Creating and liberating music has never been easier, but promoting your work has never been more confusing. Should you focus on TikTok or a tour? And when you don’t have a lot of followers, is online promotion worth it?
To break the code we talked to independent musicians, vendors, taste makers and even a teacher. While there is no guaranteed formula for success, we have found a wealth of tips and tricks for all types of musicians. Let’s dive.
Real-time playback is by far the most popular way people consume music today, and accessing the right playlists can make your music career. While anyone can create a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music, only a small percentage have large amounts of followers. If you don’t have your own popular playlists, how can you access the big ones?
Services like SubmitHub and Playlist Push allow you to send yourself to playlist creators, music blogs, and social media influencers. SubmitHub has free shipping and paid options, but Playlist Push is only paid. Playlists like IndieMono and Alexrainbirdmusic have free shipping on various genres. While Spotify doesn’t allow playlist owners to charge for inclusion, it does seem to allow (or at least tolerate) shipping fees.
Do these strategies work? Yes, but artists should be prepared “to go through a lot of rejections,” says Jonathan Teeter, leader of the independent band Films on Song in Charlottesville, Virginia. A single addition to the BIRP.FM playlist resulted in more than 10,000 plays of his band’s single “Ritual Day.” “It’s not ideal to have to pay between $ 1 and $ 3 to submit through SubmitHub, but if you know what blogs and influencers you like, it can be helpful.”
Rejection is part of the game, and it’s important to keep your chin up. “Music is art. Art is hard, “says KCRW radio DJ Jason Kramer, who was one of the first taste creators to discover Billie Eilish and Finneas.” Artists just have to be them. Play something they need to play. ” , he continues, “take a risk, don’t be afraid.”
Create your own playlists
You don’t have to rely on someone else’s playlist for listening. On both Spotify and Apple Music, if a playlist is public, anyone can find and follow it. The exact algorithms aren’t public, but playlists with names based on iconic lyrics, albums, places, or new sentiments (“New York Autumn Vibes,” for example) seem to do well on Spotify, even for users. without existing monitoring. Apparently without trying, some users have created playlists that reach thousands of listeners. Artists can post their favorite playlists to their artist profile, gaining new followers and showing off their favorite songs. Apple Music doesn’t show the count of followers on playlists, which makes it harder to judge which strategies work there.
What playlists are you on? Apple Music for Artists and Spotify for Artists give you a count of played songs, information about playlists you’ve added, and other useful information.
Use the resources of streaming services
Apple Music for Artists has a page with tips and tools to promote your work. You can even create your own QR code that links to your song or album. Spotify has a similar resource called code creator, and they even explain how you can send songs to include them in the playlist. SoundCloud also has a page with tips to help creators monetize and promote their music. QR codes that link to streaming or social media are great for putting on stickers, posters, or other promotional materials.
He collaborates in Tracks and Covers
Collaborative features and songs are perhaps the most common in hip hop, but they can be a great way to expand your audience regardless of genre. For example, the indie rock band Surfer Blood released an EP called Hardboiled, which featured other artists doing covers of their songs. Themes appeared on the Surfer Blood page in addition to the pages of the artists who made the covers, maximizing exposure for everyone.
Covering a familiar song can be another great way to get new listeners. This article is not legal advice, but remember that if you make a version of a song you will have to pay royalties to whoever wrote the song. Fortunately, services like DistroKid can handle this.
Cultivate your image
Social media has become so essential to the promotion of music that even artists who died decades ago have an active presence on Instagram. While it’s a powerful tool for artists, music influencer Ari Elkins warns artists not to neglect their music. “Getting thousands of followers on TikTok is exciting, but it’s crucial that those followers are there for your music and not just for unrelated viral videos that have nothing to do with you as an artist.”
While social media can lead to success, the game is always changing. Cehryl, a Hong Kong-based indie pop artist, started uploading self-recorded songs to SoundCloud and now has a record deal and more than 100,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. But he warned that what worked before might not work now. “If I had to start from scratch today, I wouldn’t start on SoundCloud. I would just distribute it on all streaming platforms and promote it mainly on Instagram.”
When you’re on TikTok or Instagram, what strategies should you use? “It’s more than I like,” says Kas Robinson, a social media strategist in Sydney, Australia, who notes that social media algorithms take into account various factors such as time spent on your content, participation rate, and the number of shares and savings “. “If you’re not sure what to do, Kas recommends you get started. “Give yourself a starting position and work to improve your content over time.”