Music Marketing – it’s the industry’s new buzzword… & you can see why.
With some of the world’s biggest artists, now using the internet as the main way to promote their new tunes, tours, merch & all other aspects of their artist brand, it’s becoming apparent that not migrating online is for music artist, the equivalent of career suicide.
Go on to consider that the number of music artists rising by the day, thanks to the increasing ease of going independent, & you really do need to go all-out just to get noticed. Team that with the growing cheapness of Production Tech, & the fact that you’re up against major labels with promo budgets the size of Peter Jones’ bank account, & you can see why competition in the music game is more fierce than ever! However…
That’s not marketing you music & building a fanbase is impossible. Oh no – you see, even now in 2023, music marketing is still very a niche strategy, which even the major record labels are struggling to adjust to; according to rumours, one label (naming no names) has even resulted to ‘botting’ their artists’ streaming figures!! Exactly why by brushing up on the basics now, you’re in effect giving yourself a head start, so you (yes, you Indie) can compete with artists signed to major record deals!!
So with that in mind, how do you get started in music marketing? And what are the best music marketing strategies for 2023? There’s actually quite a few! Read on & we’ll reveal all.
After something specific about the inner workings of music marketing? Or just curious how much marketing can help propel you career as an artist forward? Use the menu below to find all the answers you need fast…
Music marketing defined – what is it? What does it do?
In a nutshell, ‘music marketing’ is a blanket term.
One that’s used to describe all the various strategies that go into promoting your music effectively in today’s day & age. In other words, all the strategies you’d be wise to master before pushing your music out to the masses; just as with any form of marketing, strategy plays a HUGE part in any successful music marketing campaign, which is most probably why you’re even reading this blog… to get hella inspo!
Music marketing also allows you to gain a better understanding of your following too. With the help of analytics you can begin to build an accurate picture of not only who listens to your music, but also how they listen. Useful to have, especially if you want to capitalise on every ounce of attention you receive & set about turning casual listeners into hardcore fans.
Ask us to sum up music marketing in 1 sentence & we’d say this…
Music marketing is leverage – a bunch of strategies that allow you as an artist to stack the cards in your favour, so that you have the best possible chance of achieving your desired result, be that getting your first 1k streams on Spotify, building brand awareness or just racing straight to number 1.
3 Reasons you should care about music marketing…
You may be reading this blog thinking “why should I even care about music marketing?”
After all, it is a steep learning curve that you’ll have to dedicate a LOT of time to if you want to perfect it. Time that you could be putting into the creating & distributing more music. However, to prove that music marketing isn’t just another online gimmick, & is actually worth your attention, here’s just 3 reasons why you should seriously care about music marketing in 2023…
1. Music Marketing is an expense
Okay, so there’s no getting round all the costs involved in effective music marketing.
To get results, more than often requires a healthy budget, especially if you’re aim is to leave a lasting digital footprint. However… the real reason you should care about music marketing lies in the word ‘expense’. You see, while music marketing is expensive, it also doubles as a business expense.
So, if you release your music through a LTD company or LLC, all these costs could be tax deductible. In other words, there’s a good chance you can use them to offset your tax bill.
2. It can make or break your career
As dramatic as it sounds, that’s no joke.
Music marketing really does have the power to make (or break) an artist’s career, which is why major labels especially, invest so goddarn much £$€ into it every year!!
Reality is that you can have great music – heck you could be the next Mariah Carey or 50 Cent for all we care – BUT if no one knows about you, then your music isn’t going to be heard.
As harsh as it sounds, what’s the point of putting out first-class music, only for it to sit in some dusty corner of the internet, waiting for a talent scout to accidentally stumble across it?? Something they’re VERY unlikely to do, due to the sheer amount of other (promoted) tracks, being rammed in their faces every day.
If anything, that’s doing your music an injustice.
3. Do it right, & you’ll have a serious competitive advantage
For a good 75% of popular artists (especially those which have been mollycoddled by labels) music marketing isn’t even on their radar… yet; the majority of artist promo is still organised by business-savvy managers.
All of which presents a serious opportunity for anyone who’s Indie to step in & potentially even promote themselves on the same level as some of the most respected artists in their genre!! Master music marketing & in essence you’re one step ahead.
Because not only do you have a far more rounded perspective of how your business works, BUT you also aren’t reliant on experts (expensive agencies & what not), which means that if you do appoint such a firm, you also have a clear understanding of what you’re getting for your money.
We’ve seen it all before guys – know what you’re on about & you’ll get a good deal. Walk in completely clueless & you’ll be sold the dream… a rather expensive one at that.
Plus, should there ever come a time when you can’t afford an agency or additional help, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge & skills to go it alone.
9 tips for improving your music marketing strategy in 2023 (MUST READ)…
1. Don’t sleep on digital PR
As ancient as PR may seem, as an indie artist arguably one of first (& most important) things to consider is your online footprint. Something that Digital PR is ideal for developing.
Get consistent PR articles around you & your brand, & you’re already on the way to showing Google (& any potential searchers) that you are a genuine artist… & not just some IG wannabe. With their being that many music artists out there, credibility is worth its weight in gold. Bag yourself an article on a top tier publication like GQ, or an industry-specific magazine, & it’s safe to say that trust in you & your music will likely skyrocket.
Plus, seeking out PR opportunities is also a great way to network too. In fact, depending on the contacts you make, you may even be able to gain access to other more advantageous promo opps + get the recognition of BIG names in the industry.
REMEMBER: It’s no secret that A&Rs scour the top-tier publications when searching for talent. So if your aim is to get signed to a label, then PR could well be the music marketing strategy for you!
2. Stay in-tune with social media advertising
Okay, so while everyone’s Nan & Grandad are politically active on Facebook, that doesn’t mean as a music artist, that all social media is a complete write-off – sorry Zuckerberg.
In fact, for music marketing it’s anything but.
Because while Facebook isn’t perhaps the place to find a young ‘hip’ audience these days, you can certainly benefit from integrating other platforms into your music marketing strategy. If you ask us, TikTok & YouTube are the place to be. Because while Instagram does offer a lot of flexibility, there’s that many people using it for ads, that in terms of ROI, (for us at least) the return just isn’t there.
Here’s a couple of reasons why we’d suggest trialing ads on YouTube & TikTok…
- YouTube – One of the main advantages of YouTube is the pricing model. You only pay if someone doesn’t choose to skip your ad or click through to your video. Or at least that’s the situation at the time of writing this blog. So besides from YouTube being the platform where your music videos are likely to be hosted, it’s also a great place to get FREE exposure!
- TikTok – With TikTok being a relatively new platform, not only are ads cheap but you can also bag a fair bit of exposure organically too. Something that nowadays is a real struggle to achieve with Instagram. Plus, if your song becomes as a TikTok trend, then you could have half the world marketing it for you. How rad is that??!
And while social media ads may not be a permanent form of advertising like digital PR, they do serve as a fantastic way to increase the exposure of your new track… & potentially get it to go viral.
3. Create a valuable artist website
Websites – they’re a key aspect of music marketing that SO many artists forget!
Well, that’s probably because most music nowadays is discovered either via streaming or social media. However…
Not only is your website a HUGE branding opportunity, but it’s also arguably your biggest sales platform. Because while you can sell merch & other products over social media (through an IG shop or YouTube product carousel) you will need a website for your products to set these up. So really, by not investing in a website you’re just making life harder for yourself.
Plus on another note, what with the recent spurt of social media influencers being banned or restricted, having your own website also serves as a backup too.
So say you put out a controversial song, or for some unknown reason Meta decides to press the red button & ‘delete’ on your account, then you can at least still have some sort of presence on the internet.
FYI: If you think this might apply to you, then we’d suggest making a website with a CMS like Wordpress or Drupal, opposed website builders like Shopify or Wix. We say so because if you look closely at the terms & conditions of website builders, then there’s usually clause that states they can take down your site for whatever reason without notice. So if you were to get banned across all platforms – i.e. become the next Andrew Tate – then chances are, you site would also be gone too.
4. Muscle your music onto playlists
Getting your music onto playlists is arguably the way to boost your natural discovery – an aim that we’d bet sits at the top of the marketing wish-list for 99% of artists.
And that’s because playlist discovery is a passive form of marketing. It’s not screaming: “HEY, look at me!!“, nor is it blatantly obvious that you’ve paid for it. So from a branding perspective it comes across as far less needy, especially when you compare it to a lot of other more ‘in your face’ music marketing techniques. And if that’s not enough, playlists are also a great way of targeting specific listeners.
So for instance, if you’re a rapper & you know that fans of a certain Hip Hop playlist would almost certainly dig your latest tune, then getting it featured can be an effective way of building up your core fanbase with little effort. However… (caveat allert)
Do be aware that not all playlists you can buy features on are legit. A good portion have fake followers & even fake streams too, so be sure not to judge a playlist at face value. If it was us, we’d say you’d be best to educate yourself on how to spot a fake Spotify playlist first, before spending money on submissions.
Speaking of which, you can do just that by jumping into this video…
5. Create an EPK
Yes, EPKs aren’t exactly a new music marketing technique, but they’re still a staple for a lot of artists.
In fact, having a strong EPK can be a quick & easy way to increase the amount of online PR attention you get, as well as yet another opportunity to convey your brand. Trust us – we’ve spent a lot of time dealing with journalists & the one thing that they hate are wordy emails.
So by investing time in creating an EPK, you’re not only a lot more memorable, but you also appear a lot more like an artist who’s worth writing about. Plus, the EPK itself allows you instantly to shove all you impressive stats in a journo’s face by simply adding an attachment to your email. Voila!!
If you’re yet to create an EPK, the best ones that we’ve seen have contained…
- A simple colour palate – The best EPKs have a heavy focus on brand. There design is normally pretty minimal & harks back to the design/ colour scheme of your website etc.
- Small amounts of writing – As we said earlier, EPKs are more about conveying key points & quick facts. So it’s no surprise that best of the bunch don’t happen to be littered in words.
- BIG bright engaging pictures – EPKs are all about catching a journo’s eye, so if you can do that straight off the bat with a professionally-taken photo, that’s nice & bright, that’s an easy way to do so.
6. Claim your Google knowledge panel
If you’re after a quick win when it comes to music marketing, this is it.
Ever see a box that appears on Google when you search an artist’s name? Or the bar (with a picture) that appears in the search bar when you begin typing their name? That’s because they have a Google knowledge panel. Something instantly elevates your online status (i.e. makes you look 10 times more ‘official’) & takes literally 5 minutes to obtain.
Want to know how to claim your Google Knowledge panel? Here’s a quick step-by-step tutorial…
8. Build a loyal email list
A strong following on social media is great, but here’s how you can go one step better.
Develop a strong email list & aside from reaching people on social media, you’ll also be able to sneak into their inbox when they’re not looking! A perk that most artists don’t even think about, yet it’s this type of direct music marketing that can be the source of a LOT of merch sales & help you establish a strong tight-knit fanbase.
And the great thing about email marketing is that you don’t even need to put up any money to get started. Most email marketing software will allow you to collect emails & start sending them completely for FREE! What’s more, you can even use your email list for incentives like giveaways & competitions to get fans engaging both with you & your brand.
Ask us & out of all the music marketing strategies, email marketing is by far the most underrated.
9. Collab with influencers/ other artists in your niche
Arguably one of the easiest music marketing strategies on the planet, is to simply collab with other artists (or influencers) in your niche.
Do so & you’ll be able to easily muscle your music in-front of another likeminded fanbase. Exactly the type of exposure you need if you’re looking to grow your core following. Plus, most of the time, this might not even cost any money! If it’s a fellow artist, then chances are they’ll want to get exposure in-front of your fanbase too. So by doing so, you’re really just scratching each other’s back.
However, it’s worth noting that if you’re looking to mix with social media influencers, then this tactic may set you back some £$€. To get a well-known Instagram model to star in your music video for instance, might not be as cheap as you’d imagine. Although really, as far as music marketing techniques go, this is very much circumstantial.
If you’re the social type, you may end up naturally networking your way into an opportunity like this. Who knows?
FYI: While there’s nothing wrong with DM-ing the person you’d like to collab with, the ideal situation is to have them approach you. That way you have the upper hand in terms of negotiations + don’t have to faff about trying to convince their manager that you’d worth their time. The power of networking – do NOT underestimate it!
BONUS: Leverage new social platforms
Odd music marketing tip we know, but trust us – it does work!
See the magic of catching a social media platform in its early days means that you as an artist can typically get a lot of eyes on your content for next-to-no cost.
Because when apps are new & don’t have many users, by being one of the first creators you’re in effect setting yourself up to become an influencer on that platform. It’s just simple maths – if there’s 1 million music artists on Instagram & just 10k on a new platform, then you’re FAR more likely to gain a decent level of followers before 95% of people have even started using the platform.
And while of course predicting what the next social media trend is anything but easy, here’s a little insider info from us…
Keep your eyes on Vero #ThankUsLater
Enjoy this article on music marketing & eager for more? Jump into our latest Latest Music Industry Advice, as well as all the knowledge we’ve accrued around Labels & Deals. Recently, we also wrote an article on Using Type Beats + another on Questions You Should Ask A Music Lawyer, which may also be a good read.
Or if you’re just here to brush up on music marketing, then keep reading & we’ll answer even more of your burning questions…