I often get asked by independent artists, overwhelmed by the music promotion options available, what are the best ways to push forward with a PR campaign for a new release.
Sadly, my mind isn’t a database of every plugger in the industry that would be best suited for artists of every genre/niche and from every corner of the globe. Nor does it contain all the insights you will need to maximise success while not throwing your cash down the drain and missing out on other far more effective marketing tools.
And while I would love to have a one-size-fits-all answer that can cater to every need of every artist, there are multiple other variables to consider, including goals, budget, fan demographics, and current standing within the industry. The best music marketing strategy for you will be as unique as your music.
How to Individualise and Optimise Your Marketing Plans
No one releases a single, EP or LP without the hopes of it doing well. However, the vast majority of independent artists, without the help of a manager or label behind them, are pretty vague with their idea of how they want to succeed. There is very little room for accounting for their current position in the market, where they thrive, and what they need to do to get from A to desired B in an oversaturated industry.
The alluring optimism of expensive PR teams can easily draw artists in. But even if you spend thousands or tens of thousands on a PR campaign, there’s no guarantee the money will be well spent. Predatory PR companies quite literally bank on artists being naïve enough not to have done their due diligence before agreeing to the massive fee. It is no skin off their exploitative noses if they rob you blind and give you nothing but buyer’s remorse in return.
I get the attraction of looking for an easy definitive answer or placing your faith in the industry PR sharks. I truly do. Independent artists want to spend the time dedicated to their career on the far more satisfying endeavours of songwriting, recording and touring, not crunching the numbers on demographic analysis and marketing diagnostics. But if you don’t want all your efforts to be in vain, it is time to optimise how you promote with analytical tools readily available to artists.
Music Marketing for Independent Artists in 2023
If you are determined to take control of your independent music career in 2023, it will take plenty more than writing a few hit songs and taking a slapdash approach to your marketing.
Before you invest in music marketing, ensure you have checked off each point on this checklist.
- Do you understand your audience and market?
- Do you know your niche and how to use it to your marketing advantage?
- Have you covered all the social media marketing basics first?
- Have you set your music promotion goals?
- Have you crunched the numbers on your marketing budget?
Without answering these questions, your music and branding will only go so far. With the information outlined below, you can form the foundation of your music marketing plan. It is worth bearing in mind that no singular article will have all the answers. Only you know if you want short-lived viral success off the back of one hit single, a sustainable career in the industry, become the most in-demand premier live band, an irresistible playlist staple on Spotify editorial playlists, or drive up social media engagement.
For what it is worth, we always advise thinking long-term and knowing when to pull important marketing triggers – even if you want the immediate gratification of viral success. Many artists are eager to spend the big bucks on music promotion when they would be better invested further down the line after a social following and audience have been organically built.
Keeping Your Music Promotion Goals and Priorities in Check
While some artists easily garner millions of streams, others are more in demand in the live music domain or can instantly sell out their physical releases; this is why artists must consider what works for them and what generates revenue and recognition. On the flip side, weaknesses should also be accounted for. Where do you fail where others succeed. What are the underlying reasons for that, and how could you improve?
The digitalisation of music means there is a plethora of ways to garner the attention of music fans, including paying for PR campaigns, finding a radio or playlist plugger, and investing in sponsored ads on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Before investing in anything, you can do your market research independently or pay a company, such as Symphonic, a one-off fee to run a brand analysis and marketing diagnosis.
Companies like Symphonic provide a comprehensive audience analysis, provide optimisation recommendations, and suggest engagement tactic recommendations to enable artists to advertise meaningfully.
Music Chart Trackers and Analytical Tools to Utilise
Streaming Platform Artist Statistics
Rather than using Spotify for Artists to get an ego boost on how many people are listening to your music, utilise it to strategize your music promotion. Spotify, Apple Music and Bandcamp can tell you how people are finding your music – letting you know where to invest your marketing budget in the future. It can also provide demographic insights – letting you know where to tour and which audiences you should gear your sponsored posts towards on social media.
There are tonnes of tools out there similar to Charmetric but few others put all the data you need together in one place to enable artists and promoters to make impactful music marketing decisions. All of the info provided is easy to follow, so you can spend less time crunching the figures and more time amplifying your advertising campaign. Chartmetric provides everything from playlist trackers to audience demographics to global digital artist ranking. You can try the free basic service or give the premium plans a try with their free trials.
If you are mostly interested in your performance on social media platforms and other non-streaming-platform corners of the internet, Awario is a valuable tool for artists looking to determine just how viral they are. The tool will allow you to view how you are being searched for on the internet and the keywords revolving around your brand – this will be especially useful for how you write the web copy on your official website.
For more information on how to take your music to the next level, book a consultation with one of the artist development experts at A&R Factory.
Article by Amelia Vandergast