Whether you’re a band or a singer/songwriter just flexing your wings promoting your music yourself can be a nightmare. It’s very hard to work out how to promote your music as there are so many avenues to choose from and not wasting your time is one of the biggest issues!
How to Promote your music - Initial steps
Before we get into the details of exactly how to promote your music I thought it would be a good idea to cover some of the basic things you need before you actually start to promote your music. These are all things that having ready already will mean promoting your music will be much, much easier.
1. Social Media profile
Before you get started you’re going to want the usual run of social media profiles – Facebook Fan Page, My Space and Twitter. I’d also suggest Beat 100 as it’s very music and band orientated. Having a well presented set of social media sites will make it much easier for people to see and engage with your music.
2. Have a promo package
If you want to know how to promote your music then you’re absolutely going to need a promotional package. This is what you send out for competitions, to the press, to websites and eventually music labels. Your promo package needs to contain high quality band photos, previous media coverage, a bio and latest news plus some music samples. You’ll want everything to be of the highest quality possible as news and music outlets tend to receive a lot of these packages so you want yours to stand out. Don’t forget to add your contact info as well!
3. Places to buy your music
It might seem silly but you’d be amazed how often people overlook this simple idea for promoting your music. If you’re going to be advertising your band then you want to have some great places for people to actually buy your music. iTunes is the obvious place to start and is world renowned but also add in purchase options on your own site and elsewhere to maximise your exposure. Of course you’ll need some free tracks too but always give someone an incentive to buy more!
How to promote your music – Online
Okay now you’re all set up it’s time to actually start promoting your music. You might think that you can just set up your social media sites and then send fans there. This will only get you so far and you need to be very active with your band promotion if you’re going to make it to the big time! With that in mind we turn to some of the best ways to promote your music online.
Viral Band Promotion
Firstly, you will need to spread your music by word of mouth. At the base level this means getting all your friends and family to share your music links and videos and to get their friends to do the same. This will set you on the right track but you’ll also want to get involved with the music community. There are some great online forums for musicians and for bands and it’s a very good idea to get yourself out there in them if you want to get your music heard and make new friends and fans.
These communities are a great place to promote your music but they also have the potential to get you more exposure and to get you gigs and contacts within the music industry. Join them and spread the word as much as you can and soon enough your music will start promoting itself as people pass on your music to their friends and fans.
Secondly you will want to take advantage of all the music competitions that take place online and in the press offline as well. Beat 100 runs monthly music competitions while many of the other music websites and magazines run competitions. When you start look for competitions in your genre and then work your way towards bigger events like “live and unsigned” and others. Competitions give you a great chance for exposure and they also give you the opportunity to get your music in front of more fans.
As well as competitions you’ll want to try to get your music in front of the online press. The online press is generally much more relaxed about submissions and are very likely to cover you if you make life easy for them. The promotional package always works well here but you can always just write a story and submit it directly to them. For some people this is a really good way to start the ball rolling. Search out magazines online and e-zines in your genre and submit your promotional package to them which is a fantastically easy way to do band promotion and won’t cost you a penny!
How to promote your music – Offline
Offline promotion is a little different these days and is a lot harder than online unless you manage to make a huge viral spread of your music! However, there are some great tricks for how to promote your music offline and you should try this as often as possible.
The press is the biggest one of all if you want to get your music heard. Start local and move your way up as your band gets more exposure. If you win a competition then send the news out to media outlets so that they can give you some coverage. When you start getting more confident and are releasing albums or have on a big competition then you can start sending out your music to the editors of music magazines and to the national press. Send them your news and your promo package and don’t count on a reply! As harsh as it sounds many magazines and media outlets receive a lot of press releases and yours might get discarded. However, try and capture their attention with a good snappy headline and an interesting opening line and you’ll be in much better stead.
Many local and national radio stations will accept submissions for unsigned bands and artists and I’d definitely recommend submitting your music to get some extra promotion. Many local radio stations will let you come along and play and will advertise your gigs for free. It’s a great way to make contacts and to get some exposure. Remember to be imaginative and to keep on pushing yourselves. Even if it sometimes seems like an uphill struggle the more work you do at it the more you’ll get out of it.
And that about covers it for this guide to how to promote your music.