,” Reiland adds.

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