3 Music promotion tips for independent artists


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One of the first of many lessons you’ll learn on the road to becoming a successful independent musician is how to promote your music. Music promotion is challenging when you’re starting out, but it’s a necessary part of growing your career as a creative artist.

And with the pandemic still ongoing, it’s important you maximize every opportunity to make a new follower, a new fan, a new buyer of your streaming music and merchandise.

Look, we know what you’re going to say…all you really want to do is gig and play music. We’re with you. But the music business is really, well, you know, a business.

So, to help you get all the gigs/shows, merchandise sales, and distribution you need to build a music career that pays the bills — while still being awesome — we’re gonna teach you a few music promotion basics. You’ll learn how to spend more time on creating music and less time hawking T-shirts (though T-shirt sales rock, too.)

Here are 3 tips to hustle, self-promote, and sell, sell, sell–without selling your soul.

1. TIP: Work traditional promotional methods, like mainstream and social media

There are countless ways for musicians to promote their music with social media being, obviously, one. But there’s a lot more to “working the media” than being on social platforms.

Tell fans what you want them to do–use CTAs

CTAs are for written sales or persuasive pitches, like a social media post announcing a show, an email inviting a music reviewer to listen to a new release, etc. If it’s for an event, a sales pitch, or something similar where you’re asking someone to do something, you’ll want to use a CTA (call to action).

So, what is it?

The CTA is the part of the email where you tell your reader(s) what you want them to do, it’s the reason why you’re emailing them.

Example: you write on Twitter that you’ll be appearing at The Club at 8 PM on Saturday. “Hey, gonna play 8 o’clock this weekend. Free show. Be there.” Simple right. And yes, the part of the post where you say “be there” is part of the CTA. You wanted readers to watch you perform, so you asked them to show up. That’s your ask, part of your sales pitch.

But, uh, where do you want them to go? What’s the name and address of the venue? Is it 8 AM or 8 PM? Surprising just how many emails we see like that. The offer sounded amazing, you were ready to hit “buy” — except they forgot to add a phone number, an email sign-up, or other basic information. Sorry. I’ll spend that money elsewhere.

So don’t forget:

● List a physical address, website URL, email address, or phone number/other contact info when relevant

● Offer a way for people to buy tix/merch or if it’s sold out, send them to a website to sign up for emails (so they don’t miss out next time)

● If you have something streaming, give them the streaming URL/info

Don’t try to be everywhere

Pick one or two platforms that make sense for you– and use them consistently so you can build followers. If you get on too many platforms, you’ll never make a dent on any of them–or have enough time to build real connections.

FYI: No surprise here, most performers prefer using social media platforms with video and audio upload capabilities like:

1. Tik Tok
2. Instagram/Instagram Stories
3. Twitch
4. Facebook

When you’re on stage performing, rehearsing, or just out interacting with fans, have designated friends and family to take photos and videos — lots of them. You’ll need options, so you’ll have enough content to make each platform look a little different. Choose whatever works best for the content you have and the vibe your music gives.

Always respond to your fans

If you’re lucky enough that your fans reach out to you, reply back — even if it’s a short, “hey thanks for your post” message. They’re the ones who, through word of mouth and shares, promote you and your art to others, when you’re not around. Be kind and you’ll make fans for life. It’s easier to keep an existing fan, than making a new one over and over again.

Use hashtags

Tags for social media are yet another way people can discover you and your music. Use “tags” or “hashtags” whenever possible. You can hashtag a lot of things, including venue names, as a shoutout to places where you’re performing. You can also tag other performers on the same ticket, stores that sell your merch and post your posters/flyers, the city you’re performing in, etc.

It pays to help publicize venues, locations, other bands. They in turn may do the same for you. And many of these venues could use your help bringing people in now, more than ever.

Make music videos a part of your promotional strategy

You’ll want to start posting videos on Vimeo or YouTube. Again, you may want to pick one or the other, unless you’re tech savvy and have lots of spare time for posting.

Create an EPK

What is an EPK? That’s an electronic press kit, an online version of a regular press kit (which is usually printouts of articles, photos, etc.) You can find samples for EPKs online. Usually, in the beginning, you’ll just need:
1. Artist bio(s)
2. Promotional photos
3. Promotional posters
4. Videos performances
5. Collection of past newspaper, and blog/online mentions (if you have any)

You’ll want these promotional assets all in one place like a folder or bookmarked so you can find and send immediately upon request. Like when you’re trying to convince that “infinitely bigger than you’ve ever played before venue” that you’re perfect for their summer fest. Or when you’re pitching the music press.

2. TIP: Create digital promotion avenues that work–website, email lists, more

Never assume someone else will promote your music or shows, even if you have a deal. You’re your music’s best advocate — besides us at Novecore.

Build a music website to promote and sell your music

Make sure your website has a way for fans to sign up for your email list. It’s not easy to get people to show up to your website once, much less twice, so capturing emails the first time is crucial. Set up your artist website to take credit card and PayPal payments so you can easily (and safely) sell online.

Even the smallest podcast may have an audience

Appear on any and all music podcasts or terrestrial radio shows you can get on. It doesn’t even have to be music-related. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out how many people are listening to that weird sports podcast your friend started. Plus, it’s good practice for future, bigger and better media appearances.

Try livestreaming websites to make cash — and build an audience base

The pandemic has forced everyone to adapt. Luckily, technology has rallied to give some options to musicians and other performers. There’s a variety of music livestreaming and virtual concert websites out there. Look online, find one that works for you, economically and creatively. Then promote on social platforms. It may not be the same as being in the same performance space with the energy of the fans, but it will give you an opportunity to practice your craft — and hopefully make some cash and promote your music.

3. TIP: Use a reputable music distribution company, like Novecore, to get your songs heard

Of course, you’re not doing all this music promotion for the thrill of selling. You want more people to hear and share your music.

Maybe it’s time you considered using a company with an inside track in the music industry. Collaborating with a company that knows how to help you make deals with industry reps and build a fanbase.

Here at Novecore, we do the hard work of guiding you, the musician, through the music publishing and distribution maze.

Avoid con artists — work with a real music distribution company

When you work with Novecore, you’ll avoid many of the scam artists who prey on new musicians. One common example is playlist pitching.

Playlist pitching is when a company, for a fee, offers to pitch your music to popular playlist “curators” on Spotify, SoundCloud, and other services. Sounds like a good idea, pay a few hundred bucks, get on a popular playlist, and get heard.

There’s just one problem. Many companies offering this service are scam artists.

The easiest way to recognize scams when it comes to this service, is to look for a guarantee. If they guarantee that you’ll be featured, it’s almost certainly a scam. No music distribution company can guarantee success, since they don’t have the final say.

Distribute your music with Novecore

Unlike these kinds of companies, Novecore is fully transparent about your music distribution options. We protect artists: navigating distribution and copyright contracts, helping you monetize your music, collect funds. With Novecore, you’ll have an advocate that helps you keep distribution plans in place, regardless of changes in policies and management.

And because we work on a commission basis, you only pay when we actually sell your music. You can also sign up for Novecore Premium for as little as $5 a month and pay 0% in royalties.

So, get started now. You can begin by creating a Novecore account today!

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