Can Music Really Sell Art?

Can Music Really Sell Art?

The mission of Midisparks is to inspire art sales through music. That’s a tall order of course. But arguably any website worth its salt is creating an enhanced user experience which motivates visitors to take desired actions. At Midisparks, a large image, well-matched audio, thoughtful narrative, composer and artist profile pics, all create for the viewer a sense of accompaniment in their art browse. Visitors browse our galleries with friends, with a community.

Now marketing is a many headed beast. The best website UX, by itself, will not make sales. There has to be some external marketing which brings qualified visitors to the site. Perhaps they found the site through organic search. Perhaps networking on social media drew the right set of eyes to a painting. But given a qualified prospect viewing some art, what can the music in particular offer to the visit which leads to the sale of art? Of course the answer lies in the art itself.

The featured art this December 2015 focuses on family, on scenes from everyday life, and on Holiday spirit. The homepage feature, for example, is ‘Young Married Couple’, an artistic color restoration of a black and white Edwardian era photograph by Carney’s Colour Photo Creations. Image of a young married couple - youth's passion and Victorian restraintConsider the young couple here, clearly in love, blushing with hopes and desire. But consider also that there is a great deal of propriety here. The couple is very much the creation of, and conformed to, the social moors of their age. The mood is joyful. But there is the restraint of the era also. Husband is well-appointed in his suit and tie. Though he holds his newspaper casually, the theme conveyed is one of duty and responsibility. The young woman presents in full-length beige dress, neck covered. Her hands clutch a small purse as if she is clutching her modesty.

The composer, commencing his process, might start with a list of terms about the art:

love; hope; desire; propriety; conformity; social moors; joyful; restraint; modesty; responsibility.

A good chew on these terms will surely steer the decision making about the music in a way which well connects the audio track with the photograph. Perhaps the composer will tend towards acoustic instruments and traditional harmonies. Perhaps the composer will be backward looking, alluding stylistically in his writing to the photo’s era. And most certainly the composer will struggle and find creative solutions to the interesting tensions created by notions of love and restraint, desire and modesty.

All of this decision making, informed by terms describing the art, results in a composition remarkably well-connected to the art. The music becomes a docent, an informed companion for the viewer. The music describes a less obvious subject, or creates a historical context, or suggests a narrative, to name just a few ways that music informs the art for our guest. The music can be diametrically opposed to the viewer’s take on the painting. That conflict is in itself engaging. The viewer is challenged to fight back mentally with a differing viewpoint. Turning on the music, and also turning off the music are powerful moments of engagement. The audio decision becomes akin to the car salesman who asks if we prefer a red car or a blue car. In either case, we are buying the car! The same idea applies here. The visitor has decided if he wants to view the painting with the audio or without. In either case he has made a firmer commitment to viewing the painting!

It is this gentle but effective tendency of the audio to deepen the visitor’s commitment to the image which is at the heart of music’s art selling power. In sales, as long as the customer is talking, she’s buying! In art sales, as long as the customer is viewing, he’s buying. Music sells the view, and thereby sells the art.

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