New year, new music, new you! And in 2022, you will be promoting your music like never before. So, it’s going to be extremely important not to repeat the same mistakes. You want to make sure that you stick out within the millions of songs already on streaming platforms. The problem with trying to get your music known as an independent artist, you don’t always know what your mistakes are. So, with each new release of your singles or musical projects, we repeat them. Instead of improving our press relations, we simply send DMs on Instagram in larger quantities. Rather than aiming at the heart of our target, we try to enlarge it in the hope of finally reaching more people.
On paper, all of these resolutions make sense! But in truth, they are often big mistakes to avoid as an independent artist looking to develop a musical project.
No matter what style of music you play – hip-hop, rap, folk, electro, pop,… – the music business is competitive. But with proper targeting, many projects can succeed in attracting the attention of new listeners – on the various streaming platforms.
The first step in music promotion is to ask yourself “Who might like my music?”. Then you need to roll out the thread, find the right hashtag, contact labels that might like your music and are in tune with the progress of your musical project, music sites that might relay your tracks, etc.
In this article, I will highlight 3 mistakes you should not make when promoting your music! I’ll explain why these are mistakes and, of course, what is the solution to replace them and help you get your music known.
Mistake #1: contacting media outlets through a DM
I already wrote about it in this article but it’s important to keep spreading this message: Instagram is not the right place to do your PR. Why not? Because you risk getting in touch with the outlet’s Community Manager, rather than with journalists. Also, long messages and links received on Instagram tend to be neglected. Finally, simply because it’s not what professionals in the music industry do. To develop your musical project, you need to be professional in order to be given the same credibility as a musician signed to a music label.
With that said, be careful: Instagram is still a great social network for making initial contact. Simply, rather than DMing your pitch, bio, and video link on Instagram, you can ask, ” Which email address may I use to reach you with this info?”. This message will be quick to read and process, for anyone who opens it. You can also do this by finding the editors’ accounts on Instagram, Twitter, or (better yet) LinkedIn. But remember, it’s against the law to spam them on their personal accounts. Show them that your approach is professional and they will recognize it.
Solution #1 : the perfect email to send to press
Now, you may say, “Okay, no Instagram DMs. But what do I put in an email?”. First, you have to understand that email is a much more comprehensive tool for communicating about your project to press or industry pros. You’ll be able to insert high quality files and most importantly, they’ll be able to read more text on an email than on Instagram. Here are 6 essential elements to the perfect email:
- The pitch: 3 sentences (4 MAX!) to present your project. Keep it short in order to be as impactful as possible. For that, use key words such as “banger”, “energetic”, “sunny” or “melancholic” to make your artistic direction understood quickly.
- The bio: for a developing artist, 3 lines should be enough to introduce yourself. Try to be as factual and up-to-date as possible. Avoid making generic statements like “I’ve been passionate about music since I was a kid”.
- Private links: use SoundCloud and YouTube to share your tracks safely. Avoid Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, etc. links because you don’t know what platform they use. Also, avoid WeTransfer, as I explained in this article.
- The release date of your single or project: must be clearly visible!
- Press photos and teasers: you can organize them in a public Dropbox.
- Your social media: don’t forget to put include your profiles so that the industry pros can see your messages, follow you or even mention you in their posts and stories.
By the way, don’t forget polite wording… It’s the basis for your message to be well transmitted. With all this, the media will be able to decide to relay your musical project and will already have all the elements to share it! This way, you save them a lot of time by not asking for missing elements …
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Mistake #2 : contacting several dozen media outlets
You do rap, but in track 3 of the project there is a guitar riff? Ah, and there is also a single with a bit of pop? In that case, you should contact Booska’P but also Les Inrocks and Rolling Stones ! Ah, and why not 20 Minutes and FIP ? As long as we have to do it, since the email is basic, we might as well send it to everyone!
No. If you’re thinking like that, get ready to go nowhere. Unless you have a very connected press agent background, avoid mass mailing. Why is this a mistake? Because the more emails you send, the less time you’ll have to personalize them and therefore, to create lasting relationships with the media. As the name implies, media relations are “relationships”. It’s not just about letting all the media know you exist, but rather have conversations with the people who write. They’ll remember your name and can explain their criteria and are willing to give you time to listen.
Solution #2 : fine-tuning and creating personal relationships
In general, when you are an independent artist, you have little time and few contacts. The solution is to optimize your press relations by creating key contacts with a precise selection of media, playlists, radios particularly relevant to your music.
First, you can make an exhaustive list of media outlets that have already covered artists whose music is similar to yours. Try to think of different types of media, with different impacts: local media (the neighborhood paper), niche media (not very exposed but very specialized), specialized media (known for covering a particular music genre), general media (exposed, but covering all types of topics). It’s important to not only think about the big media outlets, because their time is usually already taken up by artists whose careers are more advanced.
So, it is very likely that you will have to concentrate your music promotion campaign on niche media, focused on discovering new talent in a specific musical genre. And, lucky for you, they are often run by small teams who take the time to open their emails to discover new artists. Take the time to analyze the media’s work in order to send them a perfect and personalized email. The idea will be to show that you know what kind of article they could dedicate to you: for example, their news of the week!
Whatever the outcome, once this first contact is established, sending new tracks to this media will be much easier for you and you will start a lasting relationship. Thus, gradually, you will enlarge your address book and will be able to create more and more impact around your musical releases.
Mistake #3 : promoting your music without enough communication
Releasing singles as a surprise? Unless you have already created a real craze within your community and have a good reason to want to surprise them (for example, to thank them for their support), it should be avoided. Good communication around a music release is something to work on. In 2022, you should also avoid communicating with a simple teaser of your video and the cover of your project!
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Solution #3 : prepare regular and varied communication
Here are some basic rules and content ideas to post that will create excitement around your project.
First, for successful communication, you will have to post daily for 10 to 14 days around the release of a single. For a project, you can easily spread the communication over a month. One post per day on Instagram and Twitter (2 per week on TikTok). It may seem like a lot, but if you look at other artists, you’ll see that they all stick to it. So, why not you? Beyond the idea of appealing to the algorithms of social networks, the challenge is also to tell a story. Stretch a common thread leading up to your release so everyone will want to listen to it.
For content, use photos of you in the studio as a teaser, with simple descriptions of your lyrics, for example. It’s important to alternate the content to not repeat yourself, and reveal your character, so people get attached to it. You can only do that by posting frequently on socials!
Now promote your musical project like a pro: with good communication and a strong press campaign! If you make quality music, don’t neglect this work because it’s what will allow you to get it heard!
– Translated by Betty Gonzalez Gray –
I’m Theodore, editor in chief of NewTone media and I accompany emerging artists within our agency, Qualité Musique. With experience, I’ve noticed that there are some common mistakes made by independent artists in the promotion of their musical project.
Finding and listening to music has never been easier or more complicated for the millions of users on streaming services. It’s up to you, as songwriters, music producers, independent artists to get noticed by promoting your music well!