Music promotion has become a practice that involves multiple disciplines. The advent of the digital era has brought with it an abundance of opportunities and challenges for artists to navigate in the quest for success.

Promoting and marketing your music can seem like an overwhelming and tiresome task for bands and artists, and rightfully so.

However, with proper planning, research, and consistency, you can see proper results with your promotion efforts. Today’s article covers a few concepts that you can apply to your music promotion plans for 2021. 

Action #1: Strategize and Plan Your Promotion

A lot of musicians don’t consider putting together a formal plan or strategy when trying to promote their music. So many artists have more than enough resources and ability to effectively implement their marketing plans, but simply do not know how.

Other artists may only concern themselves with their music promotion once their tracks have been released. It can not be stressed enough – promotion is about strategy.

A strong strategy includes knowing your target listeners and consumers, as well as understanding the most effective ways to reach them. 

Strategizing your music promotion also involves scheduling. By setting aside specific deadlines for yourself and team members to meet, you’re more likely to meet the results that you aim for.

Implementing a set strategy will also allow you to build up a pattern of statistics that you can use to measure the effectiveness of your promotional efforts.

There is a wide selection of project management tools like Slack, Trello, or Jira to help you properly organize and schedule any promotional tasks you and your team need to handle.

Action #2: Treat Your Content As King

In the current craze of social and digital media, listeners have grown accustomed to supporting their favorite artists in a wide variety of formats. Almost all popular forms of music promotion will have to include some form of video content.

Tik Tok, Instagram, Youtube, and Twitch are great examples of platforms that offer artist-centric content to music consumers.

Great themes for video content releases include things like studio production videos, release announcements, and day-in-the-life type videos where you show your listeners your daily work or music routines. 

Musicians tend to scoff at the idea of setting up a weekly social media schedule. However, the more consistently you interact with your fanbase on each social channel, the more likely you are to convert those followers into active listeners into paying supporters.

Fans love to feel as though they are involved with the lives of the artists they support and showing them more parts of yourself will give them more to relate to you. Social media sites also usually allow you to make use of quick shop portals from your profile to link users to places where they can buy your music or merchandise. 

Action #3: Collaborate With Other Artists

Collaboration is and has always been an incredibly organic way to grow your following along with others. Below are a handful of ways that you can collaborate with other creators to create some exposure that will benefit both ends mutually:

  • Feature another artist’s work on your social media or music streaming account. You also can compile playlists of musicians in your genre or community and spread these amongst your respective supporter bases.

  • Host a live stream where you and an artist meet up in the same space or online to discuss various elements of your creative works. Alternatively, host a stream where you and another artist create something together.

  • Have artists feature in your music or music videos. This method has been tried and tested since before the internet and is one of the more efficient ways to get separate supporter bases to integrate. 

Action #4: Split Your Skills and Labor

As with any endeavor, you’ll be able to optimize the effectiveness of your project’s work ethic if you divide tasks up appropriately. If you’re in a band you can determine which of you is best suited to the different tasks that go into promotion.

From artwork design and video editing to social media campaigns and emails – there should be something for every member of your team to handle. 

Splitting up the promotional tasks between your team members also means that one of you is less likely to become exhausted or demotivated. Promoting your music doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get sales outright, so it’s crucial to delegate tasks properly to avoid burnout or becoming discouraged.

Some projects like to integrate incentives into their team tasks. For example, you could offer a separate cut of monthly profit splits to the team member that brings in the highest monthly revenue. 

Action #5: Invest Money and Outsource Your Work

There are a few good reasons that big artists spend money on things like PR (public relations), marketing, and promotion. It’s highly unlikely that everyone in your team is equipped with all the necessary skills, contacts, and energy needed to implement an effective, drive promotion strategy.

Fortunately, there are individuals and companies that specialize in these fields, and finding the right people for these tasks can give your music a healthy leg-up above your competition. 

When I was in my very first music project, we spent a lot of time and energy handing out flyers, running all our social media, and mailing music blogs, radio stations, etc. Even though we were pleased with the results of our efforts, we knew that we could do better if we outsourced some of the labor and expertise.

We began to set aside a budget for PR specifically and found a reputable company to work with us through a bigger artist that we had aspired to be like.

Within the first three weeks of their promotional campaigns, we had a song charting on national radio and saw our streaming numbers rise drastically. 

There are definitely companies that may try to take advantage of your ambitions, so try to do as much research as possible when trying to find entities to help promote your music.

Try to reach out to and consult with artists on your radar for any insight on reliable promotional companies. One of the most valuable lessons I learned from working with entities like these is that you have to find someone that genuinely cares about your music. 

Action #6: Find Your Narrative And Show It

I have seen this tip come up on quite a number of recent music business tutorials and vlogs. Industry insiders all agree that being a talented but substanceless artist has no place in the modern music world.

In order to gain a respectable and loyal following, a good artist needs to know and understand their narrative, as well as how they apply it to their promotional work.

Everybody has a narrative, and that is precisely what makes the concept so powerful in the music world. A narrative basically encompasses passing on your story, your origins, your intentions, and your mission statement as a creative.

When you exhibit these values in your promotions, they show a more sincere and authentic part of yourself that will probably be easier for a music consumer to relate to.

Avril Lavigne quickly rose to superstardom as a teen icon because she herself was an adolescent with relatable stories to share with other teenagers. In a similar vein, some artists may choose to create a more eccentric narrative or even an alter ego to build a larger-than-life image of themselves.

Artists such as David Bowie, Prince, and Tyler, The Creator have constantly hyped and reinvented themselves through various releases.

Most importantly, your narrative has to be true to who you are. A narrative is an extension of yourself, and modern consumers are quick to see if an artist is not presenting a sincere version of themselves.

Try and determine the types of people you’d like to perform in front of, and what you may share in common. A lot of these common values will act as a bridge between you and your listeners when 

Action #7: Get Out and Perform

Live performance is still possibly one of the most effective ways to promote your music. There is simply no better way to sell a service or product than to exhibit it to the consumer first-hand.

A well-planned tour can be a key element in any promotional plan. Most artists find this part of promoting to be the most rewarding. 

An effective tour means more than just making it from one venue to the next. Great artists know how to plan their tours around release and marketing schedules. It’s also highly beneficial to get your music onto platforms that are popular in the areas you plan to tour in.

These platforms could include local radio stations, music blogs or sites – or even local influencers that are popular in your upcoming tour stop. The general aim should be to create as much hype about your next show so that you have as many new and loyal supporters as your show to play for.

Touring should always center around promoting your latest or upcoming releases. Below are a few ideas I like to use for promoting my music through live performances. 

  • Curate your setlist to emphasize the music you’d like to promote. Play your newest tracks first, last or in the encore and let the crowd know when you’re about to play a new song to draw more attention.

  • Listening parties are a fantastic way to draw hype and valuable feedback for your latest releases. You can choose to host exclusive listening parties online or at the venue of your choice. 

  • Sell your gig tickets and album or EP as a package. I’ve generally found my listeners to be very supportive of the idea of attending a show and going home with an album of the project I’m working on. Not only do you get to promote your music in real time, you also convert a gig ticket into an actual unit sale. 

  • Include your album artwork in your tour poster, flyer and ticket designs. This kind of continuity creates a much stronger presence for your brand and will further encourage your supporters to invest in your work. Consumers love effort.

    If you put a high amount of effort into creating an experience out of your shows that correlates with your news music, your listeners are sure to want to take a piece of that experience home with them. 

Bonus Action: Get Your Songs Into Playlists

Spotify Playlists

Just a quick note on playlisting. Streaming has become the primary source of music consumption for the general population.

While streaming is definitely not the most lucrative way to sell your music, it can be very useful to promote, and still provide your project with some form of passive income at the same time. 

A common misconception about the streaming world is that you have to know the right people to get onto big playlists. This is not entirely true. You can grow your following organically by using sites like Playlisthunter.com to find larger independent playlists that are easier to submit to.

Once you reach a certain amount of active monthly listeners, streaming services will begin to prioritize your music towards larger playlists. I like to use my streaming services to lead my listeners to my artist shop portals where they can then purchase full albums or merchandise. 

Final Thoughts

The music business is one of the toughest and most competitive industries to work in, and it takes more than raw talent to stand out above other artists. However, with a strong strategy, a disciplined work ethic, and a bit of creativity, most artists can grow and sustain a profitable following.

Finding healthy avenues to consistently promote your music is a large and crucial step towards a successful career. Thanks for reading through our 7 Methods to Promote Your Music In 2021 That Actually Works. 

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