50 Ways to Promote Your Music and Grow Your Fanbase - Part 1


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**Guest post written by Nicholas Rubright of Dozmia.

 

"Succeeding in the music industry is hard work.

 

You're competing with literally millions of people crawling their way to the top.

 

However, most of these people don't know how to effectively market themselves or their music. They put out song after song, hoping they'll be discovered by a label executive or somehow go viral.

 

While this does happen, it's extremely rare, and setting the unrealistic expectation that it will happen to you is a recipe for failure. Instead, set yourself apart from the crowd by learning all you can about different music marketing tactics, and treating your music career as a business.

 

Here's a list of 50 music marketing strategies to get you started.

 

 

Get Smart and Creative with Your Gigging

When most musicians think of music marketing, they think of online music promotion strategies.

 

Don't limit your efforts to online music promotion. Playing live shows is a great way for musicians early in their career to gain new fans.

 

Here are some ways you can use gigs to grow your fanbase.

 

1. Play Some (very few) Shows for Free

If someone does ask you to play for free and you're early in your career, don't be so quick to jump on it. Alternatively, if you're a bit more established, don't be so quick to say no. It's important to assess the opportunity.

 

Here are some questions you can ask a promoter when you're asked to play without pay:

 

  • What other artists are playing?
  • When do we play in relation to other artists?
  • How many people will be at the show during out set? (it's important to specifically ask about the expected audience size during your set. Many promotors will give totals when asked otherwise, but many people will show up later in the day.)
  • Will we be able to sell merchandise?

 

If the opportunity really is going to provide a huge leap in the size of your fanbase, it's for a cause you believe in, or it's for a huge conference or event, go for it.

 

If you're a new musician or band and don't have much experience playing live, it might be a good idea to take what you can get for practice and even small amounts of exposure. Don't play too many shows out of your hometown early on - it's important to build your local fanbase before branching out.

 

In the extremely early stages, any amount of free exposure is good. Pay close attention to the type of people who love your music, and figure out how to get in front of more of these people using targeted music marketing strategies.

+Shows: Which Ones to Play, When to Play Them, and Why

 

 

2. Play with Established Artists in Your Scene

If you play a show by yourself, it's going to be hard to draw a new audience. If you're new, it's going to be hard to get anyone to show up at all.

 

A great way to add a jumpstart to your fanbase is to play with musicians who have a much larger fanbase than yours. Network with local artists in your area, or in cities you're touring to - check out their social media followings (both in size and engagement), and reach out to new artists who you'd like to play a show with.

 

Finding New Musicians to Gig With

Facebook is a great way to find new musicians of a similar size and genre to yours. Here are some easy way to do that.

 

Go to the Facebook page of an artist in your niche and targeted city. Like the page. Then you'll see a whole list of recommended pages based on what that artist's fans have liked.

 

Simply click through the options, message the artists, and repeat the process as many times as you need. These recommendations can be great ways to find new musicians, especially if you're using this method from your own page, because that means there's some fanbase overlap and you can increase the perceived value of the event among ticket buyers.

 

If you already like the artists page, unlike it, leave the page, come back again, and like the page again to see the recommendations.

 

 

3. Don't Gig Too Often

If you play every weekend in the same city or town, your shows will lose their value.

 

Think about it like this - if your favorite band played in your city every weekend, how likely are you to go this Saturday? How likely are you to spend a good amount of money on the ticket?

 

Chances are, you'll put it off.

 

Separating your shows increases the urgency of each event. Your fans are less likely to put it off, more people will show up, and it's a better show for everyone involved.

+Don't Kill Your Hometown Crowd

 

 

Promote Your Shows

In addition to some of the other ideas listed in the post, here are some things that are specific to promoting shows.

 

 

4. List Your Shows on Bandsintown and Songkick

Both Bandsintown and Songkick use various databases to find local events, but you can sign up for Bandsintown as an artist to ensure all the information about your events is correct. For Songkick, you can sign up for Tourbox.

 

 

5. Send Emails to Local Mailing List Subscribers

When you create your mailing list, make sure you segment subscribers by location so you can send them relevant links to buy tickets. This is much more effective than simply sending the entire tour dates list to every subscriber, and results in less people unsubscribing from your mailing list.

 

 

6. Create an Event on Facebook

Create an awesome event photo for free with Canva, set up the event on Facebook, and invite everyone you know. You can also promote the event using Facebook ads.

+One Great Way Artists Can (Not) Annoy Friends And Facebook Followers!

 

 

7. Publish the Event in Local Event Calendars

Check the websites of local churches, newspapers, and other media outlets in your area to see if they have event calendars. If they do, look into how you can be included in the calendar.

 

 

Music Marketing via Distribution

Music distribution is how you get your music to your fans.

 

Music marketing isn't just about how to get new fans, but it's also about using the right distribution channels to ensure your music is in the right places so existing fans can easily find it. While some may visit your website, most will seek out your music on download or streaming service.

 

 

8. Make Sure Your Music and Merchandise is Everywhere

Using digital distribution services like TuneCore or CDBaby, you can get your music on most of the popular music services around the world.

 

However, there are lots of other music platforms that don't accept music from these services for specific licensing reasons, like Soundcloud or Dozmia. It's important to make sure your music is on these services as well, as they often have a loyal following.

 

Get your music to more music fans on Dozmia.

 

When it comes to merchandise, make sure it's available everywhere your fans might look for it - your website, Bandcamp, and Amazon.

 

Why stop at digital? While it's not many, some people do still buy CD's. Consider selling your music, and even your merchandise, in local retail stores in areas where you have a dense fanbase.

+Get your Music on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and & More

 

 

9. Upload Your Music Video to More than Just YouTube

While YouTube is the largest online video service, uploading your music video to other platforms can help you expand your reach and offer additional music video promotion.

 

Since not as many people upload music videos to less-popular platforms, you have less competition, which increases your odds of getting discovered by music fans, making these less popular platforms great music marketing channels.

 

Here are some other places you can upload your music video, and how they can help you reach more music fans.

 

Facebook Video

I know what you're thinking - "I can just share my YouTube video to Facebook."

 

This is true, but there are benefits to uploading your music video directly to Facebook. Here are a few:

 

  • Facebook likes when you use it's platform, so by publishing your video straight to Facebook, they're more likely to show it to more people.
  • Facebook has more data about it's users than YouTube does, which means you can collect better data about who's viewing your music video, and have better targeting when it comes to using Facebook Ads.
  • Great discoverability - when you watch a video on Facebook, that's been uploaded to Facebook, they recommend more videos. This means if someone is watching a music video similar to yours, they might be exposed to yours next.

 

+If You Aren't Using Facebook Video You Will Miss Out

 

Vimeo

Vimeo is the artistic cousin of YouTube. Their users are more concerned with quality, while YouTube users often upload fail or cat videos.

 

Vimeo has a more artistic audience than YouTube, so people who come across your video are likely to be impressed a music video with great attention to detail. This can lead to a higher number of shares if your music video is high quality.

 

DailyMotion

DailyMotion is another platform that focuses on quality of videos. Videos here are often categorized, with professional, higher-quality ones being featured.

 

The categorization on DailyMotion makes it really easy for users to browse and discover new videos, which can make it a great source of discovery for your next music video.

 

Note: If someone other than you uploads your music video to these services, you can request that it be taken down. To do this, you will need to prove that you own the rights, so make sure you copyright your music.

 

 

10. Get Your Music Played in Restaurants, Retail Stores, and Other Businesses.

Restaurants and retail stores play music to enhance the customer experience. If your music matches the style of a local business, see if they'll play your music in their premises.

 

There are also many services that offer music for business as a subscription, so reaching out to them and pitching your music might provide you with some additional exposure - especially if it leads to your song being played in huge chains with thousands of locations.

 

If you do this, make sure you have your music registered with BMI, ASCAP, or SESAC so you can earn royalties.

 

Additionally, for discovery, add your music to Shazam so the businesses customers can easily identify your song.

 

 

Music Marketing on Social Media

Social media is a great marketing tool for musicians, however, many musicians use it incorrectly - spamming people with music video links in messages and comments in an attempt to get more followers and likes.

 

This doesn't work. Social media isn't just about getting more Facebook likes for your band - if you want to have success in social media, it's important to treat it as a tool for fan engagement rather than a promotional platform.

 

Don't try to be on every social network. Instead, pick 3 that are best for you based on your fanbase demographics, then move onto the others as you grow.

+Musicians, do you NEED to be on Snapchat?

 

 

11. Use The Social Media Rule of Thirds

If everything you post on social media is promotional and an attempt to drive sales, people aren't going to care about your posts, and may unfollow you. To keep followers and drive engagement, it's a good idea to follow the social media rule of thirds:

 

  • One third of your posts should be promotional.
  • One third of your posts should provide value to your fans.
  • One third of your posts should engage fans in some way.

 

Follow this rule, and you're more likely to see a highly engaged following, which is what record labels, managers, and booking agents look for when looking at social media stats.

 

 

12. Schedule Your Posts

Timing is everything on social media. It's important to understand your fanbase, and know when they use different social networks. The time of day that you post on social media can dramatically affect engagement.

 

So that you can post to different social networks at the best times without sitting at your computer all day, use something like Hootsuite to pre-schedule your social media posts throughout the day.

 

Here's a cheat sheet to help you schedule your posts on different social networks.

 

 

13. Facebook Marketing Tips for Musicians

Facebook is the biggest social network in the world, with more than 2.5 billion users, so when it comes to social media marketing, Facebook is a must.

 

What to Post on Facebook

 

Remember, your goal on social media is to engage with your fans, not constantly post about your music and ask your fans for money.

 

According to this article by Simply Measured, statuses get the most comments, but video gets the most shares.

 

When to Post on Facebook

 

When scheduling Facebook posts, you want to post when users are the most engaged.

 

When is that?

 

Take a look.

 

Where to Post Your Music on Facebook

 

You want to post your music on your Facebook artist page, but consider looking for music related groups within your niche with members that may be interested in looking for new music.

+For Better or Worse: Putting Facebook to Work For Event Marketing

 

 

14. YouTube - Optimizing a Music Video for Success

It's not enough to simply post your music video to YouTube; you need to set it up for success with a great title and description. Since YouTube doesn't have a way of analyzing the actual contents of your video, it works off of the text.

 

This article can provide you with some great advice on optimizing your video so it can be found on YouTube more easily. It's also important to effectively promote your music video.

 

 

15. Twitter

Twitter is a great social network for getting your music in front of an entirely new audience. With hashtags, retweets, and even likes, Twitter can expose your music to an interested audience.

 

When to Post on Twitter

 

Like any other social network, Twitter users are more engaged at different times during the day.

 

Take a look.

 

 

16. Instagram

Instagram is all about beautiful, engaging photos. If you're releasing a new album, this is the place you'll get great feedback on the artwork. Album artwork, band pictures, and even pictures with fans can result in high levels of engagement.

 

When to Post on Instagram

 

Again, scheduling posts is important. Here are the best times to post on Instagram:

 

Take a look.

+7 Musician Rules For Instagram / Snapchat Stories

 

 

17. Pinterest

Like Instagram, Pinterest is all about images. Creating boards for high quality album art or band member interests can result in a large amount of organic exposure through Pinterest's platform. Boards can even show up in Google search results.

 

When are Pinterest Users Most Active?

 

Pinterest users seem to be active weekend nights:

 

Take a look.

 

 

18. Reddit

Reddit is all about becoming an active member of the community without coming off as too promotional. For more details, we've put together a reddit music promotion guide.

 

 

19. StumbleUpon

StumbleUpon can be an amazing source of free traffic for your music videos and social media pages. Users of StumbleUpon identify what they're interested in (including music genres), then click a big orange "Stumble" button to discover new content. This is great for musicians, because StumbleUpon users are actively seeking something new.

 

Before you can submit a link with tags to StumbleUpon, you must meet the following criteria:

 

  • Your account must be over 24 hours old
  • You must set a Profile picture
  • You must have a minimum amount of Stumbles (however, they don't reveal how many this is.)

 

After you've used StumbleUpon, you can add links with specific tags here."

 

Read on to part 2 HERE.

 

 

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Related Blog Posts:

+4 Common Traits of a Wildly Successful Artist

+The Lazy Way To Sell Music Online

+5 Things Musicians can Blog About to Get Targeted Website Traffic

 

 

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