Music promotion strategies seem to change every year. And that’s because the music industry is an ever-evolving blob of people trying new things, ignoring what doesn’t work, and repeating what does.
So in this post, I’ll share seven of the best promotion strategies for indie artists today. Some of these have been around for a while because they keep working for musicians, while some of these are newer tactics that are gaining traction.
1. Update your website
Updating your website is the first thing you need to do in your music promotion strategy. You need a home on the internet that’s not affected by algorithms. It’s a place your fans can go to learn more about you, find your tour dates, and buy your merch.
So make sure you have an updated about page that helps people get to know you better. This involves telling your story and sharing what makes you and your music unique. Keep your tour dates updated, and make it easy for people to find and buy merch.
Your music also needs to be available for streaming on your site. This means you’ll need to first distribute it to Spotify, Apple Music, etc. (see next section for that) then embed a Spotify and/or Apple Music player on your site.
I usually embed a Spotify player of my newest release or a playlist of my best songs on my home page. Then below that, I’ll list links to my music on every other platform, which you can use Smart Links to do.
2. Distribute your music
This is probably the most important step in promoting your music. Because if your music isn’t available everywhere, what are you going to promote?
To get your music on Spotify, Apple Music, and elsewhere, you need a music distribution company. Every indie artist is looking for something different from their distributor, but CD Baby is a good choice. They’ll send your music across all of the streaming sites worldwide including the popular platforms like Spotify and Apple Music
3. Build your email list
An email list is a direct way to contact your fans. And if someone gives you their email address, they’re giving you permission to send them stuff about your music. So send them your music.
Every time you release music, email them. Every time you have new shows, email them. Every time you have new merch, email them.
How do you build your email list?
Add a signup form to your website, and make it obvious. Offer incentives to people who sign up, like unreleased music. You can even build your list through a pre-save campaign.
Want more ideas for growing your email list? Try using a Landing page to start.
Create a professional website in minutes with all the music promotional features you need including a blog, mailing list, and smart links. Try Bandzoogle today!
4. Get on playlists
Currently, I get about 83% of my Spotify streams from user playlists. Only 12% of streams are people listening directly on my profile. And because of all this activity and my follower growth, my songs end up on Spotify Radio and my follower’s Release Radar.
So I may be biased, but getting on Spotify playlists can definitely get your music in front of new people. And I’m talking about user playlists, not Spotify Editorial playlists.
How do you get on these playlists? There are a few methods, all of which I’ve used with varying degrees of success.
Second, you can go to Spotify and search “@gmail.com” followed by your genre. This brings up playlists in your genre where the curators have listed their email in the playlist description.
Third, you can go to your Spotify profile, scroll down to the “Fans Also Like” section, and click on one of the artists that makes similar music to you. Then from their profile, scroll down to the “Discovered on” section to see what playlist their music has been on. Then submit your music to those playlists.
Lastly, you can search keywords in Spotify related to the topics and themes of your music. For example, I’ve released some songs about my religious deconstruction, so I searched keywords like “spiritual deconstruction” and “exvangelical,” found playlists that include songs on that topic, and got my songs on a couple of those playlists.
5. Engage with fans on social media
When engaging with your fans on social media, authenticity always wins. People can see through disingenuity. So reply to people’s comments and DMs as if those people are your friends. Be someone whom people want to be connected with online.
But what types of content should you post to start the engagement? Well first, the content has to fit the platform. What works on TikTok may be very different from what works on Instagram.
So to succeed at any social media platform, you have to be a user of that platform first. This allows you to get an idea for what you like and what you think your fans will like.
Pay attention to the content you enjoy, especially content from other indie artists. Then go make that kind of content but in your own way with your songs.
6. Get on TikTok
TikTok has helped indie artists turn music into their full-time careers. How? Well, when you post a video on TikTok, the algorithm feeds it to people it thinks will like that video, not necessarily your followers.
According to Nic D, a full-time musician thanks to TikTok, followers don’t even matter on this platform.
How likely is it that your post goes viral? Probably pretty slim. But every time you post, you’re getting your music in front of people who have never heard of you.
So why wouldn’t you post content on TikTok? What do you have to lose?
7. Play live
Playing live music is the most reliable and consistent way to gain new fans. There’s nothing like sharing a room with a talented artist who’s singing and playing an instrument with passion. It’s a lot of work to book and play shows, but the in-person connection you can make with fans will last your entire career.
For indie artists, touring has never been a big money-making thing (although you can turn a profit). The main reason for playing live is to connect with fans and promote your music.
Music promotion is just sharing what you made
Before you start promoting your next release, remember that all of the best music promotion strategies come down to simply sharing something you made. Something you’re excited about. If you do it authentically, you won’t be sales-y. You won’t be annoying the people who actually like your music. So get out there and share what you made.
Caleb J. Murphy is a songwriter-producer whose music has been on NBC, ABC, and in hundreds of indie film projects. He also sends a weekly email to indie musicians called 5 Things To Help You Keep Going.
Build a stunning band website and store in minutes
- Promote your music on your own unique website.
- Sell music & merch directly to your fans. Keep 100%.
- Grow your fan base with built-in marketing tools.
Free 30 day trial, no credit card needed.