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How to Promote Your Music

The internet has opened up endless possibilities to promote your music, and, while that may seem daunting, it really allows you to experiment and let your creativity run wild! The key is to learn from the promotions you run, make changes, and fine-tune them to your unique career. Let’s take a look at some basic strategies you could be using to promote your music right now.

1. Live Music Promotion

With everything moving more and more towards digital, it’s easy to forget about the value of the person-to-person interaction. These days, you can create great quality music, release it, distribute it, promote it, and even play live without ever leaving your room. But, just because you can release something entirely online doesn’t mean you should! In fact, these personal interactions are still extremely important in the music industry.

The live show is so much more than just performing. You can use gigs to promote your music, new album, or song. Tell your fans that you’ll be premiering a new song, or, if you want to go all out, tell them you’ll be playing the whole album at one show over the next month or two. The trick is not to tell anyone which is the lucky show.

If your fans really want to hear the album early, they’ll have to come to all the shows. You could also use gigs to grow a fanbase in new cities, states, or countries. Work with a local established band and propose a headline swap – you’ll open for them in their home town and they’ll open for you in your home town. Just make sure you pick a band with a similar musical style.

If you want our free guide on
How to Promote Your Music with 3 Social Media Checklists (Click Here)

2. Use Social Media to Promote Your Gigs and Appearances

We all use social media. These days, if you’re not on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, it’s almost like you don’t exist. However, you may not be using social media to it’s full potential to promote your music. Social media is not a straight-up marketing platform. It’s really a catalyst for conversation and word-of-mouth marketing. About 80% of your posts should be funny, conversational, and interesting, leaving about 20% for promotional material.

That’s not to say that conversational posts can’t be promotional! You just need to learn how to frame the content in interesting ways. For example, if you’re in the studio recording a new album, try sprinkling little updates on social media. Tell a story about your studio experience that day, share a photo of the mix, or post a short teaser Vine of a song. If you’re out on tour, take photos at the venues or share short videos or photos of the audiences. These things aren’t obviously promotional, but they still let fans know what’s going on.

Check out New Artist Model for more info on promoting your music via social media.

3. Promote Your Music and sell it on Your Website

Your website shouldn’t be a static thing. It should be ever adapting and changing to reflect new events in your career. Basically, you want your fans stopping by your website as often as possible. The more often they’re on your site, the more chances they have to buy an album, merch, tickets, or any other product you have available.

If you’re just starting out, you probably don’t have a lot of big updates other than the occasional album release and tour. Running a blog is a great solution. It’s fairly easy to set up a blog on the homepage of your website. Most website tools like Bandzoogle, and WordPress, have blog capabilities. Plan out blog posts at regular intervals like once or twice a week and share anything you think your fans would find interesting. This could be the inspirations behind certain songs, new lyrical ideas you’re working on, a funny story from the last band practice, or even a run-down of the gear you use.

4. Reach out to Music Blogs

If you want to promote your music, it isn’t just about sharing things with your fans. You also want to reach out to new audiences and convert them to fans, and music blogs are a great way to do that. Bloggers are always looking for fresh, new content, and the cool thing is, there are a ton of smaller blogs that are totally within your reach as an indie artist. Blogs also tend to have a pretty niche following. This means that if your music is run on a blog, it’s guaranteed to be seen by people who already like the genre!

Do some research, find blogs that cover your type of music, and send personal emails out to the bloggers. Are there any interesting stories about your new album, song, or tour? Having a unique story will definitely help you stand out from the thousands of other musicians releasing an album. Make it as easy as possible for them to cover your story and treat them like people. Remember, it’s all about establishing a relationship.

5. Collaborate with Other Musicians

Collaboration is an often overlooked aspect of music promotion. It’s a great way to get your music in front of another group of people and make new fans. You can collaborate on pretty much anything. Just make sure you collaborate with musicians whose fans would appreciate your music. Choose to work with bands in a similar genre or with similar fanbase demographics.

The headline trade strategy we looked at earlier in this article is a great option. You could also work together on a song or album. If you don’t want to dedicated too much time, record a cover song or two together and release them on your YouTube channels. The key is to drive your fans to each other. If you create a song or video, link to each other’s websites. If it’s a gig, try to drive your fans to each other’s merch table to pick up a CD.

6. Promote with Email

Your email list is an extremely valuable tool to promote your music. Unlike collaboration and blogs, your email list is marketing to your current fan base. If someone signed up for your email list, they want to hear from you, so take advantage of it! Remember, your emails should be driving your fans to your website, so you want to include links.

The obvious use of an email list is to let your fans know when you have an album coming out or a tour. You can also use your email list to send fans to your blog. Remember, you want to get your fans on your website as often as possible.

 

“No matter how many followers you have, you can’t eat a tweet. Get New Artist Model and learn how to turn traffic – into fans – into money.” – Dave Kusek

New Artist Model is a music business crash course designed to help you break through and get heard. Most programs will show you how to grow your following on social media, or even start building up engagement, but that’s where they stop. The truth is, if you want to be successful online, you need to know how to turn those followers and engagement into sales.

 Click to get this free eBook

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The New Artist Model is an online music business school for independent musicians, performers, recording artists, producers, managers and songwriters. Our classes teach essential music business and marketing skills that will take you from creativity to commerce while maximizing your chances for success. See what thousands of independent musicians are excited about. Learn different ways to promote your music with free lessons from the New Artist Model online music business school when you sign up for our free video training series.

Watch the video on this page to learn more

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Promoting Your Music on Social Media – How to NOT Waste Time

how to not waste time promoting your music on social media
 

Let’s talk about promoting your music on social media.

More specifically making the task of promoting your music on social media not suck (and take all your time away from music). I mean, who has time to spend hours coming up with social media posts to promote your music on Facebook and Twitter?

The secret is NOT doing more to promote your music. It’s about working SMARTER – making the most out of everything you create.

So today, I’m going to walk you through a quick approach to making your social media efforts more efficient and more productive (so you can save time and get your music heard).

Keep in mind that implementing a music marketing strategy on social media like the one I’m going to give you today takes TIME. There is going to be very little instant gratification here, so get yourself in that mindset.

True success on social media is like a relationship (a relationship with each of the hundreds or thousands of fans you have on the platform). And like any relationship, it will take some time to develop.

That being said, I do have a jumpstart guide for you that includes 3 social media checklists that will give you the music promotion tips that the most successful indie musicians use online. Click here to download it for free.

Think long term with these tips, be consistent, and after a few months, you’ll start seeing more activity.

1. Use Content You Already Have to Promote Your Music

If you think you need to create a whole new set of content for promoting your music on social media, you’re wasting a lot of time and effort (time that could be spent playing gigs, practicing, recording, writing…).

Instead, think about how you can repurpose and adapt all the great stuff you already have.

As musicians, we create A LOT of stuff. You know – riffs, songs, lyrics, covers, jams, live performances, albums, tones, beats, effects, and the list goes on and on.

BUT, a lot of musicians I see out there promoting their music online don’t actually use half of the stuff they create. And that’s a missed opportunity.

I know, there is a bit of a balance to find here. Especially if you’re working you way up to a big album launch you don’t want to give everything away before the actual release date. But giving away little pieces here and there can actually get fans more excited for the release as you build up the anticipation.

Today, take a few minutes to look at all the creative work you do every day.

  • How much of it are you actually sharing with your fans on social media?
  • How can you start weaving the content you’re creating into your music promotion strategy?

If you want our free guide on How to Promote Your Music with 3 Social Media Checklists (CLICK HERE).

2. Music Marketing is All About Frequency and Consistency

Okay, one quick aside before we get into how to actually create your social posts…

A lot of musicians have this mindset that their work can’t be released until it’s 100% perfect and finished (and it needs to be released in its entirety or not at all). And the result is often long periods of radio silence on social media followed by frantic promotion of the new thing.

At the most basic level, success on social media is all about balancing frequency and consistency. The more you post (as long as it’s quality, interesting posts), the more of a response you will get over time. Fans will start to expect and anticipate your posts.  

Which means that radio silence is actually hurting you when you get around to promoting your album or next big thing. (Especially on Facebook where the algorithm favors posts that get more engagement.) Less fans will see your promotions, less fans will respond to your promotions, and you’ll start feeling that social media is a waste of time.

So try to focus on getting some kind of posting rhythm down. After some time you’ll be in a much better place to promote your music (and have your fans actually notice your posts and respond).

Before you move on, look at your social accounts and figure out how often you’re posting.

  • What does your schedule look like?
  • Are there any gaps?
  • How can you be more consistent?

3. Splinter Your Content

Now we’ll move a little deeper and start talking about how you can actually take something like a new song, a new video, or a live performance, and turn it into multiple social media posts – posts that will get your music heard by more people.

I like to call this “splintering” your content. Think of it like taking a big thing – like a song – and breaking it down into smaller pieces that you can post on social media. Each of those smaller pieces will lead fans back to the full song.

So for a single song, here are some “splinter” post ideas:

  • Take a quote from the lyrics. Post as is or create an image with the quote. You can probably get a lot of quote posts from a single song
  • Open up and share the meaning behind the lyrics (you could create a post, a blog post, a short video, a live stream, or all of the above)
  • Create a short video (or do a live stream) walking fans through the tones (or beats, or pedal board setup…) you used in the song so they can recreate the sound
  • Share photos of the lyric sheet or lead sheet
  • Do a playthrough or tutorial of a certain riff or beat
  • Create a “making of” video series for the song
  • Post a lyric line you’re working on and ask your fans to finish it with their own words
  • If any of your fans cover the song you could share that too

See what we did there? That was just one song and we got a ton of social posts. Individually, these posts don’t give away the full picture of the song, so many of these ideas can be used in the days leading up to the song release to create hype.  

Try to do this exercise for something you’re working on right now.

  • Make a list and brainstorm everything and anything you could splinter off from that main piece of content. You don’t need to use all the ideas you come up with, but write down everything that comes to mind and proceed from there.
  • If you need more ideas, there’s more tips on how to promote your music here

4. Use Automation (in moderation)

Okay, so now we have all these social media post ideas. You probably don’t want to post them all at the same time. (Remember – consistency is key). So that means you need to space things out over time.

And that’s where automation comes in.

Automation tools help you pre-schedule posts on many different social media platforms so you don’t need to be constantly remembering to post on social media. That way, you can get your promotion over with and allow yourself to focus completely on music.

Check out these tools:

  • Hootsuite – this will allow you to schedule posts for multiple different social platforms. The free version allows you to post to 3 different social channels
  • Facebook (there’s a scheduler built right in. Instead of choosing “post,” choose “schedule” and pick a date and time you’d like it to hit your page)
  • Tweetdeck – this is a great free platform for posting, scheduling, and monitoring Twitter
  • Buffer – the free version allows you to schedule and manage 1 account from each social platform (so you could have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). You can schedule up to 10 posts at a time per social account
  • SocialOomph – the free version only allows you to schedule and monitor Twitter, but the paid version covers multiple different platforms

A little word of caution. Automation can be overdone. The very purpose of social media is to be able to connect with your fans authentically and in real time. If you’re pre-scheduling all your content out weeks or months in advance, you’re totally missing that real-time connection with your fans.

So, here’s what I suggest… Create your posts by splintering up your content, schedule them out for maybe a week or two, and then make time each day to post something relevant that you’re working on right now and respond to comments and messages.

If you take the time to implement these steps over the next few weeks or months you’ll start seeing major changes – not just in how much attention your music attracts online, but also in how much time you’re spending promoting your music on social media.

If you want more concrete examples of social post ideas, don’t forget to download your free social media guide and checklist! Here’s the link again:

If you want our free guide on How to Promote Your Music with 3 Social Media Checklists (CLICK HERE).

How to Make Free Music Make Money

how to make free music make money

Technology. It’s provided a lot of really cool opportunities for musicians. I mean, now you can create incredible quality music with your laptop, you can release that music to the world with the click of a button, and you can connect with a global fanbase from your home.

But – and this is the big but – for a lot of musicians all that opportunity hasn’t necessarily made their lives any more secure revenue-wise.

I’m sure you know the story… Free music is everywhere so it feels like no one is willing to actually pay any more. Even music instruction is available for free online on sites like YouTube now so even side income from lessons seems to be dwindling.

As a result, the average musician – whether it’s your career or passion project alongside your day job – seems to always run into the same brick wall: “How do I compete with FREE?”

What if I told you that you don’t have to compete with free music? That you should embrace “free” into your approach for promoting your music?

No, I’m not saying renounce money and go live in a cave with an acoustic guitar. I’m saying USE free as a stepping stone – a point of entry for new and potential fans to come into your camp and get turned on to your music and a small piece of your overall approach. Let’s take a look.  

Free Music is One Part of the Bigger Picture

A lot of musicians will look at the idea of giving away free music and think they are just throwing away potential income. But it can actually have the opposite effect. It can help you create fans who will buy more music, merch, and tickets – if you use it correctly.

Think about how you discover new music. Let’s say your friend recommends a really cool new band. Are you going to go out and buy their album right away? Probably not. You’re going to get on YouTube or SoundCloud and listen to a few songs and make your decision from there.

So once someone has heard a song on your YouTube, what’s the next no-brainer step they can take? They can download it for free by trading their email address. It’s a little bit more of an investment on their part because they’re giving you access to their inbox, but it’s still a relatively painless step.

And now you’re getting permission to contact them again – and that’s key. That contact will open up the door for you to send them more cool stuff they can buy. So we’re opening up the potential for them to be repeat buyers.


Not sure what to send your fans when they join your email list? Download these 10 free email templates: 10 Attention-Getting Email Templates for Musicians


One Size Does Not Fit All Fans

And now to dispel the common myth: Fans DO want to spend money. They want to support you – it’s up to you to one, give them the opportunity to, and two, figure out what they want to buy.

Giving stuff away for free can also help you piece together the puzzle to figure out what fans really want to buy.

Here’s the thing. As musicians, we tend to group everyone into one category – fans. And that category includes everyone from people who literally just found your music to hardcore fans who have been following you and supporting you for years.

But all of those fans have different interests and want to buy different things. Some fans might like collecting merch, other fans may be musicians themselves and would be totally into lessons and instructional videos, and some may want signed stuff and exclusives. So if you just give them a chance to buy a $10 album, you’re missing out.

Get to Know Fans’ Interests

Here’s where free stuff comes in. Seeing which fans opt into which free offer can give you hints at what they’re interested in.

So someone who wanted one free song may be interested in buying the full album. A person who entered a contest for a chance to win a big merch bundle may be interested in buying a new merch design you come out with. A fan who opts in to get a gear list for your pedal board may want to buy a bonus version of your album with the Pro Tools files for remixing OR PDFs of the tabs and sheet music. And a fan who comes to your live Q&A streams on YouTube may be into meet and greet packages at upcoming gigs.

In most email programs like Mailchimp, you can mark these interests automatically by segmenting your list into “groups” and adding hidden form fields on your opt-in forms.

So try to go beyond just offering free music. Think about the things you can sell and figure out what you could offer for free to sort your fanbase by interest. This is where free stuff gets to be really powerful in your overall approach.

Build a Ladder

Once you get some free offers in place you can start building a ladder – something that will work your fans up towards bigger purchases and move them into the realm of superfans. Start piecing together your free offers so you’re constantly giving your fans free stuff and simultaneously figuring out more and more about them and what they want.

This approach is taken out of the New Artist Model Essential Music Business Course. As you can see, the strategy is designed especially for indie musicians to work in today’s modern music environment – not the industry of 10 years ago. If you want more up-to-date and practical indie musician success strategies, check out the full online course. Or sign up to get 4 lessons for free

How to Book Your Own Gigs

Gigs. Every musician has to start out booking their own gigs, but, as you’ve probably realized, this is a lot easier said than done. After all, there are so many musicians and bands competing for very limited performance spots. For promoters, it’s a game of risk management – they want to book bands they know will fill the room – so getting the spot as a new band can be very tricky. There are, however, some things you could be doing that can help you get those gigs!

What is a Promoter?

A promoter or venue owner is someone who buys talent. Depending on the size of the venue, they work independently or with booking agents to book bands and musicians to perform. For local clubs and venues, promoters and venue owners get a percentage of ticket sales and also make money from food and drink sales. As you can see, the business of promoters is really all about numbers – if they don’t fill the room, they don’t make money. This is where you come in. If you want to get the gig, you need to be able to prove that you can bring an audience, therefore lowering the risk for the promoter.

1. Finding the Right Venues

The first step of the process is always research. Especially with venues, there are so many variables. Some venues may cater to a certain genre, others tend to serve a target demographic like college students or working professionals, and many have age restrictions you need to consider.

You need to make sure your music and audience matches up with the venues you choose to contact. If your fans are mostly teens, don’t book clubs with age restrictions. In the same way, if you play upbeat country, contacting a venue that tends to book rock and roll gigs is a really good way to make a bad impression. An easy way to get this information would be to check out the venue’s website. If they have live music, they’ll probably have a page listing some upcoming or past acts. Do you fit in?

Often it can be easier to get gigs if you step out of the traditional venue scene. There are always plenty of community or charity events, store openings, and company parties that are looking for great live music. These markets tend to be much less saturated.

If you want a free action plan to help you achieve your goals in music, click here.

2. Make a Connection

Personal connections are everything in the music business and your connections with other local bands could help you book gigs in new or bigger venues. As we mentioned before, promoters are really in the business of minimizing risk, so they will book bands they know can draw a crowd and put on a good performance. But, that doesn’t mean getting a gig at a new venue can’t be done!

Think about all the musicians and bands you know in your area. Where do they play? If you’re interested in playing any of those venues, get in touch and suggest a collaboration. You could pitch your band as the opening act or do more of a collaborative 50/50 set split, especially if you can bring your audience. When dealing with more local venues like bars and clubs, the bands sometimes have more liberty to organize their own opening act, so they can be your ticket to getting your music in front of the promoter.

Open mic nights can also be a great way to make yourself known. There may not be a huge audience and you may only get to perform a few songs, but they give you the chance to make an impression on the venue owner or promoter. If people seem interested in your performances they may give you a whole set.

3. Contact

If you’ve had the chance to play at the venue, the best way to connect with venue owners or promoters is in person. However, if you’re writing an email you want to be short and to the point. Make the subject line clear. If you’re inquiring about a certain date, include that as well as the lineup. As an example, your subject line could read “Nov 7 – Opening Band + My Band.”

Your pitch goes in the email body. If you’ve met the promoter before or played at their venue, reference that meeting. If not, briefly introduce yourself and link to your website. If possible, try to have a live video or recording on your site so they can actually see your performance. Let them know if you’ve played gigs in the area, in their venue, or with other bands they tend to book. Tell them how many people you can draw to the show. To figure this out, look at some of the other gigs you’ve played in the area. What was the turn out? Look at your social media following. How many people live in a given region? It’s all about communicating your ability to minimize risk for the promoter or venue owner.

4. Make a Promotion Plan

Especially if you’re playing in local venues, you’re going to be doing most of the promotion yourself, so tell them how you will promote the show. There are many creative ways to promote a show, but your social media channels and email list are perhaps the most valuable assets. If you’d like to get more marketing ideas, you can check out these free ebooks and free music business course.

Another marketing strategy would be to work with a sponsor. The right local sponsor can help you reach a wider audience through their promotional efforts. The key is finding a sponsor whose customers have similar demographics and psychographics to your fanbase. We have webinars on sponsorships and more that you should check out if you want to learn more about finding and securing sponsorships.

5. Follow Up and Be Professional

The process doesn’t end after you get the gig. If you want to really connect with the local audience, you need to play the venues as often as possible. Introduce yourself to the venue owner or promoter and keep in touch.

On top of that, the best way to build a good relationship with local venues is to be professional. Always be on time for shows – in fact, be early! Make sure all your gear is working properly. Treat any sound or light technicians with respect and follow any venue rules. Above all, be prepared for your set and play well-rehearsed songs. Sometimes the gigging grind can get tiring, but you need to remember that for the promoter and the fans, this show is everything.

Click below to get a free ebook on how to achieve your goals and book more gigs today!

To learn more about how to book your own gigs and make more money performing live, check out the New Artist Model online music business school.

new artist model logo

How and When to Post on Social Media

Let’s talk social media. It’s something we all do as artists, but a lot of musicians aren’t using it to it’s full potential. Maybe you’re posting to Facebook and Twitter everyday but feel like your efforts are wasted because you’re not seeing any growth. Or maybe you don’t post as often as you should because you don’t know where to start. These are problems every musician will face their entire career.

The problem, I think, lies in the fact that we often will dump all social media channels into one big category. The term “social media” includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snap Chat, Pinterest, Linked In, Google Plus, and whatever else is out there. But all of those platforms couldn’t be more different!

Let me explain. Instagram is all about images. As an artist, you would post visually interesting photos relating to your music, use the description and comments to engage with your followers, and use relevant hashtags to try to reach new fans. If you tried to use that same approach on Facebook people would think you’re crazy. That’s because the way these two platforms work is completely different.

I’m sure you’ve run into “that guy” who just pushes out the same message to all his social channels. More likely than not, the message comes out formatted incorrectly on a few platforms because they didn’t take the specific requirements of those platforms into consideration when they posted. You end up with links in Instagram photo descriptions (even though they’re not clickable), messages that span across 3 tweets, and Facebook posts that go on and on in one big long paragraph.

The best solution is to get to know the social platforms you use. And I mean really get to know them. Pick one or two to focus your efforts on and learn everything you can about what to post, when to post, how to format your posts and photos, and how to attract new followers on the platform.

To help you get started, I wanted to share this infographic from Start a Blog 123. It breaks down the best times and days to post on each platform as well as a guide that breaks down the best image sizes so you don’t get your awesome photos cut off!

Best-Times-to-Post-on-Social-Media

Feature.fm: The Value of Music Promotion

music promotion

This article is written by our friends at feature.fm. feature.fm is the first ad platform built exclusively for music, giving you access to promote your music directly inside streaming services. Play your songs to your target audience at the right time. Understand how people genuinely respond to your music with real-time insights so you can make better decisions about how to further develop and promote your songs.

Think about all of the apps on the app store. App developers spend years of their lives mastering coding, using computer keyboards as their instrument. They spend countless hours developing apps they truly believe in, then they release those apps into then world for free. And usually no one downloads them. Sounds familiar, huh?

Just like apps, a ton of hard work, time, and money goes into creating an album, but that’s only half the battle. Despite spending countless hours in the studio, the biggest challenge most artists face is getting their music heard.

As a start up company ourselves, we can tell you that going to market and promoting your product is just as important as creating an amazing product itself. And as an artist, your product is music! Think about it like this: You can spend years working on your chops, writing perfect songs, and creating an amazing album, but if you just upload it online and hope someone will listen to it, you probably won’t be successful.

The Value of Music Promotion

The key to getting noticed is your music promotion – marketing, advertising, and PR. This is what gets you visibility after you’ve created a great product. And yet, most artists aren’t willing to spend half as much as they do on the recording process. Why?

Businesses spend tons of money on marketing and promotion. It would be insanity to spend time researching and developing a new phone or gadget and then put it up for sale without telling anyone. It’s the same with your music.

There are plenty of things you can do to promote your music for free using your email list and social media, but you shouldn’t be afraid to invest in your promotion and focus as much as possible on getting people to actually hear your music. It’s all about airplay and exposure. Don’t miss out on gaining real fans by worrying too much about immediately getting paid. If you truly have great music, it will pay off and people will keep listening. If you believe in your product, then it’s worth the investment.

The Power of a Play

If you look at yourself as a start up, then music is your product. But unlike say, a phone, whose use and purpose can be explained, music’s value is different to each individual. Would you become a fan of a band without ever having heard their music? Probably not. Music is emotional and needs to be experienced to understand the value.

That’s why the best way to promote a song is to play it to people. And if you want to play it to people, you need to be where they listen – inside streaming services.

The Changing Listening Environment

Sure, people listen to radio too. Radio has always been king when it comes to breaking a new artist or getting exposure. It’s a great place to reach a mass audience and is also the one time that people give up control over the music they are listening to, making it extremely powerful for music discovery. Most artists, however, will never be able to get their music played on terrestrial radio.

The power of radio hasn’t changed, but the way people listen to the radio has. Now that people are transitioning into streaming services, it opens up a powerful new platform to reach listeners – one that’s totally accessible for low-budget indie musicians.

The New Music Economy

Fans are willing to support their favorite artists and pay for music, just not in the same way they used to. There is a fundamental change in the psychology of what it means to pay for music. The days of “Here’s my music, if you want to hear it, pay,” are over. The new approach should be “Here’s my music, if you like it, support me so I can make more!”

This means getting your music heard is your acquisition cost to gain new fans. Once you build up your fan base through exposure, you can offer your fans many ways to support your music whether it’s through concerts, merch, crowdfunding, or anything else that you can sell to them.

Why we Built feature.fm

Feature.fm is an ad platform built exclusively for music, opening access for all artists to promote their music inside of streaming services and letting fans buy sponsored song plays to support their favorite artists.

Ultimately, 91% of artists are undiscovered and we want to help more artists find their fans in the most efficient way. Instead of an ad, we’ll actually play your music to streaming listeners.

Learn more about feature.fm

Music Strategies: Following Through

indie-musician-promote-your-music

Image via Paul Katcher on Flickr

There are a ton of music strategies out there that will help you grow your fanbase, get more gigs, sell more music, sell more merch, and grow your social media following. I’ve even shared a lot of them on this blog. However, I know a lot of people get frustrated when these music strategies don’t result in the amount of growth and progress as they expect.

The truth is, most of these music strategies just cover the first few steps. Using great hashtags, posting regularly, releasing great content, and following relevant people on Twitter and Instagram will definitely grow your following. But if you’re not converting those followers to email subscribers or driving them to your website you may have a hard time making more money.

Adding a clickable cover photo to your Facebook page that links to your email collection page will certainly grow your email list. But it’s only the first step. An email list is just a number unless you follow through, send relevant emails, and drive those subscribers to take action and purchase your music, merch, or tickets.

In the same way, collaborating with other musicians and bands to get gigs in new venues and cities will certainly get you in front of a new audience, but if you don’t find some way to connect with those people online via email or social media, they may never hear from you again.

Releasing awesome YouTube covers and drawing in a huge audience from organic search is great. But even if your video goes viral and gets millions and millions of views, it’s not worth much unless you use the video to funnel those viewers to connect with you on social media, via email, or buy your music. After all, they could just click off and never find you or your music again.

As you can see, it’s all connected. Your live performances, your social media growth, your email list, your music sales – it all funnels into and loops back to one another.

I want you to start thinking of all the different aspects in your music career as a seamless flow rather than a bunch of unconnected music strategies.

Avoid thinking, “If I get more followers on social media I’ll be successful,” or “If I work on writing better emails I’ll be successful.”

If you want to be successful, you need to think about the flow between all these different strategies. “How can I get more gigs,” funnels into “how can I grow my following on social media,” which funnels into “how can I drive more traffic to my website,” which funnels into “how can I grow my email list,” which funnels into “what can I send my email list to drive sales,” which funnels into “what products can I offer my fans.”

It’s not a strategy, it’s a process. I recently created a social media guide that covers this same concept, but focuses on promoting your music in the online world. In the guide, we go through the flow from fanbase growth to making sales. If you’re interested, I’m giving this How to Promote Your Music guide away for free. You can download it here.

PromoteGuideSocial

How to Promote Your Music Online

There are plenty of articles and guides out there for music marketing. Many of them stress the need for a website, a social media presence, and the live show. This article from Music Think Tank stresses one marketing effort that is often overlooked – collaboration. Collaboration can be used in all aspects of your career, from the live show to songwriting to recording.

When you’re writing, collaborate with another songwriter for a song or two. Try to pick someone around you level or just above you in terms of fan base size. That songwriter will surely tell their fans about the collaboration. Since fans tend to trust the opinions of the artists they follow, some of them will probably check your music out. You’ll probably gain some new fans in the process!

The same goes for recording and touring. When growing your fan base, you need to establish trust if you actually want people to take time out of their day for your music.

This article, by Shaun Letang, was originally posted on Music Think Tank.

1. Climb the Ladder with Your Collaboration Efforts

OK, so the first thing you can do to promote your music better isn’t actually something many musicians associate with actually being a form of promotion. Collaborating with other musicians can actually be a great way to get out there. Making songs with a well known act can actually mean you can get in front of their fans. It may also mean that you gain a higher perceived value for working with that act, and it can be a good note on your CV when looking for other music related work and opportunities.

The thing is though, it’s very unlikely you’ll get collaborations with big names in your genre (unless you already know them). You see, their time is precious, and they’re not just going to collaborate with every up and coming act out there. The solution? Using the ‘ladder’ method.

What you want to do is categorize any talented musicians in your genre into different levels based on how big they are. Usually, while the biggest acts won’t be willing to work with you at this stage, some of the lower level acts will be – with enough incentive. So what you do is approach those acts which are slightly bigger then you, and do collaborations with a few of them. Not only does this get you in front of their audiences, but it also gets you associated with being at their level.

Once this is done, start looking to the next step of musicians who are that bit more popular then the last group you approached (and are now in yourself). Do the same; collaborate with them, get in front of their audience, and become thought of as being on their level.

Rinse and repeat, each time working with bigger acts and getting a bigger reputation yourself. The good thing is, once people start seeing you’re working with lots of people in your genre, they will want to start working with you too. You’ll be the hip new people on the block that everyone wants to be associated with.

2. Climb the Ladder with Media Outlets You Try to Get On

OK, this method of promotion is pretty similar to the last one, only with platforms to get yourself out there.

If you’ve ever tried to get covered by a big website, TV channel or radio station, chances are you didn’t hear back from them, or got rejected. Again, these places aren’t looking to work with just anyone; you need to prove you’re noteworthy and worthwhile for them using one of their exposure slots. As you may have guessed, the above ladder method works here too.

Start out by getting on smaller platforms and websites, and build your way up. Get all of these previous places you’ve appeared on your music CV. Include their logos on your website. Make it clear people are talking about you.

Gradually build things up, networking with new people along the way. You will find more and bigger opportunities become available to you, as the music industry is full of people who don’t care until you say you’ve worked with ‘x’ amount of their competitors. So keep climbing that ladder.

3. Master Your Gigging Game

So I could say to you, “Gig because it’s good exposure and you can make money from it.” I want to give you more, though. The thing is, anyone can gig. That said, what are you doing to set your gigs apart from 95% of other musicians in your genre?!

Practicing your lyrics is one thing, but mastering your show is something else altogether. Remember, as a musician you are an entertainer! It’s your job to entertain. Yes, that might just be in the form of your voice in rare cases, but in the majority of cases your whole stage presence also factors into things.

When people leave your show, are they going to remember you as that person with good lyrics and a good voice? Or will they remember you as that person who stood out and outshone all the other performing acts that night? I hope you aim to achieve the second one.

So what can you do to achieve that? Well first of all, find out what works in terms of stage presence. Load up YouTube and search for the best live acts in your genre. See how they command the stage, see how they move, and see how they interact with the audience. Does it work? Is it something you can do and build on? Most of the time it will be, so be sure to build yourself as a overall great performer, rather then just someone who has good vocal ability.

To see the full article and see the other 3 music marketing tips, visit Music Think Tank.

Do you think collaboration is a good way to grow a fan base? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Infographic: YouTube and Music

YouTube and music work very well together. You can easily hype up a new release, create awareness for your music, and engage with your fans by giving them exclusive or more in-depth content.

Check out this infographic from The Music Bed to learn more about the tools YouTube has to offer.

Infographic YouTube

49 Ways to Get Free Music Promotion

There are tons of ways to promote your music today with various apps, websites, and services. There are also many things you can do for FREE to help raise awareness for you, your music, and your live shows. To get a better idea of some of the things you can be doing to promote your music, check out this list from Music Think Tank of 49 free promotional tools and methods:

#6 Upload your music to Soundcloud

Soundcloud is arguably one of the best sites to host your music on, especially now that they’ve announced heavy integration with many of Google’s services. If you haven’t already, upload your music on Soundcloud, tag it well, and encourage fans to leave comments on the tracks.

#13 Reward your fans & raise money using Pledge Music

Pledge Music is a great service for simultaneously raising money for your release (or tour, or video) while developing loyalty with your existing fan base, by offering them cool experiences and gifts for ‘pledging’ on your campaign.

#18 Write a guest blog post on a high profile music blog

There are a handful of artists who I only know because they blog heavily on music industry websites. Tommy Darker, Brian Hazard, and Simon Tam are all musicians who I probably wouldn’t have connected with if it weren’t for their participation on blogs like Music Think Tank. If you enjoy writing and have some constructive criticism or ideas on improving the way in which the music industry functions, why not put a post together on one of these sites?

#19 Create a list of relevant bloggers & befriend them

In most genres there is still a collection of music bloggers who influence the listening decisions of many people. This is most certainly the case in the R’n’B and hiphop World. Use sites like Hypem to create a list of potential bloggers, and then begin communicating with them (but don’t jump straight to promoting your music).

#25 Set up a mailing list on Mailchimp

If you don’t have a mailing list set up, fix that. Now.

#39 Tag your fans in photos on Facebook

The image below is of a genius marketing campaign by DJ Tiesto. He put up a banner of himself in the entrance to one of his shows, and his fans got photos taken in front of it. Afterwards, he uploaded all of these photos to Facebook for fans to tag themselves in. This is so effective, because the friends of the fans who were tagged would have then been exposed to DJ Tiesto. Another easy, free, powerful tactic.

To see more, check out the full post on Music Think Tank.