Five Top Tips to Build Your Fan Base

Your success as a musician is as much dependent on your fans as it is on talent and hard work. By creating a loyal, high-quality fan base, your fans will be the first people to spread the word about you, investing in your musical career and you as an interesting, creative personality. It’s possible to build a “DIY” fan base for your music so in this blog, we’re goingto give you five effective ways to help you do so.

1. Use Social Media

The amazing array of social media has allowed artists to reach their audience and share music with them like never before. Indeed, a recent study from MusicWatch showed that 90% of users participate in a music- or artist-related activity on social platforms, and two-thirds agree that they discover new artists via socials. What’s more, promoters and record companies are using artists’ follower count as one of their main KPIs to determine their success so implementing social media to build a fan base is not an optional extra, it’s essential!

Develop a Targeted Social Media Strategy

It’s super easy for any musician to set up a social media account. But while many artists utilise lots of channels to reach the widest possible audience, it’s important to consider your audience demographics to create a clearer, targeted marketing strategy. So if you’re aiming to build a younger fan base, you’ll want to spend more time on Instagram, Snapchat or Tik Tok, but if your stats show that your audience are older, you’ll want to focus on Facebook and Twitter. 

By focusing on one or two social channels, you’ll be able to visibly track the growth of your fan base – this is commonly termed as actionable growth/metrics. But you’ll alsodevelop a loyal audience that will actively want to pursue your music – this will show in your stats. This focused social media strategy is known as the “one metric that matters” (OMTM), and it’s great for newbies as not everyone enjoys the social media marketing game. It’s better to find a platform you’re comfortable with than spreading yourself across all the channels as people can immediately see if you’re awkward about using one platform from your posts.  

Create Interpersonal Connections with Your Followers

Because of the relational, collaborative and community-based nature of social media, there are so many ways to connect with fans. To get their feedback instantly, why not test out material on your Tik Tok or Facebook/Instagram Live? Or tweet a private SoundCloud link exclusively for your followers so they can comment on (even critique!) your music before it’s released publicly. And if you’re on your way to or back from the gig, responding to your followers’ messages is a nice habit to get into. This isn’t just out of courtesy – it means a lot when your favourite artists have liked, retweeted or responded to your message! Similarly, interacting with your followers provides a way for them to feel connected to you as a person, and vice versa, for you to understand your audience further and show that you appreciate their support. 

Today, users can instantly tell when musicians are posting “shameless self-promotion” so people will get bored and gradually unfollow you if you post endless marketing messages. As a creative, expressive musician, people want to discover the back stories and personality behind your music, so a few suggestions for this. You could host a live fan Q&A on any of the social channels – your insights as a person and artist will inform your fans’ experience of your music. Post some behind the scenes photos or micro-videos from recording sessions on your Facebook/Insta Stories, with some fun stickers and emojis to add some character. Tweet something interesting, memorable or quirky about your day, although don’t bore your followers with what you ate for breakfast or rant about everything. You need to strike a good balance between creativity, personality and professionalism as you never know who could be looking at your posts. 

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Social Media Planning and Scheduling

Social channels need to be fed little and often for you to stay current and keep your fans engaged so ideallyyou should be posting daily. A good example of a daily social marketing strategy would be: 

  • 2-3 Instagram posts (Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags in posts)
  • 3-4 Facebook posts 
  • 6-7 tweets (with at least 9 hashtags, and 11 hashtags for crowdfunding/fundraising purposes). These can also include retweets. 
  • At least one YouTube video a week. 

Inevitably, there will be occasions when you won’t be able to post in real time but you can schedule posts in advance using a content planning software. Our recommendation is Hootsuite as it’s very user-friendly and all-purpose, meaning you can: design and edit your posts, post now or later, track your analytics and interact with your fans’ messages/comments. It’s also really helpful to create a content calendar to plan the kinds of posts you want to issue on a daily/weekly/monthly basis (e.g., #ThrowbackThursday to a photo/video from your past shows or scheduled posts for your new material for #NewMusicFriday). 

Streaming Platforms

With digital music streaming overtaking physical sales, it’s imperative to regularly upload your music on sites such as SoundCloud, Spotify and Apple Music. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll make a lot of money but what streaming does give you is exposure to a new audience who are looking for similar music like yours. Moreover, you can update the portals on streaming platforms with plenty of information about yourself (i.e., your artist bio), your latest shows, releases and additional socials. 


2. Play Live

While there are success stories of musicians who have predominantly built their fan base via social media, nothing beats the face-to-face experience. People love the raw, authentic experience of live music and indeed, global ticket sales for music are at a record high. Playing live is crucial to developing a personal connection with your fans, not only in the unique atmosphere of live performance but before or after a show, staying behind if your audience want to talk to you. What’s more, fans who have been following you online will finally be able to meet you in real life so use these interactions to thank them for supporting you as this will only reiterate your fans’ loyalty. 

In turn, live gigs are an amazing opportunity to create new fans. Your audience will determine you via the quality of your performance and how you connect with them, which are integral in a live setting. As a result, a good impression your audience has of you live will often translate into new followers, web traffic and, ultimately, purchases of your music.  

Strategic Creativity and Connectivity 

There are several other ways to create fans at live gigs. Of course, you can plug your new releases from the stage or a stand at the venue. Most notably, the music merchandise market is still thriving so capitalising on this latest trend (by creating high-quality products not only with an eye-catching design but that represents your USP as a creative, individual musician)isone further opportunity to sell your brand.And a memorable branded image or identity is what should stick in your audiences’ mind as they will associate this with your music. 

Live shows are also a brilliant opportunity to develop new artist-to-fan connections to assist you with future projects, as musicians are very much now utilising their fans as co-creators (e.g., fan art, music remixes, or appearances in their music videos). Don’t be afraid to talk to your audience as you never know where your potential fans will be and how they can help you develop your career. 

3. Create a Weekly Email Newsletter

There are many all-in-one email newsletter tools that will have you creating a professional-looking mailing in no time. But don’t dismiss this traditional media channel – it’s still used by artists and music organisations for a reason!Email newsletters are an efficient form of mass/ blitz marketing, in fact, email generates $38 for every $1 spent, amounting to a staggering 3,800% ROI. 99% of consumers check their email daily, and 59% of respondents claim that email marketing influences their purchase decisions

What to Include in Your E-Newsletters

E-newsletters allow you to inform your fans about all the latest updates on upcoming releases/shows, what you’re getting up to, and any fun things you’d like to share (e.g., YouTube covers), all in one compact yet information-rich mailing. What’s more, you can use your mailings to cross-promote your different platforms and socials, encouraging pre-existing fans to demonstrate their loyalty by further supporting and promoting you to their networks. And e-mails in particular tend to offer exclusive benefits such as a free download or a promo code for new releases – this “clickbait” will make subscribers feel special and that it’s worth following your music. 

The people who sign up to your newsletter have actively taken the time to do so so you already have a nice following you can turn into “raving fans.” But sending one weekly e-newsletter will be enough to keep them engaged but not bore them too much with information overload or marketing messages.

4. Word-of-Mouth

Word-of-mouth tends to get overlooked in today’s digitally connected world. But from personal experience of the music industry and marketing, one personal recommendation can often have a far bigger impact on building your fan base than a ton of PR-driven messages your followers are likely to scroll through. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from friends and family above other forms of advertising. 

It’s easy to start off small by telling your friends, family, and pre-existing contacts about your music career as they’ll certainly support you if they already know you in some capacity. This is then manifested as the trickle effect, where the people you know will gradually spread the word or come to hear about you, and their subsequent networks or contacts will do the same. Ironically, you’ll actually see this trickle effect rather visibly on your social media analytics!

5. Give Your Fans a Reason to Buy

In this overcrowded market, you need to give your fans a USP or a reason to invest in your music. Why should they be your fans compared to the big artists or other new acts? What can you offer to turn your audience from cynics to “raving fans?” Is it through a unique style of music you’ve devised or the lyrics your audience can emotionally resonate with? Maybe it’s having a strong visual image or fashion style, which will then translate into your music and even your fan interactions, as fans very much like to embody the appearance of their favourite artists. 

More than that, you should be providing tangible benefits to reinforce your artist-to-fan engagement, especially in this social media age. This could be through a rewards-based crowdfunding campaign (e.g., personal meet and greets, studio tour, a concert in your house). Or run a fan art competition, a call on social media for them to star in your next music video or a talent contest to perform with you on stage. 

In Conclusion

The key takeaways for building your fan base are to make the most of your socials, web media and word-of-mouth (i.e., the “marketing mix”), be a creative, audience-minded musician but also be strategic and think carefully about how you’re going to target the audience you want for your music. You may not see the results happen instantly overnight but if you make the effort to regularly interact with potential and pre-existing fans, and employ all five tips here, you’ll be able to steadily build your following, which means rewarding and enjoyable work for both you and your audience.  

How To Get Streams On Spotify From Your Social Media Followers

Running social media accounts can be tough as an artist. You have to balance your time and efforts between writing and recording your music, all while keeping up to date with content creating and posting on your Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. But once you find yourself gaining a following on your social media accounts, you would automatically assume that these ‘fans’ are streaming and listening to your music…this is not always the case. 

Whether you are using Instagram or Facebook, your followers have scrolled through and have seen a piece of your content that they have liked and that has engaged them in a way that has convinced them that they want to see more of what you put out. However, in many instances, these followers will not go further out of their way to search your music on Spotify, leaving your streaming numbers inconsistent with the number of fans you have on your socials.  

So, here are a few things you can do to change that: 

Add Value

Approaching your followers having the intent to put advertisement in front of their face is a way of instantly disconnecting with your fans. This is because when you make a post just simply saying ‘Stream my latest single now’ or ‘Buy our EP on all streaming platforms’ you are not engaging with a personal reason which would make the follower would want to support you. Engaging through other forms of content and letting people get to know you and what you stand for will make them want to support you and listen to what you are sharing. 

Create Engaging Content

This falls into the category of adding value to your audience. You may think that this just means creating videos or pictures that are fun, personal and establish a connection with your fans, which it is! But, what is important is the use of all features on Instagram stories that get people to interact with you, giving their input and getting a response from you, whatever it may be. Ask questions, strike up a conversation or put a poll up so fans can vote on what your next release should be. 

Think about the ‘Why?’

You can go the route of sending DM’s to your followers, but if you give them that one reason, that hook that you know will make your song relatable this will help them find something they will connect with. You can do this by going to your follower’s page, see their interests, then include it in your message, or if the song is upbeat and has a motivational element, you can persuade the potential listener that it will cure a ‘down day’ or it will ‘help to get you moving’. Give audiences that one specific reason to listen. 

Look at visual content that isn’t your own 

Content is being shared endlessly on the internet, whether it’s a viral video or a meme, there are so many ways you can get exposure. You don’t have to rely solely on your own content. Putting your newest single over compilation videos, motivational speech videos or anything that you think your music would lend itself well to, can be another way of getting people asking, ‘What song was that?’. Run it as an ad and give audiences visual content to relate to, and if they like the song, make sure there is a link to the track is in the description or bio.

Run Ads Separately  

Sell more to your audience than advertisement! If you ran an ad for your latest new single or release on Instagram, it won’t come up on your page’s feed, it will only hit out your existing followers, leaving your page a place for original, good quality content that will attract potential new fans looking on your page, instead of them seeing a string of advertisement posts. When you run an ad, these specific posts will reach their feed and stories, allowing them to simply click a link or swipe up on stories (if you have less than 10,000 followers). This breaks down the barriers that people have to go through when trying to reach a link, to then reach your song, whereas if it is right there and ready for them to be redirected to, there will be more of a willingness to click and listen to the song. 

Don’t Form Bad Habits

-Don’t buy fake followers

This will be transparent when looking at your engagement and interaction. If you have fake followers, the interaction will not be genuine, there will be no real engagement with real music listeners.  

-Don’t randomly DM people that aren’t your fans

Even though this is a way to get your music out there, you have to be careful, and try and strike a conversation, you don’t want to just undervalue who you are approaching by just stating that you have a track out and that they should listen to it, it won’t work without that reason why you want them to listen to your song. 

– Use the ‘Follow and Unfollow’ method in moderation

This method will prove that over time, you aren’t really gaining fans that like or want to see more of your content, you are just getting a fan because you followed them first, this makes it harder to grow a create content that your fans can latch onto, because you are building a fanbase through courtesy, not through your music or content.

How to Promote Your Music on SoundCloud

With SoundCloud having over 175 million users (more than Apple Music and Spotify), this is an ideal place to promote your music. It’s data-driven, feature-rich and, compared to the commercial streaming services, it’s much more focused on showcasing independent creators, unsigned artists and niche/underground genres. This makes SoundCloud a vital platform for fresh talent, allowing you to build a fan base that will genuinely want to listen to your music. 

If you’re a musician or producer, you need to be on SoundCloud so we’re going to give you some top tips to help you promote your music here.

Use Hashtags

As with the mainstay social media platforms, creators are still very much aware of the need to use hashtags in their SoundCloud profiles to increase searchability and target specific audiences that will like the same music as them. There are two primary ways to find the most effective hashtags, using hashtag tools and looking at other successful profiles and trying theirs. However, the rules are slightly different when it comes to using SoundCloud as we will learn. 

Hashtag Tools


There are some useful sites which can recommend hashtags for you. RiteTag in particular has a beautiful cloud, which is updated with tags that are specific to SoundCloud users. The site also allows you to input a series of relevant phrases and suggest the most appropriate related hashtags for you to use – you can trial and test various ones to see which work best for you. 

In addition, regularly checking SoundCloud’s “Popular Searches” page will allow you to see key search phrases from the last 24 hours so try incorporating some of these in the “Tags” box if they are relevant to your music.  

Similar Artists

Just like creating a content strategy for an emerging artist, you need to do the same for your hashtags. Find artists like you who are receiving organic engagement on their music, look at the hashtags/search phrases they are using, and test them on your own tracks.

But when you’re researching hashtags, don’t be fooled by the figures that pop up which tell you how often they’ve been used. The number of posts that a hashtag has doesn’t mean it’s frequently searched, so you should have niche hashtags which have people searching it rather than a hashtag that everyone uses. Also, using a generic hashtag will get you bots who will most likely be chasing followers rather than taking an active interest in your music. 

What’s more, SoundCloud’s algorithm is very specific and prioritises recommendations for its users. In a blog post, it actually recommends that the first tag correlates to one of the main audio categories in the “Charts” tab, and thenchoose just a handful of tags tailored to relevant subgenres, moods, keywords, and even geographical locationrather than doing “hashtag overload.”

Optimise Your Track Info

Metadata

SoundCloud makes it clear that it favours simple, clean, easy-to-read metadata in users’ track uploads. For instance, the above blog advises users to “Avoid duplicating information that’s displayed elsewhere. There’s no need to add track numbers to your title when uploading an album,” and illustrates this with examples of good and bad titles. And ensure that you fill in the sections in the “Metadata” tab of your track uploads to help SoundCloud build a more focused, identifiable profile of your act. 

Offering your tracks to fans and content creators to use royalty-free can get your music heard by millions, something producers and musicians on SoundCloud are doing. However, the goal for any artist is to make money from their music, so why not increase these chances of success via the “Buy” link on the “Metadata” tab – you simply enter the relevant links to Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, etc. Indeed, with a Pro account, you can change the title of the “Buy” link – try “Stream on Spotify,” “Rate on iTunes” or even “Donate” with a link to your crowdfunding page if that’s your thing. 

Profile and Track Descriptions

Make the most of these features by giving: a short introduction about your music, you as an artist, details of upcoming releases/shows (if you have any), socials/website URL/purchase links, and a request to ask people to follow you, like, and repost your tracks. But don’t make this information generic. Make your writing personal and curate a strong narrative or backstory around you as an artist and your music. That way, your audience can create an emotional connection with you, and they’ll be intrigued to click on your music. 

So for instance, use your Bio to tell us about your artistic influences, why you love music, and what you want your audience to get from your music. In the track descriptions, tell us about the inspiration for how you wrote the song, what it means to you, about the writing and recording process, and maybe some interesting or humorous anecdotes/factoids about the song. 

You can include relevant hashtags as well but remember that SoundCloud’s algorithm will prioritise the hashtags to recommend to users so there’s no need to type in loads of them as they will only be secondary to the ones in the other tag boxes.  

Google Search Optimisation

Although they’re small details, putting space between words in your track title and username handle can actually help your Google rankings. Google also likes repetition so be sure to repeat your display name in your profile URL and link it to your socials for maximum effect. 

Have Amazing Visuals

When you think of the great music acts of our time, you remember them not only for their music but their iconic artwork. Likewise, SoundCloud’s A&R team say that their platform is as much a visual one as a musical one because your artwork will be seen across people’s smartphones and Instagram. So finding a way to stand out artistically is even more important amidst SoundCloud’s 120m+ tracks so your music will likely be ignored if you leave your avatar and profile header alone – and listeners will probably think that you’re a bit boring. 

Inspirational Images

Your SoundCloud artwork doesn’t have to be a photo of you. It could be anything that inspires you artistically – Unsplash is a portal that has over a million free, high-resolution photos which will definitely give you endless inspiration. SoundCloud suggests emphasising your name in the artwork, and keeping the design simple because your avatar appears as a smaller version on followers’ streams. But don’t make your artwork look like everyone else’s; find something quirky or use a bold colour scheme to make your profile memorable. 

For most people, Canva is one of the best free tools out there to create artwork to capture your audience’s attention and promote your music. Canva is completely free to use and has some amazing templates which will allow you to create visuals without the need for a graphic designer.

Have Your Socials on Your SoundCloud Profile

One of the great benefits about SoundCloud is that it instantly embeds your handles when entered into your profile, meaning you can cross-promote your music. So include all your socials in the Bio and Links tabs in your profile so you can get those follows. In turn, use your socials to ask people to follow your SoundCloud profile but please don’t do this constantly as it will look like you’re begging, and if it were to work you aren’t receiving high-quality followers who will support your music.

Ensure you include the URL links to tracks in your social media posts to increase traffic and get instant feedback. A top tip – make the URL the last thing you include in your posts; Twitter, for example, will instantly embed the SoundCloud audio player in tweets when you click on the track or playlist, meaning that you can access both platforms simultaneously. 

Connect and Comment

You will want to be following accounts of artists, producers, creators and record labels you like, that are similar to you or that will likely take an interest in your music. In turn, you should be following them back, liking and reposting their content. 

This isn’t just out of courtesy. By regularly interacting with other accounts like yours, you will build up your following of listeners because they may have already liked, reposted or commented on one of your tracks. They will have taken the time to specifically listen to yourmusic and promote it to their audience. If they have done so, be sure to @ them in your tracks commentary with a thank you message, respond to their comments, or send them a message via their SoundCloud profile or socials. 

Don’t forget to add comments to your own tracks to increase your chances of interactions. For instance, you can use the track commentaries to invite feedback from listeners (“Not too sure about the sound of the snare here, what do you think?”) Or use the commentary to take your listeners on a narrative through the track – you could write a short sentence or two for parts which you really like, standout moments or key structural points in the song.

Remixes have also become one of SoundCloud’s USPs so if it’s your thing, why not get creative and make a remix or mashup from a track you like? This is a strategic way to connect and will also create a sense of artistic collaboration as both your followers and the creator’s will be able to listen to your work, and will potentially share it with their networks. Make sure ask you permission from the creator as SoundCloud does have specific guidelines for copyright and remixes.

Invest in a Pro Account

If your budget allows you, it really is worth investing a bit extra in a Pro/Pro Unlimited account. You can upload more tracks (and an unlimited number on Pro Unlimited), which means more listeners. However, you can glean some surprisingly detailed stats about your audience such as specific country/city/town, what music they like, how long they’re listening to particular tracks for, what time of day they listen, the sources they accessed your SoundCloud from, and whether you had organic engagement on your tracks. Knowledge is power so use this data to your advantage when posting tracks and developing your audience strategy. 

Bonus Tips: Things to Avoid

Fake Plays 

There are several sites which will encourage you to buy more plays, and surprisingly, these websites rank rather high on Google. It’s tempting to make your account more ‘credible’ by buying plays as no one is going to follow an account which has less than 1,000 hits. Often, though, these sites will claim that their SoundCloud plays are organic and justify that the major record companies are buying plays (but of course, they have a significantly larger marketing strategy). 

In most cases, these plays are not genuine because your stats page will show that: a) they have come from a third-party service, b) the stat count will have immediately shooted up to an extreme number, and c) these plays are not targeted either so you cannot get any detailed information about these listeners. They’re clicking on your track to merely increase the count and then leaving. 

So it’s much better to work with a trusted publicist who can help you to direct organic engagement to your tracks. Or create regular content for your socials that can grow organic traffic to your SoundCloud page as actual humans will be listening to your tracks and you’ll discover the much-needed stats you need to build your audience – often, they’ll be listening when they’re logged into their SoundCloud account. 

Fake Followers

Similar to fake plays, be aware of bots that will simply be following you to increase their numbers or that claim to give you more plays by following them. Do not be tempted to follow them back! Fortunately, SoundCloud has a system which can detect fake accounts and you can block/report accounts so make sure you do this where possible so that you can have a trusted, high-quality listener following. 

6 Simple Steps to Get Your First Paid Gig

With global ticket sales for music at a record high, now is a perfect time for musicians to build their live portfolio and grow a fan base. People love to hear live music and artists love playing to audiences, so it’s a win-win situation for the creator and consumer.

The dream for any musician is to make money from their live shows but how do you do this if you’re starting out? In this blog post, we’re going to give you six simple but effective tips to help you start turning your music ambitions into real business.

1. Research Your Venues

While the pay will be less at first, it’s wise to start with small, local venues to get experience. Compared to larger places, it’s easier to generate an audience for smaller ones, and they can help create a closer, more engaging connection with your audience when performing directly to them.

Find pubs, clubs and similar venues in the area that host bands and solo acts. Venues often specialise in certain genres or put similar acts on the bill, so choose wisely to attract a crowd that would regularly attend and share your tastes in music. Open mics are also ideal for networking with venue managers, promoters and musicians who could keep artists on their radar. 

Don’t limit your options to standard venues

Busking is one other way to hone your craft and get exposure in public. You never know who could be watching. Three years ago, Seal invited local buskers in the cities he was playing in to perform at his shows, and some of them have enjoyed successful music careers as a result. 

House concerts have also made a comeback. Musicians often say that they enjoy doing these because of their intimate location and atmosphere. Artists play a live set in a host’s house and audience members make a suggested donation (usually negotiated with the host, although people can pay extra). While there are some spots at house concerts you can apply to play at, they are usually limited so alternatively, host a show either at yours or ask a friend if you can do a set or two at theirs. 

Use digital to get paid gigs

As musicians now latch onto digital to promote themselves, another option is to book paid gigs with one of just many apps out there such as Gigtown, ReverbNation, SonicBids, Gigmor and Encore. If you’re looking to secure a gig this way, be prepared to be offered eclectic venues and functions to play at from corporates to weddings. If you’re committed to a music career, any opportunity to get out andget paid is better than nothing. 

2. Make a Presentable Press Pack

In this digital age, it’s a no-brainer for any musician to have an engaging EPK (electronic press kit) to send to agents, promoters and venue owners. This usually has a short bio, 5-10 high resolution photos, audio/demo links, music videos/videos from shows, previous/future shows (if you have any), quotes from gig/record reviews/fans and links to your socials. 

Quality over quantity

Don’t worry about how many followers you have – what’s more important is the quality of your press materials. So check spelling and grammar. Make your bio creative yet specific, with no waffle. Don’t undersell your achievements but don’t be arrogant. Record your music samples with professional equipment – don’t upload a tinny phone recording to your EPK. And never use a drunk selfie as one of your publicity pictures.

Gig organisers often use the EPK as a key factor to decide whether to give artists a slot so ensure it’s the best you can make it to increase your chances of standing out in this competitive market. There are many free, professional standard templates such as Bandzoogle, Music Glue, even website builders (e.g., WordPress, Squarespace) to get you started on creating your EPK.

3. Sell Merch at Your Gigs

The music merchandise business is still thriving, with last year’s sales at nearly US$3.5bn, up from $3.33bn in 2017 and $3.08bn in 2016. Together with the move towards streaming, merch has become a tactical way to generate revenue but it’s one further opportunity to sell your brand. No one wants to buy another mass-produced white tee unless it’s worth it. So spend some thought on a design that represents not just your USP as creative, individual musicians but something that people would buy even if they didn’t know your music. Perhaps work with a graphic designer or buy more expensive items than you’ve done in the past. 

At the end of the day, merchandise can be very profitable so don’t cheap out on it. If you make something that is visually pleasing, good quality and overall a strong product, you can end up charging more and people will still happily invest.

“Connecting with fans” and a “reason to buy”

Merch is also a way for artists to “connect with fans” and gives them a “reason to buy,” according to Mike Masnick, President and CEO of insight company Floor64. “Connecting with fans” concerns practical ways to distribute and promote your music using digital, while the “reason to buy” is all about adding value to your products. An innovative example comes from Nine Inch Nails. From 2005-2010, the band sold various physical products such as T-shirts and hidden USBs at concerts, which embedded secret codes to IP addresses, websites and unreleased songs. These viral links were shared by the online community and fans submitted remixes of tracks to the band’s website. 

Taking this success story, including social handles, QR codes or hashtags on merch is a simple but effective way to initiate “raving fans” who will invest in your music regardless.

4. Keep it Polite and Professional

Venue managers and staff will be busy on the day of the gig and don’t want to be annoyed. As with any job, people expect all the standard things – timekeeping, good communication, being presentable on and off stage, an ability to get on with others and rehearsing your set well in advance. Be polite to everyone from the tech team to the bartenders. Thank your audience from the stage; if they want to approach you at the show, be genuinely nice and authentic towards them as no one wants to meet a stuck-up musician. And leave the partying until well after the show – your focus is to give a show worth paying for not on free drinks. 

The same applies when you’re contacting club owners, bookers and publicists over email, phone and now social media. When approaching them, send a short, succinct cover email requesting to play at the venue, with the basic info (e.g., contact details, links to your demos/EPK, what your music is about). They’ll be bombarded with emails everyday so if it’s too long you’re likely to be ignored. Don’t be desperate either and spam them with DMs.  

If you’re negotiating fees, you need to be honest and direct with yourself and whoever is in charge of the deal. But don’t come across as needy – it’s important to accept the offer for what it is, whether that’s a pre-agreed fee, a door split deal or playing for free. Money should not be your main driver as an artist but the music so it’s good practice to be grateful for any opportunity to play.

Conducting yourself in a polite, positive manner at gigs will make a long-lasting impression on venue staff and publicists, who could invite you back to play and offer a fee or increased pay so make not just what you do but how you behave count.

5. Get Out and Network

You won’t get paid gigs by being a closet musician. The industry is as much about who you know as well as raw talent. There are many avenues for music industry networking but you don’t have to be the most extroverted person as people will see who you are and your passion for music by being authentically you. Networking can be as simple as attending gigs to support fellow artists and talking about your musical ambitions to the person in the audience next to you – you never know who they might be or who their contacts are. 

Additionally, you can contact bands and artists in the area if they’re looking for support acts, or if they’d like to hook up to do joint shows. Apply for battle of the band competitions, open mics, festival slots, airtime on local radio shows and music podcasts to increase your chances of exposure, even if they’re unpaid. It’s always handy to have some professionally printed business cards on you to give to venue staff whether you’re performing or watching gigs.

Connect on socials

Today, using social media is a must to build a fan base who will take an interest in your live shows (even if they can’t attend personally), and to connect with industry professionals who could hire you for paid gigs. While it’s important to post regular updates across your channels, again, don’t fret over the number of followers you have at this stage as this will grow over time as you develop your career and get more people to hear about your music. 

6. Start When You’re Ready

It’s better to not be so desperate for money but spend time refining your craft before going out in front of a paying public as it will be a waste if you don’t know what you’re doing and give a mediocre performance. So get some music coaching to improve your skills if you feel that’s what you need to prepare for your shows. Find any occasion to perform your material whether that’s in front of friends, family, or flatmates and ask them to give you constructive feedback. Make sure that you’ve got some tried and tested songs or covers you can suggest to gig organisers so they can trust you to deliver a cracking set.

In Conclusion…

With patience, persistence, research and creativity, it is possible to generate income from gigs but you also need to think about other ways to make money from your music, especially in this digital age. The opportunities to get paid from playing live are out there but they won’t come to you unless you have some initiative so take advantage of the 6 steps stated above and you will gradually be able to bring in money that will allow you to enjoy the rewards of being a strategically-minded musician. 

Get Your Music to Go Viral Using TikTok | How Musicians Can Use TikTok

TikTok is currently a leading social media platform, with a 500% year-over-year growth since 2017 and 120 million monthly active users. For musicians, it’s not just a social media platform, it can turn independent artists into stars overnight and creates global hits, making it a music marketing phenomenon. 

For reasons unknown to music industry professionals, TikTok still doesn’t seem to be part of every artist’s marketing strategy, even though it could be what blows up your next release. Although the app is a Gen Z playground, it’s time to get your head around it and start promoting your music on TikTok today as you’ll immediately start to see the results. 

What is it?

Formerly known as ‘Musical.ly’, TikTok is a mobile app available on Apple and Android that allows users to film and upload short clips up to 15 seconds long, many of which are in a lip sync style using music from the app’s library.

Much like vine, TikTok has challenges that start trending, app stars who have millions of followers and the content is pulled on to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook due to its viral nature. 

Much like other social media platforms, TikTok users can interact with each other by following, liking are re-sharing content, with the current most followed individual on the app being 17-year-old Loren Gray sporting a reach of over 31 million followers and a total of over 2030 million hearts and counting.

Get Your Music Used In TikTok Videos

Getting your track on TikTok is the first step and this can be done one of two ways. The first being through a distributor or Apple Music and the second being a more DIY method explained below.

Anyone can upload their own audio to the app and then this can be searched and used by others.

1: Upload a video with the clip of that track in that you want to use.

2: Click the profile photo in the bottom right hand corner 

3: Name your sound, so you’ll want to go with the ‘Track Name – Artist Name’ so it’s easy for others to find

Get Your Music To Go Viral on TikTok

Now your music is available on TikTok, you need to get the track out there to TikTok influencers and users across the globe. This is completely do-able for any artist, no matter what level they’re at in their career.

The latest success story with TikTok is ‘Old Town Road’ by Lil Nas X. TikTok was crucial to the success of Hill’s ‘Old Town Road’ hit, which is now sat at number 15 on Billboard’s Top 100 chart. A hashtag for “#yeehaw” has manifested thousands of videos with more than 67 million play. Hill even states he felt he should be paying TikTok for the promotion and gives the platform all the credit for his success to date.

This didn’t just happen by Hill uploading the track to TikTok, he pushed the release in the exact same methods we’re going to explain. He used influencers, memes and challenges to guarantee his track went viral.

Which Track To Promote on TikTok

Before starting your promotion via TikTok, you need to make sure your track is TikTok friendly. Not all styles of music thrive on TikTok as it needs to give users something to create content around, lip sync to or develop a challenge on.

Most of the tracks that see great success on TikTok typically tend to have catchy memorable lyrics or lyrics that can be brought to life. TikTok content can be no longer than 15 seconds, so the clip needs to make sense as a stand-alone moment outside the context of the whole song.

The best way to find your most TikTok friendly track is to listen to them all in full whilst reading the lyrics. Play the track in 15 second clips to try to find lyrics or melodies that could fit with TikTok’s theme and content.

Create A Challenge

To start engaging a TikTok audience, you yourself can create an account and post a challenge, you can pay an influencer to create a challenge or you can push your fans from other social media platforms to start a challenge.

Posting a challenge video yourself can definitely start engaging an audience on TikTok and potentially get your music viral. An example of this is Mxmtoon who started to create challenge videos for her music on TikTok and now has over 630K fans on the app and over 2.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify. 

If you’re slightly camera shy and creating the TikTok content isn’t your thing, then perhaps you could look to invest in TikTok influencers to get your music viral. TikTok influencers are heavily in demand at the moment, with some of the world’s biggest brands turning to TikTok to expand their marketing campaigns. Still, TikTok influencers are cheaper than Instagram influencers, so it’s key you jump on this before their prices rocket up and your marketing campaigns cost a fortune! 

To find these influencers, you can log in to the app and scroll through trending TikToks or search by hashtags relevant to the influencers you’re looking for. TikTok doesn’t allow you to private message other users unless you’re friends on TikTok, so the easiest way to find these influencers is via an Instagram search where you can DM them or they’ll have an email in their bio.

Allow the influencers to have control over the challenge they create as they’re the experts and have the knowledge of the app and a better understanding of what can go viral. In your pitch email, definitely give suggestions of what you think could work but make sure you allow the influencer to make the final decision as it’ll be a better investment if you give them creative freedom.

The final way to get a challenge trending on TikTok is to get your fans to join the trend. If you’re marketing your music correctly, pushing out social media content daily, you’ll have some sort of a following on Twitter, Instagram or YouTube, therefore you can use this audience to move across to TikTok. Depending on the demographic of your fans, you may find that many of them are already TikTok users, so you can upload an Instagram Story or Tweet your fans, giving them the challenge idea and the hashtag to get trending.

If your audience is slightly older, chances are they won’t be TikTok users, so you’re going to have to be slightly more persuasive with this demographic. You can turn the TikTok challenge into a competition, uploading an Instagram Story, Instagram post, Tweet or YouTube video explaining the challenge you’ve created. From here, you can persuade your fans to get involved by giving a prize to your favourite TikTok video uploaded. Try to be imaginative with this as a t-shirt or signed poster won’t persuade someone to create a TikTok account, get to know the app and then create their first TikTok. Instead, offer a prize that cannot be bought, such as a private gig in their house or a behind the scenes tour of your studio.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags on TikTok work similarly to Instagram hashtags, acting as a discovery tool for users. The hashtag you use for your own TikTok videos, or you get others to use, should be designed to easily go viral.

As mentioned before, Hills started #yeehaw, which has been used over 67 million times on TikTok. The hashtag is effective because it represents the artist, the track and the challenge that was trending. If you based your hashtag on those 3 factors, your hashtag could get the same results. 

Duet with TikTok Influencers

An extremely interactive method of growing on TikTok is duetting with other users. The ‘Duet’ feature allows users to put their videos together, side by side as if a duet or reaction style video.

You can find similar artists to yourself who would want to duet to grow their fanbase or you can use the influencer technique we previously mentioned. Using an influencer to duet with can have immediate results as you’re reaching their audience easily.

You can also duet with your fans to increase fan loyalty. You can share it on your other social media accounts and make it a weekly series as that’ll keep your audience engaged, following your social media platforms and TikTok videos, eagerly awaiting the next one.

In Conclusion…

TikTok is one of the best way to promote your music right now but is also the future of music marketing. Get ahead of the game and start putting these tips into action straight way.

Major labels are moving quickly to sign artists with songs that perform well on TikTok, betting their popularity will transfer to other platforms but also sales. The evidence is right in front of us, so head over to TikTok and start promoting your music today. 

How To Promote Your Music Online | Get Your Music Featured In Major Music Blogs

In 2019, the internet is awash with music blogs for all genres, all style and all areas of the world. Therefore, online music promotion is easier than ever, as long as you have a well written press release, a strong pitch and send it to the correct journalists. 

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to write that perfect press release and pitch that will get you in front of the most important tastemakers in the music industry, leading to your music getting placed in leading music blogs.

These tips work for all artists, no matter what the genre. Securing this online promotion will not only increase your fanbase but these blog features will add credibility and can act as a springboard to the most important areas of your music career, such as Spotify Editorial playlists, which we’ll also explain within this blog post.

When To Start Preparing For Online Promotion

You have your track mixed and mastered, you’ve got your artwork and press shots and then you’ve finalised your release date, now you need to start pitching to blogs.

It’s key you set a release date in advance because if you set your release for next week, that won’t give you enough time to prepare and secure online features, which could mean your release doesn’t get the exposure it deserves. We’d recommend pitching at least 2 weeks prior to release, so you give the journalists time to read your email, listen to the track, consider covering it and then potentially feature it as a premiere, a feature or review on release day or just after release.

What You Need To Pitch To Major Music Blogs

Major music blogs such as Clash, Complex, The Line Of Best Fit and Pitchfork, receive thousands of submissions every day, so when you’re doing your own music PR you need to make sure you stand out and your email comes across as professional because if it doesn’t, they won’t even listen to the music, let alone feature it.

Within your email to these blogs, you will need your pitch and your press release. The press release will include:

  • Release artwork
  • Press shots 
  • Social media links 
  • Private streaming link to the track (preferably SoundCloud)

Once you have all of these assets, you’re ready to start writing your press release

How To Write A Press Release

The press release is what sells you to the media. It should include everything about you as an artist from where you started to this current release but still keep to A4 in length as you don’t want to bore any journalists!

The layout is as followers – headline at the top which will draw in the reader, introduction outlining what you’re pitching to the them and why you’re different, a link to stream the release, more information about you as an artist and this release and then what you’re doing in the future.

Start with the introduction. The first paragraph is the most important as if it doesn’t engage the reader, they won’t even get to the streaming link. The first line needs to include something that will keep them reading, so it could include who you’ve supported in the past, any previous press you’ve secured, why your track is slightly different e.g. meaning behind the lyrics or perhaps you had a major producer work on the track. Hook in the reader within the first line and then you can explain everything else.

Make sure to include the title of the track, the release date and the genre within the first paragraph also as you want to show the journalist that you know the genre they cover and so they can easily find out if it’s fitting for their blog.

Immediately link to the release, preferably with a private SoundCloud link as this is the easiest way for journalists to stream without being taken to a separate platform. A SoundCloud link also means that on release day, you simply make it live and they can embed it within the feature.

From here, explain who you are, what you’ve done, anything interesting about this release and what you may be doing in the future e.g. touring, an album release.

To finish the main body of the press release, link to your social media, starting with your highest following account as that’s the first the journalist will click and you want to impress them with your engagement, proving you’re worth their time.

The headline is the final touch and with only 8 out of 10 people reading the headline copy but only 2 out of 10 actually reading the email, it’s the make or break. Re-read your press release and pull out the parts that are most impressive and they will make up your headline. This could be your previous press, who you may have supported in the past or the meaning behind the song.

Here are a few headlines we’ve used in the past that have secured placement in blogs such as Clash, HipHopDX, Flavour Magazine and London Evening Standard:

After playing Y Not, Supporting Picture This and Receiving BBC Radio 1 and 6 airplay, Orchid Collective return with ‘Otherside’ 

Endorsed by Fellow Indie Pop Band Fickle Friends, London Newcomers Dutchkid Return with ‘Empires’

Pusha T and Chevy Woods join forces with Los Angeles producer RVNES for ‘Hurts’  

The Pitching Process

Now you’ve got your killer press release, you’re ready to secure your dream press, getting the online promotion that your music deserves.

Copy and paste your press release into your email but make sure the images aren’t over 1MB as you’ll be filling the journalist’s inbox, which they won’t be happy with! Don’t worry that they’re not high resolution as if they want to feature you on the blog, they’ll ask for a download link to get them.

Above your press release will be your pitch and this is your introduction to the journalist, explaining who you are and what you’re looking for from them. They receive thousands of emails so your pitch needs to be friendly but persuasive and this is the format you should follow:

Hi (INSERT NAME),

Hope you’re well? I am (INSERT NAME) from the band (INSERT NAME) and wanted to introduce our music to you. 

We’re a (INSERT GENRE) band that have recently (INSERT STAND OUT POINT e.g. previously supported, previous press) and are releasing our next track/EP/album (INSERT NAME and RELEASE DATE). 

You can stream (INSERT RELEASE NAME) here:

I’d love to hear your thoughts on (INSERT RELEASE NAME) and if of interest, we’d definitely be available for interview. 

Best Regards,

(INSERT NAME)

The most important part of that pitch is your ‘STAND OUT POINT’. It doesn’t need to be major press or your follower count if you don’t have it, it could be something like the meaning behind the song. As long as your email has something different, an angle, you’ll be getting a response.

Who To Pitch To

Now you’ve got your press release and your pitch, you need to start sending some emails. You’ll obviously have your dream press in mind, so definitely pitch to them straight away as they may take longer to get back to you. Once you’ve done that, you need to approach different sites that cover your genre, your angle or your region.

Genre specific sites are pretty self-explanatory. These blogs cover one genre, for example Under The Radar covers indie music, Folk Radio covers folk and Hot New Hip Hop covers Hip Hop. These sites can be found by a Google or social media search. Search your genre, followed my ‘Music News’ or ‘Music Review’.

Regional blogs are sites that cover music in your area. These are definitely underutilised by musicians as the majority only focus on genre specific but there is an audience literally on your door step which you’re missing out on. To find these blogs, you can again Google or social media search. Search your town, city or general region, followed by ‘Music News’ or ‘Music Review’. For these blogs, make sure you include that you’re from that area within the first line of your pitch.

Finally, you can pitch to angle led blogs. These blogs are focusing on one area, which may be outside of music, yet is still an audience you can take advantage of. Angle led blogs could be based on your gender, your sexuality or the meaning behind the track. Examples of angle focused blogs are Female First, Gay Times or Girl Gang Music.

How To Find The Right Journalist

Once you’ve found the blogs you want to pitch to, you need to make sure you’re sending your email to the right journalist and the correct email. Many blogs will have an email address under the ‘Contact’ section of the email but for some of the larger sites, they will only have an [email protected] email, which may mean your email doesn’t reach the right person.

To find the right journalist to email, you need to firstly find a feature on the site, which is covering a similar artist to you. From here, find the journalist that wrote the feature. Many sites will allow you to click the journalist’s name, which could take you to their social media or show their email address. If it takes you to their socials, see if their email is in their bio or if they’ve tweeted it recently.

If you cannot find their email still, try a simple Google search of their name and see what appears. You may find their LinkedIn, which is a great way to connect with journalists within your genre but make sure your LinkedIn is up to date because if not, they may not connect with you. 

If their email address still cannot be found, you can always use an Email Finder such as RocketReach or Hunter. Email Finders will allow you to search a journalist’s name and will give you suggestions of what their email could be. 

Now you’ve got their email, you can pitch to these journalists, get your music in front of the correct ones and get that dream press you were aiming for.

How To Take Advantage Of Your Online Promotion

If you follow this guide, you’ll start to secure online coverage but what do you do with it? There are many ways you can take advantage of the press you secure from building relationships with important tastemakers to landing a place on a Spotify Editorial playlist.

As soon as the journalist confirms they’ll be running the feature, you must thank them and make note of when it’ll be going live. Once it’s live, make sure to share it on all your socials, tagging the publication and the journalist and then again, email them thanking them for their time.

Now you’ve built that relationship with the journalist, try to stay on their radar by following them on all social media platforms, engaging with their content. If you do this, you’ll find when you next release comes around, they’ll definitely listen and potentially cover you again.

You can also use the press coverage as a springboard to other areas such as pitching to radio producers and Spotify Editors. Now you have an online presence with multiple blog features covering your release, you can pitch to radio producers and presenters with the same pitch but stating which blogs have covered you. If you’ve secured coverage in some major blogs, this will act as a credibility, proving your worth their time.

To learn more about radio plugging, you can read our full guide to pitching to national radio here: http://www.burstimo.com/radio-plugging-tips/

This tactic also works for Spotify playlist pitching. You should be pitching your track to the Editors prior to release using the Spotify for Artists submission form. We mentioned earlier in the blog post that you should be pitching to press at least 2 weeks prior to release and this also puts you in a better position for pitching to Spotify’s Editors as if you secure some large coverage prior to release, you can add that to your pitch within the submission form. We’ve found that having the credibility of major blogs supporting the track, gives you a much higher chance of securing a spot on some of the biggest Spotify playlists. 

You can also include the press you’ve secured in your artist bio, which will be on your Spotify profile, Facebook ‘About’ section and also your website. You can include quotes from the features and the logos of the publications on your website as your website might be the first thing tastemakers, potential fans and labels come across when searching you, so having those blogs behind you shows you’re worth taking seriously.

Finally, you can use the online promotion for social media content and advertising. For the content on your socials, you can make graphics with the press logos, share the quotes or even screenshot the feature and add it to your Instagram Story, so your followers will be persuaded to listen to the music and engage with it. To secure more fans with the coverage, you can add the logos and quotes from the features to a video or image and run it as an ad on social media as when scrolling through the feed, major blog logos may stop someone scrolling and pay attention to your release.

Jorja Smith Facebook header

In Conclusion…

You promote your music online using blog coverage, adding credibility to your name and acting as a springboard to some of the most important areas of the music industry. If you write the perfect press release, pitch it to the correct journalists and then use that feature to your advantage, your fanbase will grow exponentially, making this release your best to date.