Part of being an independent artist is learning how to promote music, whether it’s brand-new or otherwise. We’ve listed some ways you can do that to ensure your music reaches more ears.
These days, you need to be a portfolio musician. You have to write and record, mix and produce, play gigs, and promote music. It’s a lot to juggle. That’s why we’ve got some tips to help your promotion campaigns reach exciting new heights!
If you ask any independent musician what one of the main struggles with forging a career in music is, you can bet almost all of them will say budget. In many societies, we don’t like to discuss finances too deeply, but the fact is this plays a significant role in what options are available to artists. When it comes to music promotion, the majority of new or independent artists don’t have large dedicated marketing budgets. This means a level of creativity and resourcefulness is needed in order to promote music effectively and affordably.
With a number of things on your musical plate, we’ve dished up some ideas for promoting your music that can help build a fan base and boost monthly streams and sales. Here are some tips to help you promote your music on a budget.
Distribute your music
This may seem like an obvious one, but you can’t promote music if it isn’t available anywhere for people to listen to. In order to get your music onto streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, you’ll need to go through a distributor. Our official partner, RouteNote, provides free and fast digital music distribution to artists around the globe.
Having your music available online means that you now have a product to promote. When you’re shouting about a new release, you can link people to it and encourage them to listen.
Sign up for artist services
If you’re unfamiliar with artist services, these are additional services provided by distributors or streaming companies. Designed to help artists promote music, they offer a variety of features and access to help push new music to a bigger audience.
One popular example is Spotify for Artists. This service allows artists who distribute their music on Spotify to change their profile pictures, pitch music to editorial playlists, and much more. The whole thing makes it simpler for musicians to engage with fans and market to them effectively.
Create a website & electronic press kit
The more you have online about you available to your audience, the better. A website gives fans and potential listeners somewhere to land when they look you up. Here, you can make tour dates available, as well as merch, music, email signup and pretty much anything else you want people to access.
An electronic press kit (EPK) is like a neatly packaged digital CV or resumé full of promotional materials relating to you and your music. These are important for making sure that labels, producers, promoters, agents and other industry people can know everything they need about you. Having an EPK helps contribute towards a professional outward appearance. Your kit should include an artist bio, contact information, and upcoming live show dates.
Utilise social media platforms
So far, our tips have focussed on building a good foundation from which you can promote music. Now, we’re going to move on to the actual promotion itself.
Leveraging any free marketing tools is a must. Social media is one of the most powerful and free marketing tools an artist can make use of. You can connect directly with fans and engage with them through live content, comments, and polls. Creating short-form video content means the various algorithms will push you in front of more people. You can incorporate clips of your music and tease new releases. TikTok could even help your song to become a viral hit that users feature in their video content.
Use email marketing
One of the strongest ways to promote music is through email marketing. Yes, being an independent musician also means becoming a savvy marketer.
Building up an email list is essential for sharing updates about your music. Your website and social media channels should feature an easily accessible signup form so that fans can receive emails from you. It’s wise to create a regular email campaign – once a month is standard. These emails should include exciting updates, exclusive discounts, or early access to live performance tickets.
New music can be teased and promoted in your emails, with links to pre-saves on streaming platforms. This way, your brand-new music already has plenty of listeners the minute it’s dropped.
Pitch to playlists
Reaching out to publicly run playlists could mean getting listened to by target audience members who may not have discovered you otherwise. Whilst platforms like Spotify do have recommendation features and similar artist suggestions, it’s wise to take a proactive approach.
Look for playlists that fit the genre of your music, and get in touch with the playlist curator. Even just one song getting featured on a playlist could result in thousands of streams of your music.
Reach out to blogs and press
We might be biased but, blogs are important. I mean, you’re reading this blog right now, aren’t you? Like social media profiles, websites and press kits, blogs are yet another way to boost your online presence.
Social proof encourages people to check something out even more than just you telling them to. This is when other people vouch for you and give reviews or testimonials about your music. If you can get lots of people to talk about you, it will create a buzz that becomes irresistible to music fans. They’ll be so intrigued that they end up checking you out.
Unfortunately, you can’t make this magically happen. You will need to reach out to blog creators and media outlets, requesting that they feature you in their content. This is where an EPK comes in very handy. Start off by contacting smaller-scale blogs and press outlets that fit within your genre and niche. As your popularity and presence grow, you can reach out to larger blogs.
Collaborate with other artists
Teamwork makes the dream work. Nobody is an island, and this is certainly true when it comes to being a musician. Even if you’re a solo artist, seeking out the help and advice of fellow artists is imperative to success. This is especially true when the time comes to promote music.
Collaborating with other musicians can help you reach new audiences and build your fan base. Reach out to musicians in your area who have a similar sound or style, and see if they’re interested in collaborating on a song or playing a gig together. You can also join online communities for independent musicians, where you can network and find potential collaborators.
The number of bands and artists we have discovered by simply wandering into a venue or festival stage spontaneously is countless. Playing gigs and live shows puts you in a position where people can stumble across your music organically.
Look for opportunities to play at local venues, festivals, and events. You can also organize your own shows at bars, coffee shops, or other small venues. This is a sentiment we, and many artists, usually dislike, but even if you don’t get paid for your performance, playing live can help you get exposure and build a following.
In conclusion, promoting your new music on a budget is challenging, but not impossible. By leveraging social media, collaborating with other musicians, playing live shows, getting your music on streaming platforms, and creating engaging content, you can effectively promote your music and build a fan base without spending a lot of money.
It certainly takes plenty of determination, consistency and resilience, but it’s a valuable learning curve for any independent artist. By employing even just a handful of these tactics regularly, you could see your monthly streams and listens boosted in a matter of weeks. Remember to only take on what you can manage, so that your promotion feels natural and authentic. Audiences are discerning and can tell when something is being forced.
Learning the best way to promote music is a personal journey, so don’t be afraid to experiment along the way!
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