For independent artists, gaining traction on your new releases overseas may sound like a far-flung dream, but if you plan your PR right, international success isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
Even if all of your attention has been from local fans, bloggers, and radio stations, all it takes to extend your fan base and collection of industry figures is a stretch of self-promo imagination. Well, that, and ample time to execute your self-promo campaigns.
If you feel like you are spending more time promoting your music than actually writing it, recording it and touring it, you know you are doing self-promo right.
How to Promote Music Overseas
At the outset of their career, many artists rely on their existing networks to expand their fanbases. When it comes to overseas publicity, it is typically harder to get into the good books of the right people, yet there are plenty of ways to make an impression in places you have never actually been!
1. Submit Your Music to International Blogs, Radio Stations & Playlisters
Music blogs and online magazines are the lifeblood of the indie music scene, meaning that one of the most effective ways to make waves across ponds is by submitting to blogs and magazines. The trick is knowing where your sound will go down well. Post Punk band in LA? Find blogs in Manchester, UK. Americana Folk artist in London? Branch out into Nashville. Parisian Rapper? Hit up the home of hip hop – you get the idea.
The same goes for genre-specific playlists and radio stations; once you search for them, you will quickly learn that the world is your sonic oyster. If you don’t have the time but have the funds to pay for PR, consider this an investment opportunity. Shelling out the cash for PR may not be initially as exciting as buying a new piece of equipment for your arsenal, but if you believe in your sound, do it justice by getting it in as many ears as possible. Some publicists are region-specific, meaning they know all of the key contacts in a city or area. So if there is a place where you really want to make an impression, hire a regional PR rep to make it happen.
2. Make Your Social Media Campaigns Multinational
If you are serious about making an impression ANYWHERE online, make sure that you are investing ample time in your social media presence. Spread your social media campaigns across all the usual channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. If you have the funds for it, you can also pay for sponsored posts to appear in different locations to promote your new releases, videos, gigs, and merch.
To really up your international social media game and promote your music overseas, pay close attention to the time of day you are scheduling your posts. Typically, you want to schedule your posts for when your audience is online. Additionally, don’t assume that the trending hashtags are the same across all continents. Region-specific hashtags are a great way of slipping into multinational conversations.
3. Take a Trip
If you really want to make an ever-lasting impression on a particular nation, be prepared to tour it. Your inaugural tour may be hard to pin down, and Brexit may have thrown a spanner in the works for musicians from the UK to tour in Europe and vice versa, but bookers and promoters exist for a reason; to bring fresh sounds in front of eager fans.
It is important to set your expectations before you head out on an overseas tour. Even if you have sold out 1,500 capacity venues in your hometown and banked a solid fee for it, you will have to get accustomed to the smaller stages and the slightly less dense crowds. Once you have earned your playing outside of your hometown and country stripes, you won’t ever have to take them off, and they will bring peace of mind to promoters and bookers looking to book bands for upcoming bills. For example, for the best music promotion USA, many UK acts head over to SXSW in Texas which accommodates a variety of genres, focusing on the quality of the international talent instead of the niche.
If you are having no look with booking gigs, consider festivals instead. The competition for these is still quite tough but if your sound stands out from the rest it is worth taking a shot at them. Especially as festivals are always highly attended by bloggers, journalists, record labels, photographers, and A&R reps.