For bands, artists and songwriters, the world of music marketing can seem misty, confusing and even hypocritical—talented artists often struggle to get their name out there, while novelty work can go viral in no time. Also, since the beginning of this digital age, the way music is listened to, bought and shared is completely different than ever before.
However, you most likely already know all this. If you've tried to promote your music in present times, you know how difficult it can be to get your music heard.
In today's article, we'll be giving you five ways to promote your music effectively in 2017. These are tried and tested methods that will give you a much higher chance of spreading your music, growing your fan base or gaining exposure for your work.
Content marketing is nothing new. However, we believe it has become easier to use these days thanks to the many mediums and platforms such as social media, websites, email lists as well as old school print and radio, all of which are available at our fingertips.
For artists who want to get their music heard and build a loyal fan base, content marketing is a must. To be effective with your content marketing, you need to develop a congruent voice for all the channels you use to market yourself. Think about most of the world's successful musicians; they all have an image and a "theme" to them. The late David Bowie used multiple characters to write from, which gave him an edge over other artists and made him more engaging and intriguing to music fans.
Content marketing comes in many forms, from publishing content and music frequently to having a unique image. One of the most important things for artists these days is being active on social media. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all great visual platforms. To get some inspiration for how to use these, just take a look at famous artists’ social media channels.
It's also a good idea to spot new "up and coming" artists’ social media channels, since they'll be working extra hard on their content marketing. Make notes on the types of posts they create and mirror their ideas and concepts for your own work, making sure to put your own personal twist on whatever you do.
Paid Social Advertising
When this point is raised, most musicians and artists take off running. There's a common stereotype attached to paid social advertising. Generally, it is associated with costing a lot of money and generating little to no results. However, this is not quite true. As with any marketing method or tool, you can't blame the method if it's used badly.
Artists need to remember they've trained themselves in the field of music, not marketing. Therefore, if they run a few paid ads here and there without learning how to craft effective adverts, why do they expect an abundance of positive results?
Having said that, adverts on platforms such as Facebook can be very effective for artists. Paying for Facebook ads has dramatically increased some artists’ following and even propelled them to the top of their niche. For example, Joe Bonamassa is now regarded as one of the world's best blues guitarists, and every album he releases goes straight to number one in the iTunes blues chart. Not only that, his album "Blues of Desperation" was number one on the entire iTunes album chart when it was released, above Adele, Ed Sheeran and other huge names.
How did he do it? He combined effective content marketing and paid social adverts to build his following, engage with his audience and sell music. Facebook even put out a case study showing what Joe was and still is doing to grow his audience and album sales.
The key to success with paid social adverts is to build your social page following and email list. In Joe Bonamassa's case, he drove visitors from Facebook to an email sign up page, where people could opt-in to his email list in return for free music downloads. From there, he built a relationship with subscribers via email marketing and social media posts. You can use launch strategies, such as pre-orders and release dates, to build up an explosion of sales when your music goes "live."
Pitch to Playlist Curators
Everyone and their grandmother is using streaming services such as Spotify these days. Therefore, if you want to get your music heard, you have to distribute your songs to popular streaming services. However, if you've ever got your music on Spotify without marketing it or having an existing following, you'll know that once it's uploaded, it sits there pretty much undiscovered.
This is where playlist curators come in. When you access services such as Spotify, you're presented with various playlist options that may interest you. These playlists have hundreds of thousands of followers, which means millions of people go through those playlists every day.
There are playlists in all genres, and anyone can curate a Spotify playlist. However, as you can imagine, some playlists get a lot of exposure for artists, and others don't, depending on the amount of followers a playlist has. You'll want to search Spotify and other streaming sites for playlists with a decent amount of followers, and then find out who owns and runs that playlist.
You can find out who owns a playlist by looking next to the playlist name; there'll be a Spotify users name underneath usually. If the name is "Spotify," then Spotify created that playlist. If not, you can find out who that user is and message them. This will involve some research, such as searching Google or the Spotify playlist forum—some users run blogs or websites where you can contact them directly.
However, the first thing to do is to follow the playlist where you hope to have your music listed. Try to build a relationship with the curator before pitching your music. Depending on the type of person the curator is, they may not be open to new music or the way you request them to listen to your music and possibly add it to their playlist.
Playlists can launch music careers, so this method shouldn't be overlooked; it's one of the most powerful methods of this list.
Reddit is a powerful marketing tool when used correctly. However, to use it, you will want to make yourself into a community member and contributor. Reddit users are quick to spot those who wish to take from the platform without giving, and in some cases, moderators will ban users for this kind of activity.
The platform is made up of "subreddits" and sections about all kinds of niches. Whatever genre your music is, you'll be able to find a community of engaged and targeted users who will lap up your content. But, as stated previously, try to become a community member; these users may end up being the foundation for your music career, so treat them nicely.
There are subreddits allowing artists to post their music and music videos via YouTube once every now and then. Be sure to read up on the guidelines for these sub-sections so that you don't break the rules and get banned. However, if the community likes your music, they'll "upvote it" and enough upvotes will get you more exposure and transfer your post to different boards and areas of Reddit where more users will see it and share it. It's quite possible for your content to go viral on Reddit, and it's also worth nothing this promotion method is completely free to utilize.
Get on Music Blogs
Music blogs are a great place to gain exposure for your music. Only serious music fans will visit music blogs, meaning you'll acquire playlist additions, label interest, new fans and other opportunities by being featured on popular music blogs.
Search the net for music blogs related to your genre, and see what the process is to become featured or advertised on that blog. You may have to pay for a sponsored post, or you might be able to get featured for free. It's a similar process to building a relationship with a Spotify playlist curator; you'll want to try to befriend the site owner so that they're willing to help you out. Also, having decent music helps!
The types of content you'll come across on music blogs will be gig announcements, music releases, music reviews and even live-streamed performances. Any of these formats will be worth your time as long as they're relevant to your goals.
Overall, these five ways to promote your music are proven to be very effective for both up and coming artists and all the big name acts you know and love. One key piece of advice is to look at what artists are doing who are just starting to make a name for themselves. Their content will be great to mold for your own marketing uses, as they'll most likely be utilizing at least a few of the five techniques given in this post.
Don't let all these five areas overwhelm you either. Take one point and master it, then move on and combine another with what you've learned. Remember, if you want to be taken seriously as an artist, you have to take your work seriously. Create a decent image, be active on social media and make sure your music is recorded to a high-standard. Then, you will find it easier to engage with your fans, and when you begin marketing your material, you'll have a plan in place to keep growing your audience and exposure.