DIY Music Marketing
The #1 question we hear from artists today is “How can I promote my music to reach more fans?”. Maybe you’re a performing musician looking to get more fans to your gig, or you’ve got some great music up on your webpage but are having trouble directing traffic and gaining unique visitors. This post is for YOU!
The truth is there is no one universal trick to increasing your audience. You have to think like a marketer who is selling a product, and determine exactly who your buyer will be and what their particular needs are. Yes, it can be deflating to think about words like “sell” and “product” when you just want to be creative, lay down epic tracks and party, but if you’re looking to grow your audience yourself, something that is essentially a requirement at this juncture in the music business, you will have to learn to think from the point of view of the music fan and develop a plan to speak directly to your unique audience.
Below are some tips on just how to get started learning and speaking to your audience.
Know your audience, all the way down to their age, gender, location, where they shop, what websites they visit, what they do for fun, and of course, what they listen to. Check out some more established artists that are similar in sound and lyrical style to your own. Research their fans, take note of fan comments on Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets, focus on what drives them to stay locked in to this particular artist, and what the artist does to keep them coming back for more.
Find out where your audience hangs out, shops, discovers music and culture, and where they attend concerts. Work your tail off to get your music in these places, whether you’re booking 30 minutes as a supporting act, working with a local business to get your music on their website, or working out a consignment deal to get your music in their stores. Putting in the work necessary to learn who your audience is, and then focusing efforts on these areas will greatly enhance your chances of developing your fan base.
Facebook event notification? Yay… Venue flyer? Hooray… These methods are old and tired. Most folks click close or ignore before they even see the event description, especially if you’re a developing artist. Take a stab at some more creative promotional ideas. We’re not saying you have to pull a “Kanye” and project your face up on buildings in 60+ cities, but do something to draw attention and get folks talking about you and your music. Below are some ideas we came up with on the fly:
- Recruit some friends to post concert promo flyers (or share a social media post) with their names on them around town, directing fans to bring flyers to the show for free entry, a CD, t-shirt, or poster. Reward the friend with the most flyers (or most retweets/likes) turned in with an awesome prize, maybe a hug or high five? Perfect!
- Partner with a local business to exchange promotional efforts. Mention their name in your flyer or at your show in exchange for music play or product placement in their store.
- Organize a fundraiser to support your favorite charity, invite other local musicians to perform and combine marketing efforts to reach a wider audience, increasing participation in the fundraiser and ultimately growing your fan base.
- Infiltrate your local radio station and force them to play your record all Airheads style. Just kidding, don’t do that. (if you haven’t seen this movie we can’t be friends)
Get to work on some ideas of your own! What do you have to lose? You’re an independent artist with no commitment to anyone, start acting like it and take some chances!
We know this sounds cliche, but it’s important to connect with fans on a personal level. Give your fans something to relate to, publish content (video, blog, twitter, etc.) about what influences you to write or perform, where you find creative inspiration, what interests you outside of music. When a fan reaches out, respond promptly and professionally, and thank them literally thousands of times. This is the seed that grows your music tree. (haha silly)
A typical misconception made by musicians, and brands for that matter, is you can’t be successful unless you are liked by anyone and everyone. This is untrue, many professionals make a great living marketing to those who love them for who they are and what they do. Focus on what makes you great, speak directly to your audience, and realize the benefits of fan loyalty. Erika Napoletano, rockstar author, has a great book on this concept called The Power of Unpopular. Check it out!
Most importantly, make music everyday, and keep it funky. Unless your music style isn’t funk, then you would keep it bluesy, or jazzy, or rocky, or hippity hoppity?
All You Need to Know About the Music Business by Donald Passman
Music Marketing: Press, Promotion, Distribution, and Retail by Mike King
The Power of Unpopular by Erika Napoletano