So you’ve been pouring out your heart and soul into your music and it’s finally ready to share with the world. But now you may be wondering how to get your music out there. Well, today I’m going to attempt to demystify the process of how to get more plays on your songs by using a few practical but highly effective tools and techniques you can start using today!
Today I’ll be using rap music as an example but these techniques are universal and apply to all genres of music.
Sadly marketing and promoting is like kryptonite to most artists, which sucks because it’s the lifeline of your music career. If you don’t learn how to market and promote yourself properly then you may end up being another talented artist no one knows about. And I don’t want that to be you!
A lot of artists think if they just get good enough then they will “make it”. Well, this may be the case if you were to enter into a talent show like American Idol but unfortunately, the music industry isn’t a talent show. To prove a point, I bet you can think of one artist that’s decently popular that you’re more talented than. Case and point! Talent alone is not enough!
But let me be clear. You need to be making really good music, but you also need to do your part to make a lot of people aware of the awesome music that you’re making!
To get started, let’s first briefly define two keywords that you need to understand in order to build more awareness around your music.
Marketing is targeting the appropriate audience who will most likely enjoy your music.
Simply put, if you’re a rapper you probably don’t want to be promoting your music at a country music concert. Or If you run a BBQ restaurant, you probably don’t want to be passing out your coupons at an animal rights protest… just sayin.
Promotion is making someone aware of something they didn’t know about. Or it’s reminding them of something they may have forgotten about.
Now that you understand those two words let’s discuss the 3 main steps to getting your music out there!
If you want more people to listen to your music, then your music needs to be more accessible. You need to be easy to find! In other words, your music needs to be as in many places as possible because everyone doesn’t discover and consume music the same way.
With that being said, have you ever wondered how artists get their music on all the major platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, and TikTok to name a few? Well, the way they do it is by using a company like DistroKid which is a Digital Music Distributor.
DistroKid allows you to upload your music and artwork to their website and then they distribute it out to all of the major music outlets on the internet and keep track of all of your revenue and streaming analytics for you.
Now there are other companies apart from DistroKid that do this also, but Me and many others prefer using DistroKid for 3 main reasons.
iTunes and other music stores like Amazon and will take a percentage of your sales. And that has nothing to do with DistroKid or any other Digital Music Distributor for that matter. That’s just how those stores operate regardless of which distributor you use.
However, some of the other distributors take a percentage of your sales on top of what the music stores like Apple Music are already taking! Which is not cool!
But with DistroKid you keep 100% ownership of your music because they don’t take a percentage of your sales or streaming revenue which is really dope!
2 LOW OVERHEAD
They only charge you a flat rate of $19.99 per year and you can upload an unlimited amount of your music. Some of the other companies will charge you per upload.
For example, I used to use another Distributor called “TuneCore” and I had to pay $9.99 per year for only one song!
So you can see how having to pay per release can add up quickly!
And while we’re speaking of cost, DistroKid was awesome enough to sponsor this video and hook up all of my subscribers with a 7% OFF Discount for your first year when you use my affiliate link.
3 QUICK DISTRIBUTION
And the 3rd reason why Me and many others love DistroKid is they’re really fast about getting your music on all the major platforms. You can schedule your music to be released whenever you wish in the future. Or if you want it to be released immediately, they can often have your song distributed within 24/48 hours! That’s really fast!
Please note that each platform will take varying amounts of time to display your song. So it’s usually best to give yourself a few weeks buffer between distributing your music and releasing your music to ensure your song is available on platforms on the day of your release.
So using a company like DistroKid allows your music to be more accessible which makes you more discoverable and empowers you to distribute more music more often without losing any more ownership.
The 2nd step to getting more plays on your songs is all about convenience.
If you want to increase the odds of someone listening to your music then make it as easy as possible for them by eliminating any unnecessary steps. The fewer actions they have to take the more likely it is that they will listen to your music.
And that’s I recommend a free tool called Pivot by Smart Url.
Pivot allows you to place links to all of the different places your music lives as well as links to all of your social media pages and your website. You can also embed your album artwork and snippets of your songs all on one page.
I recommend using your Pivot link whenever you’re wanting to share your music with someone because they can be listening to your music within 2 clicks. 1 click on the Pivot URL and 1 click on their favorite platform to listen to your music. Now that’s convenient!
Now you have a solid infrastructure in place. You’ve got a dope song, that’s available on all major platforms, and it’s easy for people to play your song wherever they prefer to listen to music within 2 clicks!
Now it’s time for you to build a lot of awareness about the awesome music you’re making. There’s many techniques to do this, but for the sake of brevity I’m going to share with you 3 promotion techniques you can start using today to promote your music that won’t cost you any money.
WHAT’S THE TARGET?
But first you have to take care of your marketing which is targeting. Remember, you don’t want to be the BBQ restaurant owner passing out coupons at an animal rights protest.
So write down 5 rappers that have decent fan bases that you’re similar too. If you’re a conscious rapper then you may pick someone like Joyner Lucas, Logic or Kendrick Lamar.
If you’re a rapper that’s really heavy into punchlines and wordplay you may pick rappers like MF Doom, Cyhi The Prynce, and Lil Wayne.
Once you’ve identified 5 rappers you’re similar too then you’ve identified your target market which is their fan base. And that’s a perfect segway into the 1st promotional strategy.
3 FREE PROMOTION TECHNIQUES
Sniping is when you target the fans of another rapper that you’re similar to. Simply find out which of their social media pages seem to get the most engagement and then start interacting with their fans.
When I say interacting I don’t mean shoving your music down their throats! Being forceful and desperate is typically a turn-off. And people typically don’t care about you and what you’re doing until you’ve shown you care about them first.
By interacting I mean, responding to comments they’ve already made in a genuine and real manner to keep the conversation going. Ask them a question related to their comment or about themselves. Like “what’s your favorite song off the artist’s new album?”
Most of the time, when fans leave comments they don’t get responses so this will mean a lot to them and they will appreciate you for it. And you never know what someone’s going through in their personal life and you may just make their day!
When you use Social Media to be social, magical things happen!
But before you start engaging with fans make sure that it’s crystal clear on your social media page that you are a rapper and you have music they can listen to right now on all major platforms via your Pivot link!
Include in your profile/bio something like “check out my new single “Snipper” on all major platforms ?your Pivot link here and if possible, pin a post using your album or single artwork with similar verbiage that includes your Pivot Link.
That way when you’re speaking with your potential fans, they will likely click on your profile to get a better idea of who they’re talking to, and then they will discover that you’re a dope rapper that makes music they like as well!
If they don’t mention that they checked out your music by the end of your conversation, then mention it as an afterthought as you’re saying your goodbyes and they will likely check it out since they now have a genuine connection because you’re not a spam robot!
Just dedicate 1-2 hours each day doing this and cycle through all 5 rappers you picked earlier and you should notice a significant increase in the number of views your music is getting! Feel free to add as many more rappers to your list as you wish as long as they are similar to you.
Sniping is a very effective promotion technique but it’s time-consuming because you’re winning over one fan at a time. However, people naturally share what they like with others so they will likely share your music with their friends. So winning over 1 fan could lead to several more fans.
Another good promotion strategy is to get influencers to share you with their audience.
Influencers are basically anyone who has an audience that’s made up of your target audience. This could be…
- Radio Stations, DJ’s, Music Directors, Radio Personalities, (Both Major and College Radio Stations).
- Youtube Channels
- Popular Social Media Pages. (Brands, Personalities, Entertainment, etc…)
- Creators or Admins of popular playlists on Spotify and Apple music.
- Celebrities, Athletes, Actors, Comedians, Rappers, Musicians, Singers, pretty much anyone who has an existing following.
GETTING THROUGH THE FILTER
Influencers have to filter who they share their platform with since they are in high demand. And you can increase your chances of winning them over by adding some type of value to them and their audience. And here are a few ideas on how to do that.
- Write a short 8 bar verse about them and share it with them on social media.
- Create content out of something of theirs. Like an image that quotes something they said, or a MEME that’s making fun of them in a way they will appreciate.
Get creative and have fun with it! Winning over 1 influencer can gain you 10’s 100’s or even thousands of potential fans!
#3 RIDING WAVES
The last technique I’d like to share with you is how to ride waves or trends.
So as I make this video it was recently announced that Fast & Furious 9 will be dropping on June 25. And the company is currently spending boatloads of money on advertisements to get the word out.
So if you were to create something dope-themed around Fast & Furious 9 you could potentially jump on that wave and gain a lot of free traffic from it.
You can also do remixes of current songs that are trending. These don’t even have to be within your same genre. For example, you could do a rap version of a popular country song.
Or if there’s a big event coming up like a football game or a fight, you could make something themed around that.
Just try to figure out something that a lot of people are searching for online, and think of a creative way that you can create something dope around it to intercept some of that traffic.
WHICH IS MOST EFFECTIVE FOR YOU?
And I’m curious to know, have you ever tried any of these promotional techniques before? If so, which one gave you the best results? Let me know in the comments section below.
Also, I want to send a huge shoutout to DistroKid for sponsoring this video. If you haven’t signed up with them already be sure to use my affiliate link so that you get 7% off your first-year subscription.
This is great!!! I stumbled into being able to get my stuff on most of the major platforms via Podomatic (I’m on Apple, Amazon, etc), but you can only get on Spotify through them if it’s a talking, and not a singing podcast, so I’ll definitely check out Distrokid. I’m most definitely planning on trying out all of your suggestions – these are great ideas – thanks so much!