As an independent musician, it can be difficult to break into the music industry without an established fan base. Fortunately, there are several music marketing strategies and tools that can help you get your music heard.
In this article, we will discuss some of the most effective music marketing strategies that independent musicians can use to increase their chances of success. With the right resources, independent musicians can utilize the best promotional strategies to stand out from the crowd.
Before we get into the 10 top music marketing strategies, let’s go over some basics first:
1. What is music marketing
Music marketing is promoting and advertising music and related products, such as digital downloads and streams, physical merchandise, concerts, and more. There is often a large overlap with digital marketing as the music business has taken over more of the digital sphere. Music marketing also involves developing relationships with music industry professionals and influencers. By doing so, one can boost the visibility of an artist, album, or even just a single. The goal of music marketing is to increase awareness and thus, sales and profitability of an artist.
Music marketing all starts with building a fanbase and having an online presence. Building a fanbase nowadays is very much centered around creating an identity on social media. In order to attract listeners to music, it’s important to have an engaging and active social media presence. Posting new music and updates regularly is key to building a relationship with fans. Make sure to interact with your followers and engage in conversations. Additionally, creating unique and exciting content such as music videos and behind-the-scenes footage can help to attract new fans and keep existing ones interested. Networking with fellow artists and industry professionals is also important in order to reach new potential listeners. Ultimately, it’s all about connecting with people. You want to provide your followers with an enjoyable experience so they keep coming back for more.
Do you want to improve your engagement on social networks like Instagram and TikTok? Stay organized with your posts by creating a content calendar. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by social media strategy and all the different social media channels to choose from. Our advice is to see it as a business: what platform works best for your project? The type of platform will determine your content strategy. If you’re great a recording short videos of you playing live at home, try out TikTok. If photos are more your thing, then use Instagram. Want to live stream your artistic process or a live session in your bedroom? Maybe Twitch is for you. Ask yourself, what kind of demographics are you targeting to get new subscribers on board and which platforms target those audiences? Check out our article on how to manage your social media accounts as musicians.
3. Play live
In addition to building a fanbase on social media, it’s important to actually get out in the real world and start playing live! Playing live shows is an excellent way to build a fanbase and market your music career. It’s an opportunity to show people what you have to offer and make a lasting impression. Start by booking gigs in your local area, and then gradually expand to other cities. Promote your shows on social networks and amongst friends and family. Finally, make sure to interact with the audience during and after the show. Thank them for coming out, and encourage them to follow your social media accounts and share your music. With some hard work and dedication, you’ll be able to build a loyal fanbase that will help you grow your music career.
When playing live, you can use the occasion to sell your music merch and CDs. More and more artists in the indie music scene are getting creative with merch ideas, so much so that it hooks listeners into becoming loyal fans. Anyone can make T-Shirts to sell when touring– and it’s a classic piece of merch, but it’s been done before. How can you stand out and sell merch that makes a lasting impression? Maybe you have a hobby that you could shine the spotlight on? French artist Flavien Berger makes soap on the side and sells his handmade soap bars at his concerts. I myself am a florist-musician and sell homemade seed packets at my shows! Think about what makes you stand out as an artist and how to translate this to how to market your overall universe. This is a simple way to build your branding as an artist and let people into your world.
4. Create stunning visual content to market your music
Nowadays, artists are expected to make great music and great visuals as well. An effective music marketing campaign will always be more effective when enhanced with captivating photos or music videos. Make sure that you have high quality photos of you or your band. People want to see who they are listening to! Do you have a unique visual universe or story to tell? Work on your storytelling when creating your visual content. Start by brainstorming ideas for a music video that highlights who you are and what your music is all about. Once the music video is ready, it’s important to have a plan to market it effectively. Utilize social media, online streaming platforms, and online advertising to promote your music video.
Leading up to a music video release, be sure to share teasers to announce what’s coming. This way you can get your audience excited to listen to your new song as soon as release day comes. You can even start marketing efforts before your music video comes out by running marketing campaigns with a pre-save link. Creating teasers with videos is also helpful when creating a Spotify Canvas! Check out our article on how to use Spotify Canvas to add looping videos to your music on the streaming platform. Following release, be sure to continue promoting the clip, with more excerpts and also behind the scene footage from filming. This is a good way to remind your followers and subscribers that you released a new track if they missed it!
5. Create a press kit
Creating a music press kit is a great way to get the attention of media outlets and potential fans. A music press kit should include your music, such as singles, albums, and/or Spotify or Soundcloud links, along with photos, a bio, and any other relevant information about you and your music. Include links to music videos or live sessions. Make sure to include your contact information, such as your website, social media accounts, and email address or phone number. You should also include a list of notable press coverage, radio plays or playlists, and important concert dates if you have them. Finally, create a PDF of your press kit or an EPK (electronic press kit) and keep it up to date.
It’s important to keep in mind when creating a press kit that you want to be as clear and concise as possible. Music industry professionals are usually overloaded with submissions and unread emails from artists looking to promote their project, and don’t have a lot of time! We recommend creating a press kit that is no more than 3 pages long. You can have a longer version available if they ask for it, but you want to make it easy for them to understand your music and universe quickly. If you send them a 20 page document right from the start, they may not even open it. Think: keep it simple and with only the most relevant information. Make a good first impression!
6. Network with industry professionals
As an independent musician, networking with industry professionals can be an important step to advancing your career. First, create a list of industry professionals that could be interested in your project, such as music bloggers, radio programmers, or playlist influencers who can help you get your music heard. You can make things easier for yourself by even creating a spreadsheet of contacts, with their email and what they do, separated into categories. If you don’t know how to start finding the right industry professionals for you, you can do one of two things. You can do some research on similar artists and write down who they have gotten press coverage from, what playlists they are in, or what music blogs talk about them. If you want to search directly by music genre, type of industry professional, or location, check out Groover!
Research each one of these music industry professionals to determine how they can help you. Once you have identified people who can help your career, reach out to them via email, social media, or Groover. If you’re having a hard time finding their contact information, try using LinkedIn! Make sure to have a specific question or request in mind. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and explain your music and what you’re trying to accomplish. When possible, try to set up a meeting or a phone call, as face-to-face connections are often more effective. Be sure to ask lots of questions and try to build a relationship, as that can lead to further opportunities.
See if there are any events in your area for independent musicians to get in touch with music business professionals. There are also more and more springboards and competitions popping up for emerging artists around the world. These types of events are great opportunities to meet people and also test out your skills on stage. Networking with industry professionals can be a great way to get your music heard and build a team of ambassadors around your project.
Creating a music newsletter for fans is an excellent way to market your music. Start by creating a list of email addresses of people that you think would be interested in your music. This could be family and friends, current fans, and people from your local music scene. Next, create an interesting subject line for your email that will make people want to click. When writing the content of the newsletter, be sure to include updates on any upcoming shows, music releases, or any other relevant news that your fans would be interested in. Additionally, include links to your music on streaming platforms and your website, and any other outlets where people can download your music. Finally, be sure to include a call to action, such as asking them to follow you on social media or share your music with friends and family.
A lot of the time, music lovers want to see behind the scenes of an artists life. You can use your music newsletter to let fans into your universe and let them know what else you’ve been up to! A lot of indie musicians also turn to platforms like YouTube to create video shorts to share with their fans. For them, this is almost like a visual diary that acts as a newsletter, keeping people updated. If you don’t like the idea of sending emails to people but like the written format, you can always put up blog posts on your music website. The content can include anything from daily observations and musings to your creative process and lyrics. There are so many creative ways to promote your project!
8. Use targeted ads
Do you have a new single that just dropped? Targeted ads are a great way to market your music career as an independent musician. Start by researching who your target audience is and create a profile of who you’d like to reach. You can use social media platforms such as Facebook Ads and Google Ads to create targeted campaigns that reach your desired audience. Be sure to optimize your campaigns by testing different text, images, and targeting options. You want to ensure that your ads are seen by the right people. Ultimately, targeted ads are a powerful tool for any independent musician to promote their work and gain new fans.
Not sure which audiences to target? Check out some analytics before running your ad campaign. On Spotify for Artists, you can see where people listen to your music and the demographics. On Instagram and other social medias, you can also get access to this type of information! Even when you launch a pre-save campaign, you’ll be able to see the data of where in the world your track is being saved. Use all of this data to your advantage! Test out some campaigns, see what works and what doesn’t, and adjust accordingly.
We’ve all seen indie artists who originally got famous after posting a cover song. This technique can help you in your music marketing strategy! Independent artists can post cover songs to their social media or YouTube channel to expand their fanbase and reach new audiences. By covering popular songs, independent artists can gain more exposure as the original artist’s followers hear the cover version. Additionally, covers can be used to target new genres and crossover audiences. By creating a unique version of a popular song, independent artists can gain the attention of the original artist’s followers, as well as fans of the genre of the cover song. Check out our article on how to legally release a cover song on streaming platforms here.
Also by posting cover songs, you can share your musical influences with your audience. This is smart for your brand because it gives context to what you do! Or perhaps you want to cover a song that is in a totally different genre from the music you make. You’ll be doing something original by making it your own! The power of crossing genres and reinterpreting something can be an effective marketing strategy in indie music.
10. Get your music into Spotify playlists
Getting your music into Spotify playlists is an important part of any music marketing strategy. By getting your music into playlists, you can increase your exposure and get more people to discover your music. Spotify playlists can be a powerful way to reach an audience that might not be familiar with your music. In addition, by getting your music into a playlist, it could help to increase your streams and lead to more revenue for your music. Overall, getting your music into Spotify playlists is an essential part of any music marketing strategy. Check out our article dedicated to the topic here.
11. Collaborate with other artists
Probably the most fun way to approach music marketing is by collaborating with other artists. Working together with another artist or band can be a great way to introduce your music to a larger audience, as well as to share resources and ideas. It also allows you to create unique content that both you and the other artist can use to reach potential fans. Additionally, collaborating can help you to establish relationships with other artists and industry professionals, which can be extremely beneficial for your career. Collaborating also allows you to learn from each other, grow together, and exchange music marketing strategies and techniques.
12. Use the best music marketing platforms
To keep it simple, we have determined two outlets that make the best music marketing platforms for independent musicians today. The success of a music marketing platform comes from the platforms ability to provide artists with the tools they need to get their music heard and reach a larger audience. The first and most obvious outlet to help artists promote their music is social media: Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, Twitch– the list goes on. Social networks span far and wide, and our advice to indie musicians is to focus on just one or two to start. That way, you can really build a community and connect with fans. We will go into detail about using social media as a music marketing platform later on.
The second best music marketing platform that allows artists to boost their visibility and build a professional network is Groover. Groover is an innovative platform designed to help independent musicians take the next step in their music career. It allows artists to connect with industry professionals directly and get their music heard. For 2 Grooviz (2 euros), an artist can send their music to an influencer of their choosing: labels, playlists, radios, media, managers, publishers…and under 7 days, they will get guaranteed feedback. Artists often spend hours sending emails and messages that never get answered or even read. With Groover, independent musicians can get the feedback and exposure they need to take their music to the next level.
Overall, independent musicians have many resources at their disposal when it comes to music marketing strategies. It is important for independent musicians to consider their own needs, budget, and goals before deciding which strategies work best for them. With the right combination of strategies and hard work, independent musicians can reach new audiences and promote their music successfully.
| Read also: How to release music the best way