For many artists, marketing is somewhat at odds with who they are and what they do. Between the digitization and democratization of the music industry, there’s more new music being released today globally than at any other point in history. An unbelievable amount of new music gets uploaded to streaming platforms each day, and much of the time, what determines whether new songs will connect with an audience or not depends on how they’re marketed. Here are a few valuable marketing strategies for up and coming musicians.
Start with the Basics
Band and Solo artist websites are an essential part of building a musical identity and reaching out to new fans. With your own website, not only do you have a clear path towards reaching audiences, but you also have a way to shape your message and identity on your own terms. New fans are more likely to resonate with the story you tell through your website, in addition to a few media platforms we will discuss later.
Create and Monetize your own Artist Website
Before you start using digital marketing techniques, make a website that is user-friendly, easy to navigate, and to check out with a purchase.
Create an FAQ section to provide information that takes away uncertainty and fear. When your website is ready to sell, jump in to learn everything you can about it. That’s how you get the best return on your effort.
Test your results. Refine your process to improve your sales. Don’t complicate things. Complications hinder growth.
Continue to update and refine your content. This includes anything from community forum, a link to a blog, upcoming shows and events, merchandise and other media.
Know your Audience and your Competition
Engage with a community in order to better understand the audience you are engaging with. There is nothing better than meeting the professionals and enthusiasts who correspond to your digital musical universe. Go to forums or any other musical event aligned with your style.
Use well known artists as a reference. Finding reference artists allows you to have a base and determine in which direction you want to go. Start with accessible artists and adjust as you go along according to your stage of development and your ambitions.
Find online discussion groups related to your musical universe. These groups are an opportunity for you to get an overview of trends, listening habits, and news, but also it is an occasion to support other musicians who are in the same boat. Sharing and discovering new music on these networks is an excellent way to exchange, share, and discover other worlds.
- What types of social networks do they communicate on?
- How do they communicate with their fans?
- On which types of media are they featured?
The value of Social Media for Performing Artists
Whether you’re trying to get the word out about a new release or people to show up to your performances, social media is still a tool you can use to narrow down who might like your music and to reach out to those people directly.
Be active on social networks and build your own visual identity. Take Instagram, for example. Interacting with accounts associated with those who know, promote, and create your style of music can bring new attention to your work. These include bands, record labels, and music fans. The same goes for Twitter, Facebook, Tiktok, Youtube and other similar platforms.
To stand out and spark interest, you have to attract the eye. Proposing a striking visual identity is the best way to stand out and reach your audience with a particular imprint. Even if music remains the raw material, it is an element not to be neglected. A striking aesthetic builds loyalty and engages your audience.
Focus on creating Compelling Non-Musical Content
Flyers, photos, videos, blogs—putting lots of time and thought into offering non-musical content to your listeners will help you make a lasting impact that ultimately results in new fans learning about your music on their prefered media.
If you don’t know where to begin, start by defining your artistic identity: why you make music, what your music means, how you got where you are today. This will help you know what to say through blogs and visual narratives. If you can, consider teaming up with a visual artist to help represent your work through videos, photography, flyers, and merch.
Content marketing is a good strategy for artists who have an affinity for creating content. Alternatively, you can hire content creation. Content marketing also has SEO value.
Seo. Google delivers 53% of all internet traffic. More than all social media combined. Utilize specific keywords that will most benefit your brand, genre and image in the search engine optimization.
Email marketing: What’s not to like about email marketing? You own your subscriber list. It cannot be taken from you. Promoting your art to your email list is your least expensive and most effective form of marketing. Email marketing returns the highest ROI (Return-On-Investment) for users. It is affordable, easy, and it works.
Video marketing is perhaps one of the most powerful tools a musician can engage with. People like watching videos. They rank higher and faster than static pages and they stay ranking high longer. Artists also have an advantage with video because their work is visual, captivating, and keeps visitors interested to spend more time on the platform. Thoughtful execution will get top-notch results from video marketing for artists.
Finding the right Channels for Promotion
Spotify for Artists gives you the tools to optimize and improve your performance on the platform. This starts with customizing your Spotify profile and accessing critical data on playlist additions, number of streams, and number of followers/listeners.
Soundcloud is another source that provides musicians an opportunity to promote their work. Soundcloud allows musicians to interact with their fans thanks to comments and threads on each track, permitting a real engagement between the artists and their listeners. Plus, Soundcloud enables musicians to interact directly with their fanbase.
Use data analysis tools on Social Networks and Streaming Platforms
It can be scary at first, but some social networks, including Spotify and Apple Music, have developed easy-to-use tools to better understand your audience.
Soundcharts gathers all the various data points to help you assess your marketing strategy and figure out what is (or isn’t) working. Soundcharts platform gives you a comprehensive view of an artist’s performance across the music industry, including:
- Social media performance
- Streaming consumption metrics and playlist exposure
- Thousands of digital charts, from TikTok and Instagram Stories to Shazam and YouTube
- Real-time radio airplay data from over 1,700 major stations in 69 countries
- Online media mentions
On Spotify For Artists in the “Audience” section, you can also find the countries and cities where your songs are most listened to, their age group and gender, as well as artists that your audience also likes.
Apple Music For Artists offers the same option, also adding data from Shazam. All of this data is essential to better understand your current audience and adapt your strategy accordingly!
Music industry is a place of constant innovation — and that’s why we love it. The marketing strategies that worked yesterday, might not work today, so to stay ahead of the curve music professionals need to stay agile and constantly innovate.
Allison Rau is an intern at the International Institute of Digital Marketing™ and a student studying Music Business at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee in Boston.