Not too long ago, having to promote one’s own music was a difficult uphill battle. The music industry is highly competitive, and it can be challenging for independent artists to stand out among the sea of other musicians vying for attention.
To add to that, self-promotion requires a significant amount of time, effort, and resources. This can be challenging for independent artists who may not have access to a large budget or a team of professionals to help them. Additionally, many artists may struggle with the marketing and promotional skills necessary to effectively promote their music. They may not know how to create a comprehensive marketing plan, target their audience, or utilize social media to its fullest potential.
However, the advancements in the use of the internet have made a significant impact on how musicians can self-promote their music. Read on to learn how to self-promote your music successfully.
Self-Promoting Your Music
As an indie artist, it may seem tempting to hire a marketing team to promote your music. However, not only can it be expensive, but it can also be a slippery slope. Taylor Swift’s feud with her old record label is a great example of how badly things can go wrong when a middleman is added to the equation. And while the pop star’s situation may be an extreme case, it is always better to be on the safe side.
It is also important to note that Swift had the power and resources to reclaim her old music. If worse comes to worst, most indie artists wouldn’t have the opportunity to do the same.
On the other hand, when you promote your music independently, you have complete control over your music, image, and brand. You can make decisions about how your music is marketed, who you work with, and what your message is.
Additionally, independent musicians have the potential to earn more revenue from their music. By cutting out middlemen such as record labels and distributors, you can keep more of the profits from your music sales, merchandise, and live shows.
If you’re confused about how to begin, here is a definitive guide that will help set you on the right path when it comes to promoting your music independently.
Define Your Brand
Before you start promoting your music, you need to define your brand. Determine what makes you unique and why people should listen to your music. Develop a brand identity that reflects your values, personality, and style.
- Determine your target audience and what sets you apart from other musicians in your genre.
- Develop a consistent visual identity through a logo, album art, and promotional materials.
- Create a bio that highlights your unique story and personality.
Create a Website
As an independent artist, your website should be the hub of your promotional efforts. It should showcase your music, merchandise, and upcoming shows. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate.
- Use a platform like Squarespace or WordPress to create a professional-looking website that is easy to navigate.
- Include your bio, details about your music, upcoming shows, merchandise for sale, and any other relevant information that makes you stand out.
- Use SEO (search engine optimization) techniques to make sure your website ranks well in search engine results.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for independent musicians. Create profiles on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Use these platforms to share updates, engage with fans, and promote your music.
- Choose the social media platforms that are most popular with your target audience.
- Post regularly and consistently to engage with your followers.
- Utilize paid social media advertising to reach new fans.
Release Your Music Strategically
It is essential that you plan your music release strategically. Consider releasing singles, EPs, or full-length albums and utilize streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora to distribute your music.
- Plan your release date well in advance to build anticipation and promote your release.
- Use a digital distributor like DistroKid, TuneCore, or CD Baby to release your music on major streaming platforms.
- Utilize music blogs and playlists to gain exposure.
Collaborate With Other Artists
Collaborating with other musicians can help expand your reach and introduce your music to new audiences.
- Look for opportunities to collaborate with artists with a similar style or fan base.
- Collaborate on a song or perform together at a live show.
- Cross-promote each other’s music on social media and other platforms.
Another essential aspect of succeeding as an independent musician is to invest time and effort into performing at live venues.
- Book gigs at local venues and festivals.
- Promote your shows on social media and your website.
- Build relationships with venue owners and promoters to secure more opportunities.
Network with Industry Professionals
Networking with industry professionals like music journalists, radio DJs, and record labels can help you gain exposure and grow your fan base.
- Attend industry events and conferences to meet industry professionals.
- Research and reach out to music journalists, radio DJs, and record labels.
- Offer free downloads or tickets to industry professionals to gain their attention.
Create Visual Content
Visual content like music videos and promotional photos can help promote your music and brand.
- Hire a professional videographer or photographer to create high-quality content.
- Create music videos that showcase your style and personality.
- Use high-quality promotional photos for your website and social media.
Engage With Fans
By the end of the day, your fans determine how successful you may or may not end up becoming. Therefore, it is necessary to engage with your fans as regularly as possible and make an effort to connect with them on a personal level.
- Respond to comments and messages promptly and with authenticity.
- Use contests and giveaways to encourage engagement.
- Show appreciation for your fans with thank you messages and special offers.
Monitor Your Progress
All of your efforts can go in vain if you don’t monitor your progress. Therefore, it is necessary to take some steps to keep track of what stage you’re on at any given time.
- Use analytics tools to monitor your social media and website traffic.
- Track sales and streams to see which marketing efforts are working.
- Adjust your strategy based on your findings to maximize your promotional efforts.
Overall, self-promotion can be a difficult and overwhelming task for many artists, particularly those who are just starting out. However, with the right knowledge, resources, and support, independent musicians can successfully promote their music and build a loyal fan base.
Eric Dalius is The Executive Chairman of MuzicSwipe, a music and content discovery platform designed to maximize artist discovery and optimize fan relationships. Additionally, he runs the weekly podcast “FULLSPEED,” featuring interviews with cutting-edge entrepreneurs. As the founder of the “Eric Dalius Foundation,” he provides four scholarships for US students. Keep up with Eric on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Entrepreneur.com.