How to promote your music
With such an overwhelming amount of choice, it can be hard to know where to start. There are so many ways to promote your music online, but how are you supposed to decide which marketing strategies or platforms are worth the investment? How do you break through the noise and learn how to promote your music?
Now, more than ever before, Independent artists have all the tools they need to launch their career, without the need for big budgets or major record labels. But, if you spread yourself too thin and attempt to use every media platform you can find, you’ll get nowhere. You will struggle to utilise each platform to its full potential and spread yourself too thin to see results.
With more and more unsigned artists launching their music careers, it’s important to know how to build and maintain successful promotion campaigns.
Before we get started on how to promote your music, it’s important to note that you will need good music to get started. Making a stand-out and high quality track should be your top priority. If your single, EP or Album aren’t well produced, you won’t succeed. Get your music out to a professional producer, make sure it’s well written and that it’s a sound your audience can connect with.
One of your top priorities should be creating a professional and stylish website. This will become the beating heart of your online presence. By having an official website, your fans will always have a one-stop hub they can go to, no matter what social networks they use.
On your website, you should feature links to your music and create a buzz around any upcoming releases. It should be well branded, with a solid bio, images, links to your merch store and an itinerary of upcoming events.
To help you further down the line, be sure to install an area where fans can subscribe to you and stay up to date! This will help you build a mailing list.
If you have a love for writing, then content writing is the way to go! Start a blog. Regular blogging will strengthen your relationship with your fans. When it comes to content style, the world is your oyster! You could write blog posts about your life as a musician, personal trials, your creativity and process, life on the road or tease upcoming releases. If your fans want to hear about it, it’s on the table!
3. Social Media
Building and maintaining a consistently engaging presence across social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and TikTok is essential. Social media is one of the most powerful promotional tools available to independent artists.
Facebook- Facebook has been considered an essential hub for promoting music online for years. However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to reach fans organically given the changes in the algorithms used. Facebook is an ideal source to pump your loose change into. You don’t need to designate a heavy budget to reach new audiences. Small boosts to campaigns will be effective.
Instagram– Instagram is the best place for you to build a visual brand identity. With posts, stories, live streaming, IGTV and the new reels feature, you have a mass of tools at your fingertips to help you access more than 1 billion active monthly users.
Twitter– Twitter is ideal for conversations, quick updates and interactions. This would be a great place for you to share your thoughts, do Q&A sessions and generally interact with your fans.
Snapchat– Snapchat is a more fun tool for you to connect with your target audience. The nature of Snapchat is very casual, making it feel more personalised and authentic.
TikTok– TikTok is one of the fastest growing platforms out there! Now with over 800 million active users, many falling in the younger demographic, this is a key way to promote music online.
Take advantage of getting verified on your accounts, so your listeners know that it’s really you!
Social media channels offer analytics and insights, enabling you to get to know how your audience responds to your content. This will track all the likes, clicks, comments and retweets, as well as general post engagements, to show you what lands and what really doesn’t. This is more helpful than just checking how many people follow you and will help you tailor your social media content.
Find out more about writing a Killer Bio here: Writing a Bio.
Need to Kickstart your twitter? Check out our handy guide here: Kickstart your twitter!
4. Electronic Press Kit
Some view an Electronic Press Kit (EPK) as the equivalent of a resume for your band. And that’s exactly what it is, it is your band’s CV. It should include an up-to-date bio, access to samples of your music, photos and videos of you and your performances. As well as any press coverage, social statistics and contact information. Having an EPK together will help when you meet and connect with people from the industry.
5. Mailing List
If a fan gives you their email address, it means they want to hear from you, and a message direct to their inbox about your latest release or upcoming tour is much more likely to reach them than a social post that can be restricted by a platform’s limited reach.
When you are considering how to promote your music, don’t leave networking off the list! You may want to focus on being in the studio, but your music needs opportunities. Building a network of key contacts is a crucial part of every musician’s career.
Start with the locals. Think of any venues, clubs, festivals, local community events and local media and get in contact with them.
Find online opportunities to grow your music further afield too. Find good bloggers and media contacts. Getting your music featured in online press coverage can be a big driver for streams. Even small blog features will have a positive impact on your exposure, and also the SEO quality of your website.
But remember, your fans are your biggest advocates. Keep them engaged and pumped up, and they will be a mini network, spreading your music worldwide.
For Independent Artists, being available on a broad range of streaming platforms is essential. You will want to cover a wide range of potential customers across the world!
Most of your audience will be listening to music through steaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and similar. This is where they can stream their favourite artists, discover new music and store everything they like. You will want to make sure your releases are available on these digital service providers. This can be done through a Digital Music Distributor like Identity Music.
So many artists look at playlists as the holy grail of music promotion, because, well, they kind of are! However, it would be wrong to believe that one playlist placement will bring around millions of new listeners and you won’t have to worry about promotion ever again. That is something which is just not going to happen.
With playlists, you could definitely see huge increases in listeners and followers, potentially gathering thousands of new ones. Spotify Playlists, as well as Deezer and Apple Music, rack up hundreds of millions of listeners over the world. Getting placed on popular playlists not only increases stream count, and revenue, it provides more exposure.
Getting your music featured on algorithmic playlists like Discover Weekly and Release radar can make a big difference, but it is a tough fight to get there!
In the meantime, don’t rule out other playlists. Seek out curators, playlisters and influencers and get your music in front of their audiences. You want to avoid your track being skipped to increase chances of algorithmic playlists, so pick playlists that have a similar audience to yours.
Most importantly, don’t buy fake spotify plays! So many shady companies offer this, but this violates spotify’s terms and it risks damaging your reputation with one of the most popular platforms in the world.
Avoid Playlist scams with our advice here: Avoiding Spotify Playlist Scams.
9. Establish multiple revenue sources
While streaming can bring a great income, by no means should you be solely relying on that. If you want to turn your music passion into a career, you need to establish multiple revenue sources, to ensure that money is continuously rolling in.
Start by monetizing your property. Every song that you create is protected by certain copyrights and trademarks. Digital Rights companies will set up your content to make money for you whenever someone else uses your work. Many high performing artists make millions from companies using their music to promote products, or in other forms of media. By not registering your craft, you risk losing out on valuable income.
Check out our Digital Rights Management services here.
Then, start selling to your fans. Using your established social media channels, you can encourage fans to buy your music merchandise. Check out our recent blog on all the music merchandise you could make for your brand!
When the world returns to normal, you can make some money from performing. This is where your local venue contacts will come in handy! Making money through live performances is a pretty simple way of boosting the bank. Once you hit the big time, you’ll get bigger venues and bigger pay cheques!
Find out more about ways you can make money here: Making money from your music.
10. Evaluate, Learn, Improve
Building a new fanbase takes time. The reality is, there is a lot more to releasing music then just putting music online. In order to be successful, you need to bring together all the aspects that make up your product and brand. If you take a small mis-step, that might just be what pulls you down. Take some time to evaluate and analyse what you are doing. Understand what your audience wants and put their interests first. Learn from your mistakes and continuously build bigger and better campaigns.
11. Use data to discover your audience
Wondering about how to promote your music won’t get you very far if you don’t understand who your audience is. A successful promotion will speak directly to the interests of your audience. Everything that you deliver to your fans, needs to be meant for them. The right message, going to the right audience is essential in any kind of marketing.
Using the analytics sections of your distribution client portal and your social media accounts, you can build a picture of who your fans are. Data and demographics will highlight the groups of people who gravitate towards your content. This won’t just influence your content promotion campaigns, but also how you release music. Understanding where your audience is, what platforms they use and how they listen to your music will help you tailor your delivery for the best success.
12. Play Live
Live gigs, concerts and tours are the classic music promotion tool. They are old, like WAYYYYYYYYYYYYY OLD. Live performances have been utilised by musicians for decades because they are a great way of growing, and making some money.
Whilst they are not an option right now, when the world returns to normal you’ll be able to take full advantage of this. Pre-Covid, the live music industry was forecasted to pull in $31 billion in global revenue in 2021!
13. Live Stream
Usually at this point, you’d be looking for venues to play every weekend. But, Covid-19 has caused mass closures of the music industry. It looks to be continuing to affect things for a while to come, so it is vital that you adapt!
Who said you can’t perform live anymore anyway? It’s time to make a transition to live streaming. Live streaming is a sure-fire way to keep your fans engaged and potentially reach new audiences. You should have Facebook, Instagram and YouTube already set up and ready to go, and these platforms offer live streaming facilities for no charge.
Making money using live streams is possible, and the potential earnings can be high. This is why lots of high-profile artists do it. If they made no money, they likely wouldn’t invest much time. But, just like anything else in your music career, it’s a bit of a slow burner. You won’t be making money on your first streams and when the money does start coming, it’ll likely be small amounts, because it takes some time to grow the audience. Find out more about live streaming here: Can’t Concert? Live Stream!
14. Have a plan
When planning out how to promote your music, it is important that you create a plan. Create some simple goals of what objectives you are trying to achieve, and plan your content promotion strategy in a way that build towards these. By forward planning, you can be prepared to get your content out, at the right time, to reach the right audiences.
15. Establish a strong team
Maybe you are determined to promote your music on your own. But there are huge benefits to surrounding yourself with a solid team of like-minded people. With a team of passionate people you are more likely to stay in the zone and keep on pumping at your best capacity. More than that, every team member will have their own contacts that you can utilise, boosting your chances of success even more.
You may be able to enlist the help of friends or family who are willing to help you for free, or an eventual cut of royalties revenue.
Sometimes, looking towards the professionals may give you the best edge. Music is a highly competitive market. Using promoters, PR professionals and pluggers is often worth the cost. Not only do they bring a new perspective, they have a great insight about the industry and what would perform best for you. Be careful and make sure you vett any service before you invest though!
16. Don’t give up
It can be very challenging as an upcoming artist. You look around, and all you see is success. That’s because we are only exposed to the successful details of a story. We don’t see or hear about the struggles that international artists faced before they reached the chart-topping status. You don’t hear how many times they considered quitting.
Every success comes with struggle. You will need to overcome obstacles, jump hurdles and duck and dodge a fair amount of obstacles on your way up. Every artist has a back story full of fear, doubt and second thoughts, the fact that they didn’t give up is why they made it to where they did.
If you don’t keep trying, you are guaranteed to fail. So if you want to climb to the top, you’ll need to keep going even in those moments of doubt!
Want to stay up to date with all the best tips and guides? Then subscribe to our newsletter below!