Digital Marketing For Musicians
Getting into the music industry out there can be difficult; in this article, we’ll go through both the background and context that should be in your music marketing campaign, along with platforms that will help get your music out there.
Reach the ‘why’ to tailor your goals
In order to tailor your marketing campaign, you'll want to define your story. Anthony Martini, a former music manager at Crush Management, helped break famous artists like Lil Dicky andMadeInTYO by focusing on his artists’ creativity and unique journeys, rather than forcing them to adhere to any sort of standardized expectations. The two worked together to work towards Lil Dicky's strengths—his comedy and quirkiness—rather than attempt to hide it. This is shown especially within his first music video, $aveDat Money. True to the title, Lil Dicky attempts to save money while trying to create the best music video possible. He asks random residents of a rich neighborhood to let him film on their property; many residents within the video tell him no, but one says yes, making the owner’s mansion one of the main shots of the video.
Overall, the video catered to the listener's sense of spectacle. The rejections being shown in the video gave it a sense of authenticity, and made it easier to connect to Lil Dicky.
Another example of reaching the “why”behind your campaign can be shown through Doddleoddle. Previously a Youtuber who talked frequently about her issues with mental health, Clark channeled the emotional essence of her videos into her songs. This made listeners feel that she was a real person, not just someone looking to capitalize on her audience. Dodie has since become a major artist, with over 1.8m monthly listeners onSpotify.
These two examples show two main ways to get attention on yourself and your music— either by spectacle or through emotional means— but there can be other ways, as well. The most important thing to remember is that you should have a pull to your content besides your music just being good. Thinking about your favorite artist might also help you get ideas. Are you funny like Tom Cardy? Can you draw and make animatics? Try to think of ways your music can be packaged in other ways.
The way you present your content also ties into your aesthetic— for example, Lil Dicky’s video and album cover, is much more flashy in comparison to Dodie’s, and their music reflects this difference. Aesthetic also connects to the genre your music is in— Lil Dicky’s album cover connects to old rap looks, and Dodie’s beiges and hipster yellows connect her to the indie genre. This also connects to the way you present your advertising on social media, which we’ll discuss next. The aesthetic of your marketing will also be important when you decide later to pitch to labels, and your target audience.
As a beginner, social media platforms like Youtube and Spotify are a great place to put your music. You'll be able to directly connect to fans, and later be able to transition into making ads for your music to get people listening. Other platforms like Instagram and Tiktok also can be your online space to build a deeper connection to your audience, all the while building your engagement rates. Artists like mxmtoon useInstagram as a place for sharing content that's more personal to build a stronger connection with her audience.
Amber Horsburgh, the former Senior VP ofStrategy at Downtown Records, says social media advertising is a consistent way to get listeners. Social media influencers, on the other hand, are less consistent, as they might not match the aesthetic of your campaign.
Spotify for Artists
Spotify for Artists provides you to create an artist profile for yourself with a professional artist photo, opening the gateway to music promotion through ads. As Spotify has 422m listeners and 182m subscribers, it’s great to put your music on the platform.
Spotify’s focus on public playlists and sharing them also makes a great opportunity for your songs to go on those playlists. Some of Spotify’s playlists have 2.3m likes, and you can try to put your song on those playlists through Shopify for Artists.
Youtube is a great place to put your music; there are millions of active users that together watch a billion hours of Youtube per day. On Youtube, besides the audio of your music, you can also create a music video; as discussed above, music videos can help your music become shareable overall. Youtube is also a great place for covers as well; artists like Chloe Moriondo started sharing covers of popular songs on Youtube to gain traction, and then self-released her first album, and then was later signed onto a label.
To start with Tiktok, you'll want to pick a theme and stick consistently around it. For example, Diplo's Tiktok account is centered around comedy. Others, like Doddleoddle, stick with music, with a hint of fashion, as per her old Youtube content. By doing this, Tiktok is better able to slot you into their algorithm so more people can see you. If you do decide to swap out of your niche, try to connect it to your past one. Make use of trends, hashtags, and Tiktok’s Pro Analytics.
Soundcharts - $10/month; offers more plans that cost more
Soundcharts offers ways for you to track both your online presence but also on a local level, such as radio stations— it collects data from all your online platforms. It also gives you in idea of what music is currently popular.
ReverbNation- offers free plan, but for opportunities, pay $12.95/mo
ReverbNation connects you to both label deals and festival slots, and helps connect you to publications, music blogs, and other opportunities. They will also help you tailor email marketing, newsletters and trackable press releases. ReverbNation also connects you to feedback from possible fans to see what they think can be improved.
Show.co- offers free plan, pay $39/mo forYoutube support
Show.co mainly helps you put ads on popular websites like Rolling Stone and Billboard. It’ll also help you run ads within Spotify and iHeartRadio. Unlike the other websites, Show.co allows your listeners to pre-save songs on Spotify so that when they come out, fans have a higher chance of listening.
Check out places within your city that will allow you to play. Often these places are bars; just google your city local mics and you'll be able to find some! Busking might also be something to try, though bands with high production might find this option harder.
Take the steps above one by one— it’ll be hard to work through all of this all at once. Once you've gained more and more of an audience and have gotten into the music scene, you'll have a higher chance of being picked up by a labels and music publishers. Pitching is altogether a different beast, but like the way you adapt your social media, you'll want to adapt your pitch to which label you're pitching to. You can check out more on how to pitch here. The road to getting a larger audience often takes years, so don’t pressure yourself to pitching immediately!