Today, you’re finally going to learn how to promote your music as an independent artist. It’s not as difficult as you think, but you’ll definitely need to put some work into it.
After 1-2 years of consistent effort, you may actually start seeing some results!
I’ll be sharing my personal approach to music promotion and which tools/platforms I use. You’ll also have some actionable steps at the end of each section to motivate you to get started RIGHT NOW.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
- Who are you promoting your music to?
- Why are you promoting your music?
- How to promote your music through your website
- How to promote your music through your blog
- How to promote your music through your newsletter
- How to promote your music on YouTube
- How to promote your music on SoundCloud
- How to promote your music on social media
- Summary: How To Promote Your Music as an Independent Artist
Who are you promoting your music to?
That’s the first question you should be asking yourself because it’ll help you answer the next. We’ll get to that in just a moment, but let’s start with asking WHO is your target audience.
Personally, I don’t target the average consumer.
If I were to answer that question, I would most likely say that my target audience is…
- Music Supervisors
- Sync Agents/Agencies
- Independent Filmmakers
- Content Creators
That gives me a pretty good idea of how to answer the next question.
Maybe you’re targeting a different audience.
It doesn’t really matter as long as its SPECIFIC. Even my answer isn’t specific enough yet.
For example, my music won’t attract the attention of ALL music supervisors.
To find out which music supervisors I’m targeting, I’d need to use some more advanced tools. IMDB (international music database) would be a good place to start. That’s how I’d find out which music supervisors worked on the projects I hear my music fitting in.
I’d also most likely find some relevant filmmakers/content creators along the way.
We’re not necessarily looking for specific names, but you need to know more about the type of person you’re targeting…
- Which websites do they visit?
- How do they find information?
- What social networks are they a part of?
- Where do they live?
All of these details will help you refine your approach and achieve better results.
In essence, shooting in the dark isn’t an option anymore.
Now, for that important second question!
Why are you promoting your music?
In other words, what is it you want to do with your music?
- Do you want to get it placed in TV/Film?
- Do you want to have it broadcasted on the radio?
- Do you want millions of fans streaming your music?
- Do you want to tour the world playing your music?
You don’t necessarily need to limit yourself to one of these, but you should definitely focus your energy on one (at least at first).
That’s just a general rule for everything you’ll do in life.
For me, I want to focus on getting my music placed in TV/Film.
That being said, my approach to marketing my music will be different. Actually, the way I MAKE music will be different than an artist who’s looking for a record deal.
It’s SUPER important to make that distinction because you can’t mix the two.
You need to know WHAT and WHO you’re making music for.
The reality is you’ll never be capable of pleasing everyone, so be selective.
That’s pretty much what you need to figure out BEFORE getting started. The rest of this article will be dedicated to providing a general approach that you can follow regardless of the specific path you’ll be taking.
Some might consider this approach UNIVERSAL because it covers the essentials.
I guarantee that every independent artist will benefit from leveraging these platforms.
How to promote your music through your website
The first (and most important) platform independent artists need to promote their music is a website. Many musicians have one, but not many are using it in the right way.
We’ll get more into fixing that in the next section.
For now, I’m going to assume that you don’t even have a website to begin with.
Maybe you’ve been hesitating or just don’t think it’s worth it.
It IS worth it and there’ll be no reason to hesitate once you finish this article.
The main reason you want to own your own website (ideally .com) is that it’s one of the only platforms that’ll always be there and will always be YOURS. You can’t get banned from your own website and your own website won’t go out of style like Myspace (hopefully).
In other words, all the hard work you put into your website should stand the test of time.
In today’s world, your website is also your place of commerce.
You can sell just about anything from your website…
- Music Downloads
- Online Courses
The list goes on, but I think you can see the potential.
These products/services are also how you’ll build brand awareness. Whether you’re an artist and/or band, you need to start considering yourself as a BRAND.
Maybe your fans find out about your music through an ebook they bought on your website.
Maybe someone sees one of your fans wearing one of your t-shirts and asks about it.
If you’re not branding yourself, it’s more likely that no one will ever find out about what you do. The misconception is that it needs to be through music exclusively.
Ironically, your music is the LAST thing people will be talking about.
You need to provide something USEFUL first.
The easiest platform to build your wesbite/webstore with is WordPress.
However, there are many other tools you can use. Regardless of what you choose to work with, you’ll need to purchase your domain name and purchase web hosting.
If you need more information on those, let me know in the comments!
- Purchase a domain (ideally .com)
- Purchase web hosting
- Install WordPress
- Install WooCommerce plugin
How to promote your music through your blog
Now, we just talked about a few options you could consider to establish your brand.
Having a website is essential, but the most valuable part of any website is its blog.
That’s how you’ll be generating TRAFFIC. That’s how you’ll be bringing in thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people to your website.
Of course, that’ll take time and some serious commitment.
The blog you create needs to provide value to a specific audience.
Let’s say you’re a music producer targeting music supervisors. Maybe you’ve created some sort of music licensing website that hosts your entire catalog. You’d like to get some of that music placed on TV/Film, but no one is visiting.
The best way to attract the RIGHT kind of people would be to start writing helpful articles.
What kinds of problems do music supervisors have?
Find out and create content that solves those problems and eventually, you’ll be picked up by search engines.
You’ll find yourself put right in front of your target audience!
They’ll read your article and that’s where you’ll promote the rest of your platform.
Here’s another example…
Let’s say you’re a touring band that’s targeting other indie-rock bands. Other bands are more likely to appreciate (and pay for) your music than the average listener, but they also have specific problems to solve.
Once you find out what those problems are, you should start solving them!
If you start a blog on touring and how to overcome some of the most common pitfalls, you’ll attract LOTS of high-quality attention to your website and once you’ve got them hooked, you can direct them towards the page where you sell music downloads. Maybe a consultation service?
You can even get them to sign up to your newsletter!
- Research your target audience
- Create your first piece of content that solves a problem
How to promote your music through your newsletter
Do you think email marketing is dead? You’re WRONG!!
Promoting your music (or anything really) through your newsletter is still one of the most effective methods. Your audience literally gives you permission.
Some may unsubscribe at some point, but that’s totally normal.
Most people just want the FREEBIE (or lead magnet) you’re offering in exchange for that email address. Yes, you’ll need to give them something for FREE.
That lead magnet could be…
- Music Download
- Mini Course
It just needs to be good enough for someone to give you their email in exchange.
Once you have that, you can basically promote anything at any time.
However, you should still respect your audience and create some boundaries.
Maybe you commit to communicating with them in this way once a week.
If you’re going with the weekly newsletter model, you’ll basically be updating your subscribers with your progress and promoting newly created content (articles, videos, etc…).
I highly recommend doing this to keep your audience “warmed up”.
If you don’t contact them regularly, they’ll most likely forget about you.
Do you know how many other brands use the same tactic? A LOT.
That’s why you need to find a way to stand out.
Once you actually have something to sell, your audience will be much more willing to hear about it if you’ve provided consistent value throughout an extended period of time.
That’s how you build trust!
The best platform to get started with email marketing is Mailchimp since it’s FREE to start.
That’s what I personally use and I highly recommend it.
Of course, the best place to gather subscribers is from your website. To be more specific, you could have some sort of popup trigger at some point throughout your article.
The sooner you start collecting emails, the better.
- Create a Mailchimp account
- Create a lead magnet/freebie
- Embed a form into your website
How to promote your music on YouTube
Alright, so the next most viable platform to promote your music on is YouTube.
However, you’ll get the best results if you focus on everything BUT music. The content you’ll be creating will obviously be related to your music career, but not music in it of itself.
We’ve already got streaming services to listen to music on.
YouTube will either be an extension of your website/blog or vice-versa.
In other words, you’ll want to entertain and educate your audience. Entertainment generally works better on YouTube, but tutorials are HUGE as well.
There are simply things you can’t demonstrate through an article.
Here are some content ideas for your YouTube channel:
- Product Reviews
- Live Streams
I’m sure you can think of some others!
Decibel Peak also releases promotional content (music videos, teasers, etc…) but from my experience, I can say it doesn’t work as well as the aforementioned types of content.
Don’t let that stop you though!
I still recommend having some music on your YouTube channel, but not entire tracks.
You can easily direct your viewers to your website (or other platform) for your music.
What most people are interested in is entertainment and having their problems solved.
If you can provide at least one of those with your YouTube channel, you’ll attract the right kind of attention. Once your target audience perceives you as valuable, you’re set.
The most difficult part is getting started and developing your voice.
The rest is all about consistency and dedication. Your videos will get better!
Once they’re good enough, you’ll have the results you were looking for. You’ll see!
- Create a YouTube channel for your brand
- Make your first video
How to promote your music on SoundCloud
I’m personally not a huge fan of SoundCloud, but it’s still one of the most visited music streaming websites. Sharing links to your music is also easy, especially with the embeds.
I think most of the value of posting on SoundCloud comes from the profile.
It sometimes shows up on search engines and definitely on SoundCloud itself.
You can basically consider it as a landing page for your music.
You’ve got nothing to lose, but you can certainly capture a few leads this way.
However, I personally don’t recommend posting entire tracks on SoundCloud. As I mentioned, we already have music streaming services for that and SoundCloud won’t pay you for your streams unless you sign up for the Pro Plan (I don’t recommend it).
Just like YouTube, I recommend posting TEASERS only.
Here’s what Decibel Peak’s SoundCloud page looks like.
- Create a SoundCloud account
- Post your first teaser
How to promote your music on social media
Okay, so we’re actually going to break up this section into the different social media platforms I recommend promoting your music on.
Here are the ones you’ll have the most success with:
How to promote your music on LinkedIn
If you want to be taken seriously, you need LinkedIn.
Nowadays, Linked is one of the best social networks to promote your music and music-related expertise because it’s designed for professionals.
I highly recommend creating a personal LinkedIn profile first.
Afterwards, you can create a page for your brand (band, business, etc…).
The types of people you’ll be interacting with on LinkedIn are most likely different that the people you’re used to dealing with. That’s why you’ll need to create posts specifically for LinkedIn.
Personally, I usually get the most impressions from articles I share from Decibel Peak.
Content that’s geared towards the music industry/business is the best.
You can also share your promotional content (music videos, teasers, etc…) because it may have the chance of being picked up by A&R or music supervisors.
Using the right hashtags also increases your chances of being seen.
Here are some of my most used hashtags on LinkedIn for music:
And hey, maybe LinkedIn doesn’t necessarily fit your brand. That’s okay, but I definitely recommend creating a personal profile.
If you’re looking for your first connection, you can add me!
How to promote your music on Twitter
Twitter is actually my least favourite social network on this list. I’m still recommending it though because LOTS of music supervisors and A&R representatives use it.
It’s just difficult to get noticed on Twitter because everything is moving so fast.
You’ll need to post OFTEN and regularly to increase your odds of success.
That’s when you’ll want to start considering scheduling software for social media.
Personally though, I just post the same stuff as I do on LinkedIn. The audience is similar, but I don’t really pay much attention to it. I just use it for profiling more than anything.
It’s important to establish yourself on the major social networks, but that’s about it.
Eventually, your audience will find you and follow you regardless of how much/how often you post. Don’t worry so much at first, just create a profile and post regularly.
Make sure you reserve your handle before someone else does!
How to promote your music on Instagram
Instagram is much more visual than anything but if you create the right type of content, you can still create some brand awareness for your music.
You’ll just need to get creative with the visual aspect.
If you figure it out though, it’ll add LOTS of value to your music.
Here are some examples of the posts that worked best for Decibel Peak.
Music videos are great and so are teasers.
You can basically use the same content as you do on YouTube for those.
You can even cut up some of your other content and create highlight reels.
Photos are great as well! Anything that shares what your music LOOKS like.
In reality though, Instagram isn’t really that great for converting users. That’s because it was designed to keep users ON the platform.
It won’t pay your bills, but Instagram can definitely increase your brand awareness.
I also recommend pairing Instagram with Linktr.ee to direct your followers to your other websites/channels. You can only put ONE link in your Instagram Bio, so make it count!
How to promote your music on Pinterest
To be honest, Pinterest can actually be one of the best platforms to promote your music-related brand with. It’s more of a search engine than a social network.
I think it has lots of similarities to YouTube, but it’s much more product-oriented.
If you’re selling merchandise, Pinterest is the BEST place to promote that.
You can also use Pinterest to attract traffic to your website by promoting your best articles. There’s actually lots of that stuff in music-related niches, so it works.
However, even with all the headway Decibel Peak has made on Pinterest… It doesn’t really attract that much traffic. It’s good traffic, but music isn’t the best niche for Pinterest.
You’ve got nothing to lose, but don’t waste too much time on it either.
Just create some high-quality content tailored to the platform and you’ll eventually start to see some traction. The advantage is that your content will be evergreen.
Compared to Instagram, it’s much more worth it (especially for the long run).
Summary: How To Promote Your Music as an Independent Artist
Are you ready to promote your music? You’ve got LOTS of homework to do if you haven’t applied any of these approaches to your music-related brand.
I hope you learned at least TWO things though:
- Promoting your music has very little to do with your actual music
- It’s your BRAND that represents your music
I also wanted to mention that out of all of these platforms, social media is the LEAST important one. Does that surprise you?
You’ve probably heard many people saying the exact opposite!
Well, the truth is social media is designed for those with SHORT attention spans.
If you want to build an audience that’ll stand the test of time, you need something concrete.
That’s why websites/blogs have always been and will always be KING.
YouTube is also not going out of style anytime soon.
The most important element, however, is to tie all of these channels into your mailing list. It’s the ONE and ONLY way to get your audience to keep returning.
That’s because you have direct access to their inbox (unless they unsubscribe, of course).
The ones that ARE subscribed are basically giving your permission to sell to them.
Don’t embarrass yourself too much, okay! Just kidding!!
It’s not as scary as it sounds. You’ll actually find it incredibly humbling to connect with your TRUE fans. I sure feel the humility everytime I send a newsletter.
So, what’s holding you back?
Let me know if I can assist you in implementing any of these strategies. I’m also curious to know about your personal experience in learning how to promote your music. Let us know in the comments how you’re doing and what you’re currently working on.
Thanks for reading, good luck out there!