You’ve made your songs available to the public. That last track you made was an absolute banger. You have a presence on all the social media channels and you’ve been actively promoting your song. So, why is no one listening to your songs?
Every artist wants their streaming count to soar sky high on digital music platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Increased streams means increased revenue. But you need to ensure you go about it in the right way.
It can be frustrating trying to manage so much, but it is very easy to get caught up and focus on the wrong promotion activities. Often, independent musicians have a tight budget and this leads to taking shortcuts to find free exposure or focusing on sub-par marketing efforts, which produce sub-par results.
In this article, our music promotion team set out the best and worst ways to promote your music. Marketing and promotion is a vast activity, full of thousands of different avenues to explore, and even get lost down. There are some good strategies and there are some bad strategies. But, worse than that, there are some absolutely awful strategies that can hurt your reputation.
Don’t: Buy Streams
No, no, no, no, no. There might be tonnes of service out there offering you thousands of streams for a fiver. But they aren’t real. Even though their website tells you that they offer “real” streams with no negative impact on your website, they don’t. They want your cash, they won’t care when Spotify suspends you.
These companies use nefarious tactics to boost your numbers, like click farms. Streaming services aren’t stupid. They have algorithms, scanners and systems in place that detect this activity, no matter how “natural” someone claims they can make it look. This will result in a “permanent takedown”, meaning your music will be permanently removed from the platforms.
Did You Know? Buying streams is fraud and this can actually cause you legal difficulties. If you receive money for the streams that you purchase, you have fraudulently claimed under false pretenses.
Do: Get Your Music On Every Platform
Different audiences prefer to listen on different platforms. If you want to expand your audience, you need to capture every potential listener in the most convenient way. Making your music available through a range of popular streaming platforms will help you cover the entire globe and gain access to millions of listeners.
Most of your audience will be listening to music through steaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music and similar. This is where they can stream their favourite artists, discover new music and store everything they like. You will want to make sure your releases are available on these digital service providers. This can be done through a Digital Music Distributor like Identity Music.
Don’t: Play Your Music On Repeat
We know, we are killing all the shortcuts! You might think that playing your music on repeat will increase your streaming numbers and you are absolutely right, it will. But, it’s been done before. Streaming platforms have already caught artists doing this and now they actively look for it. If devices are playing your song regularly on repeat, it’s going to be pretty obvious what’s going on.
We aren’t saying don’t listen! Listening to your own music is fine. You can listen multiple times a day, if that’s what you want to do. But listen to it authentically. If it feels unnatural, chances are, it looks unnatural to the streaming services.
Data & Analytics
Do: Access Your Streaming Analytics
Simply guessing how your music is performing won’t help you move forward. Data and demographics will highlight the groups of people who gravitate towards your content, where they listen and how they consume it. By analysing this data you can grow your music and plan more effective releases with better coverage.
Don’t: Ignore Your Analytics
You won’t ever develop your connections with fans or improve your audience. Period.
Do: Access Your Social Media Analytics
Social Media typically requires a big time investment. You don’t want to waste that valuable time putting out worthless content. By accessing each platform’s analytics and insights sections, you can assess what content performs well and what content you can cut from the list.
You have no doubt read in many places that you need to be “constantly” posting on social media. Well, that’s not untrue, but a better word would be “consistently”. Yes, you should post frequently, but by frequently we mean daily, not hourly.
If you fall into the trap of posting for the sake of posting, you will spam you audience with valueless content. This will lead to a huge spike in unfollows and may even make you look desperate.
Always remember: Quality trumps quantity.
Sometimes setting a daily or weekly post target will encourage you to share even when you aren’t contributing anything valuable. You need to ensure that the content you share is worth your time and your readers time. Everything should improve your brand and promote you and your music.
Do: Be Respectful
Not everyone’s lives revolve around you and your music. Remember and respect that. Not only in how often you post, but in how you engage with them and how you respect every fan or contact as an individual. Don’t reach out on private feeds and be respectful when you reach out.
Don’t: Ignore your fans
Social media was built on one principal: sociability. It is right there in the title. So, use it for what it was meant for. Get social and get connecting with your fans. It is hands down the best way of using social media to get positive results. You can do this with responding to comments, hosting Q&As, doing competitions and more. You need to do things that make your fans feel like they are part of your music and have a connection with you. No one wants to feel like they are just another customer.
Growing Your Audience
Do: Submit to playlists
One thing you can’t afford to ignore is playlisting. Whether it’s playlists on Apple Music, Spotify or others, getting featured on a playlist can garner you hundreds of thousands of new listeners worldwide, sending your streaming figures shooting up.
Some of the biggest curated playlists have millions of followers and algorithmic playlists pack the biggest punch, recommending your music to fans with similar taste.
Every playlist placement can make a huge impact. It’s not just about the biggest playlists in the world. While landing on an official playlist which has millions of listeners is great, smaller ones still give your presence a nice boost.
You’ll need to work with a team who knows how to playlist pitch well and ensure you tick all the right boxes to see yourself featured. Find out how to keep safe from scammers and make smart playlist decisions here: 5 Music Industry Scams | Music Promotion | Identity Music.
Don’t: Forget To Promote Pre-Release
Planning forward and developing a release campaign will help you to hit the ground running. Leaving everything till post-release can be the reason your track is a complete flop. If you want to start strong and continue soaring, you need to focus on raising awareness and building hype before the release, as well as after. Building excitement and getting noticeable early traffic can increase your chances of algorithmic playlisting.
Do: Share Your Music!
Streaming platforms love it when an artist can drive traffic to them from “off-platform”, so that they can increase their listener numbers. Ensure you share links to your tracks across your social pages and in other online spots to help generate traffic. You should also be embedding your music onto your website.
Tip: Encourage your fans to share your track on your behalf! That will help you break into their audiences where they might have friends with similar music tastes.
Don’t: Forget To Network
Networking and PR is a brilliant way of getting your music and content to generate attention. Music PR provides you with vital access to areas of the industry you would struggle to break into alone.
If you are able to get your music featured in popular music publications, online blogs or with influencers… you’re a winner baby! There is a whole spectrum of sites ranging from multi-national magazines to budding blogs. These publications have dedicated follower bases who you can gain exposure to and gain features that enhance your reputation.
Do: Form Relationships
Networking is just too good to forget about! Every media publication, blog, influencer, podcaster etc has their owned defined audience. Why waste so much time trying to find listeners, when they have them ready and waiting? Build meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals and they will want to see you succeed. This can do wonders for growing your audience and enhancing your brand.
Don’t: Spam Your Contacts
Spam is when you send someone a message without their permission to be contacted or without them knowing you personally. We all receive spam on a daily basis.But, if you want to make a success out of your music and permission based marketing should always be your go-to.
When musicians use this strategy, it just annoys contacts. It feels like you are having something pushed on you. By spamming, people will become irritated by you and rather than being a cool artist that they want to help, you’ll just become annoying. This will affect people’s perceptions of you for years to come and create many difficulties in growing your brand. Focus on marketing strategies which promote a positive public image and raise awareness of your music.
Now we’ve cleared that up we hope that you will be able to move forward and produce marketing and promotion campaigns which produce better results and build your image. Hopefully you already knew most of these things, but if not we are glad you have learnt about some key tactics to avoid and what you need to be doing! Stay aware of your audience, your behaviour and continue trying to develop both positively.
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