Marketing, or rather lack of it, is why many musicians don’t get where they could have otherwise been, and why they struggle to make sales, get gigs, and generally move their music career forward in any meaningful way. The good news, however, is if you’re willing to put in the work, it’s possible to learn how to market your music. But, before learning specific tactics, it’s important you get a good idea of what music marketing is and isn’t.
1. Marketing Your Music Is Necessary, But Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult
The good news is promoting your music doesn’t have to be hard. Pretty much all of it can be learned, and it doesn’t require a degree in science or math to put into place a solid promotion plan for your music career. As long as you’re willing to learn and put the work in where needed, after a while marketing your music should become second nature to you. Who knows, you may even start finding it fun. :)
2. Music Marketing Is All About Raising Awareness
A lot of musicians feel if their music is good enough, they will get noticed. That all they have to do is record a good album, make it available to people in stores (or somewhere online) and their music will start making sales and getting downloads.
Being talented and letting people know about your talent are two very different things. After all, how will people know you’re talented if they don’t give you that initial chance?
By marketing your music you’re doing two things:
Letting people know your music exists
Convincing them to give it a listen
If these two things don’t happen, don’t expect your next release to do very well.
3. Marketing Is Often Most Effective When It’s A Two Way Process
While some of things you do to market your music will only involve one way interaction (you relaying a message to fans and potential fans), things will really start taking off for you when you make this interaction with fans two way.
What I often see, however, is fans replying on musician’s walls, but the musicians saying nothing in return. Replying to the majority of your fans will help you grow a lot quicker.
By getting them involved in your music career, you’re creating loyalty. When you speak to them, you make them feel like they’re part of your journey. While marketing doesn’t always have to be two way, if you don’t implement a two way dialog somewhere in your music career, you’re going to find it a lot more difficult to build that fanbase.
4. Marketing Your Music Is An Ongoing Requirement
This is a big one. Most people think that the marketing process should start when you’re about to release your next album or single and should end before you start working on your next project. This isn’t strictly true.
The marketing of your music should begin as soon as you’ve a good level of talent to promote. While the degree of marketing you undertake will depend on what exactly you have to promote and what else you have on your plate, marketing should be a continual process for as long as you’re trying to become a more successful musician.
5. Getting Others Involved Will Make Your Marketing Efforts A Lot Easier
While music marketing isn’t that difficult once you know how to do it, it still requires a lot of time and energy to do it to the extent needed to make consistent money from your music. Often, doing all the marketing needed alone can lead to much slower progress, frustration, and possibly burnout.
The solution? Getting others involved with the promotion process!
This can be in the form of getting your fans to help you out, hiring a marketing team or knowledgeable individual or, eventually, letting a record label largely handle that side of things (although it’s still important you learn how to promote your music so you know if the label is taking things in the right direction for you).
6. Initially, No One Will Help You!
That’s right. When you’re a new independent musician, you won’t get much outside help. Why’s that? Simple, because record labels don’t generally work with unproven musicians, and you won’t yet have a fan base at this stage.
In order to move things forward for yourself, you’ll need to learn to market your music, and increase your status all by yourself. Once you’ve done this and have something to show for your efforts (gigs under your belt, being covered in respected places, etc), then it’ll become a lot easier to get people to help you push your music further.
7. If You Only Promote Your Music Online You’re Losing Out
If you only market your music online, you’re missing out on a load of other worthwhile opportunities!
Gigging is one of the biggest reasons you shouldn’t stick to online music marketing methods. By gigging, you get to connect face to face with your audience, make instant money by selling merch and physical CDs (a lot of gig goers still buy them) and make money from royalties.
Another thing you’ll want to do offline is chase up opportunities. Email can be a slow process, but when dealing with companies, often a phone call or going to see them in person can speed things up considerably. Not only that, but you have the chance to potentially connect with them in ways others who go through email simply won’t.
So there you have it... 7 truths you really should know about marketing your music.
These things are important to know before you start implementing specific strategies, as even the most powerful promotion methods will become less effective if you don’t know when and how to use them.
article: Shaun Letang for musicthinktank.com
image: content creators