With so many figures capitalising on every corner of the music industry landscape, it is easy to feel that nothing is free. Yet, there are several effective ways for independent artists without a PR and marketing budget to connect with fans online.
This article will run you through how to harness the power of social media, which kind of contacts will be a necessity in your self-promo campaigns and how to make the most of streaming platforms.
- Sprawl Across Social Media
Instead of forever lamenting the glory days of Myspace, which took many independent artists to stratospheric-international heights in the early 00s, you can use the platforms frequented by billions of users across the globe.
Establishing a presence on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter is the easy part; the hardest is garnering attention amongst users who are already inundated with info and over faced with users looking to make an ever-lasting impression.
The trick is to see every digital space as a potential marketplace for transactions. In this domain, you will have to put your artistic side to the wayside and think in terms of marketing strategy, strategy being the operative word. With every new release, you will want to hatch a social media marketing plan which incorporates plenty of pre-release hype but never make self-promo the be-all and end-all of your social media presence. Allow your posts to reflect your morals, values and personality, just as much as your creative talent.
Along with using your existing network, always look for relevant groups on sites such as Facebook; there are music groups filled with thousands of music fans that have all congregated to celebrate a particular niche. When you are dipping your toe in the self-promo water in these groups, never attempt to find devout fans; focus on creating valuable connections with others.
- Feature Your Music on All Platforms
There is no advocating the Spotify royalty system as it currently stands. However, the platform is so much more than a potential revenue stream – especially if you find yourself on one of the popular playlists with over 1 million followers. Spotify also comes with the unique and useful Spotify for artists feature, which has helped countless artists connect with fans eager to find a new obsession-worthy artist. The Spotify for artists feature is 100% free; all you will need to do is claim and verify your profile.
Uploading music to Spotify may be a little more complex than if you were to upload it to SoundCloud or YouTube. With help from third-party distro companies, your music can be launched across all major platforms, such as Apple, Tidal, Spotify, Bandcamp, ReverbNation and SoundCloud.
YouTube is yet another great way to promote your music for free online. You can create a channel and playlists; or contact popular YouTubers whose channels revolve around promoting similar music to yours. While some influencers, playlisters, and YouTube will charge you through the teeth for their services, there are plenty more figures that do it for the love of the music.
- Reach out to Blogs
For every popular genre, and then some, there is a blog or an online publication that operates at the centre of it. While it is undoubtedly easier for an experienced A&R rep or PR company to use their warm connections to promote music, that is not to say that independent artists can’t endeavour with the DIY method and still succeed.
Before you start to reach out to blogs, you will want to create a press release and electronic press kit (EPK), which you will use to pique interest in your new release. Spend 5 minutes on Google, and you will find hundreds of blogs to submit music to for free. The competition may be tough against your fellow indie artists, but if you believe your music has what it takes to appease the tastemakers, tapping into their expansive reach is always worth a shot. Save yourself the time, energy, and pain of rejection by being discerning with who you contact. Always stay as close to your niche, or look for blogs that cover artists in your area. You may have to start small when you are getting press features and interviews, but by using this method, you have a better chance of building your credibility from the grassroots up.
- Get Playlisted
While some playlisters charge independent artists for a spot on their playlists, this isn’t the case for all playlist curators. Playlists are up there as one of the most popular ways for music fans to discover new artists; tap into that market by reaching out to the relevant independent curators. Because once your Spotify stats start to appease Spotify’s algorithms, you will have a chance at landing on one of the official Spotify playlists, which is the epitome of 21st-century music promotion.
You may need to become somewhat of a detective to find the best details for Playlisters but once you find an email or their profile on social media and develop a relationship with them – not just expecting them to provide a service for you, you could have a key industry contact for the duration of your career.
- Create High-Quality Multi-Media Content
Figuring out what kind of content you drive up engagement with will be trial and error with your target fanbase at first, but whatever you put out there, make it meaningful and engaging. The best way to test the water without posting a plethora of posts that fall flat is by looking at what works for similar artists to you. For example, for some independent artists, viral-worthy videos on TikTok will work best; for others, thoughtful, moral, and mindful Tweets on Twitter will work better.
Where possible, always create music videos for your seminal releases because even if the song isn’t a resounding success, the music video might be. Additionally, remember that it isn’t solely you as an artist that can benefit from the music and content that you create. Just as music will always be needed for adverts, films and TV, independent content creators such as YouTubers, Twitchers, and TikTok dancers need music for their content too.