Since the pandemic, the music industry had some significant changes, and this can make it hard to walk through music’s promotion in 2021 or even 2022.
While artists can’t do much of physical promotions, the internet has offered them flexibility. Without gigs, live shows, or concerts, musicians have to find other ways to gain more listeners and fans, and they found it through the internet.
But not everything needs to be digital though, keep that in mind.
If you’re a musician wanting to promote during these strange times (and you should!), here are some basic items that should be on your list:
HAVING YOUR OWN WEBSITE IS A MUST
Having a website of your own, is a must 20 years ago. If you still don’t have one, then you better rush to have one because this is where everything about you and your music would be found.
From your bio, music, videos, photos to future projects, it’s all put in your website, so this will be of great help to your fans and fans-to-be. Moreover, this is where fans can look up your tour list and the merch you sell.
BUILD YOUR MAILING LIST
Since fans and fans-to-be would be visiting your website, I suggest adding a mailing list sign-up form on it. A mailing list is a very important list you have to grow for it is your direct link to fans. You can promote your music by sending them emails.
To build and expand it, you can give some incentives like behind-the-scenes and such to those who would be signing up. And you can use companies like Mailchimp to send out emails to your list.
CONTENT IS EVERYTHING
Content is something that you should prepare well for. It’s the heart of your promotions. And it’s what pulls in fans. To make quality content, it should have a story or something that would relate to your audience.
REMEMBER: PLATFORMS ARE DIFFERENT FROM ONE ANOTHER
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok are different from each other. They have different spaces and algorithms.
For Twitter, we have the text message type of posts, while Instagram is photo-centric. TikTok is more on short videos while YouTube can have longer videos. And as for Facebook it’s a mixture of all the other platforms.
Identify your target audience and choose just one or two platforms to focus on.
SOCIAL PLATFORM FEATURES ARE AVAILABLE, USE THEM!
There are many features a social platform has and you can use them for your promotions. And many of these features are available in many social platforms, like lives, my days/ stories, messaging, and more.
Just so you know, Twitter has this new feature called Space. It’s where you can gather other twitter users, followers or not, and have them listen to you talking or doing whatever on live, much like in a radio.
DON’T DISMISS TIKTOK
You might roll your eyes or cringe at the thought of it but hear me out: people are using it!
TikTok is the most popular social media platform right now with its 12.6 million daily active users. With TikTok focusing on video sharing that mainly uses songs from their catalogue as background for any type of video a user creates. Here’s more discussion on why you should use TikTok to market your music: Why Musicians Should Use TikTok.
LET YOUR FANS KNOW YOU’RE COOKING UP SOMETHING
Before the official announcement of the release, maybe months before it, you can subtly tell your fans that you’re working on a project. You can use whatever means, maybe an IG story, a tweet, or something.
Updates like that can be a short clip of the recording studio you’re in with texts that imply your upcoming unannounced project.
So after giving a little spoiler to your fans about your upcoming project, you can post these teasers after officially announcing your music release. Teasers can be anything, but most are either photos or videos.
With photo teasers, you can attach the title of your album, the date of release, and your name on photos from your photoshoot. Video teasers on the other hand can be teasers of your music video, live video, or maybe your gigs.
MAYBE HAVE A MUSIC VIDEO
To make high quality music videos you will surely need to have a big sum of money to produce one. But there are inexpensive music videos too, much raw and personal, which fans also love.
When creating a music video, you should have a good story line or maybe some easter eggs here and there. Fans love that because they can actively interact with other fans as they make and share theories and discoveries together.
GET YOUR SONGS ADDED TO PLAYLISTS
Playlists on online streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music are very much helpful for your songs to reach more audiences, especially fans of artists with the same genre.
Most Spotify playlists have around thousands of followers, while popular ones have more than a million.
To have your songs added to a Spotify playlist you need to have your own Spotify for Artists account and pitch your to-be released songs. For more information on how to pitch your songs, read here.
PREPARE YOUR VERY OWN ELECTRONIC PRESS KIT
Electronic Press Kit, also called press book, press kit, or EPK is a very useful thing for your career as a musician as it becomes very handy when doing music promotions.
The EPK holds together all the necessary information when you contact the media, curators, music bloggers, and more. It is basically your resume as an artist and it includes your accomplishments and samples of your music.
SEND YOUR MUSIC TO BLOGS
With the help of your electronic press kit, it will be pretty easy to send an email about your music to music bloggers. What you’ll need to do is to find music bloggers who feature tracks in the same genre as yours. This way the effort of sending them won’t go to waste.
GENERATE AND SHARE YOUR SMARTLINK
Have you heard of smarlinks or fanlinks? These links, when clicked, are those that bring people into a landing page that provides access to different streaming channels where your music is and will be available. This means that it can also serve as a pre-save link for your music.
This smartlink can turn your followers into potential listeners. I say potential listeners because people may not pick one channel and choose to exit the link.
If you’re planning to try having them, you can try SmartLink, it’s easy to use and make an account.
COLLABORATIONS CAN BE ANOTHER WAY
As much as collaborations help in making music and maybe even making it better, collaborations are another way to market your music. When you collaborate with other artists or musicians, especially big famous ones, you bring their fans into your music.
You let fans of the musicians you’ve collaborated with listen to you. If they love that collaborated music, they would surely check you out, and gain casual listeners or even fans.
CONTACT LOCAL RADIO STATIONS
Radio plays are a must, I tell you. They help in reaching a wide variety of audience, since radio listeners have a very spread demographic.
But it will be quite hard to have your songs played on big or famous radio stations. I’m pretty sure you’ll be competing with other artists that may have connections or are more famous than you.
it’s better to contact local radio stations where songs from their local musicians are eagerly played. You can try emailing them or calling them directly for this kind of thing.
GUEST IN A PODCAST OR HAVE YOUR OWN PODCAST
Podcasts have been a thing now, especially during the pandemic. It has become an important outlet for entertainment and information and with most podcasts focused on music, it is a very big help for you.
To take advantage of these podcasts, you can contact these podcasters and maybe request them to have your song played on during one of their podcasts or maybe have you as a guest for one of their podcast episodes.
If you want, you can have your own podcast too. If you have enough audience it can be pretty successful, but it would not compare to more stable podcasts.
LOCAL ADVERTISING WILL NEVER BE OUTDATED
We are already in the digital era and this may seem too old-school but I assure you local advertising will never be outdated.
There are still people who do not have their noses stuck to their cellular phones. I bet that some people, casual listeners or fans may not have received your announcement of releasing music.
With printed flyers or tarpaulins you can locally advertise your music release. Moreover, vaccines have been rolled out which means more people are outside looking at them.
A merch is another form of promotion so it’s best to release some merch when you release a single or album. Make sure to have your logo and name printed on them, that way fans and other people would be able to recognize you and your brand.
There are many kinds of merchandise you can choose to have your design printed on but I suggest you think of something unique. You might catch some attention from strangers if you do.
RELEASE LIMITED PHYSICAL ALBUMS
Online streaming has been dominating music revenues worldwide and there might be some question on why physical albums should still be released. Here’s my answer.
Releasing a physical album is one way to market your music, since they are technically considered merchandise. It promotes your music through the visuals of the album. But I suggested you release them in limited numbers since most would still prefer online streaming.
DO GIGS AND LIVE SHOWS
Gigs and live shows are possible at present, even when there were lockdowns imposed. Though there are still strict protocols being followed for safety precaution.
You can do these kinds of live shows too. Those drive-in shows where people can drive in parking spaces and watch live shows from bands and artists. There’s also live-shows held in closed venues where the audience is limited.
If you’re ha
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.