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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
You should start seeking a music manager when one of two situations occur:
1) The workload of managing yourself as an artist has become too much for you to handle and is taking time away from your music.
2) Your knowledge of the industry has carried you as far as you can, and you need to bring in someone with experience and expertise.
Hiring a music manager is the next logical step before getting signed to a major label, the manager can use their industry experience and contacts to help take your career to the next level. A good manager will be able to get you support slots with major artists who already have an established fan base, get your music played on radio and featured in major publications. For a small proportion of your royalties, the manager can significantly increase the income for an artist paying for themselves several times over.
How to find a music manager?
There many aspects to finding the right manager for you, and especially where to look. You need to make yourself an attractive proposition and make sure you’re in the best position you can possibly be before presenting yourself to potential managers. Here’s our best places for finding a manager.
Linkedin is the best place for connecting with industry professionals, it allows you to search and connect with various people from the industry depending on their job role and place of work. To connect with someone on Linkedin you need to have at least one shared connection, so in the beginning you may find yourself having to attempt to connect with a lot of people in order to start building your network and allow you to send connection requests to the people you are targeting.
With Linkedin sending random connection requests to people isn’t going to make you stand out from the competition. What you post on Linkedin is just as important, whether you’re writing your artist career diaries in the native blogging platform for Linkedin, or simply commenting and sharing content relevant to the industry, the more you get known in the industry the better managers you will attract.
Linkedin now has an ad platform which is incredibly powerful and underused in all industries. You can run ads on your latest music video to only people who have the job role “Music Manager” or “Artist Manager”, this will mean your music gets in front of the right people. You can then connect with everyone who liked your video and sending them a message thanking them for the support.
Instagram has become an incredibly social platform, what once was a social media just for photography, now it is a place where everyone in the industry can get a feel for each other and understand their value and what they offer to the music industry. You can search people and hashtags to be able to connect with influential industry members. If you can’t connect with someone on Linkedin, you can search their name on Instagram and then DM them making them aware of your music.
Instagram is a great way to find out what a person is really about, if they’re spending their time bragging about their lifestyle or posting stories which aren’t related to music then they probably aren’t the best fit for you. You need to look for someone who is going to be committed to you as an artist rather than constantly attempt to improve their image in the industry.
– Live shows
Live shows are where the true music lovers hang out. When a manager has a passion for emerging artists and taking them to the next level they are usually found at live gigs.
Many management companies go to showcases to view the latest local talent and approach those which they like with a business card and a short pitch asking if they’d like a meeting. So if you’re spending all of your time in the studio or in your bedroom making music, you should be out there performing and showing off your true skills, it will always help to prove you are the full package and have the potential to sell out venues in order to earn an income for both you and the manager.
– Management companies
Speaking of Management companies, these guys are a great place to start if you’re looking to get a more professional organisation on board for your career.
You can find music management companies by simply googling, or if you’d like to be more specific there are many industry directories which will list all of the management companies in your area. We recommend somewhere like The Unsigned Guide which is a full directory of all of the management companies, labels and music PR companies which will allow you to go through each one and send them an email with your music CV.
– Networking events
The music industry is renowned for having a strong network of events for other industry members to meet and greet each other. Music managers are constantly attending these events to meet both artists and grow their own contacts. We strongly recommend you attend as many events as possible to not only meeting music managers but grow your own network too. You can find the latest music industry events on places such as The Music Managers Forum and Meetup.com.
Our tip for networking events is to get to know everyone in the room, as soon as you walk in just start speaking with people, find out what they do and a little about them and if you keep the momentum up you will eventually have spoken with everyone in attendance.
If you are a little introverted and struggle to speak to new people, I always recommend to arrive 30mins early to the event and help them set up, maybe set up the chairs and tables and introduce yourself to the organiser, the organiser will know every single person worth knowing at the event and will introduce you.
Receive exclusive music industry advice:
Do you need a music manager?
When you introduce a music manager to the equation, things can get complicated. You’re adding another opinion, another person to keep happy and someone else who is going to take a proportion of your royalties.
Usually artists decide to get a music manager too early in their career, they think that it is a missing piece in their puzzle of a successful music career. This is often caused by artists looking to major established artists for inspiration on how to be successful and see that they have a manager and a label so logically you should have this too. But the longer you hold out on getting a manager the further in your career you will be, which means you can attract better and more influential managers.
You should take on a manager when the workload gets too much, or you need more music industry experience and contacts to help you in your career.
A music manager can’t turn around your career single-handedly, you will need to continue to do things for yourself and ensure your music is as best it can be to allow your manager to do the things that they’ve been brought on to do. You won’t get the most out of your manager if you stop doing what you’ve been doing so far and hand it all over to your manager, this will not move you forward, your manager needs to enable something, whether it is free up time for you to focus on other things, or for the manager to introduce new aspects of your career which you couldn’t do yourself.
What does an Artist Manager do?
There is no one specific framework for a music manager, managers can contribute to your career in many different ways, and that’s why it’s so important to find the right one for you, the manager should fill gaps in your skillset and knowledge in order to strengthen your progress as an artist.
-Invest money in to your music
Some artist managers, and especially management companies are willing to invest money in to your career, whether it’s hiring a music PR company, funding music videos or just generally helping you with your personal finances, if they company has the available funds and believes in your career they will invest.
However, don’t forget that if they do invest in you, they will expect their investment back once you get signed, and this can significantly hinder your chances to get signed if the management company demands their investment returned from your advance from a major label. For example if the management company has invested $40,000 in to your career, they may demand a major label pays this investment off before signing you which could lead to your deal falling through, so be careful how much investment you allow yourself to receive.
-Organisation and Mediation
Artists and musicians often need a lot of help in getting organised, with multiple members in the group who often have their own agenda and ideas the management can provide stability and planning to ensure everyone is on the same page. This becomes especially useful when you’re an artist on tour and require transport, logistics, financials and promotion.
An artist will often find themselves in a situation where they have a disagreement within their band, usually this is over a creative direction. The manager can act as a mediator for the discussion and help resolve differing opinions and ensure that everyone is happy with the direction or decisions being made for the artist. The same goes for third parties who may not be acting appropriately or in the interest of the artist, so the manager can deal with these situations and ensure everyone involved on the project is operating effective and efficiently.
-Makes introductions to influential people
Managers who have been in the music industry for a long time should have an extensive address book which will allow you to get your music in front of the right people.
Those who are influential in the music industry such as major label A&R’s, producers and other artists you can potentially collaborate with are incredibly difficult to get in contact with. They receive thousands of emails every week from artists looking for their attention, therefore it is only natural for them to trust people they already know to act as a filter of who to take seriously. A manager will help you get your foot in the door with these people.
What to look for in a manager?
Don’t be too hasty when hiring a manager, you need to make sure they’re the right fit and it’s going to help progress your career, hiring the wrong manager can have devasting effects on your career and has often ended artist’s careers early. The reason for this is that you can get stuck in a 2-3 year deal with an ineffective manager at the most vital point in your career and once all of the opportunities have passed you by they won’t return again.
Before signing the contract with your management, ensure that you have the same vision and timeline as your manager.
After you start to work with a manager you may realise that the vision and direction you had in mind for you as an artist may not be the same as your manager’s vision. Discuss timelines, goals, releases and the future of your music with your manager to ensure that you are both in agreement of how to move forward in your career.
It’s important your manager will find opportunities for you. A lot of managers end up incredibly excited by your project in the beginning, but as time passes by, they lose the passion and find another project. You need to find a manager that will see things through. Managers can often promise you the world before you start working with them but once you’ve signed the contract things slow down immediately. Make sure that your manager is constantly looking for opportunities for you, often managers can take it upon themselves to protect you from wasting your time and money, but if they are too aggressive with this they end up doing nothing and your career dies, but the manager prides themselves on having “saved you”.
-A track record
There are many managers out there who have had success with one or two artists and 10-20 years later are still living off that credibility. A lot has changed even in the past 5 years in the music industry, so find out what the manager has achieved recently with other artists. But don’t stop there, check their social media to see who they’ve tweeted about in the past 2 years because there is sure to be some artists that were previously on their roster but didn’t make it.
Reach out to previous and existing artists on their roster and ask their opinion of their manager, if they are a good manager, they won’t mind you doing this and the other artists on their roster will be more than happy to pass their opinion to you.
How much is a music manager paid?
A music manager usually takes 10% – 15% of your income as an artist. As mentioned earlier, this can be money well spent and with a good manager you won’t even notice it as your income has increased so much.
When you sign your contract, you should ensure that you have targets to hit before the manager receives a cut of your royalties. For instance, you could take your current level of income and add a clause in to the contract that the manager does not receive royalties until a certain level of income is met, or it come be a non-monetary target such as securing a support slot. This is to ensure that the manager does not end up doing nothing for the entire term of the contract and you can easily get out of the contract if nothing is happening.
If you’d like to see what a music management contract looks like, the Musicians Union have a template contract you can download and read through the clauses.
You should never pay upfront of monthly for a manager, these deals are usually offered by managers who know they aren’t able to get an artist to a significant level and therefore won’t earn any income, so they try to get money upfront.
Managers are incredibly useful in the industry, and every successful manager will need someone trustworthy to handle their day-to-day admin as an artist. But don’t jump in to an agreement too quickly and read these tips carefully as you may end up getting your fingers burnt when things go wrong.
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