Are you self releasing music? Maybe you want to launch a new label? Maybe you’re trying build a bigger fan base for your label or music brand? What's needed to set your music up for success?
You've got your song written, recorded, mixed and mastered. You're ready to get this thing out into the world and let it shine! Great work, what next?
You need to find a way to get it distributed. This can be either signing music to a record label, or starting your own. You also have the option of self-releasing it via a number of services. Sites like Bandcamp allow artists to go fan direct from their marketplace, taking 15% percent of the revenue generated (drops to 10% after $5k in sales) on all digital sales, and 10% on physical items. Sites like DistroKid, TuneCore, and CDBaby, can get artists on DSPs like Spotify & Apple Music as well as collect royalties, and offer an array of pricing options and structures for releasing everything from singles to albums.
Right, you've got distribution secured, now you're ready to get your music uploaded. You'll need to have cover art prepared in the correct formats for whichever platforms you plan to release on.
This can be tricky, as common sites have varying image size requirements, but there are many standard sizes. Certain sites, like Spotify, also have the option of adding animation or video to the release, and you'll also want to consider having versions of it prepared for which ever social media platforms you plan to use to promote it. Also, depending on your genre, you may want to shoot music videos, have lyrics videos made, etc. Make sure you have researched this before seeking a designer so you know what you need, this will help you get what you need much faster! While styling may vary depending on genre, you want something that feels appropriate, while being on brand for the artist, and unique enough to stand out as a small thumbnail. Regardless of your genre or aesthetic, the cover art has one main job- catch a potential listener's eye enough that they are enticed to listen to the music. You want it to work in reverse too: if they Shazam your song you want what they see on the screen to look professional and get them to click thru and follow you.
Congrats! You got your cover art, social content, and promo video handled, now you need people to hear the music and see the visuals.
So, the question is - what’s your go-to-market strategy to get that music in front of receptive new fans?
There are a lot of options for getting your music in front of people available to independent musicians, but with so many out there how do you choose whats right for you? It can NOT be understated that showing up in person and being part of a 'scene' is one of the most effective ways of connecting with new fans, building relationships with promoters, and getting your name out, but 2020 seems to have changed the frequency and accessibility of live events for the foreseeable future. Sliding into people's DMs can be effective, but it's very time consuming. Organic reach has plummeted on Facebook/Instagram, and hashtags are no longer as effective at gaining reach as they once were. To make matters more complicated, iOS14, GDPR, and other privacy initiatives have thrown a wrench in the gears of the way many ad platforms have historically worked. Still, the right targeting can be extremely successful driving views to a music video and subscribers to a YouTube channel, growing a Spotify following for an artists or playlist, or generating sales for an online merch store. While ads are still undeniably effective, they do require a budget, which can be burdensome to an independent artist or underground label, especially when just starting out.
There is another way...
Have you thought about content marketing? Creating social content that generates hype is way simpler than you think, but you’ve got to KNOW WHAT RESONATES with your potential fans.
I'll give you one quick example- ever notice how a lot of well-known producers and artists have a YouTube or Twitch channel? They'll create tutorials on the kind of music they make, or production techniques, or how to record vocals, or breaking down how they made their latest release. This is top-of-funnel awareness of their brand, and commonly used as a vehicle to consistently promote their current or upcoming releases, shows, or merch drops. Additionally, it showcases their personality and lets their fan's have a personal connection with the human behind the music. That's a form of content marketing. Creating content that brings your audience to you, provides them value, and builds goodwill and trust in your brand can be a long game, but one that results in more loyal, dedicated fans.
The key is simply identifying who your target is, knowing how your skills and talents can benefit their lives, and creating the trail of breadcrumbs that leads them to you. What those breadcrumbs might be largely depends on your creativity, what tools and skills you have to leverage, and understanding your audience.
Would you rather be thinking through all of this, or spending time in the studio writing your next hit?
Is your marketing team DIY or a Team Effort?
Ready to get started working with pros who have done it before and have proven, repeatable results? Drop your info in our Contact Form and we'll get in touch to schedule a call and learn if we're a good fit to work together. Still need more examples we've got the chops? Check out our Case Studies to see other artists we've helped, or read thru our blog for some additional breakdowns of music marketing strategy, examples of strategies we've created and executed, as well as cases examined from afar and dissected to determine what made them successful.
More articles on mindset, marketing, and making music to come, stay tuned.