The music industry is not what it was 20 years ago. Thanks to the Internet, musicians everywhere have new channels to promote themselves through.
You now have the ability to share your music online, create a persona with social media, and sell your content/merch on a variety of eCommerce sites.
The Internet has given artists some pretty incredible ways to extend their reaches into the ether of music lovers around the world.
Here are 16 of the best ways to promote your music online, without feeling lost!
- 1 1. Create a Website
- 2 2. Create a YouTube Channel
- 3 3. Start A Blog
- 4 4. Promote Your Concerts
- 5 5. Get Your Tunes on Last.fm
- 6 6. Get Your Music on All of the Paid Streaming Services
- 7 7. Get Your Music Playlisted
- 8 8. Hit the Online Underground With Reddit Music
- 9 9. Get on Your Twitter Game
- 10 10. Send Your Music To Blogs
- 11 11. Create an Email List
- 12 12. Build Your Instagram Following
- 13 13. Utilize Google Adwords
- 14 14. Create an Electronic Press Kit
- 15 15. Make A Music Video
- 16 16. Collaborate With Other Musicians
- 17 Conclusion: How to Promote Your Music
1. Create a Website
We love the aforementioned two, as they come packed with features that allow musicians to run their businesses from a central hub.
Squarespace, for example, has commerce tools for merch, a mailing list tool for fans to contact you, and complete social media integration to help spread the fire.
Beyond that, Squarespace has some of the cleanest and most professional templates around, perfect for the modern musician.
Wix is similar to Squarespace in many ways, in that they offer integration with touring apps like BandsInTown and help to sell your merch by attaching third-party commerce sites.
The Wix Music site allows you to create an Electronic Press Kit and distribute your music for free to over 120 different music channels around the world.
If you don’t have a website by now, you’re living in the past.
2. Create a YouTube Channel
Yes, YouTube may have some qualms with the music industry, though it is still the dominant streaming platform with more than 55% of the website’s consumers looking at music videos!
Many people don’t pay for streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music, meaning they’ll go directly to the free YouTube platform to listen to their favorite songs.
Just think of some of the major artists who got their start using YouTube, just a few including Alessia Cara, Shawn Mendes, and Tori Kelly. If you want to extend your reach as far as possible, you’re going to need a solid YouTube channel.
Before you pull the trigger and make one, we recommend having a game plan first. Here are some things to consider before you begin promoting your channel:
- Use your artist name or something as close as possible to make your channel cohesive
- Come up with a general video style
- Create or have someone create a logo for you
- Decide on an uploading format (One video a week? One video a day? Etc.)
3. Start A Blog
Your blog can either be a part of your website or a completely separate entity depending on what you want it to revolve around. The beautiful thing about blogging is that the more and more you write, the higher and higher it will move on Google’s search engine.
A blog can be about anything! Let’s say you’re a musician, though you also love to build and review guitars. You might want to start a blog that talks about your love for guitars, has video reviews with you playing them, or discusses general guitar gear.
Once this blog starts to generate traffic, you can then use it to promote your own music!
We recommend that if you do decide to create an external blog, you also blog on your website. You can give fans insights into your writing process, talk about new releases, or just share your feelings.
Though the Internet has made us more separated as individuals, it has brought us closer as communities. Musicians have the ability to be intimate with their fans more than ever before. Blogging is a great start.
4. Promote Your Concerts
If you’re an artist who wants to play live, you’re going to need to promote your shows so that you don’t end up playing to the sound guy and your mom. Luckily, there are a few online tools that can help pack your shows by promoting and selling tickets for you.
The integration abilities on these websites are pretty incredible, as well. You can easily connect them to your Facebook, Wix, or Squarespace accounts so that you don’t have to manually adjust everything when you book a new show.
Songkick takes it even further with Spotify integration. Spotify users can see which of their added artists have shows coming up through the ‘On Tour’ module on the app.
5. Get Your Tunes on Last.fm
Last.fm is one of the largest streaming websites in the world and is targeted to music fans who are all about discovery. It uses an “AudioScrobbler” algorithm to build a detailed profile of each artist and connect those with a similar sound to each other.
The beauty of Last.fm is that it allows musicians to correlate themselves with other similar artists and bands by entering small bits of data.
If your band sounds like Soundgarden, for example, you would enter that in the data and Last.fm would put your music on playlists with Soundgarden and other artists in the same vein, scoring you some major cool points.
If your music has been uploaded through a distribution website and is on Last.fm without your knowledge, make sure to go and claim your page so that you have total control.
6. Get Your Music on All of the Paid Streaming Services
There are so many streaming services out there with millions of users on each. If you want to get the furthest reach possible, your best bet is to get your music on all of them.
Apple Music is one of the largest and best-paying streaming sites out there thanks to the sheer number of Apple product users out there. Not only does it act as a beautifully modern library for your collection of music, but it also helps you discover new artists out there based on your listening habits.
Spotify is another one of the streaming giants. They have almost any artist that you can think of streaming on their platform. You’d be crazy to not have your music on there as well.
Spotify has similar algorithm tools to Apple Music, allowing users to discover new artists with similar profiles. That new artist could be you if you play your cards right!
If you want to upload your music to all of these streaming platforms in one fell swoop, you’re going to need a professional distribution site. We recommend Distrokid, though there are many others such as TuneCore, CDBaby, Amuse, and more. You can visit each website to find out which one best fits your needs.
7. Get Your Music Playlisted
The playlist holders on Spotify and Apple Music are somewhat like the gatekeepers of the music industry. If you get your music on a big playlist, you could have overnight success. Literally.
Just look at RapCaviar. It is one of the largest Spotify playlists of all time with over 11 million followers to date. Now obviously it might take you a while to move up to that level, though there’s no reason you can’t start small now.
There are tons of ways to submit your music to playlists. For example, you can use a site like Ditto and pay to get your tracks featured. You could befriend a playlist curator and see if they’ll put your music on their playlist.
Instead of regular playlists, you could try to get on a Discover Weekly playlist instead. These are curated by Spotify’s algorithm and provide users with new music to listen to each week based on a few different algorithms.
Overall, getting playlisted should be your initial effort when you first put music out.
8. Hit the Online Underground With Reddit Music
If you didn’t already know, Reddit is basically the biggest thing since the Internet itself. Almost anything that has ever gone “viral” started on Reddit.
This discussion and forum-based website has just about any type of content that you could possibly imagine, organized with various subreddits. One of the biggest subreddits is the Reddit Music page, where users can discover new music with ease.
It’s somewhat of a grassroots operation with genuine music lovers sharing and discussing the intricacies of music and artistry, making it perfect for indie musicians who share that same passion.
The main thing with Reddit is that you need to be cautious about promoting your music. It’s easy to be exiled by the community if your pushy, overly-promotional, and non-authentic.
Take some time to understand the community. Talk to a few users, share other content, and participate in online discussions that don’t pertain to your music. That way, when you do decide to promote yourself, you’ve already built yourself a smaller community on the website that will have your back.
9. Get on Your Twitter Game
Twitter is the new home of breaking news. Just ask Donald Trump.
Between the hoards of political banter and crafty one-liners lies a community of musicians who are promoting every step of their careers while on the move.
While we’ve seen the rise and fall of hashtags on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, they’re still going strong on Twitter.
Using specific hashtags like #trapmusic or #californiacountry can help to connect you with other similar artists or brands. You can even create your own hashtags to give yourself a unique stamp so that fans can connect with you!
Twitter is a great place to send your content to your fans, including your each and every thought throughout the day!
If you’re someone who doesn’t like the idea of staring at your phone all day to keep up, we recommend utilizing one of the many online tools to schedule automatic tweets throughout the week.
10. Send Your Music To Blogs
Many, many years ago, before the advent of the Internet, music magazines ruled the promotions game.
These magazines (Rolling Stone and Billboard, to name a few) were the main deciders as to what music would make it and what music would fall to the wayside. Artists could send their albums into magazine music critics, hoping for a five-star review.
Nowadays, online music blogs have taken over, though they function in a very similar way. Big time online music blogs have a significant hand in helping you to premiere your latest releases, promote your upcoming shows, and spread your content to new fans around the world.
You have to be strategic when it comes to sending your music to blogs, though.
We recommend doing a bit of research and finding blogs that fit your vibe. If you can, find the email or contact of a blogger on that website that you like and send them a personal message with your EPK and music attached.
Here are some of our favorite music blogs:
11. Create an Email List
While email may seem like an antiquated form of communication and promotion to the younger generation, it is still the only surefire way to make sure that you get your content into the hands, or inboxes, of your fans.
Think about it.
Social media uses mysterious algorithms to decide what content users will see. Even if you do land on a user feed, that user will need to be on their computer or device at that time to view it.
Emails, on the other hand, get sent to your fans’ inboxes and stay there until they decide to read or delete it (hopefully the first).
We recommend using an automated email blast site such as MailChimp to send out monthly newsletters to your fans to let them know about any upcoming shows, new releases, etc.
First and most obviously, you have to get people to sign up for your email list. Make sure to promote the fact that you have one on your various social media profiles and go old-school by bringing a clipboard to your shows so that fans can sign up in person.
12. Build Your Instagram Following
While Instagram is primarily known as a photo sharing platform, the rise of musicians on the platform has been very prominent over the past few years.
The great part about Instagram is that it’s a perfect way to build a visual brand for yourself as a musician, something that many other platforms don’t offer. You can create videos of you playing live, visual promos, or artwork for your new album, and share with your fans.
If you want to get serious about promoting yourself on Instagram, you’re likely going to have to drop some cash. The more money you spend on an Instagram ad, the further the reach will be. It’s excellent for running campaigns, such as if you have a new release coming out and you want to build hype.
If you are currently using Facebook, you can use the Ads Manager to promote through both at the same time, helping you to kill two birds with one stone!
13. Utilize Google Adwords
Making use of Google Adwords can help you to optimize the online presence of your band’s website and other social media platforms.
While many large companies dump thousands and thousands of dollars into Google Adwords each month for massive campaigns, Google allows you to work within a smaller budget if you need.
You can invest just a few dollars a day to get working with Adwords software to build keywords and campaign ads to drive people to your different content. As an example, if you play in a funk band, you can run an AdWords campaign so that every time someone searches for “funk bands in the area,” your band will pop up ahead of others.
Though often overlooked, it’s a genius strategy to extend your reach using the most popular search engine on Earth.
14. Create an Electronic Press Kit
So now that we’ve discussed a variety of fan-facing promotional platforms, it’s time to talk music industry.
If you don’t already know, electronic press kits are somewhat like musician resumes. No matter how big you are as an artist, there is probably someone out there that doesn’t know your name or anything about you.
Even if you can sell out a 1000-person show in LA, that does not mean that a booker from New Jersey will know who you are. By creating an electronic press kit with a biography, press coverage, music, photos, videos, tour dates, and anything else that pertains to your music career, you can give important industry people a sense of who you are.
A well-made electronic press kit can help you to book better venues, shop your music to labels, and connect with big players in the industry.
15. Make A Music Video
The MTV era may be dead, but music videos are still going strong. There is nothing quite like an original and high-quality music video to help represent you visually as an artist.
If a video is good enough, it might even go viral and kickstart your stardom. There is no reason that you can’t work with a crew to make a kick-ass music video, even if you don’t have a lot of money.
Look at OK GO, for example, who started their career with what is possibly one of the most popular indie music videos of all time.
Or when Childish Gambino put out “This Is America” last year, the Internet basically broke.
That’s because both of these videos, though different, provide something visual to enjoy far beyond the song.
Spend time thinking about your brand and your look and try and develop a music video to match.
16. Collaborate With Other Musicians
When we think of promoting own music, we seldom think of collaboration at a part of that. It’s incredibly important and should not ever be overlooked.
Think about it.
When you collaborate with another artist, you are now in front of their fanbase. If their fans like you, they’ll likely follow you and listen to your music.
With that said, you’ll want to collaborate with those musicians who have different fan bases primarily. There’s no point in “collaborating” with your best friend who is in the same circle as you.
Don’t be afraid to get into different genres too, as long as it is authentic.
One remarkable collaboration that comes to mind is “Homecoming” by Kanye West ft. Chris Martin of Coldplay. They are two wildly different artists that came together to create the ultimate banger and probably made tons of new fans in the process.
In terms of collaboration, try writing a song together, covering someone else’s music, or throwing a DIY show. Shout them out when they release something new and see if they’ll do the same.
New to your area?
Check out Craigslist or Bandmix and see if you can find some fresh local musicians to vibe with.
Conclusion: How to Promote Your Music
As you continue to grow as a musician and artist, you will evolve and make changes to your promotion strategies.
Social media and music platforms are continually changing, meaning you’ll have to adapt if you are serious about getting your music out to the world.
Don’t worry though, promoting your music is easier than it has ever been before!
We hope that you can take away some important information from this article so that you can take advantage of these new-age, self-promotional tools.
Make sure to boost that online presence however you can and never be afraid to get creative with guerilla marketing too. We’ll be waiting to listen to your music!