How to Market Your Music in The Digital Age

How to Market Your Music Independently to Different Audiences

Female Country Singer SongwriterThe digital world in which we live presents some interesting possibilities – and a few challenges. In the old days of the demo tape or CD, things were considerably different. Back then, the idea was simply to mail the music to whomever you needed to hear it, and it was either listened to or not. Now, thanks to mp3s and the internet, our music is accessible round the clock to fans and anyone else who might be listening.

There is still definitely a need to have CDs to send out, but marketing your music hinges on how well you make use of the internet. The process of getting the word out about your music now involves social media and other online platforms. Fortunately, these resources can potentially save you on postage and help you gauge reactions right away.

One main thing to bear in mind is that marketing your music means addressing different audiences with slightly different purposes in mind. Promoting music to fans, concert venues, radio stations, and record industry personnel are all driven by different objectives.

Let’s take a closer look at how to market your music independently and how best to promote to each potential audience.

Reaching Fans

Reaching potential fans is essential to any musical endeavor. Getting them to hear your music is also relatively simple. Once you’re all done in the recording studio, and your music has been professionally mixed and mastered, you should create some mp3s of your music. You can probably ask the mastering engineer to create these mp3 files for a nominal fee, or you can rip your CDs yourself. This will allow you to upload your music to online resources, like SoundCloud (for free demos), or commercial outlets like iTunes, eventually.

Most importantly, you’ll want to engage your fans and share your music through Facebook by creating a dedicated page for you or your band. You’ll begin collecting fans and “Likes” by sharing content – photos, sound clips, and info through social media. Eventually, you’ll be able to use social media to drive sales of your music and promote your shows. Using social media to promote anything is a study unto itself, but the important takeaway is that you get started with it. You’ll go on to use social media platforms to promote your band in other ways, too.

Getting Gigs

If you’re an up-and-coming artist or band, you will undoubtedly want to play a few gigs to help promote your music. One of the key factors that venues will use to decide whether to book your band or not is your fan base.

One immediate way to substantiate that you have fans is to make sure you share your social media links with prospective venues. Venues are primarily concerned with what kind of crowd you are able to draw. Showing them a fan base through social media, coupled with having solid demos of your songs, will help you get gigs that grow you or your band as a brand.

Just because you only have 20 fans to start with, or 2000, isn’t that important. Small clubs are often only looking to draw an additional ten or fifteen people, so they’re a perfectly reasonable place to start.

Radio Airplay

Getting on the radio is actually easier than you might think. Many local stations have a “local’s only” program that will accept demos, and that can lead to radio time for your songs. Often, the website of the station will feature an open invitation to send demos and the station’s mailing address.

In other cases, a disc jockey will state the address to send materials to on-air. So you should start seeking radio play by doing your homework, finding a program that your music will fit in with, and send in your materials. This can lead to increased fans, more gigs, and even gain the attention of record industry insiders.

Record Industry Personnel

The people who matter in the record industry may include A & R reps, producers, and other insiders. Reaching these types of people can be hard. Entire volumes have been writer on the topic, but the short version is:

  • Write or email the industry insider before sending anything, asking permission to submit your materials.
  • Make sure you send a fully professional package complete with press kit and contact details.
  • Send links to social media and online pages relating to your project.
  • Don’t send unsolicited material – it will most often simply be rejected.
  • Be gracious and thankful – even if rejected.

Final Thoughts

The process of marketing your music is filled with choices. Regardless of who your audience is, the basics are always the same. You want to make sure you have a nice package with which to present your music, engage in social media activities, and have a press kit.

These tools, together with your talent and determination, will put your music in the hands of your intended audience. These underlying principles carryover into larger-scale marketing efforts down the road, so learning the methods we’ve covered will continue to help you throughout your musical career.