The career of an emerging artist can be summed up in two parts: creating and defending ones creations. It sounds simple. But while the creation part can already be challenging for independent musicians, defending ones creations can be even harder. Promoting your music is not an easy task, so we’ve come up with the best strategies an emerging musician can use to gain visibility. We have identified 11 essential tools to boost the visibility of your music. 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. Honestly, this is not enough, even if the power of these platforms is undeniable. Streaming platforms are the key to bringing an indie artist into the spotlight and can even give unsigned artists a shot at a record deal.
Soundcloud and Bandcamp are a good way to reach a niche audience, but it will remain in the niche stage and can be very hard to reach new fans. That said, it can be an interesting test to do on your own before you’re ready to distribute your music across streaming services. After testing out how your new album does on these platforms, you’ll have to use a distribution service like Tunecore or CD Baby to get your music onto major streaming platforms like Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Youtube Music etc.
The millions of users of streaming platforms offer you a door to the world that is essential in launching your career. But that’s not all they offer. In their “for artist” side, basically the tip of the iceberg, you’ll find interfaces full of data that are very useful to understand your fans. What is this data used for? To communicate better with the listener of course and improve your marketing plan! It is key to understanding your fan-base to learn how to promote your music better. When you know who you’re talking to, you know how to talk to them.
2. Sign up for artists services
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 profiles set up, you can then even submit music directly to editorial playlists on Spotify once you have an upcoming release in your dashboard. You will be able to customize your artist page by adding photos and a biography and even linking upcoming concert dates using Songkick. It would be a shame not to use all of these tools to your advantage to boost the visibility of your project!
3. Find your audience
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 there is already an audience that you can win over by associating your project with similar groups. Are there jams 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? You have to think strategically here, because social networks are very time consuming. 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. Many social media platforms are also based around self promotion so promoting your work here is acceptable and encouraged. 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.
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
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. This 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.
Let’s look at the problem in reverse to understand the subject. You are a music lover reading the news. You see a headline on Twitter and the first time, you don’t necessarily click. However, if you see the same headline that talks about the same artist several times from different sources, you are instinctively more likely to click. What’s all the buzz about this artist you’ve never heard of?
Using media allows you to multiply your sources, making 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.
9. 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 build your project
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. As artists, we often wear many hats. We want to be in charge of our own projects but sometimes the workload is too much. Often when it comes to music promotion, we need outside help and expertise to bring our career to the next level. Do you need a manager? A PR person? A booking agent? Check out our article on who you need on your team to accelerate your music career.
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 time of less than 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 place 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 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 there is more going on and 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.
| Check out: Music Springboards Guide 2022
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 will always take precedence over everything else.