Are you an independent artist looking to promote your music successfully? Promoting your music is not an easy task, especially when you are doing it on your own and with limited resources. At Groover, we’ve learned that when indie musicians find the right tools to promote their projects, it can lead to some pretty amazing opportunities. Let’s take the example of pop artist YADAM who was recently named by Rolling Stone in 2023 as one of the 10 Latin acts set to make it big. When he first started sending his tracks to music industry professionals on Groover in 2021, he said: “Being an independent artist in France means not having direct access to a lot of press. Also, being an artist who sings in Spanish and English also adds more difficulty to gaining press opportunities if there is no major label behind you. Groover allows us to break down those barriers and limits imposed on independent artists. And I am really grateful that I have managed to get into playlists in India or Japan and do interviews in Brazil and even in Paris!” In just a couple years, his music promotion efforts have really paid off, proving that it is possible to find your audiences all over the world- and get featured in Rolling Stone no less!
To start your music promotion journey, we have identified 11 essential tools for emerging musicians to boost their visibility and grow a fanbase internationally. Each one of these tools represents ways to promote your music and contains media strategies for indie artists to be heard. Let’s get started!
1. Distribute music on streaming platforms
Making your music easily accessible to as many people as possible is your primary goal once your songs are finished. You may think that streaming platforms are not mandatory and that you can break through just by uploading your music to Soundcloud, Bandcamp and YouTube. Unfortunately, this is not enough. In 2023, 551 million active listeners use Spotify to discover new music and listen to their favorite songs. Imagine the power of making your music available to even a fraction of this audience. Streaming platforms are the key to bringing indie artists into the spotlight and can even give unsigned artists a shot at a record deal.
To make your music available across streaming services, you’ll have to use a digital distribution service like Distrokid, Tunecore or CD Baby to get your music onto major streaming platforms like Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Youtube Music and more. Find out which independent digital distributor is right for you here.
Once your music is available on streaming services, you’ll be able to take advantage of the data and insights of how your music is performing. On Spotify for Artists, for example, you’ll find interfaces full of data that is very useful in understanding your fanbase. You’ll be able to see demographics of your listeners and where they are from so that you can improve your marketing plan! Understanding your fan-base is key in learning how to promote your music better.
2. Sign up for artists services: Spotify for Artists & Apple Music for Artists
Once you’ve got your music on streaming services, don’t forget to sign up for the artist services available. The two major artist services include Spotify for Artists and Apple Music for Artists. It is important to claim your profile so that you can then monitor your statistics and see how well your digital music distribution is going. Claiming your artist page through these services is free! Once you have your dashboards set up, you can then submit music directly to editorial playlists on Spotify when you have an upcoming release. You can customize your artist page by adding photos and a biography and even linking upcoming concert dates using Songkick. Use these tools to create a cohesive artist image and boost the visibility of your project!
3. Find your audience: start local
One of the most important aspects of an emerging artist’s career is finding your audience. For artists signed to major labels or influential independent labels, it is easier to find your audience because there is already a following in place. For artists who decide to release music completely independently or even create their own record label, they need to know how to market themselves. Finding your audience can start small: share your project with your friends and family. Get creative and be smart: are there artists making similar music to you in your city? Maybe you associate your project with similar groups to grow your fanbase. Are there jam sessions or music conferences you can attend? Don’t be afraid to go out and actually meet people in the music industry. Finding your audience has never been easier in the digital world than it is today.
What is the first thing you think of when you talk about gaining visibility? No surprise here, the answer is social media. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok… not all of the platforms work the same in promoting your music, but they can all be useful depending on who you want to reach.
You’ve defined your audience and your current fan-base. Who do you want to talk to and what social networks do they use? If you try to implement a social media marketing strategy across all platforms, one of two things can happen: either you are meticulous in your social media content across all of the networks and it will take 110% of your time, or you will create the same content to share across the board which will not be adapted to each separate platform. Marketing strategies differ from platform to platform and using a one size fits all approach does not cut it.
We recommend that you focus your energy on just one or two social media platforms and do things accordingly. Social media is a great place to promote music because you are targeting future fans and music pros. Labels and music industry influencers can quickly understand the potential and evolution of up-and-coming independent artists through these platforms. At the end of the day, you are trying to sell your music, so put forth the best image you can.
As for your fans, being present on social media is a way to connect with your target audience that goes beyond your music. You can show the different facets of your personality and create a universe around your musical project. Don’t forget to use hashtags! It’s one of the many easy tactics to promote your music and find new listeners. Who knows, maybe an influencer or blogger will stumble upon your post and share it! Take this into consideration when planning your overall social media strategy. Most of all, you can really connect with your audiences and share behind the scenes details about your project.
A creative way to promote your music and boost your visibility is by creating an original newsletter for your fans. This is a way to keep your fans updated about your latest releases and hot news. The newsletter is a great content marketing tool but also can be extremely relevant to the independent music scene. Lots of indie music is usually shared and discovered by word of mouth and through smaller communities unlike popular music that lands on the top of the Billboard charts. Spreading indie music through the form of a newsletter is perfectly adapted to the kind of audiences you want to be targeting. It’s also an opportunity to get creative and build community with your fans. Want to know how to create an original newsletter? Try using services like Sendinblue, Mailchimp, or Revue.
6. Get into playlists on streaming platforms
Getting your music into playlists can make a big difference in boosting your visibility as an indie artist. The landscape of online music is full of playlists with huge followings of listeners just looking for new songs to discover. You can submit to Spotify editorial playlists directly in your Spotify for Artists dashboard. Looking to land your music in playlists made by influencers or music bloggers? Check out playlist curators you can submit your music to on Groover.
7. Promote your music with a solid press kit
To boost your visibility as an artist and properly package your project, you need to prepare a solid EPK (Electronic Press Kit). Not only will you level up on your professionalism, but you will also be able to organize all of your important information in one place. A press kit includes a well written biography, photos, excerpts and links to your music, and upcoming concert dates if you have them. Think of it as the CV of your musical project. If you already have press coverage or radio plays, make sure to include this as well. The point of a press kit, after all, is to pitch your work to the press and boost your credibility as an artist. If other media outlets are already talking about you, the rest will want to follow suit. Make sure that your press kit is all nicely formatted, visually pleasing, and ready to go.
8. Get press and blog coverage
Now that you’ve got your press kit ready, it’s time to get press and blog coverage! As an emerging artist, you need the media to promote your music to gain visibility and also gain credibility. You create, you distribute your music on streaming platforms, and you post on social networks. For now, the only source talking about your music is you. To bring more legitimacy to your project, you need to multiply the sources of information.
Using media allows you to make your online presence stronger. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. It can be difficult to access the media, especially for an independent artist. A word of advice: take the time to identify media outlets that have an editorial line that fits your music. Don’t go for the most popular media right away, but look for a more modest audience. They will be easier to access and will give you credibility with the bigger media when you approach them. Send your music directly to music blogs and media using Groover!
9. Release eye-catching music videos
In addition to making good quality music, making music videos can really bring your project to the next level. Music videos are an opportunity to work on the storytelling of your project and give your audience an idea of who you are and what you represent. Also, when a song is released with a music video, listeners will be more likely to go listen and watch if they are enticed by the thumbnail. A good music video thumbnail can make all the difference! You want to get people to click.
10. Find the right team to help you promote your music
Feeling overwhelmed by all of this media strategy and music promotion? Find the right team to help you build your project and to take on some of these tasks for you. Do you need a manager? A PR agent? A booking agent? Check out our article on who you need on your team to accelerate your music career.
If you decide to manage your promotion yourself, it’s possible! Let’s look at this following case study to prove it:
Viratempo, a group from Brazil, passed the 1 million streams mark for their independently released album Cura. When they decided to release a follow up EP to produce versions of the songs by emerging national and international artists, they needed to promote the project internationally. To promote their song “MEMORIES” that was a collaboration between rappers from France, England, and Mozambique, they sent the track to playlists and radio programmers around Europe using Groover. In using the platform to promote their music, they shared: “Groover brings hope to a generation of artists that is emerging all over the world. With all the new technologies, Groover is here to help both artists and music professionals. The platform helps to weave real links between artists and influencers in their musical niche. This will boost the careers of many people, we are sure!”
Looking to promote your music and accelerate your music career? Groover allows you to contact the best media and music industry professionals, with a guaranteed response within 7 days.
11. Promote your music through live performances
Lastly, what better way is there to get your music out there than to play it live? Playing live is the perfect way to get new fans and provides a closeness with your audience that is unmatched. Listeners who discover you live can then follow you on social networks and stream your music online. This can lead to higher royalties and revenues as well as an overall boost in your visibility and branding as an artist.
Finding concert dates is not easy, especially when you are just beginning your career, but there are many ways to get started. The first tip in finding concert dates is to immerse yourself in the local music scene of your area. Some people say that you have to be in big cities like New York or Paris to get the best opportunities, but this is not necessarily true. It’s true that are more cultural offerings in these places, but it can also be more difficult to access. When you’re in smaller towns or cities, it’s often easier to get your music heard. Don’t be discouraged by your local music scene. Start small and work your way up.
Now that you’ve learned the 11 tools you need to promote your music and boost your visibility, it’s time to get to work! One last piece of advice: don’t force yourself to do anything you don’t want to. Promoting your project has to be natural, otherwise your fanbase will feel it. Authenticity takes precedence over everything else.