Creating great music should always be the number one priority for an independent artist. In order to use that music to sustain a long-term career, it’s important to figure out how to get it in front of listeners.
If you’re just starting work on marketing your music, the number of online options at your disposal can be overwhelming. Fortunately many of them are free (or very affordable), so there’s little risk with trying them out to see what works best for you.
To make the most out of your music marketing efforts you’ll want to learn who your audience is and where those people are - then focus your plans on platforms they use most.
Here's a list of online music marketing tools for independent artists and bands to cut through the noise; tools to help you find fans and build lasting relationships with them through your music:
1. Mailing list
A mailing list is the most important music marketing tool for an independent artist. Social media is useful but no one’s feed shows them every project they like, so you risk having fans miss your posts (...and not everyone is on Facebook!). An email with a link to click is a focussed way to directly reach the individuals who were interested enough in your music to actively join your mailing list.
Additionally, the analytics that are measured with each mailout provide you important information about the health and engagement level of your list. Use this data to tweak, test, and improve each email you send, to ensure that you’re getting the most out of every campaign. Open rates, click-through rates, new signups, and unsubscribes will give you insight on where your biggest fans are located. This can help greatly when deciding on anchor dates for your next tour.
2. Artist website
Every independent artist should create a music website. Versus using social media exclusively, launching your own website not only allows you to have complete say over the branding, feel, and functionality of your online presence, it also allows you the freedom of not having to adhere to character limitations. Artist websites allow musicians to present themselves on their own terms.
Fans want a one-stop shop that is easy to find online, where they can listen to your music, watch your videos, learn about upcoming shows, and find out more about you.
In addition to being a key way of building your mailing list, your custom website also includes data to help you better understand your fans' demographics. This allows you to market your music to a more targeted audience.
Maintaining a proper website isn’t just for your fans. Artists who represent themselves well, with a professional website and electronic press kit, have a stronger impact on talent buyers, music journalists, and other industry professionals.
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Facebook is still an effective way to reach music fans who use the platform every day, especially if you offer up great content that includes video, images, and authentic posts that resonate with your listeners.
Facebook Ads Manager can also be a powerful marketing tool for musicians to make sure information about new releases and shows is reaching the right fans online.
The beauty of Instagram is that it provides the opportunity to share everyday things with your fans without requiring you to be formal. This relatable style of sharing lets your personality and enthusiasm shine through, whether you choose to post images to your feed, create stories, or collect reels.
Instagram stories disappear in 24 hours, so they’re a great way to market your music and connect quickly to fans by teasing an upcoming release.
You can also get your songs added to the Instagram music catalog so that people can share them within their stories, or record short reels set to your music, making your art available to their followers. .
Instagram posts can easily be promoted through Facebook Ads Manager (the same way you’d promote a Facebook post) to reach the targeted audience of your choice.
Snapchat can be a very creative way to market your music by connecting with your fans, especially if you have a younger audience.
The app is all about being personal, casual, and spontaneous, so it’s an effective online music marketing tool without feeling obviously promotional. It also takes a lot of the pressure off of creating “perfect” content, because nothing on Snapchat is archived.
TikTok is growing rapidly in popularity and is another online music marketing tool that requires less planning and polish. You can create sharable clips directly for your followers, or your fans can create fun - potentially viral! - videos using your music.
Gaining exposure on TikTok may reveal your music to a different generation of fans. You can also create meaningful engagement in unique ways, such as writing songs with your fans on TikTok.
Twitch offers the opportunity to produce a livestream and grow your fanbase. Streaming on Twitch is a great way to connect with fans all across the world on a regular basis - a powerful way for musicians to market their music and broaden their audience online.
You don’t need much more than an account and a way to record and stream your show to be able to start building a community on Twitch, making it an attractive platform to try out as a way to reach a new audience.
YouTube is a huge driver for music discovery, and remains a popular choice for many fans to share and consume music.
To market your music on YouTube and gradually build a dedicated following of subscribers, upload videos to your custom channel on a consistent schedule. You can also make use of this video content on other platforms, whether it’s in an email newsletter or posted as a short teaser on Instagram.
Include links to your website and social media profiles in every YouTube video description, and use relevant keywords so that your content comes up in search results and related video suggestions.
9. Spotify for artists
As a streaming service, Spotify provides an opportunity to get your music discovered and heard by new potential fans.
To make the most of this service, use the tools on your Spotify for Artists dashboard. These include customizing your Spotify profile, creating an Artist Playlist, submitting unreleased music to playlists, and making strategic use of your song statistics and listener demographics.
If you have even a small following on Spotify, the data from that engagement alone can be one of your most valuable music marketing tools. Use that insight to make focused decisions on where to perform live, which bands to tour with, which demographics to target on social media, and much more.
Playing live shows remains a highly effective way to turn one-time listeners into long-term fans. Bandsintown is the largest concert discovery platform, making it an efficient online music marketing tool for any performing artist.
It’s an easy way to reach more music lovers and sell tickets to your shows. Perhaps its best feature, Bandsintown allows you to sync all of your tour dates across your website, Facebook page, and other social networks - all from making updates in one place.
The goal as a musician is to make great music, but getting it out to the world can be a lot of work - especially if you don’t have a marketing team behind you. Using a variety of online music marketing platforms suitable for your style of music will ultimately pay off when casual listeners become true fans that are willing to support your art, which sustains your career.
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