Everyone knows music promotion is an incredibly important part of the music industry. Promoting your music will help you to get more listeners and increase awareness of your music.
But, how do you even get started? There are so many options available today, and so many “shiny” objects to choose from that it seems impossible to crawl through the noise.
Well, that’s why in this article I’ll do my best shot to detail which music marketing platforms I think are the best today, and explain what gives the best results when working with each platform.
Platform #1: Spotify (My Favorite Choice)
Spotify is a popular music streaming service I guess you’ve heard of (unless you’ve just arrived on earth) that allows users to listen to their favorite artists and easily discover new ones using playlists such as Discover Weekly, Daily Mixes, Specific Artist-based radio, or user-generated playlists.
It has an insane potential for impressions as they have 433 million monthly active users as of 2022 (mostly from Europe & North America).
Therefore, as you can see, if you set your campaigns correctly, Spotify will be an absolute goldmine of fans for you.
Currently, there are two main ways of promotion there – Spotify’s Paid Ads and Playlist Promotion.
Option #1: Spotify Paid Audio & Video Ads
Spotify Paid Ads offer advertisers the opportunity to have their ads played in between songs or during specific moments of an artist’s playlist.
They allow you to target your ads toward listeners of specific genres, artists, general interests, or even real-time contexts (i.e people who listen to content related to a specific topic right now).
An important thing to notice is they’ll only allow you to create campaigns with a budget of 250$ or above.
If you ask for my personal opinion & experience though – I wouldn’t use Spotify’s Audio Ads to promote your music as they usually don’t feel native.
Think about it this way: the whole mindset of us humans as to how to deal with ads is to skip & ignore them first.
Therefore, using classic ads to promote your songs may make people naturally skip & ignore you & your brand.
Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t use Spotify to promote your music as it still has a ton of potential. I’m saying there is another, better way to do it, which is what gets me to option #2.
Option #2: Spotify Playlists Promotion
Spotify Playlists promotion means that instead of running ads that interrupt people as they’re listening to their favorite songs – you get your songs in actual playlists so it seems natural they’re in there.
This means that first, your brand will stay native and not seem forced, and second, the people that will engage with your songs will be in search mode and therefore much more open to new artists.
Now, as you’ve probably guessed, Spotify doesn’t offer Playlist promotion services.
Therefore, you can either start DM-ing a ton of playlist owners, or you can use a playlist promotion agency that already has the needed connections and can get you into playlists easily.
If you do want to go with the easy option which is to hire an agency, I, recommend, you look at DaimoonMedia as they have access to countless playlists of every genre and offer campaigns at a great price point at this moment.
Platform #2: Youtube Ads (Best For Utilizing An Existing Fanbase)
Youtube is often the first choice of most people when trying to decide on a marketing platform as it’s the one we usually feel most familiar with, however, most people use it the wrong way.
Let’s look at the two options we have with Youtube ads and understand why.
Option #1: Pre-Roll Video Ads (Best For Major Artists / Incredibly Interesting Music Videos)
Youtube’s Pre-Roll Ads are the ad videos that play right before the videos you actually intend to watch.
What most people do with Youtube Ads is try to develop a fanbase from scratch, so they get all excited about their music video, upload it as a pre-roll ad, and then everyone who watches it skips it immediately after 5 seconds.
Then, they usually blame the quality of the song/video.
However, I’m here to tell you that quality usually isn’t the problem. The problem is they’re not playing the game of attention correctly.
You see, when someone enters a Youtube video and gets an ad instead, the first thing he wants to do is skip it, and unless the ad gets his attention in 5 seconds, he’s gone.
Now, if you already have a fanbase, it makes much more sense to market your songs this way, as people who are already familiar with your brand are much more likely to be interested in your new songs.
However, if you don’t have a fanbase yet, or if you’re looking to expand your existing one, either create something that commands attention in your ad’s first 5 seconds or use search results ads with an attention-grabbing headline as I’ll explain below.
Option #2: Search Results Ads (Best For Expanding Your Fanbase)
Search results ads are as the name says, ads that are displayed when someone searches for something on Youtube.
The thing with search results ads is that once someone has clicked your video, it means they’ve wanted to see your video. It means that instead of shoving your music video down people’s throats, you’re kindly offering to entertain them with it.
This way, you’re much more likely to get people to emotionally connect and like your brand.
Now, I know what you’re thinking – yes, it will be harder to get views this way, however, if you do things correctly, the views that you will get, will be of a much higher quality.
In the end, what should really interest you is to get people to be actively looking for your next songs & shows for the long run, not just to inflate your view count.
Plus, there are actually a couple of things you can do to make sure you still get a respectable amount of views.
As written above, ads are all about getting people’s attention and then getting them to take a certain action – which in our case is becoming your fans.
Use an attention-grabbing title, that can grab someone by the throat and command him/her to click your video. For example: “I made this music video with a 100$ budget”.
When you use such a title it gives people a reason to click. They want to find out how does a 100$ budget music video looks like.
Then, after the video gets picked up by Youtube’s algorithm you’ll be able to change the title to – [Artists Name – Song Name].
Platform #3: SoundCloud (Best For Beginning Artists)
SoundCloud is another music and podcast streaming service I guess you’ve heard of that allows users to upload, record, promote, and share their originally-created sounds.
SoundCloud offers two types of accounts: one free with some limitations on the number of listeners and uploads, and a paid account that removes these limitations.
With currently over 175 million users (27% from the US) according to FinancesOnline, the platform has a ton of potential to promote your songs and develop your fanbase.
The best thing about SoundCloud is that it’s much easier to set up and get started with as it allows you to just open an account directly on their website and upload your tracks compared to Spotify & Apple Music which require you to work with a distributor, and it doesn’t require any video like YouTube.
Option #1: Use Soundcloud’s Promotion Service
SoundCloud offers a self-serve tool that lets you promote on SoundCloud to surface your music to new fans and drive up your plays at a budget that works for you.
The upside of running everything through SoundCloud is getting to manage everything in-house which makes the promotion easy to set up and maintain over time.
The downside though is that when you promote your songs through SoundCloud, they add a little “Promoted track” badge at the top of your track which makes it instantly feel less natural and a little pushy.
Second, same as all the other methods, SoundCloud promotion doesn’t guarantee clicks, or in other words, plays.
Instead, they charge you on an impression-based CPM. What this means is that for every 1000 times someone sees your track on his feed, you pay a certain amount of money (10$ for instance).
Usually, you can expect your interaction rate (also called CTR%) to be anywhere between 4% to 10% which means that for every 1000 impressions you’ll get 40 – 100 actual plays.
The interaction rate is essentially the percentage of plays out of impressions, and it can vary based on how well-targeted your ad was, and also on your artwork and title.
Option #2: Use SoundCloud Tracks Reposts
SoundCloud reposts promotion means reposting your track over popular channels that already have traffic & engagement, so that their traffic gets exposed to your track.
The upside of going this way makes your song & brand feel a lot more native than having this little “promoted” logo just above the play button.
Plus, if you choose to promote your track through a proper agency, they’ll do all the needed targeting & other important marketing decisions with you, so you get the best return for your money.
The downside though is getting actual results going this route makes you work extremely hard and requires you to have a lot of connections. Unless again, you decide to hire an agency that can do it all for you.
The agency I recommend if you decide to go this path is again DaimoonMedia as these guys are incredibly easy to work with and can get you incredible results for an inexpensive cost.