There are so many ways to promote your music and career, which is empowering — and confusing. Which are the most valuable services for the budding indie artist?
Digital sales and streaming are a huge part of the music landscape for both independent and signed artists, providing plenty of opportunities for new acts looking to make a breakthrough. Loads of independent artists have created strong brands and maintained careers through clever use of the digital music scene, but with many types of services confusing the landscape, where should a new act focus?
YouTube, Google’s video platform, remains one of the dominant ways to gain exposure for a music act. Through traditional music videos, lyric videos, and myriad other promotional videos, you can easily upload and share content that takes fans backstage, front row at a live show, or inside a recording session to help build interest.
Within YouTube, Vivo helps promote the work of musicians and major artists and is also available across apps, websites, and some TV and cable networks. Vivo can also host content for new acts who sign up via Vidya.com for a fee, putting your content in the right place to be seen by a global army of music fans.
Making an impact with a new video is one thing, getting it seen is another, and many experts will put it down to a mix of luck, creative effort, and using influencers wherever you can to get your track or video noticed.
Also within YouTube are a large number of popular channels that support independent artists and specific music genres. These can be approached to highlight a video, add it to a playlist, or discuss an act and help promote with touring or events. Being covered by one or more of these channels is a good way to expand awareness of your act.
There are plenty of other video services available, but nothing matches YouTube when it comes to accessibility and reach. But Vimeo provides a “Staff Picks” feature to help promote new acts, so there are ways to leverage services to get your content noticed, wherever you post it.
Given the huge volumes of new music released daily, all new songs require effective social media and other promotional boosts to get noticed.
Audio streaming and downloads
The app giants of Spotify (48 million users), Apple Music (50 million users) and Amazon Music (12.7 million users) are all places where music acts ought to be to allow fans to engage and demonstrate you are committed to promoting your work.
Distribution services like CD Baby can help get your records on the important streaming services. Apple Music and others also provide their own toolkits to help artists and labels promote their music with official logos, affiliate website dashboards, and other useful tools.
Beyond that, SoundCloud provides an avenue for new acts or those with frequent releases they wish to promote in advance of launching an official album or EP. Spotify is developing a new direct-upload offering for indies, effectively creating self-distribution tools to a massive audience, and other platforms will follow this trend.
Get featured in the music news and listings apps
The decline of music magazines is a sad but inevitable affair. However, the creation of independent online magazines, blogs, and music appreciation sites and apps creates new opportunities. Reaching out to those in your sphere of influence and music genre is a great way to find fans, while posting news about tours on all types of music sites and local listings is key to building awareness of live shows.
Listing and ticket apps are their own beast, outside the usual sphere of band activity, but they are increasingly used by fans to track tours and can be the first sign that an act they like is active. Working directly with them, or through venues and ticket services, is another way to attract attention from your casual fan base.
Build your own app
For loyal and new fans, having your own app is an awesome way for you to control the flow of information to fans and provide links to your new content across the various services you employ. Using progressive web apps, you can build an app based on your existing website and content. Or, you can create your own custom app to create a user experience found nowhere else.
App-based content can build hype and interest around an artist in and of itself. Since many musicians have creative skills and acumen in design or animation — or a network of creatives who do — they can create something unique for fans to enjoy in addition to their music. Custom apps can also keep your fans talking to each other to maintain interest through spells of inactivity and to build hype before a new release or tour.
A combination of all of these services can help you build an audience. Regardless of how transitory music can feel in the digital era, working hard on building content and a digital promotion strategy is one way to build and sustain your career.
Izaak Crook is the Content Marketing Manager at AppInstitute, a SaaS App Builder platform that allows anyone to create their own iOS and Android app without writing a single line of code.
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