How To Promote Your Music

By Frank Dee

These are exciting times for everyone involved in the creation of music. The ability to produce professional quality recordings is becoming within the means of more and more artists. The channels of communication available, on a global scale, are unprecedented. Music, in all its forms, has never been more popular across such a wide range of media.

But such a cultural and technological boom brings new challenges.

In an era when so many new bands, artists and performers are discovering the benefits of DIY production and promotion, how can you get your music to stand out from the crowd?

Well, the technology might be changing, but some of the basic rules of marketing and promotion will always hold true. Here are some tips to help get your music to the top of the pile.

Establish your niche

You need to understand where your music should be positioned in the market. Yes, I know you’re unique and unclassifiable, but for these purposes, just leave your artistic inclinations to one side and concentrate on defining your image. This will help you to target the appropriate areas for your promotion, which will make your marketing more effective.

Think rifle, rather than scatter-gun.

Connect, connect connect

Music is and always has been a “who you know/who knows you” business and the quality and quantity of the relationships you build will have more of an effect on your career than almost any other factor.

Never pass up an opportunity to network. Always have your contact details and samples of music to hand. Give testimonials to every band or business when you buy a cd or any music product from them. Describe the benefits you felt from using their service and let them publish your testimonial on their site in return for including your sig file at the end.

Leave messages on discussion boards and forums and include your (subtle) link; but be careful not to appear as though you’re just posting to advertise yourself.

Similarly, write reviews, sign guestbooks and send emails to ezine editors – take every opportunity to get your link details onto as many sites as possible.

Remember to be polite and NEVER spam. By all means upload your profile onto viral sites such as MySpace, but bear in mind that some of these sites might be really hot one minute then become a bit of a marketing cliché the next; so don’t look upon them as a substitute for your own website.

Try developing creative projects with fellow musicians in a similar genre. For instance, maybe you could combine your live show with two or three other acts and present the package to a local promoter. There’s safety in numbers and you’ll be building more contacts.

Keep your website updated

(You do have a website, don’t you?)

You’ll be giving out your web address to other site owners, fans at your gigs and every industry contact you meet, so make sure you’ve always got your best songs and images on there.

You must have a way of capturing your fans’ email addresses so you can get in touch with them when you post new tracks or have a show coming up.

Take the time to respond to any requests from your fans – treat them well and they’ll be your willing army of viral agents.

Look beyond the obvious

The use of music as a marketing tool and for gaining youth credibility is now widespread.

Whether it’s soft drinks, mobile phones, coffee, banks(!!) – it seems that non-music businesses are looking for creative ways to add music-related services to their mix. Could this work for you, maybe on a local level to start with?

Think of any companies or organisations you might already resonate with and see if you can find a way to add value to what these businesses are doing with what you have to offer. This may even evolve into a sponsorship for a tour or a recording project.

The point is, if you want to attract corporate support, you don’t just have to rely on the “traditional” record company/publisher route to kick-start your music career.

Make use of music download sites – but be selective

There are tons of websites out there where any artist or band can sign up and have their songs available for download.

Before you do this, make sure that the site is going to say the right things about you. For instance, does it give the visitor the right impression? Is it professionally designed and in keeping with your particular genre/image? Do they charge you a fee? What’s the revenue split? How much do they charge customers for downloads?

You shouldn’t be too keen to sign up with a site with the cheapest download prices – that could make you look amateurish.

Will the site provide you with details of who downloaded your tracks? These people are your fans and you should nurture them. If the site refuses to share this info, they’d better compensate for that by having a huge customer base and selling loads of your stuff. And be sure that the site has been around awhile and has a good reputation for actually paying on time.

Check out the following download sites, but remember that the best place for your music is on your own website, where you control the whole experience from start to finish.

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Download Site Links

And a couple of our favourite US sites