5 Steps to Successfully Promote Your Music Using Social Media

How often do you see a friend has shared a music video on their social media? Ever wondered how to make sure it is your music video people are sharing?

This guide will cover every aspect of Social Media promotion for musicians by going in-depth in to concepts used by the biggest marketing agencies in the world to break artists in to the Top 40 charts, with the power of building a loyal fanbase.

I’m sure you will have heard it, not just from us but other music PR companies too that social media is a tremendous opportunity for bands and artists. In 2018, we don’t have the usual gatekeepers who decide whether you receive the mass exposure your music deserves, you can now be in complete control of your online music promotion.

Some of the biggest bands in the world tend to have the biggest personalities, such as Liam Gallagher or Alex Turner. It is these personalities which can shine through and add something that little bit special to a band above and beyond the quality of their music.

 Liam Gallagher Facebook post

We understand that as musicians you aren’t constantly releasing music, and there can be a lot of downtime, so you need to have a strategy which allows you to create content for your audience even when you are busy in the studio or between releases.

Success on social media isn’t just about the content you create and the tips and hacks you’re going to learn in this guide, your mindset is the most important ingredient for the perfect social media strategy. A frequent misconception of social media success is that going ‘viral’ is the ultimate goal, however when was the last time you saw a music video go viral?

It is possible to get thousands of people to share your music video. In order to do this, you need to establish a core audience who are loyal fans and have gotten used to interacting and sharing with your social media content.

This is where the power of your mindset comes in to play, because the amount of work and persistence which is required to undergo a successful social media campaign means you need to be emotionally resilient and have an attitude which can keep creating content even though you may not receive the short-term success you were hoping for. Social Media is a long-term game.

Now that you’re in the right frame of mind to conquer this beast, let’s start talking strategy.

1. Create a strategy

Musicians and bands face an incredibly difficult conundrum on social media, as listening to new music requires the listener to be in a certain mood and in a place where they can listen to music without being disturbed, and these aren’t always the same conditions when you’re surfing social media. Especially as most platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have audio muted by default, so not only do you need people to pause and listen to your track, but you need them to unmute the video, which may not seem like a significant action, but getting people to take notice of social media content is something that corporations are investing millions in to achieving to help sell products, which shows how precise and impactful your strategy needs to be.

Brand Preparation

I really wish I could tell you that it is the music that does the talking when it comes to the success of your music, but from experience of music PR there is a whole entire realm of factors which can get you noticed, and the first one is your image as a band. I see this point in every music tips blog post I ever read, to “get your image right”,and it’s a very easy point to make but it’s not easy to do. So, let’s go a bit deeper in to this, here’s our best tips for getting your image right on social media.

1) Have the same images across all social media platforms

This is something we see very frequently, where an artist has different profile pictures for each platform, which may show variation, but it does not give the impression of a complete package. Maybe one band member set up the Twitter a few years ago and it hasn’t been updated, another member manages the Facebook and then Instagram became popular and that’s where you put all of your most recent imagery. The result of this can be very messy, especially for potential fans who may be fans on Instagram and have become accustomed to your image, they may immediately recognise you on Twitter as they scroll through recommended profiles and immediately hit the follow button.

2) Make use of Facebook cover videos

This is a new feature, which done well can really make your Facebook page look special. You can upload videos as cover photos, which can be either clips of your music videos, a custom looping video or an animation which advertising your next release or tour.

3) Get professional photography

You can always tell if an artist has attempted to do their own photoshoot, and we are a big advocator for using your own equipment to create content, but when it comes to branding and imagery you really should get it professionally done. There are some amazing photographers out there now who don’t actually charge a lot of money, especially if you find someone who is looking to build their portfolio or is fresh out of University.

4) Pay attention to detail

Once you have an idea of the look and feel you’d like your band to have, it’s important that this flows throughout your imagery, down to your location and clothing. We see mistakes such as bands who have chosen a location with a boring background or clothing which does not look unique and each band member has a style which clashes with the rest of the band.

2. Decide the content should you create

Instagram on iPhone

Your social media strategy needs to be implemented in groups of 10, that is 10 pieces of content which have been planned in advance. This is to ensure you have a plan which you stick to and don’t succumb to temptation to change or abandon the strategy before you have produced enough content to have a large enough sample size to analyse your results.

We encourage you to have a consistent image, but that doesn’t mean your content should be the same across all your social medias, in fact it is the opposite. Each social media platform has completely different dynamics, the people who are using Snapchat are in a completely different frame of mind to those on Facebook or YouTube, you need to find a way to tell your story across various platforms and mediums.

The 3 types of content you can create on Social Media

1) Documenting

People love to follow stories and tend to take a keen interest in other people’s lives, this is why reality TV shows such as Big Brother and Love Island have become so popular.

You should be documenting your journey as an emerging band, creating a story of how you are just beginning, the successes, the setbacks, backstage, festivals. You can pre-plan the story which will be followed, what aspects of this story are important to you and how the content will be storyboarded. Be sure to take advantage of the characters within your band, everyone is individual, and it is the people that your potential fans will relate to.

The great thing about documenting is that it is happening 24/7 around you, there is always an opportunity to document as you are quite literally publishing whatever is happening around you.

2) Educating

People are always looking to learn and if you can provide that, it is a fantastic opportunity to build fans and loyalty. Does someone in your band have a particular talent, or have unique techniques for creating music?

This is a great opportunity to educate people who’d like to learn your skills, who will repay you by helping you promote your music video.

3) Entertaining

If you have the ability to entertain your potential fans with content, then this is absolutely the option to take. To achieve this, you need to have great personalities in the band, with a content structure which allows you to create a high standard of videos on a consistent basis, we’ll cover more on this later.

Develop 3 Key Themes

All successful social media profiles have themes throughout, whether they are sport related, political, business or music related. But themes don’t just have to be topics, they can be something that you feel passionate about such as a charity, or perhaps you have something to protest against. These themes give people something to relate to your content. Most people on social media aren’t actually looking to learn something new, or be persuaded to change their opinion, they are looking for content which reinforces an opinion they already have. This means you shouldn’t be thinking “this will be my theme because I think a lot of people will like that”, it actually works the opposite, you should decide your theme and let your audience find you. This way you can be sure you will come across as authentic and relatable to your potential audience.

One artist we worked with decided to create cover songs on his Facebook account, and asked for suggestions in the comments for his next song. The rule was that the suggestion which got the most likes he had to cover in his next video, which led to a lot of engagement and loyalty. It also gave the audience a sense of communication with him as they truly felt like each comment may result in a video being created just for them.

John Kutay Facebook cover song challenge

Once you have come up with 3 of these themes, you will find you are pulling in fans from each of the three themes as well as the quality of your music. It is important that you stick to these themes as although it may seem a little repetitive to you, people will feel comfortable with your content when they see content which they initially followed you to see.

3. Choose the right Social Media platform to promote your Music

It’s important to pick the right platform for you, and in most cases, it is better to choose which platform you’d like to focus on once you know your content strategy. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to you to manoeuvre each one in order to tell your story to your audience.

Facebook Logo

Pros

Facebook is the best platform for when you’re just starting out as the advertising functionality is the most powerful and diverse of all the platforms. You can post any form of content whether it is images, videos, text posts or even a live video.

Once you have posted this content, Facebook allows you to pay to advertise your content and page to a precisely targeted audience, which is the most efficient way to reach a new audience

Cons

Facebook has significantly changed the way they operate in the last few months, making it even more difficult to reach your existing audience. This means, unlike other platforms, people who are following your page aren’t definitely going to be shown your latest posts. Facebook can also be quite a distracting Social Media to use, with a lot going on at the screen at once with ads, notifications and messenger.

How to build an audience on Facebook

The best way to build your audience on Facebook is using their advertising platform. We explain how best to advertise on Facebook later on.

Twitter Logo

Pros

Twitter is a great platform for allowing you to communicate with your audience and have a conversation with potential fans. The instantaneous nature of the platform allows for short bursts of activity and engagement to discuss the latest trends.

Cons

Twitter has now become the worst social media for engagement and click throughs. If you were to build an audience of 20k followers and posted your latest music video, it is very likely that no more than 200 people would click the link. This is due to the fast pace of Twitter where people choose to look at it only when they want quick information, rather than watching a full video.

How to build an audience on Twitter

For short-term results we recommend getting started with the follow/unfollow technique, but don’t get too carried away with this, the easier a follower is to get the less valuable they are to you. You should gain valuable followers by creating great content, which gets likes and retweets, spreading awareness and gaining organic followers.

Instagram Logo

Pros

Instagram is the platform everyone wants to be hot on right now. It is the cheapest and easiest place to build an audience, with use of hashtags to help get discovered and Instagram stories and live videos to keep your fans engaged. Instagram is becoming one of the most important social networks to be posting content.

Cons

Instagram has one big drawback, which is that you cannot link away from Instagram itself. If you want to post a link to your latest music video it’s not possible to do without running an ad. One way around this is to add the link to your bio and direct your fans there, but this isn’t ideal for conversions.

How to build an audience on Instagram

Building an audience on Instagram is primarily about the right hashtags. Don’t be fooled in to thinking that the most popular hashtags are the best for you though, just because there are a lot of posts for that hashtag doesn’t mean people are necessarily searching it. There are Hashtag research tools you can use to help you find the right hashtags. Be sure to be posting frequent stories, as this may not gain you followers but the algorithm does favour accounts which are using the stories feature.

Snapchat Logo

Pros

Snapchat is fantastic to get people’s attention. The way people use it means that they are 100% focussed on your content and there are zero distractions, which means that 1 follower on Snapchat is worth more than any follower on other social media platforms.

Cons

Snapchat’s user base is severely on the decline, with them focussing more so on established influencers. With no discovery features it makes it very difficult for emerging artists to be discovered.

How to build an audience on Snapchat

Snapchat is the most difficult platform to build an audience. We recommend funnelling fans through other social medias by promising exclusive content on Snapchat.

YouTube Logo

Pros

As this is where you will likely be uploading your music video to, it is the ultimate goal to gain a following on YouTube, once you have a subscriber base your fans will immediately be alerted of your new music video and will likely watch it.

Cons

YouTube’s algorithm is not designed for music, it is designed for ‘YouTubers’ who build a subscriber base by creating frequent videos. Therefore, uploading one video every few months means it will be difficult to trigger the algorithm to recommend your video to others.

How to build an audience on YouTube

YouTube is about being favoured by the algorithm. A lot of people think that YouTube suggests your video based on the number of views, but it’s actually based on minutes-watched. So, if viewers are watching your videos to the very end, you are more likely to be ranked higher than those who watch the first 5 seconds and click another video. This is why it is important not to buy fake views.

Twitch Logo

Twitch deserves a special mention due to the rapid growth it has seen recently. Originally a platform to watch others play video games, Twitch has opened up to other types of content such as music. You can now build an audience entirely by streaming your music composition live.

4. Establish which mediums to use for your content

Remember with all of your content you need to be adding value to your potential fans. Montage videos which show how great your band is, or behind the scenes of the filming of your music video is actually taking from your audience rather than giving, as it is essentially an advertisement for your video. These videos only work with your loyal fans. We’re focussing on how to build new fans for your band.

Video-based content

On most social media platforms, videos are the best converting type of content, they are enticing, and they make people stop scrolling and watch.

Videos are by far the most difficult to get right, you need to have a storyline planned out for the video as well as enough character and energy to keep the fans watching until the end.

Successful videos come with great planning, you need to know exactly what is going to happen in each video, with a compelling beginning, middle and end.

Cover songs

Cover videos, if chosen wisely can provide a fantastic opportunity to attract potential fans to become familiar with your band, by covering a track that they’d like to hear. The selection of the track is the most important part. The primary mistake we see is bands who cover songs that are currently in the charts because they assume people will be searching for that song and decide to listen to their cover, however this rarely happens. It would be best to either choose a track which was very popular around 10-20 years ago which instigates nostalgia with potential fans or create a cover of a track from a completely different genre and make it your own.

Collaborations

Stay local and look for collaboration opportunities which both provide the foundation for entertainment as well as distribution. For example, perhaps the band need to de-stress before their big gig, so they visit the local meditation centre to focus and relax.

Maybe the band would like to perfect their stage presence, so they go to the local theatre to get lessons in theatrical acting.

Has a new cool chocolate fondue place just opened in your town? Take the band with you and check it out and film the results!

These 3 ideas have the grounding to provide great content and allow the entertaining content to form naturally, as well as providing a distribution outlet as the collaboration will likely share the video on their own socials, and also attract attention from various interest groups.

Bonus Tip: Don’t have a camera or have any knowledge of video editing?

There are so many students coming out of film school who are looking to build their portfolio. Many of which would jump at the opportunity of having content to film and edit to make their own and add it to their portfolio, so don’t be afraid to look for volunteers.

Text-based content

Blogs are still very much alive, and once you have your 3 key themes you can actually start a blog on behalf of your band. There are so many distribution channels for text-based content such as Medium, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Reddit. This extra exposure can help you in building a mailing list, which you can then promote your new music video to.

Image-based content

Images are the easiest content to create and post, however unfortunately it is difficult to build your fan-base through images alone.

If you content is going to be primarily image-based, the images need to be a step above other bands. You may need to include text within your images, which follow your key themes, allowing people to interact and comment on each image. If people do comment on your content, you should always respond to each and every engagement, this not only favours the algorithms but gives you a chance of converting another fan.

iPhone recording show in crowd

5. Distribute your content to an audience

Now that you have a content strategy and created your content, you need to know how to get it out there. There are multiple options for publicising your content and you need to have decided which routes you are taking during the planning of your content. Distribution should never be an afterthought.

Organic Reach

The most sustainable method of promoting your content is using the resources that are already at your disposal within each platform. So, if you already have an initial fan base you can post your content on your social media, with additional reach using hashtags if you’re posting on a site such as Twitter and Instagram. It is recommended to try to get some organic momentum first before investing money because you want to be able to show that the content will generate engagement as well convincing the algorithms that people are willing to engage in this content.

Micro-influencers

This is where you find social media users who have previously shared similar content to your own. By finding people who are at a similar (or slightly higher) level to yourselves, you can search Twitter and Facebook to find people who liked the content so much they shared it. You can use websites such as Buzzsumo which allows you to take the content links and reverse search them, so you can easily find people with large audiences who have shared the link.

Once you have found them, you can simply reach out with a message such as:

Hi [Insert Name], I noticed you shared that amazing video by [insert content creator], we actually made something similar and we really hope you enjoy it”.

As you already know that the person is willing to share this type of content if they like it, there is no need to push them to share it.

Influencer marketing

Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing, which means this can be a very effective tool to have in your arsenal. You can find people with high follower accounts to give you shout-outs on social media and share your content. This can cost from between £30 – £2,000 depending on how large and engaged their audience is. Always be sure to choose an influencer who has an audience which is relevant to your content. You can use platforms such as Famebit to find people willing to share your content.

Collaborations

Collaborating with other content creators who have a fan base which may become fans of your band (and vice versa) allows you to get together to create better content than you could have on your own. For example, you could create ‘Battle of the Bands’ videos where you compete with other bands on challenges, it could be music related or something completely different.

These collaborations allow you to both create better content than what you would have been able to alone, as well as exchanging exposure with each other’s fan base, which results in you both gaining more fans.

Facebook advertising strategy

The final option is paid advertising through Facebook and Instagram.

As mentioned earlier, for artists it isn’t easy to get people to pay attention to you on social media, what makes your band worth listening to compared to the last band that invested a bunch of cash in to getting on your newsfeed?

The earlier the stage in the funnel, the more content you need to create. You only get one shot at asking your audience to listen to your track, hit them with it too early and the loyalty won’t be strong enough, or perhaps they listen but don’t share it with their friends. Timing is everything.

The truth is, that cold advertising your music video achieves very little, and Facebook will happily tell that you that you have achieved 100,000 views, however that only means 100,000 people have watched 3 seconds of your video…which is useless to you.

You need to be creating content which engages your audience and encourages people to interact. Social Media isn’t about bragging your successes such as radio play, press coverage or festival spots, you need to create a story for people to follow. Create a funnel which begins with raising awareness of your band all the way down to them listening to your music. It should look something like this:

Social Media funnel

Stage 1

Objective: Raising Awareness

The objective of this phase is to raise awareness of your band, maybe they won’t actually choose to follow your band at this point, but that’s fine, all we need is for them to know you exist and register your name/brand.

Content: Shorter images and videos

This is the high-volume content which you are able to put out frequently. We haven’t earned enough respect from the audience to be rewarded with a long period of their attention, so this content needs to be impactful from the very beginning. It could best be described as the teasers to the content you have to come soon or bitesize versions.

Examples of content could be short videos or images with text which surrounds one of your chosen themes, clips from previous large pieces of content or something that introduces your audience to one of the key themes

Stage 2

Objective: Familiarising your audience

Now that your audience are aware you exist, they may be willing to give your content a chance as you’ve come up on their social media feed quite often. This is where you begin to retarget your audience to only those who have viewed your previous content as well as people who already like/follow your page. This ensures that your longer and more in-depth content is not wasted on people who have never heard of you, and therefore would be useless to promote your music to.

Content: Longer and more in-depth

As you have the strength of your brand awareness behind you, you can now attempt to add value to people’s lives by publishing the best content you possibly can, this will be longer and more in-depth pieces of content, and I’m not just talking about videos, this could be blog posts or images with detailed text on them, any content which takes a little more time to consume.

Stage 3

Objective: Hit them with your release

This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for, sending out your music to your new fan base. Now that you have created loyalty and added value to your fans, they will now be intrigued enough to listen to the new release of your music, if they like it they will most likely share it, just like they have with your other content.

Content: Promoting your music

This one is self-explanatory, but you can now promote your music to your audience with the confidence that you are likely to get a lot of shares from your fan base. You can either upload your music video directly to Facebook which will result in more views, or you can direct people to the video on YouTube to generate more views and hope to trigger the YouTube algorithm.

This is the same strategy used by major corporations and marketing agencies to convert to sales, you need to build awareness and loyalty, so your fan base is strong enough to share your video. Simply asking people to share the video isn’t enough.

Without a strategy, creating content can be incredibly difficult, an idea or opportunity something isn’t going to present itself every single day, even the best YouTubers in the world admit that their daily vlogs have a script which they follow to ensure they get the footage they need. So, you need to have a structure which allows you to create this consistent content.

6 Simple Tips To Make The Most Out Of Your Music PR Campaign

Hiring a music PR company to promote your release is a fantastic opportunity to raise your profile, securing high quality press and reach a wider audience, but it can also mean investing a sizeable amount of money, so it’s key you don’t waste the opportunity. The campaign could be what gets you to the next level, however you must help your music PR company along the way if you want to see the results, so here are 5 simple tips which will mean your next music PR campaign will secure the best results possible and is worth the investment.

1. Make Sure your Music is at its Best Quality

Before you approach a music PR company, make sure your music is top-notch, so the publicist has your best material to work with, reaching your full potential. The best music PR companies are bombarded with music from artists across the world, so make sure that your material is at its best, so it stands out amongst the rest and can have the most talented publicists on board. Far too many artists want to just get music out there and throw money at music PR companies to attempt to push them to the next level. However, it’s essential this music is a true representation of you, your sound and what you can bring to the industry, so you need to be spending time, money and effort on the material before doing anything else.

To be creating the best quality music, you need to be either investing your time or your money into the project. Investing your time, means learning a digital audio software to create your own music. There’s so many on offer nowadays and the internet has the educational material to teach you how to use them, so if you have the time, you can create high quality music simply from your bedroom! However, if you don’t have the time, you’ll need to invest money into the professionals and the studio time. Either is completely fine but whichever you choose, you need to guarantee that the music is at as high a quality as possible, so you can get the best results out of your music PR campaign.

2. Have All Your Other Assets Sorted

Although your music should be the main focus and be at its best, you also need the other assets alongside it. These assets are high res images, social media content, a distributor for the release and an artist bio. All of these things are essential to your music PR company as it can be what secures the press and helps get picked up by a major publication. Often, people will notice an email just from the main image alone, so these assets can be the make or break as to whether your promotional campaign is a success. The more your music PR team have to work with, the easier their job will be.

Collect all of these assets before the campaign so your music PR company can start working on the release as soon as possible and not have to wait around for you to get everything together. These items also don’t need to be expensive as you can take images yourself, write the artist bio with the help of Google and find a distributor online who can upload the track, ready for release date in minutes. All of these things take time but are essential and will be what impacts your campaign massively, so focus on putting in the effort so they’re at a high quality to match the quality of the music.

3. Know What you Want to Gain from the Campaign

Before you start any music PR campaign, make sure you know what you want to gain from it. Whether you have target media in mind or a certain number of streams, tell your music PR firm so they know what their targets are too. Be realistic but challenge the team at the same time. If you’re an artist that has zero coverage, don’t set the target of a front-page feature in a national newspaper, focus more on your niche and genre, whilst setting challenging targets that you’d love to achieve alongside your team.

Also know what you’ve hired the music PR company to do. If their specialities lie purely in press, then they won’t be securing radio play. Therefore, you need to hire a music PR company that specialise in what you want to achieve, so you know you have the best professionals working towards your targets.

Knowing what you want to achieve doesn’t necessarily mean having a number in mind. Each target may need a different way of measuring it. For example, measuring success on Spotify can only be done by seeing the number of streams but measuring success in press, doesn’t always mean the number of features but instead the quality of the features. You should aim for quality over quantity with the press side of things as 3 major blogs that have written in-depth features on your next release is worth much more than hundreds of features on small blogs that are just copy and pasting your press release.

4. Stay in Touch With your Music PR Company

If you’re working with a music PR company, you need to stay in touch with them constantly via email or phone. Without overdoing it, don’t be afraid to check in so you’re filled in on the progression of the campaign. However, you shouldn’t push your music PR team so that you’re emailing or calling every second, give them space to work and push your project as much as they can. You’d rather they spent their time working on the campaign and not talking to you all day!

Your music PR company should also be sending reports to outline who they’re speaking with and what coverage is coming through. Different companies send reports in different ways and at different times, but you should be expecting an update at least every 2 weeks so make sure you’re not emailing the day before asking for an update as the report is coming your way.

5. Promote your Promotion

It’s the job of a music PR company to gain promotion around your release but you also need to promote that promotion, so it reaches as many people as possible, you’re building relationships with the media by sharing the coverage and also allowing your fans to see that a release is out or coming soon.

To be promoting the coverage your music PR company have secured, you need to keep an eye on social media to see if the publications have tagged you in anything. If they have, make sure you share and reply/comment thanking them, so you build a rapport and show your appreciation.

Another way to building on the promotion you’ve secured is by creating your own social media content around the coverage secured. For example, if your music PR team confirmed a premiere on a high readership blog, you could get the publications logo and add it to a press image of yourself and share it on your socials. By doing this, your fans are prepared to see it premiere and you seem more credible as you’re being premiered by a large site.

6. Listen to your Music PR Team’s Advice

If you’re with a professional, established music PR company, they’re going to have years of experience of working with artists and knowing how to gain them strong exposure, so you need to let them advise you on how to progress and be open to what they have to suggest. You may disagree with them with what single to release first or what main image to run with for the press release but discuss it with them, rather than ignoring their ideas as they are the professionals and will have a reason for what they’re suggesting to you. Create that working relationship that you want for future projects by taking onboard any advice so you can progress together and hit your long-term goal.

The relationship between an artist and their music marketing company should be a close one, as your team should understand your aims, story and image so well that they can portray it to the media in a way which secures the best possible results. If your team know what you want to achieve, know what you’re about and what you want to portray to the world, then they know what’s best for you, so take any advice given to you so you can progress together.

IN CONCLUSION…

A music PR company can make you blow up overnight but only if you’re following all of these tips, working alongside your team and taking advantage of every single opportunity given to you. If you follow these 5 simple tips, you’ll find your next music PR campaign to be your most successful one, securing the best results possible and building a relationship with your team, which will result in more amazing campaign in the future.

3 Tips To Filter Out The Bulls**t and Choose The Best Music Promotion Company For You

This guide will give you all of the knowledge you need to choose the right Music PR company, along with key questions to ask, signs which help you identify bad companies and tips to deal with each of them.

As a musician, you are releasing your music in to one of the most competitive markets in the world. Despite the decrease in purchases of new music, this has not deterred artists to create music with the vision of breaking in to the industry. There are 30 million songs on Spotify, with 20,000 being uploaded every single day, which is 600,000 songs you are competing against for that month alone.

Therefore, for your release you are going to want to hit the ground running and look to promoting your track. We live in a fantastic time, where the use of social media means you can spend money on directly promoting your music to a specifically targeted audience. Or simply by being persistent and building a loyal fan base one track at a time, where some artists have even gone on to out sell Justin Timberlake using only their YouTube channel as their form of promotion.

However, you may not feel you have the necessary expertise to manoeuvre the social media platforms to maximise the potential of your music, or you simply don’t have the time to commit to what is necessary to reach out to publications to feature your music, therefore you will look to employing one of the many music PR companies to do this for you.

Searching for the right company can be a daunting task, with a range of various companies out there offering so many different products and methods to get your music known, how can you possibly know which direction to take. We will critically analyse each form of promotion to understand what each option involves and whether it’s right for you.

Digital (Social Media) Marketing Companies

Social media icons - YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Facebook

There are many agencies out there who will offer their expertise for various social media platforms in order to promote your music to a large following.

These guys will usually take your budget and spend it on digital advertising to ensure you get as many eyes on your music as possible.

Signs of a good social media marketing firm:

They are open about how they achieve their results and their techniques – Social Media is an easy thing to claim to be able to ‘hack’ and there certainly are very talented growth hackers out there who are capable of achieving great things on Social Media. A good Social Media marketing firm should ask for a budget, they usually take your budget and spend it across various platforms and influencers to get views on your video, their fee is a percentage of your advertising spend.

A good marketing firm shouldn’t be afraid to tell you how they achieve what they achieved. Sure, every client’s situation may be different and therefore they take a different approach, however every marketer will know the source of their views/streams and what is generating great results. Remember, whenever you find out the secret behind a magic trick, there is always that feeling of disappointment, and this the case with growth hacking too. So, the marketing firm shouldn’t be secretive over how they achieved their results, and if they are, I would assume that the views are generated by fake bots and I would walk away.

A good marketing firm knows that one single video is difficult to promote on its own, a core fan base is needed to launch the video and also should be creative and work with you to create content for your social media accounts in order to grow your audience. This means the results are sustainable, allowing you to take away your new audience and use it as a platform to launch your next release instead of starting from zero again.

Avoid:

Any agencies who guarantee you a number of views/plays – your music should always be the driver of success, not your budget. The agency can’t predict with great accuracy whether your track will get 10,000 views or 10 million views. If they are doing their job correctly then they are going out to real people who have a real opinion and the decision is in their hands whether the listener chooses to share the track with their friends.

Tips:

Ask to see past client, how many views did it get, but look closely at how many likes and dislikes it got, how many comments, we see too often music videos with 400,000 views, 9 comments and 0 dislikes. Are you telling me that 400,000 people watched this video and not a single person didn’t like it?

Small Management Companies and Record Labels

These are the companies who are likely to invest their own money and time in to your career, but don’t think of these companies as “If I could only just get them to invest in my music, then I will be successful”, the music industry has changed dramatically, and a lot of these companies are run by a small group of industry veterans, who’s objective is to get you signed to a major label, however the major labels rarely sign anyone without significant online traction.

Band practicing in studio

Signs of a good Management company/record label:

The company should have a solid strategy in the digital world, long gone is the strategy of shooting a music video and recording an EP followed by presenting it to major labels. They should have a strategy to launch your career without the end goal to be being signed by someone else.

Avoid:

Any company whose sole purpose is to get money from somewhere else.

Do not pay the companies upfront if their business model is to sign artists and invest their own money, this simply implies that they don’t believe in your project but are willing to take your money.

Tips:

You may be desperate right now to get on the radar of these companies, but you need to pick the right one for you, they demand years of your time, which are precious to your career right now, you can’t afford to waste those years. Ask them who they know, who can they bring in to the project to add value to you as an artist.

Music PR Companies

Music PR companies are in abundance, promising to get you in the biggest publications to give your music the exposure it deserves. However, there is an entire range of PR companies, from the very best to the very worst. A PR company will try everything they can to get your music reviewed and featured in high readership publications, which means by nature the results are highly speculative. This can open you up to be vulnerable as if you were to have a poor performing campaign, you don’t know whether it’s due to poor reception for your music or the company hasn’t done their job. So, these are our best tips for ensuring your investment is in the best hands.

Finding out what a PR company is really made of, is all about the questions you ask them before you sign up. I know that it can feel like an accomplishment to persuade a PR company to take on your project but remember there are some PR companies who will take on every single project that comes their way and will give the client nothing in return. There are also PR companies which were founded by ex-industry veterans who have worked with some of the biggest clients in the world, however since leaving their position to found their new company, they haven’t accomplished anything since, so don’t be persuaded by their impressive roster of ‘Past Clients’ and ‘Worked with’.

Signs of a good music PR company

A good PR company should be able to tell you their current clients and clearly articulate their strategy for their current roster. They should be able to name each person at every outlet they have contacts at, as well as being able to name the last artist they secured in that particular publication. They should be passionate about your project and have listened to your music before your first initial call, with a clear idea of target areas. They should know your genre and already be able to identify other artists you are similar to.

Avoid:

Any company that won’t give you a price for their services. We hear of a lot of PR Companies who give you no indication of the price they charge and ask you to tell them your budget first, then they will write a proposal to match this budget. This is simply a ploy to make sure they have extracted as much as they possibly can from you in order to charge you for the same service. A PR company should know what your music can achieve, how long it will take, and the budget required to meet these goals.

Tips:

PR companies like to hide behind the big names on their website, if you ask their experience they will be happy to direct you to check out their past roster, but some companies are over 50 years old, so of course they have built up a strong list of past clients. To prevent this, ask them who they are working with right now, ask them what their biggest accomplishment has been this month and with which client. This will give you a true representation of how good the PR company is, they should consistently be getting results. This will also serve the purpose of giving you an idea of the standard of clients they are willing to take on.

Be sure that you are paying for an experienced professional to manage your campaign, don’t be shy to ask difficult questions, ask the target areas that they’d recommend, ask them the last client they worked with of your genre, and again, don’t let them direct you to the roster on their website, ask for recent successes. If you are a new artist and launching your music career, you could ask them for a case study of a previous client where they have taken on a client at a similar level as you and how they took them to the next level.

Freelancers

PR freelancers are usually individuals who have worked for a PR company before and decided to be a little more flexible. They would look after less clients at once and perhaps working from home or flexible working hours suits them better. They usually have their own website which lists their entire CV.

Girl on laptop in coffee shop

Signs of a good Freelancer:

A freelancer has to work harder than anyone else to win clients, so anyone who puts the time in to creating you a bespoke proposal will be worth giving a shot. The more time and effort they put in to your proposal the more they are willing to put in to your campaign too.

Avoid:

Avoid freelancers who have only worked for one company and then decided to go freelance, they should have a long list of industry experience behind them, so if you feel that the freelancer is lacking in experience, your gut is probably right and you should avoid.

Tips:

Get references – this is vital when working with someone who does not represent a company. They won’t have a website or not too many testimonials, therefore ask for someone they can contact to discuss their campaign. Anyone who is very pleased with the service they received should be more than happy to take a quick call with you and tell you about how happy they are. If this person refuses, then you should be suspicious.

Streaming Promotion Companies

Digital streaming platforms

Streaming promotion companies will help you get more views and streams on your music, whether it is on YouTube, Spotify or Soundcloud.

These companies are generally best avoided as they are very likely to be fake views using bots to generate the streams. There are times when someone can use manipulated clicks to game the algorithm to get your music video in the suggested section of YouTube or Spotify, but this may run the risk of you getting banned from YouTube and Spotify, especially if you are taking an income from the streams which is an act of fraud. Not only this, the equipment required to run the computers and network proxies if very expensive, so much so that it should not be cost-effective for anyone to use these services. Google owns YouTube, and Google is one of the most advance and intelligent companies in the world, we don’t believe for a second that they don’t have the technology to detect manipulated numbers.

We are very against buying fake streams and are of the opinion that you are fooling no-one by faking your numbers. We see it as buying a fake Rolex, it may look good at first glance, but as soon as somebody takes a closer look, and holds it in their hand and feels the quality, they know immediately that something isn’t right.

We highly recommend you avoid using any of these services.

How to Write the Perfect Band Biography

As creative, expressive musicians, it’s easy to believe that your music alone does the talking. It does, of course, but a well written artist biography can be what gets your music listened to and is the foundation of your music promotion campaign, giving the reader a glimpse into your career, background and accomplishments. At the beginning of a campaign, all music PR companies will expect you to have this in place before you start promoting.

Whether you’re approaching music journalists for press coverage, creating copy for your website and social media accounts or adding to your Spotify profile, band biographies can be challenging to create so here are some tips on how to form one.

How to write a band biography

Should You Hire A Music PR Company? | 8 Signs It’s Time To Bring In The Experts For Your Music Marketing

Anyone who is serious about their music career knows that it isn’t just about making good music and that the talent is just the core of a successful music career. With over 35 million songs on Spotify competing against yours for streams and fans, this industry is fierce but there are many ways for you to get your music out there. Can you do this yourself though and when is the right time to outsource and hire a music PR team to do this for you?

The marketing behind a release is key as it’s the make or break as to whether a track gets picked up, therefore whatever route you choose to go down, you need to be promoting your release in some way. In this guide, we will help you decide whether hiring a music PR company is for you, which companies you should be looking to hire and if you’re not wanting to hire one, how to do it yourself completely free!

1.You have Given it a Go Yourself

Why would you pay for something that you haven’t tried to do yourself yet? You pay for people to clean your car even though you could easily wash it because it’s easy to pay someone else to do it and this is the same with artists wanting to promote their music. Firstly, try your own DIY PR campaign, promoting your music on online blogs, radio stations, YouTube channels and social media.

Don’t give up on your first attempt though. Your first DIY PR campaign might fail but that’s okay, that’s only normal with anything you do first time! Many thought Elton John’s self-titled LP released in 1970 was his first release but actually Elton released ‘Empty Sky’ the summer before and it was a total flop, so try again and learn from your mistakes.

Starting the campaign is probably the hardest part as finding time in your busy schedule of being a musician, and most probably having a full-time job, can be extremely difficult. However, try to dedicate at least one hour a day to promoting your music pre-release, whether that’s through pitching to blogs and radio stations or creating social media content and running your social media ads. Then once the track is live, continue to spend an hour or so a day promoting the live links out to more media, YouTube Channels, Spotify playlists and high follower social media pages.

The results from your DIY PR campaign may not be immediate as you won’t get responses to emails straight away, the followers won’t grow overnight and you won’t find the streams suddenly blowing up, but think about the long-term, as every post, every email you send and every minute you spend on promoting your music, will have an impact on your career in the long-term.

2. You have Clearly Defined your Goals

If you’re planning your release strategy you need to have goals. You don’t know which blogs you really want your track to feature on? Then research! You don’t know which radio you’d love to hear your track being played on? Then research! As we’ve mentioned already, this does mean you need time and if you don’t have the time or effort for this, then hire an agency to do it for you but if you have the time, then you need to work out your promotional goals.

Setting goals can be difficult as you’re always going to think your own music deserves to be covered in every publication all over the world but be realistic. If you struggle working out targets, look at similar artists to yourself and see what sort of coverage they’re securing and set that as your goal. Then, you can look at your inspirations and see what coverage they have and you can set those as your ultimate goals.

Once you’ve set your goals, you also need a method of measuring them. Start with the question, where do I want to see most success? This may be in social media followers, Spotify streams or pieces of confirmed coverage, but whichever way this is, make sure you measure it to reflect after the release and see how you can improve with the next.

If you’re measuring your success by social media followers, don’t be so harsh on yourself. Social media followers aren’t as big a deal as they used to be, especially on Facebook. With Facebook’s algorithm changing so drastically, your posts don’t even reach most of your audience, so perhaps reflect on social media interactions and shares instead of the actual likes/followers.

If you’re measuring success by Spotify streams, use the Spotify for Artists tool to follow where those streams are coming from. Fantastic you got 1,000 streams on Monday, but where did those streams come from? You want to be able to repeat a successful move, so work out where they’re coming from and replicate this. Also, there’s no point faking the numbers to seem bigger because Spotify can tell, meaning you won’t be taking advantage of their powerful algorithm and will never actually achieve the legitimate streams you deserve.

Do everything legitimately and don’t take any short cuts because that may mean short-term success, but it will damage your career in the long-term.

If you chose to hire a music marketing company, you will need those goals set so they know what you’re aiming to achieve and what you’re hoping to secure with the campaign. If they know what you’re aims are, they can tell you whether you’re being realistic but also make sure they’re focusing on putting together a strategy which will mean those targets are achievable at some point in your music career.

3.You’ve Already Created a Buzz on your Own  

Music writers, bloggers and producers are extremely busy and receive thousands of emails per day from artists, so to capture their attention, they need to believe there’s a demand for you and that you will benefit them. If you feel that you have successfully captured an audience already by yourself, it may be time for you to outsource, to help you tell the story of how you’ve been able to generate so much of a buzz on your own.

The Kooks music website

Music writers, bloggers and producers are extremely busy and receive thousands of emails per day from new artists, so to capture their attention, they need to believe there’s a demand for you. If you feel that you have successfully captured an audience already by yourself, it may be time for you to outsource, to help you tell the story of how you’ve been able to generate so much of a buzz on your own.

In this digital age, most of your engagement with fans and the media will be online but this isn’t just online reviews, features and interviews. Make sure you’ve also started to create that buzz on your social media platforms, you’ve got a website and even started an email newsletter. A journalist will look into all of these things when considering if they want to feature you too. Also, having a large social media following with be attractive to the press as the idea of you sharing the coverage, will be something the media wants.

4. You have the Budget

Do not pay for a music promotion company if you cannot afford it. Don’t get a credit card or use Mum’s money, just wait until you have the budget to outsource and feel comfortable with handing over that amount of money. If you end up taking out a loan to pay for the music promotion and then you don’t get the results you hoped for, it will be disheartening and also mean you’re in debt for something that may not have been worth the investment. Instead, focus on the points in this article first and then once you have enough money, you can consider investing in music PR.

A reputable publicist cannot guarantee anything but will work hard to craft your story and image to represent you to the media and accumulate press. A good PR is more than just hitting send on a mailing list, they should understand everything about you and your music. However, they’re not miracle workers, so don’t expect after one day to get results. Be patient and respectful to your team and they’ll be working their hardest to help you grow in return.

Make sure to pay for your promotion in instalments as that way, you trust that the company won’t just disappear, and you can secure the results you want. The majority of music PR companies charge monthly so try securing a payment plan that suits you and also the company, so you feel more comfortable handing over the money.

5. You Feel this Project is ‘The One’ 

You’ve just heard your final mixes back and they’re sounding amazing, but you’ve done these DIY music campaigns before and they’ve only come back with average results – time to outsource. If you’ve created something that you truly believe is ‘the one’ and could be the project that kick starts your whole music career, then it’s worth investing money in to and that money is best invested in a team who will be behind that release, promoting it to a wider audience and giving it the recognition it deserves. If this release is honestly the one you can see securing massive coverage and growing your audience, then investing in the professional to work that project will be worth it in the long-term as you’re getting the results the release deserves.

Be critical. Make sure you’ve picked apart your release to a point where you’ve had it on repeat for hours and hours. You want to give your audience the best possible product, so make sure it’s at its highest quality production wise as well as representative of how you wish to come across as an artist in the long run.

There’s no point rushing releases and then forcing a promotion team to take it on and get it out there. Instead, focus on creating the best product you can that represents you as an artist, so every piece of coverage that’s confirmed, puts you in the best light possible.

6. You have the Time

Once you’ve hired a music promotion team this doesn’t mean you can just throw everything onto them and put your feet up. When hiring a music PR company, you need to be at their beckon call to secure the best results. If they get you an interview, get those answers back as quickly as possible. If they ask for social media content, collaborate with them. If they need a certain image, get it over as soon as you can. Be available to them, so you can achieve the results your release deserves and make their job as easy as possible.

Remember that PR is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes months to see results from a campaign, whether it be a publication running a review late or a radio station giving your track a spin weeks after the release. A PR campaign is for the long run and to create long-term results, not immediate results that don’t translate into any form of success. It’s fantastic getting a premiere on NME but if you stop there or only focus your attention on securing that, then what’s the point? Focus on all areas of media and give yourself the time to do so alongside your music PR company.

7. You’ve Found the Right Company for You

You’ve followed all the tips above and you think it’s the right time to hire a music promotion team, but which one do you pick? This can be a daunting experience as there are so many out there and more than a handful of horror stories too, but if you do your research and ask the important questions beforehand, you’ll find the right agency for you.

Firstly, make sure they give you feedback on your music, you want to know that they’ve listened and understand your genre. If you look at their previous clients and they’re all rock and you’re a singer-songwriter, the alarm bells should be ringing. They need to specialise in your genre and style to have the contacts to get your music out in front of the right tastemakers. Most importantly, they also need to enjoy your music as if they don’t, they’re taking the project purely for the money and won’t have the passion behind it.

Ask for success stories. Case studies from previous campaigns will show you that they have the capability to run a strong campaign that could potentially be similar to yours. These case studies also need to be current. There’s no point being impressed by their work with Whitney Houston and Cliff Richard as that’s not proving they can perform modern music marketing campaigns to a high standard? Look carefully at their case studies, you want the artists to have the same style and be at a similar level in their career to you.

Finally, push to find out why they want to work with you. A music PR company’s roster represents them and their brand so ask, ‘why us?’ and it’ll soon become clear whether you’re just a way for them to make money or they actually believe in you as an artist.

8. The People are Coming to You

You’ve built up your fan base over time and now you’re getting emails and calls for interviews, sessions and live reviews but you don’t know which ones will be the best use of your time. A music publicist not only secures press, but they manage it too. If you’ve got to a point where you’re in demand, a publicist will know which opportunities are right for you, guiding you through interviews and ensuring that your release is getting pushed into the right places. Of course, you may know how to do this yourself but really make sure you do, as this can put your career in jeopardy, embarrassing your band and ruining any future releases. A music promotion team behind you can help you as an artist to take hold of every beneficial opportunity you’re given.

If you think you can do this yourself, nice one but make sure to research every enquiry you get, so that you know how it’ll benefit you. You want your press to match your image and sound so if you’re a heavy metal band, best not do an interview with PopCrush! Have your goals constantly in mind so that if something doesn’t fit within these targets or doesn’t seem to benefit them, think long and hard at whether it’s worth it.

In Conclusion…

Music promotion is the make or break as to whether an artist succeeds, so you need to reflect on whether you have the time, skills and effort to do it yourself first and if not, you need to outsource.

The search for a music PR company and then putting your trust in one can be hard as the marketing behind a release is such a huge part of your career but let go and pass it over to a trustworthy, hardworking team and you’ll see the results.

If you follow all 8 of these tips, you’ll find the best music PR company for you, resulting in the best coverage your release deserves.

Music Industry Jobs Explained | Who does what?

A big thanks to The Unsigned Guide for providing this post.

When it comes to navigating the music business, we often come across unsigned bands and artists who are still a little sketchy on who does what. This is essential knowledge if you’re to take advantage of the services that are available to emerging and independent acts. And, of course, if you want to know what you’re talking about (which you do!) it’s imperative that you are using the right names and terms when making enquiries.

This blog breaks down the main music industry roles that any band or artist is likely to come across and spells out exactly what they do and the services they provide.

A&R: 

An abbreviation of the term ‘Artists & Repertoire’, this is basically the role of someone seeking out new talent. An A&R rep or manager may work for a record label, management company or music publishing company, as each has an A&R Department that will always be on the lookout for exciting, emerging talent to sign.

The A&R contact for a music company is the person you need to be directing your tracks to. They spend their time discovering and listening to new music, going to gigs to check out artists they’ve heard a buzz about, and meeting with bands, artists or their managers if they are interested in signing them. Once they sign an artist, they will then work alongside them to help develop their sound and image to create a marketable finished ‘product’.

ARTIST MANAGER:

A band or artist manager will represent you, overseeing business and financial negotiation and deals, and sourcing and securing opportunities for your music. If you are open to it, a manager can also offer creative input in terms of how to best present your music; for instance, they may have suggestions on the best stand-out tracks to send onto labels from previous experience they have in dealing with them. The role can vary greatly, depending on what stage of your career you’re at and who else you may have on board e.g. agent, label, PR company etc. For instance, if you are yet to find a booking agent to work with, your manager may undertake all gig, tour and festival bookings for you.

An artist manager will typically work on a commission basis, taking a percentage of the artist’s earnings. As the main point of contact for your band, they will meet with suitable contacts to further your career, oversee your schedule, and generally take care of all business-related tasks, freeing up your time to focus on your music.

BOOKING AGENT:

A booking agent handles all live bookings for a band, from tour dates and festival slots around the UK or further afield. Until you have secured the services of an agent, your manager (or yourself) may be tackling all gig bookings, but the advantage of working with a booking agent is the established contacts they will have to secure shows at larger venues, support slots, or a better placement on a festival bill than you would be able to organise yourself. The booking agent will also take care of negotiations of live contracts, and is paid as a percentage cut of the income from your live performances.

DISTRIBUTOR:

A distributor enables you to get your release onto the likes of Spotify, iTunes, Google Play (digital distribution) and/or to record shops (physical distribution). Their role covers licensing your music to retailers, creating and ensuring Metadata is correct (the info used to describe your release such as artist/band name, release name, barcode, ISRC and any territory restrictions), processing and delivery of the release to digital or online stores, and gathering royalties for your release.

MUSIC PUBLISHER:

A music publisher or music publishing company is responsible for ensuring songwriters and composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially. Remember, this differs from the ‘recording’ of a song, music publishers are only concerned with the actual song composition.

If you sign a music publishing deal, the publisher will take over the rights to your songs and will work to promote the songs for use in advertising and brand partnerships, films, TV or for another artist to record. Their role also involves issuing licenses for the use of a song, collecting the royalties, accounting, and so on. There are 3 main areas where income can be generated; Performance, Mechanical and Synchronisation, and you can read more about them here.

PR COMPANY/PLUGGER:

A PR company works to promote your releases to blogs, press, radio and other media; securing coverage, and reviews in magazines and online, or interviews and sessions on radio and TV. A plugger is slightly different and typically specialises in the field of radio to get your track playlisted for regular airplay on national and regional stations.

Both PR companies and pluggers will have a strong database of media contacts who they can send your music onto, giving you a more direct route to music magazines, tastemaker blogs or national radio stations that you are unlikely to be able to tap into alone.

Most music PR is carried out on a campaign basis, so if a record label or artist wants to promote a new release, they will employ the services of a PR company for a period of 3 months (for example), during which time the PR company will work to generate as much promotional coverage as possible. Larger record labels may have their own in-house press/PR team, but many work with independent companies.

PRODUCER:

Based in the studio, working with a good record producer can make a vital difference to the sound and recording of your track. The role of a producer varies, depending on how hands-on you want them to be, but can involve gathering creative ideas for the project, suggesting changes to song arrangements, controlling recording sessions, organising session musicians and supervising the entire process to produce the best quality recording possible. You can read more on the roles of a music producer here.

Some recording studios have their own in-house producer that you can work alongside, or if you have a record deal, your label may suggest a reputable independent music producer for you to work with. Most producers are paid a flat fee or an advance, but some also receive points (a percentage of the dealer price of a record, and/or a share of the profits made from the recordings).