This post focuses on music marketing strategies that help you get exposure, grow your tribe, get more likes and plays, build your assets and grow your income as a producer and artist.
There are a few crucial things you must however get in place if you want these strategies to work for you:
It'll take some work to get all the above in place but it's worth your time because it'll make all your music marketing and promotion efforts easier as you go along.
So, take some time to check off the above list and then get the music marketing strategies below in play...
You probably already know that marketing is about getting attention. You also know that, in our current world of stream after stream, distractions abound and attention is scarce. So, if you want you and your music to be at the forefront of people's minds you need to keep their attention on a regular basis. Online, this means you need content.
Many artists and producers don't put out as much content because they have the mistaken belief that it needs to be special, well-produced content every time, and since they don't have the time and resources to produce it they leave it all-together or at most are kind of sporadic with their content.
Take a page out of Gary Vaynerchuk's playbook and document, don't create.
Not every piece of content you put out needs to have high productions standards. Whip out your phone and capture moments. It doesn't have to be music or even music-related. People want to see glimpses into your life as a producer and artist. No need to be fancy about it. It's fine to keep it casual.
Just make sure you capture as much as possible. You can always not publish something you've captured but you cannot publish something you haven't caught in some form.
So, capture, capture, capture!
One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to marketing is thinking that their music is for everyone.
There isn't an artist on the planet that's liked by everyone. You don't need to be liked by everyone. You just need to appeal to a subsection of the population.
Here's the thing...
People who like the same music will often tend to have other similar interests. They may like the same brands, shows, films, websites, channels and fashion.
They may also tend to be in a certain age range. Billie Eillish fans and Fleetwood Mac fans will most likely tend to have different demographics. Not always, of course, but in general terms.
Your job is to figure out who your potential tribe members are most likely to be. The reason you want to do this is because it will make your music marketing strategies easier to decide on and make your marketing efforts more effective and therefore more economical.
Marketing to everyone is ineffective unless you have a huge marketing budget. Even with said huge budget it would be smarter to get more specific about who you want to attract.
So, don't waste your energy, time and money by being vague. Know your tribe and focus on them!
Your music is important. So too is your image and branding.
You must have at least an idea of how you want to present yourself as an artist. Branding is simply about how people feel when they interact with you, your content and your music.
This can range from the clothes you wear to the artwork you decide on to the themes of your content to the color palettes you use on your website, your logo and merch.
So, decide on the feelings or impressions you want people to walk away with when they've been in contact with your brand and then tailor your materials and content to that objective.
These are examples of the types of questions you may want to ask yourself as you develop your branding.
Remember the point in the introduction where we mentioned the fact that you want to be clear about your values and principles? If you are then branding is a whole lot easier to do.
So, spend some time. Think about your values and principles. Think about your tribe or potential tribe. Find something that works and then make it consistent throughout your marketing materials.
You don't own your Twitter, Instagram or Facebook profiles or followings. They can be shut down overnight for reasons that aren't even clear.
Your website, on your own domain, is one of the only two assets you fully own online.
So, while you want to build your followings on social profiles you want to make sure that you focus on building your own assets too. Publish your main content on your website and then distribute to other platforms. Make sure you refer people back to your website and provide some content exclusively on your site.
Remember, when you build your own (artistname).com website you build an asset that you outright and legally own, and an asset isn't developed overnight. In time your website will start to bring in traffic and as it grows it will become more valuable to you as an artist and entrepreneur.
So, learn what you need to learn about website design, development and web traffic strategies and get your site going as soon as possible.
There are companies like Bandzoogle, for example, that focus exclusively on web-builder tools and hosting for artists and musicians. This is good because the support materials and resources they provide are centered around your needs as an artist. This is definitely one of the easier options available for your artist site.
There are however many web hosting options available so you'll be wise to consider the choices you have for your artist website and choose the solution that best fits your particular needs.
Different people in your tribe may prefer different sources for their music. So, make sure you're on as many different music platforms and retail sites as possible. Some major ones would be iTunes, Spotify and Amazon of course but the are a ton of others to also consider. Most distribution services will give you guidance when it comes to where you can distribute with their services.
Services like Tunecore, CD Baby and Distrokid make it quite effortless to distribute far and wide online. Each service has a different pricing structure so make sure you compare them to pick one that works for your current situation and plans for the future.
It may seem a bit old school to grow an email list. It's still however one of the best music marketing strategies you can implement.
Remember when we said a website is one of the two assets you completely own online? Yes, your email list is the other one!
When you send out an email to your list it goes out to everyone. No throttling or shadow banning or post boosts here. Everyone with a valid email address on the list gets the email. No social media keeping your subscribers from you and no chance of being banned all of a sudden.
Remember, these are people who gave you their email address. They've given you permission to contact them so they want to hear from you. Now of course you want to respect your list. Keep the emails valuable or entertaining. Don't just shill in every email you send out.
Email marketing has become much more sophisticated so you can now segment your list and send an email only to a specific part of your list. That means if you're playing a show in Atlanta and want to let only the ATLiens know without irritating everyone else it's easy to do. Same goes if you want to send only to people who are usually very engaged with your emails. Segmentation makes this a breeze to do.
There are many services available. I like Mailchimp for beginners because it's reputable, free and easy to use. You can always migrate to another service later on if needed. Just get your list going as soon as possible because every day you don't have one is a missed opportunity for you and your music.
Take emails at shows. Offer free tracks on your website in exchange for a sign-up. Add a sign-up button to your Facebook page. Give people a good reason to sign up and remember it will take a while to build your list.
Once you have a decent list it's worth gold. So, get started!
Social media, as you probably know by now, has become one of the main sources of news and means of communication for most people. This means that these platforms are used by billions and billions of people.
You cannot afford to neglect your social followings for this exact reason.
That and it's also a form of social proof. People will tend to follow those who others follow. Labels will look at your following when they decide about working with you. The same goes for collaborators, bloggers, press and influencers.
Now, you don't have to be on every social media platform. If you know your potential tribe likes to use a certain platform it's a good idea to be there. I'd say start with 3 platforms. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for example.
Keep in mind however that the more saturated a social media network becomes the less attention you'll get for free and the more attention will start to cost. So, while it may have been easier to grow a following on Insta when it started it will get progressively more difficult to do so as the platform grows.
So, it's a good thing to stay updated on newer platforms that are starting to get traction for better organic traffic and attention.
There may also be opportunities when these platforms release new features as long as you're an early adopter of the feature. Take Instagram's longer-form video feature, IGTV, for example. When the platform releases new features they often reward those who use it first with cheaper attention and more traffic.
Another thing to remember is that each platform has a type or format of content that works on that platform. So, what works on Facebook won't be what works on Instagram. This means it's a good idea to make your content tailored to the platform you're posting on.
Keep in mind though that you'll not be able to reach most of your social followers organically. Facebook, for example will only show your posts to some of your followers. To reach more of them you'll need to pay...
You must be willing to pay for the attention you get on social media and online.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube all have paid advertising services and it's a great idea to utilize these services when you're able to do so.
The great thing about this music marketing strategy is that you can get very specific about who you want to reach.
The thing to be careful about is that it's easy to waste money if you don't understand what you're doing or how these services work.
One big way to make sure you're not wasting money is to be very specific about who you target in your paid campaigns. One more reason why you want to know your tribe and their interests well before you even start.
It's a good idea to start with one platform and master it before expanding to other paid advertising platforms. Either that or hire a specialist for each of the paid advertising platforms you want to implement as one of your music marketing strategies.
We live in a visual culture. YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google itself. Many people get all their music on YouTube. Audio-only works fine on some platforms but if you don't want to leave a lot of attention on the table you must invest in video production.
Music videos, yes for sure. Interviews, behind-the-scenes, tutorials too. People love videos. Take advantage of this fact to grow your following as an artist and producer.
Don't stick to just YouTube. They may be the most popular video platform. It's for this exact reason why large competitors like Facebook video will reward people to post videos on their platforms. So, make some videos exclusively for Facebook video or IGTV and you'll get more traction than you might on, the by now saturated, YouTube.
Merch isn't just a great way to give your tribe members a memento and increase your revenues.
It's also an excellent music marketing strategy because it activates your tribe to spread the word for you and your music.
Again, it helps if you have your brand on point before you start to offer merch. Luckily, with print-on-demand you don't have to invest in a lot of stock to get started with merch.
You can offer merch on your artist website and at shows. It also makes for great prizes in your giveaways. More on that further below.
Luckily, today you don't have to do large print runs and fill your house with boxes of merch. Merch can now be printed on demand and smaller orders don't come at a massive premium.
Some well-known print-on-demand services you can look at are Zazzle, Cafepress, Spreadshirt and Printful.
Fyre Festival aside, influencers can be an excellent way to get your music heard and reach new tribe members.
This music marketing strategy is all about tapping into the followings and networks of other people. Some influencers have massive followings and are willing to share that with you if it aligns with their mission or the price is right.
Here's the thing...
Influencers are also in the content game and that means that, since a lot of them produce videos, they need music.
So, the pitch isn't that difficult. Offer free use of your music as long as you get credit. That's one route.
Another route is of course to pay the influencer to promote your music.
Now, this is a case of buyer beware. Not all influencer followings are real. Some have over-inflated followings which they produced by buying fake followers. So, you have to be careful. This post on AdAge will give you an idea of what to look out for before you invest in influencer marketing.
Influencers can be a great way to boost your music marketing efforts, as long as you make sure they actually are what they appear to be before you sign on the dotted line and hand over your hard-earned cash.
Playlists have become one of the main sources of new music for many listeners. Being featured on the right playlist at the right time can skyrocket a new track. So, this is one of the music marketing strategies on this list not to overlook.
Now, once you get into it you'll quickly realize that it's definitely not a one-click process. There are many different playlists. From the official Spotify playlists through to major and independent label playlists to artists and consumer playlists. Each will require a slightly different approach. It will also require some effort to get on a playlist.
The following selected articles, one by CyberPR and another by Bandzoogle will get you informed and off to a good start with Spotify playlist marketing:
So, You Want To Get On Spotify Playlists? Here’s What You Need To Know First
Podcasts are becoming more and more popular as a format as you probably already know by now.
The good news for music producers and artists is that as podcasts grow in popularity there will naturally be a greater demand for good quality music to feature in the podcasts.
There are two main ways you can get your music in podcasts:
Another option, mentioned by Ari Herstand, is to work for the podcast as their in-house or go-to composer.
I suggest you read his excellent detailed post about how to get your music in podcasts here:
Some music marketing strategies require a bit more commitment than others, and to start your own podcast is one that requires a lot of commitment. The pay-off can however be huge so it's one strategy to definitely consider.
To get started with this strategy I suggest you read this informative post by Bjorgvin Benediktsson:
Collaboration with other artists is an excellent way to expose your music to new listeners. If you're just starting out as an artist it may be more difficult to find willing collaborators. This will get easier once you have a larger following of your own because you have something to offer. Your followers are introduced to the artist you collaborate with and vice versa so it's a win-win-win for both artists and their followers.
This is another one of the music marketing strategies that requires you to build relationships so it'll take some investment in terms of effort and time.
Working with other artists can also be tricky, so you'll want to make sure that you're on the same page from the get-go in terms of your goals and objectives and also who will do what during the production process and release.
This post Dave Cool over at Bandzoogle will give you some excellent ideas for getting started with collabs:
21 Ways to Collaborate with Other Artists & Bands to Get More Fans
Was it Woody Allen who said that 80% of success is just showing up?
Well, it's definitely true that showing your face at different events is a great way to build relationships and grow your professional and personal networks.
This is one of the music marketing strategies that isn't about just shilling your wares. It's about being real, being there and being interested in other people. The benefit is that people are more likely to promote, recommend or work with people they already know.
So, it's about creating options for yourself and paying it forward by helping others.
You can go to industry events, festivals and shows for example.
The best strategy is to approach it from a point of view of genuine interest in others and trying to figure out how you can help them in some way shape or form.
Again, this is just about showing up. Sure, when people ask about you and what you do, as they do, give them your brief summary. Just don't make it all about you. Turn the conversation back to them and you'll find that people will love to talk with you.
There is a huge benefit to being the host of an event as you can probably imagine. Everyone wants to know the host and you'll often hear people at especially smaller events asking "So, how do you know [Enter Name of Host Here].
Apart from the instant clout you also have control over the theme and the guests you bring together.
Now, events aren't easy to pull off, so if this is your first rodeo you want to start small. Make it special, make it Instagrammable and make it good.
Launch parties are obviously a classic example of this type of music marketing but you can get creative with your events. This strategy is more about branding than marketing but it can also be good for promoting your work and the work of your collaborators.
People love giveaways. So, running one is a solid way of growing your list and social following.
You can give away merch, music or any other prizes you can get your hands on. You may even want to approach companies to get them involved as sponsors for prizes.
Check out this post over at Quicksprout for a good rundown of what's involved in the process.
A certain part of your following will be interested in your production process and workflow. You can satisfy their thirst by doing video tutorials. It's also a great way of connecting with other producers and artists.
So, if you're so inclined, tutorials can be a good indirect music marketing strategy.
You'll obviously need screen-recording software and a decent setup which includes at a bare minimum an audio interface, headphones and a microphone to record your video tutorials.
Traditional and alternative news is obviously a good way to get in front of the eyes and into the ears of new potential tribe members.
While you can probably get into smaller local publications by yourself you may want to look into hiring a PR agency or publicist for larger projects.
Good publicists with solid press connections don't however come cheap so you'll want to make sure you have the budget ready for this music marketing strategy.
This is one also a place where you want to make sure you do your research. Look for agencies or individuals with a proven track record of success, preferably with artists in your same genre.
This isn't one of the music marketing strategies you can do without a budget but if you're willing to invest it'll pay dividends as long as you make sure you choose the right agent to roll it out with you.
It's also a good idea to develop an artist press-kit before you start your PR campaigns.
You now have 20 music marketing strategies for your producer or artist marketing tool-kit!
You don't have to implement each and every one but the more the merrier. Just don't spread yourself too thin too fast. Find an initial combo of strategies that works for you at your current stage of growth and keep the others on the back-burner, ready for future implementation.
Please share this article if you know producers or artists who may find it useful. Thank you!
Here's to massive success with your music marketing!
Learn to understand equalisers and frequencies to supercharge your mixing skills and get results, fast...
New producer? Learn everything you need to produce your first professional track right now...
Would you like to discover the simplest and easiest way to learn music theory as a music producer?