2-minute read. Last updated: December 12th, 2016.
Music marketing helps people to find (and fall in love with) your music. Put some effort into marketing your music and come closer to making a living with what you love doing. The more listeners you reach, the more will know you, stream or buy your music and come to your concerts. Check these 9 easy tips if you are an independent musician.
Why is music marketing important?
You love doing music. You are creating songs people love and would like to reach out to new people who might love it, too. Then this article is exactly for you.
Promotion isn’t as funny as playing music, I think we all can agree. It needs time which you could use to write songs and play music. It forces you to add a business side to the artistic one.
But what is the point in being great if nobody is listening to your music?
Normally record labels take care of the music marketing. On the other hand, labels won’t sign you until you have a big fan base to show. So you do yourself a favor if you put some thoughts into your marketing at first.
You could also hire another person to help you with marketing. But this is costly and not really authentic.
Many experts recommend spending at least the same amount of time with promotion as you spend on creating and recording your songs. Or at least to strive for it.
The first version of the article contained 6 tips, in this updated version you can find 9 of them.
How to successfully promote your music in 2017?
- Have your music ready for distribution
- Create a story around yourself and your music
- Know who your audience is and where they are
- Distribute your songs via music streaming sites
- Connect with influencers
- Use the advantages of Digital Marketing
- Make a plan for your Social Media Music Marketing
- Use videos for your music marketing
- Don’t forget offline music marketing
1. Have your music ready for distribution
It goes without saying, that promotion should start based on some great content. You don’t have to have a whole album ready, but one or two great tracks in an acceptable quality.
And even if you have your album ready, start your promotion with one single instead of the whole album. Music is a business and your music is a product. Pick something you can be really proud of and really push it with all your energy.
2. Create a story around yourself and your music
People are always interested in the people behind music and arts. What makes you unique? Good stories always have elements:
- Characters people can relate to: In your case, it’s you and your band. You are humans just like everybody else and struggle with the same things.
- The setting: Your location tells a lot about your situation and makes you closer to people from the same area. Use this advantage.
- A plot: You are an independent musician who wants to spread his or her amazing music with as many people as possible.
- A conflict: There are many other musicians who want to do the same. You are limited with time and money. And you might have some additional personal challenges which sometimes are worth sharing, too.
- The resolution: You become rich and famous. Or not. Mostly, your musician story is ongoing, so this point is less important.
Keep your story in mind when talking to your audience and influencers. Share it via blogs and within your social media channels.
3. Know who your audience is and where they are
No need to reach out to people one by one. When you know what type of people might be interested in your music, think where to find them all. Those can be online or offline spaces. Which sites and places do they visit? It depends on your type of music of course.
Where to reach out to potential audiences?
- Streaming platforms
- YouTube channels with your music type
- Facebook / Twitter groups and pages that that fit your style, too
- Music Forums
- Online radio shows that play your type of music
- Other big websites
- Concerts & Events: go there to connect and network with people
4. Distribute your songs via music streaming sites
- There are tons of streaming platforms out there. Share your music on iTunes, Pandora, Deezer, Apple Music, Google, Spotify (with their new Concert Tab), iHeart radio and Tidal. Put your music where people listen to it already.
- Consider a profile on Bandcamp and Bandsintown to give your fans some background info about your music, band, lyrics, and gigs.
- Create a profile on sofasession to share online multi-tracks of your songs. That way your fans can jam to your music and have an interactive and close experience. And your band could even jam and rehearse the songs online.
- Two upcoming services you might want to check out are YouTube Red and Soundcloud streaming. Even though experts criticize those two.
5. Connect with influencers
Influencers are people with many followers on social networking sites. Build a relationship with them.
First, they are constantly reaching out to all those people you want to reach, too. Imagine an important influencer introducing you as THE most awesome musician to be checked out. Wow.
And secondly, they are experts in their field. Ask them for a feedback, offer your help or start a project together. Always think of what you can give them in return.
Before you contact them, think it through and find the best way to approach them. They are professionals and earn money by being what they are. So if you spam the influencer with your music or come across as rude, you won’t do it any good.
Check out fluence.io to find people who’ll promote you.
6. Use the advantages of Digital Marketing
Use online advertising to reach out to new people. Run a paid advertisement campaign on Facebook. You can target people from a specific age group, geographical area or with specific interests. With only 20-50 € you can have several thousand of people seeing your post. If people share this post, you’ll reach even more.
What kind of content works well as a Facebook Ad?
There are several opinions on that and not every type of content works all the time. Try these:
- The faster a person can engage with your music, the better. Share a video of you playing the song or a professional music video.
- Record a personal message explaining the makings of the songs and your future plans. Include subtitles for those watching without sound.
- Share a link to iTunes or SoundCloud. Support the link with some authentic picture or gif of yours.
7. Make a plan for your Social Media Music Marketing
- Snapchat or Instagram stories: Give your fans some new and unique content. It could be behind the scenes of your rehearsals, studio time or even personal life.
- Instagram: update your fans on a regular basis. Post short videos of you playing or singing. Use the right hashtags – you can use up to 30.
- Facebook: Post photos, videos, and gifs. Join group discussions. Promote most relevant posts with Facebook Ads with 1-5€ per post. Create raffles and contests for your fans.
- Create a homepage or blog to bring together all your music content and story.
- Send newsletters to your subscribers to keep them up to date.
- Read more about Music Marketing Tools here.
8. Use videos for your music marketing
People love videos, and social media sites do as well. Create some smartphone videos of you. Introduce the new album or recording, tour dates and music videos. Short videos up to 20 seconds work best. Include subtitles for watching on Facebook without sound.
The star feature 2016 is live streaming. Check out the Live Video feature by Facebook. Snapchat allows almost live videos, too. You can learn more about Social Media music marketing here.
Did you know users have very short attention spans online? And that most people go online through smartphones & tablets? Consider that.
9. Don’t forget offline music marketing
Additionally to your online promotion, don’t forget to be present in your local area. Go outside, talk to people and connect with other musicians. And some further ideas:
- Put your stickers everywhere
- Perform in locations your audience visits
- Get your video on a (music) TV channel
- Get your song on a local radio
- Put Flyers & Records in local shops
- Do some street performances & flash mobs
- Organize concerts & invite people
While researching for music marketing insights, I discovered these articles you might want to check out as well:
- DIY is dead: Seven suggestions for indie musicians in 2016
- How to make it on Soundcloud
- Twitter vs. Facebook: Which is better for musicians?