So you’ve been in the studio cranking out some awesome recordings and you finally have your finished product in hand. You are overflowing with excitement and geeked up off optimism when suddenly you have this very sobering thought, how does music promotion work?
This whole time all you have been thinking about is creating awesome sounding tracks. You’ve invested hard earned money into your projects production, studio time, mixing & mastering fees and album artwork and now you are wanting to see a return on your investment. Ok ok… calm down, sit back & take some notes as I give you a quick guide on music promotion while also increasing your profits. I will try and make this as “fluff” free as possible and pack it full of helpful information.
Music Promotion 101
Online Real Estate
The first thing that you need when it comes to music promotion is a website. If you have one already you still need to listen to this bit. The value of real estate property is determined by LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. The reason a building in the heart of the city (commercial) cost so much more than one that is in the country (residential) is because the city is packed full of traffic and where ever there is a lot of people in one place there is money being exchanged. Your website is your online real estate but you need to be driving lots of traffic there in order to be reaping the benefits of owning property on the internet.
I highly recommend you check out Wealthy Affiliate. They are a great source for learning ethical online marketing. It’s free to sign up and you will have instant access to their free course on how to get started making money online. I don’t recommend getting your website through them because last time I checked their servers were pretty slow and your website building templates are limited. Check out SquareSpace and WixMusic which provide easy website builders to quickly create professional websites for artists. The biggest advantage of having your own website is there is no competition for your sales or music it’s all yours because you own it!
Be Easily Discovered
Music promotion is all about being easy to find. Make sure that you are putting up your music every where that you can possibly imagine. This will make it easier for you to get discovered and grow your fan base. Make sure that your profiles across all of these sites are consistent with your brand. There are loads of places that you can upload your music for free such as facebook, youtube, soundcloud, bandcamp, pandora, last fm, thesixtyone, blip.fm. I would expound on each one of these but for the sake of keeping this article short I shall digress.
You also should get digital online distribution through a company such as Tunecore, CD Baby or WixMusic. This will expand your reach even further because these companies are a one stop shop so to speak. They can get your music put on all the major music stores like itunes, amazon music, google music, spotify etc.. and whatever sales that you make will all come through one account so you don’t have to loose any hair trying to keep up with all of your music stores with individual accounts.
Music promotion isn’t only about gaining new fans but also staying connecting with the ones you already have. In order for you to sell more of your music you need to increase your engagement with your fan base. The most powerful way to do this is to build a mailing list. Did you know that about 60% percent of people on the internet are browsing on a mobile device? When they get an e-mail their phone makes a notification noise and they check it. This is powerful!
Only about 10 percent of your friends on facebook see your post, as soon as you make a tweet it begins moving quickly down the feed. On social media you simply don’t get the reach that you do with e-mail. It is a direct way to communicate and build a strong relationship with your fanbase which leads to more sales.
People are always asking “what’s in it for me” so make sure you give them a good incentive to sign up. Such as a free download, exclusive content & special discounts that only is available to them. In order to create a mailing list you need a third party program to do it. You can’t just send out thousands of e-mails from your yahoo or g-mail because there is a cap limit. My favorite mailing list tool is called A Weber and they allow you to sign up for a free trial.
My favorite thing about them is their auto-responder. Basically it allows you to program your AWeber to automatically send people an e-mail after they have confirmed their subscription with your free download or whatever you decided to give them for signing up. This tool is so powerful and I could write posts for days on everything that you can do with it. Just check them out and see for yourself and make sure to thank me later.
Music promotion is about not missing out on opportunities. When you are doing live events make sure that you are letting people know that you will hook them up if they sign up to your mailing list. Take a clipboard and pen or tablet to write down their name and e-mail address and transfer them to your mailing list provider as soon as you can. If you aren’t doing this you should slap yourself in the face! Not like a worldstarhiphop slap just a gentle brush across the cheeks will suffice.
When it comes to music promotion not only do you need a mailing list for your fans but you also need a distribution list for “influencers”. Basically a distribution list is an archive of e-mail addresses of dj’s, radio stations, music review sites, music bloggers & podcasters.
I don’t recommend sending mass e-mails out to your distribution list because each contact has their own preferred way of receiving your music. Plus you want to make these e-mails personal so they know you’re speaking directly to them and aren’t just another one of the 1,000’s of people spamming them! This will increase the likelihood of your music being shared on their platform.
Influential people with followings can get you much more exposure! Once an influencer shares your music with their audience you will have more people finding you on the net and then you simply get them to sign up to your mailing list. Are you seeing how huge this is for music promotion!
If you are wanting to find more radio stations to potentially play your music use Radio Locator to search for your genre appropriate stations and it will give you links to their websites which will have all their information on them. I recommend that you contact them first before adding them to your distribution list unless they say they’re openly accepting music submissions.
Diversify Your Offerings
Music promotion isn’t only about selling your music. What else do people want to buy from you? T-shirts, hat’s, wristbands, posters etc.. the possibilities are endless on what you can sell to your fans. In order to have your online store I recommend you using something like Shopify. Shopify has a very robust store with incredible functionality, solid hosting and several packages to choose from. Their store is hassle free and easy to manage. If you are looking for a free e-commerce store that you can integrate into your own website I recommend you checking out Woocommerce. In my personal opinion It can be kind of tricky to setup at first but once you get the hang of it you shouldn’t have any problems.
But I know what your saying, “man i’m broke as fat girls chairs and my budget is tighter than spandex, I don’t have any money to make bulk orders on merch to sale.” I completely understand and I don’t recommend any artists to go out spending thousands of dollars on merch if they don’t have the fans good and ready to buy them. That’s just not smart business and you need to keep your overhead low-key like midget locksmiths.
In that case I recommend you going the POD (Print On Demand) route. This allows you to have your own store, create your own designs and once a customer buys your merch the POD company makes the product, ships it to your customer directly and gives you your profit off the sale. One of the biggest companies that offer this service is called CafePress. There are no monthly fees and they only take a percentage of your sales.
Be A Social Butterfly
The most common mistake I see artists make is that they treat social media like it’s their 24/7 album release party or something. It’s called social media for a reason…to be social. Don’t abuse social media platforms by spamming and shoving your music down peoples throats. I bet you don’t like it when people do that to you and I assure you that they don’t either.
Think of social media like your walking into a social gathering with a bunch of people you don’t know. Everyone is not going to just tackle you at the door and ask you to be their friend. But if you take the initiative to introduce yourself and have meaningful conversations that don’t totally revolve around you I guarantee that you will leave with more friends than you came. The next time you go to that same social gathering you will notice people you previously meet are glad to see you and are anticipating talking with you.
Apply this concept to social media and you will see a big difference in your social presence. People don’t really care what you have going on until they see that you care about them. And what better way to show them that you care than to engage with them. This means responding back to their messages, comments and also taking a moment to chime in on their posts as well. A little bit goes a long way.
Just Scratching The Surface
Ok to be totally transparent I didn’t mean to make this article as long as it is. But sometimes you don’t realize how much you have to say until you start speaking. There is so much more that I wanted to touch on about music promotion but wasn’t able to. Let’s make a deal. I want you to leave me a comment below and let me know if this article was helpful to you and if you would like me to continue writing articles related to this topic and I pinky promise that I will do it. It is my passion to help others as I am only the product of others who have helped me. Let me know if you have any questions and I will respond back to you promptly. Thanks so much for reading and I am wishing you the best in all of your endeavors. Cheers! – Cole Mize