Estimated reading time: 6 minutes
Independent artists trying to break into music may not have the financial or marketing resources that major label artists do. But thanks to social media and digital distribution, indie artists are equipped with the tools they need to promote their music and expand their fan base — worldwide.
Why is music promotion important?
Long story short: if no one knows about your music, no one will buy it. Where a major label can leverage their marketing budget to take out ads, run promotional campaigns, and get their artists placed on TV and in movies, indies have to be more creative.
As an indie artist, music marketing and promotion involves using available resources to spread the word about your music, build your brand, and get your songs in front of potential listeners.
Utilizing social media platforms
Of course, social media is a powerful tool for music promotion, and it’s imperative you leverage the popular platforms.
Facebook and Instagram for music promotion
Facebook and Instagram may not be the hippest social media platforms on the block, but they do have their advantages. Facebook offers several features to engage with your fans, such as creating an artist page, organizing live streams, and running targeted ads. And depending on the age of your fans, many of them may already have Facebook accounts.
Instagram offers great tools like Instagram Stories and Reels to share behind-the-scenes moments, sneak peeks of new music, and engage with your followers.
TikTok and YouTube for music promotion
These two video-based platforms can boast numerous successes in making new artists go viral. Plus, they each have over a billion monthly viewers, so your potential audience is broad. And good news… they both offer opportunities for you to monetize your music.
TikTok’s royalties are based on the number of videos that feature your music — so your best bet is to try to go wide and get your music featured in as many videos as possible. Do this by either jumping on current trends or by trying to start your own. TikTok videos are shorter and generally more spontaneous than regular YouTube videos.
With YouTube, it’s the number of views that each video receives that counts towards royalties. Knowing how to promote your music on YouTube can help you grow your fan base and reach. So you want to make sure your videos are top-quality in audio and video production. And with YouTube Shorts, you can also take advantage of the short-form video market by posting clips under 60 seconds.
Building an online presence
When building your online presence, consider the following.
- Create a professional website. Build a website that showcases your music online, provides information about upcoming shows, and offers merchandise for sale. Optimize your website for search engines and make sure it is user-friendly and mobile-responsive.
- Optimize your social media profiles. Update your social media profiles daily with new messages, high-quality visuals, and engaging content. Use consistent branding elements across all platforms to create a recognizable and professional image.
- Establish a consistent brand identity. You want to develop your online identity early and make sure you keep that appearance/attitude/tone consistent. This includes visual branding (logo, color scheme, fonts) as well as the tone and style of your content.
Busking or performing live gigs
When it comes to connecting with your fans, nothing quite beats the power of live performance. Perform live gigs in local venues, private events, and try busking on the street to gain exposure and side income.
Getting featured on music blogs
Getting featured on music blogs can significantly boost your visibility and credibility. But to get the attention and present a professional image to influential bloggers, you need promotional materials.
Press release and EPK
Before approaching bloggers or any press, create an electronic press kit (EPK). This should introduce your music, highlight your achievements, and provide links to your tracks or videos. Include high-quality visuals, as well.
Approach music bloggers
Once you have your EPK, research and communicate with music bloggers who cover your genre. Personalize your pitch and provide them with a list of reasons to feature your music.
Engage with your fans
Fans love it when their favorite bands interact with them, so spend time creating meaningful connections with listeners.
- Building a strong fan base. Interact with your fans on social media, respond to comments and direct messages, and show appreciation for their support. Offer exclusive content or early access to your music as a way to reward their loyalty.
- Creating meaningful connections. Engage with fans beyond social media by organizing fan meet-ups, hosting live Q&A sessions, or collaborating with them on creative projects. Building a genuine connection with your audience fosters loyalty and can lead to word-of-mouth promotion.
Email marketing remains a powerful tool for musicians to communicate directly with their fans.
- Grow your email list. Encourage fans to subscribe to your newsletter through your website, social media, and live shows. Offer incentives such as exclusive content or discounts on merchandise to encourage sign-ups.
- Craft engaging newsletters. Send regular newsletters to your subscribers, providing updates about your music, upcoming shows, and behind-the-scenes stories. Make the content engaging, personalized, and visually appealing. They don’t have to be long, but they should go out on a regular schedule so you stay fresh in your fans’ minds.
Get your music on streaming platforms
Digital streaming platforms are a great means for people to discover your music. Once your music is streaming, you have several ways to broaden your reach.
- Spotify is the biggest audio-only streaming platform. Submit your music to Spotify playlists, engage with your listeners through collaborative playlists, and use social media to promote your Spotify profile and tracks.
- Create an Apple Music artist profile, curate playlists, and use the “Connect” feature to share updates and exclusive content with your fans.
- Use YouTube Music to release music videos, lyric videos, and live performances. Explore other streaming platforms like Amazon Music, SoundCloud, and Tidal to diversify your reach.
Deliver the goods with CDs and vinyl records
Stay consistent, authentic, and work to build meaningful connections with your audience. With the right strategies and perseverance, you can bring your music to the world and cultivate a dedicated fan base. And once those fans are hooked, make sure you have CDs and vinyl records available for sale, along with customized merch, so you can turn that interest into revenue.