Completing an album takes a great deal of energy, heart, and hard work. With so much invested in that process, it’s no wonder you want to get your album heard by as many people as possible.
Much of the success of an album release comes from the music promotion that goes along with it. There are some costs involved in promoting an album, but your biggest investment is going to be the time it takes to market your music by doing outreach – especially if you’re an independent artist looking to get new fans.
These 12 strategies will help you promote your album before and after release:
1. Set up a pre-order
2. Set up digital distribution
3. Release a single
4. Create an EPK for your album
5. Set up Smart Links for your album
6. Promote your album to fans
7. Pitch your album to radio
8. Reach out to online reviewers
9. Promote your album to local media
10. Create new band merch
11. Organize an album release show
12. Book a tour to promote your album
Music marketing can start long before you finish your album. Share snippets of your writing and the recording process to pique interest. Once you have the release date in mind, set up a pre-order to rein in those interested fans, and convert them to buyers.
A pre-order allows you to take orders ahead of the album launch and start marketing early. You use a pre-order to build momentum as your release date approaches. It’s also a good way to target fans who want to be first in line to support your music, by purchasing a copy directly from you.
Add a pre-order option to your artist website on a dedicated music Landing page, and drive fans there. You’ll also get direct access to data this way, including visitor locations, listens, and the email addresses of people who complete a purchase.
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Distribution is an important part of album promotion. If you haven’t yet chosen a distributor, look for a service like CD Baby that will get your music placed on a multitude of platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon. You can first distribute your singles, then add your full album. You will also want to be sure that your streaming profiles are up to date, to maximize your release.
While some artists aren’t crazy about having their music available to stream, don’t discount the benefit of music discovery. Being featured on a playlist could get your music more publicity with new fans, and trickle down to mean more merch and ticket sales in the long run.
Releasing singles allows you to build continuous engagement with your fans. It helps build momentum, gain new listeners, and adds interest in your music as the full album release draws near.
If your single gains traction on streaming services, you can use that success to reach out to press, music bloggers, and radio before the full album is released.
You can release more than one single, but do proper promotion for each one by running it through the music marketing tools at your disposal. Create a video to go along with each one if you can, as well.
Create an EPK on your website that is dedicated to album promotion. An EPK is a quick and easy way for industry professionals to see all the important information about your album in one place.
Add your music, a text ‘pitch’ that sums up your album, promotional photos, a video if you have one, and press coverage you’ve received to date.
Your EPK will be an essential tool in pitching your album to press, radio, and reviewers, so be sure that it reflects your music and your story accurately.
To really focus your visitors' attention, set up a Smart Links feature for your album on a dedicated landing page. You can customize this page as much as you’d like, and promote your album using the direct page URL.
You can use this page in marketing efforts across other channels, driving traffic to your website where visitors can learn more and easily purchase your album directly. Smart Links will also help you to gather important data about who is listening and where they are visiting from.
If you’d like to create a Smart Link for your music release, and promote places where your album can be streamed, simply add the various URLs as your links, and share the page.
When promoting your album, you’ll want to reach your biggest fans and potential fans alike. To do this effectively, make use of your mailing list and social media.
New music gives you something concrete to promote to your fans and you’ll want to maximize this opportunity by creating a music marketing plan. Setting up a content calendar with ideas for authentic social media posts will help you to reach many of your fans. You may also decide to run some targeted ads on social media.
To get the word out to your biggest supporters, send multiple, staggered emails to your mailing list. Include some context about your music and add links to direct your fans to your music website, where they can buy your new album directly. You can also offer your mailing list early access, or a special discount to encourage them to buy your album.
As an independent artist promoting an album, it may not be realistic to expect a hit on commercial radio. But there are plenty of local and indie radio shows where music curators are listening, and where people still discover new music.
To get your song on the radio, research is a must. Target stations and specific shows that are a good fit for your style, and determine the submission process so there’s no wasted time on anyone’s part. Make sure you have an EPK prepared that accurately describes your music, and tells your story. You can include a download as well.
Finally, perseverance is a must. Only a small percentage of people are going to get back to you, so keep at it to achieve some success.
Music blogs are an essential way to promote your album to new audiences. Pitching to online reviewers takes some legwork and research, but there are a ton of genre-centric blogs out there with decent audiences where bloggers talk about independent music.
Just like with your radio submissions, make sure you’re submitting to someone who writes about your genre of music, and who you think will be interested in your album. Again make sure to include your EPK with all album details when you contact them to make things easy.
Once you do get some coverage, regardless of the size of the outlet providing coverage, use that press in your EPK and on social media to draw more interest to your release.
Aside from the more popular means of getting your album out there, a few other outlets exist that can help promote your music locally. Consider local TV, online newspapers, and podcasts that might interview you and feature your music. This is especially helpful if you pair it with live shows in your town, or nearby areas.
Local television shows and online papers are almost always looking for stories about the people who live in their region. For podcasts, consider both music-centric podcasts and podcasts about the area you’re in. Many towns and cities have podcasters who dedicate their show to local events and artists.
One of the best ways to rally support for an album is by creating merch to go along with it. You’ll likely want to press CDs and vinyl, so you’ll have album art ready to use. T-shirts, hoodies, and stickers are just a few things you can consider offering for sale, or bundle as an incentive to entice fans to buy your album.
Consider using print-on-demand to create merch so you don’t have to store and ship products, and can focus on the other items on your album promotion list.
An album release show is an excellent way to get fans to buy your album in person, and to generate more buzz around the album itself. It’s also a really great opportunity to perform your entire album live, the way it was meant to be heard.
Be sure to tie this show into your local media push, and use it to generate buzz on social media, before and after your official album release.
Getting fans to listen to your music live is still one of the best ways to promote your music. Start with booking shows at venues you’ve played before, or reach out to local places to keep your initial costs low. A new album release is often a good angle to use to approach a venue.
Even a mini tour of your local area can really help keep the momentum going after you’ve released your album, and gaining a good draw at these shows can be leveraged to book more shows in the future.
Releasing music takes a lot of time and energy for any musician. Creating an album is a major event for any artist, and you’ll want to be sure to do it well, especially if you’re an independent artist looking to build your fanbase.
Make sure that you start planning early, and create a strategy that you’ll be able to follow for all of your releases. Once you see what works, and what doesn’t work, you can adjust your promotion strategy accordingly. After all, album promotion will be a career-long effort for most indie musicians; believe in your music and put in the work to be sure your fans are able to enjoy it!
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