In the past 10 years, the way we consume music has changed drastically, yet musicians are still trying to promote themselves using the exact same techniques. Whatever your role in the music industry, it’s key you adapt with the times with the aim to get music placed where people are actually listening. In order for you to gain the most success in your music career, it’s essential you’re following the consumer statistics, watching out for new platforms and testing every new promotional technique you can. This blog post is going to break down the recent changes and explain how you can use them to your advantage, rather than complaining and feeling stuck.
Having worked in the music industry for multiple years, we’ve seen the major changes that have impacted musician’s lives, income and success. The consumption of music is nothing like it used to be, so our promotional methods shouldn’t be either.
Spotify Killed the Radiostar
The main change in the music industry, which is having huge impact, is how people are consuming their music. A recent study showed that in 2018, 55% of people listen to new music via video stream, 23% with paid subscriptions and 22% using free audio streaming. With consumption of music so different to what it was, the aim should be to focus on these new platforms where your audience will be. The Mid-Year Music Report revealed that in the first half of 2018, Americans streamed 403 billion songs, via video and audio services. That’s nearly 100 billion songs more than what they streamed during the whole of 2015, when streaming accounted for as much as half of US music revenue. Statistics don’t lie, and you can’t get around them, so instead you should be using this to your advantage and see streaming as a greater chance of success rather than a step back.
Going Viral Without A Promotor
Alongside streaming is the growth in social media. Close to half the world’s population (3.03 billion people) are on some type of social media, that means your music is able to have a potential reach of half of the world with a click of a button, and the best part is, it’s free. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are free platforms for musicians to promote their music to as big an audience as they can draw in. 15 years ago, Facebook wasn’t even launched, meaning artists had to push their music using traditional promotional techniques such as sending their CDs to radio stations or magazine editors. Now, there are multiple social media platforms, with many features that can help in promoting your music e.g. Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and IGTV, which we’ll go into more detail later. People complain about the amount of social media platforms there are, how often they change and how sometimes you have to have a budget to get in front of the right audience but be thankful we have these free platforms in the first place, as you can’t complain about something that’s being given to you for free.
Making Money Unsigned
Everyone is now able to get their music out there due to low cost distribution and again social media. With distribution dirt cheap or even free, any artist can have their music uploaded to streaming services, which was never before possible. Artists that wanted their music recorded and listened to use to have to have money, which quite often meant a large label behind them. Now, anyone can have their music online, giving all artists a chance of success. With it being easier to distribute music and streaming becoming more popular, this means revenue for artists is a lot higher too, with 2017 seeing music sales rise by 8.1 percent to $17.3 billion. For example, American singer-songwriter Vérité has made a living off of Spotify streams, stating, “the ability to make a living somewhere between starving artist and international pop/rock/other star has never been more within reach.” We’re in an era where unsigned artists don’t need to be doing stadium tours, be signed to a major label or have money constantly pumped into advertising, but instead can upload a track to multiple platforms and the money can start coming in.
Mix and Master From your Bedroom
Not only is the distribution low cost, but so is the digital production. Digital audio software such as Logic Pro, offers artists a complete professional recording studio from the comfort of their home. With time and effort, an artist can record and produce their own music, rather than needing a large budget to secure recording time, a producer, mixer etc. YouTube offers tutorials for everything an artist needs, allowing anyone to produce as much music as they can on a budget. There’s a massive rise in artists showing the world that a tune created on GarageBand can be just as popular as a studio produced, high budget track so why not be the next bedroom big name?
Say Goodbye to Ticket Touts
Streaming services have not only helped with revenue, but also live music sales, with Spotify generating $40+m in ticket sales in 2017. Global concert sales have hit a record high in the first half of 2018, with so many platforms offering the opportunity for artist to list their gig dates, popular platforms such as Spotify, Facebook and Google work in favour of the artist, leading to live music sales growth. Google recently released a new list of changing rules for websites that resell tickets, transforming the way tickets are sold, improving the experience for both the musicians and the fans, and YouTube partnered with Ticketmaster to sell concert tickets on artist’s video pages so all these platforms are working to your advantage.
NME Didn’t Stop Printing for No Reason
The transformation from paper to digital isn’t just a change we’ve seen in music but seems to be one of the most drastic within the music industry. With NME closing their print edition after 66 years, it was clear that the music industry no longer loved print like it did. The transformation to digital was huge, for years blogs dominated the music space on the internet. This took years for business models to change, with outlets such as Complex succeeding in the digital space because they created a model that made money off the web, unlike other areas that stuck to their old model, not diverting away from print. This is a similar issue again as this digital age is forever changing but not everyone can keep up. There are endless amounts of music blogs, just search the term ‘music news’ or ‘music reviews’ on Google and you’ll be there for days, but no one really knows what the next wave will be, that’s why it’s key you keep yourself up to date with this complicated evolution. With streaming services rocketing up, blogs have had to start creating playlists. With video streaming becoming so popular, blogs have begun to produce YouTube content to reach a larger audience. NME stated that as they are now only digital, they have to change their strategy to be profitable, with editor Charlotte Gunn saying, “As part of its strategy, NME will also look to incorporate sponsored and native content, start live events and expand their ticket offering”. But not everyone is adjusting with the times and those who don’t, will be left behind.
WHO HAS PREVIOUSLY HACKED THE MUSIC INDUSTRY? – CARL HITCHBORN | HIGH TIME RECORDS
An individual that has started to hack this complicated, ever changing industry is Carl Hitchborn, CEO of High Time Records. Many of you won’t know who he is, maybe because he spent his early life as a baker, but now Hitchborn is the CEO of artist management house, record company, music publisher, merchandise, branding hub and independent concert promoter, High Time, best known for their success with The Hunna.
Hitchborn’s story is pretty crazy, but very representative of how the music industry now works, by being creative in this digital age. In an interview with Music Business Worldwide, Carl explained how he went about promoting The Hunna: “I went to Virgin, Lloyds and Barclays, got three new credit cards – £5,000 on each one. We made a 45-second sizzle video for no money, then in September/October 2014, we literally spent the entire £15,000 in seven days on social media marketing. And then it went boom.”
Basically, Hitchborn put a large budget behind Facebook advertising until you couldn’t ignore The Hunna anymore. Carl took everything he learnt from the bread making business and applied it to the music industry using 3 simple rules:
Make sure the product is better than anyone else’s
Don’t scrimp on the deal you cut your supplies, or it will impact their loyalty and motivation
Target your marketing to your key captive clientele
The Hunna are currently sat at over 80 million Spotify streams, 307k Facebook likes and 77.4k Instagram followers. You can’t argue with that.
Carl Hitchborn is just one example of someone changing with the times in the music industry and proof that it’s necessary for success.
Start Dominating the Industry Today
You must use these changes to your advantage. I wouldn’t even call them changes, but more improvements to the music industry, offering all artists a fairer chance of success. Below is breaking down the main changes to the industry we discussed prior and looking into what you can do to take on these changes head first, pushing your music to the top.
Let’s start with social media. As we’ve mentioned, social media is constantly changing, and although complicated, its complexity works to your advantage if you stay up to date. With Facebook’s new algorithm introduced in early 2018, which prioritises posts which create a meaningful conversation and display it to those who interact with you most, most people see Facebook as a lost cause for promoting their music – wrong. By creating a content strategy, pumping money into Facebook advertising like Carl Hitchborn and following an ongoing theme, Facebook is the perfect platform to get your music in front of the right people. The constant changes also mean that if you are on top of things, you can steam ahead of the other artists stuck in the past.
Alongside Facebook promotion is Instagram, who have recently introduced many features specifically beneficial for musicians. Firstly, we have IGTV, the new Instagram feature and app, which allows long-form videos. Tech experts are estimating IGTV to be a dominant player in the social media industry, meaning if you as an artist jump on this before others, you’ll be ahead of the game. You can create content for your existing followers, have your music video uploaded directly onto the platform and also look at influencer marketing, which we will discuss further below. Another feature recently introduced that’ll benefit musicians is allowing soundtracks on Instagram stories. You simply pick a song to play before you record a video and you can drag and drop the track onto your story like the sticker feature. This will allow fans to sing along to their favourite bands, have it in the background or simply promote the track as a sticker, giving artists immediate promotion.
Influencer marketing was unheard of just 10 years ago, now results of a national survey show 70% of millennial consumers are influenced by recommendations they see on socials. Influencer marketing is a phenomenon of modern marketing and should be a major focus point for the music industry, like it is for every other industry currently. 74% of people trust social networks to guide them to purchase decisions, so if you’re not working with influencers, you could be losing out to your competition.
Instagram currently leads as a global platform for influencer marketing, soon followed by YouTube, so these are the current focus platforms. With influencer marketing for musicians, you need to focus on what your product is, the music, and how influencers can promote it in a casual but effective manner. YouTubers are constantly on the lookout for non-copyright music, similar to Instagram stars with the new copyright rules, so simply message these influencers offering your music and whitelisting their channel. They’ll be getting something out of it, as much as you are. However, many influencers will be looking for payment, so set aside a budget, as it’s definitely worth it to get your music in front of a wider audience.
For artists releasing their music in 2019, Spotify promotion is one of the key elements to success in your music career.
In this guide, we tell you exactly how to get your music on to popular Spotify playlists, begin generating streams and being added to Discover Weekly’s.
Think about your last favourite song you discovered, did you discover it from a Spotify playlist?
The likelihood is that you found the song because you were listening to a Spotify playlist or it came up on your Discover Weekly’s. With 45% of people listening to music on streaming services such as Spotify, it is important that your music has a strong presence on Spotify and is given the best chance to be discovered.
Unlike other platforms, Spotify allows user-curated playlists as well as hundreds of bespoke playlists which your music can be added to. This means that users can listen to niche playlists surrounding their mood, activity or genre of music. You can even search for a specific band and listen to similar artists on a playlist which has been specifically designed for fans of this music. With over 2 billion playlists on Spotify, this allows for more opportunity for smaller artists to be discovered.
Other platforms work a little differently, with no user-curated playlists and just branded-only playlists, there are only a handful you can subscribe to, all with gatekeepers who may have a specific taste in music and would not consider niche or emerging artists. This is the same for algorithm generated listening such as Google Play Music and Pandora.
So, although Spotify may not pay out a lot for the streams you gain, it does provide a democratic platform which gives artists an equal opportunity for success, using an algorithm which allows the users to vote with their ears to tell Spotify what tracks deserved to be heard by more people.
What’s Happening Behind the Scenes at Spotify
Spotify does have playlist curators whose job it is to sit and listen to music which could be a fit for their playlist (and we’ll tell you how to contact these guys later), however Spotify has taken this a step further and used the power of technology to help users discover new music. The algorithm uses the playlists you are added to in order to determine what genre of music your band are and also similar artists to your band. With over 35 million songs on Spotify, curators can’t possibly listen to every single track and list similar artists as well as allocate playlists, this task is in the hands of Spotify’s machine-learning in order to correctly place your track.
Once you are added to playlists and getting streams, the algorithm then monitors how your track is performing to decide whether it is worth sharing it to other listeners. Spotify look closely at how often people are skipping your track before the end of the song and look at the engagement rate, which includes whether they go back and listen again, visit your artist profile or add the track to their own playlist. This allows Spotify to create a rating for your track as well as categorising it to know which listeners should be hearing your track on their Discover Weekly or Daily Mix.
If you were to search for people who work at Spotify, you will notice a lot of people who fulfil the role of ‘Data Curator’. These are people who are constantly looking at the data that comes back from your songs and adding it to official playlists. If people are constantly listening to your track, adding it to their own playlists, favouriting the track and repeatedly listening, your track has a very good chance of being added to Discover Weekly’s, it is here where your music will be judged whether it is popular enough to be added to Spotify Official playlists. If a track appears to be performing particularly well in one area, it will be brought to the attention of the Official playlist curator for that genre of playlist.
Full Step-by-Step Guide to getting on Spotify Official playlists
By the end of this guide, we want to get your music in a position to be able to pitch to Spotify Official playlists with confidence. If your track has that dreaded ‘< 1000’ next to it, there is absolutely no way you will be added to a Spotify Official playlist. So, we need to go through several phases to get you ready for Spotify Officials.
Before you start…
This is an important step which shouldn’t be missed. It helps give your profile credibility as well as gets your music picked up by the Spotify algorithm as this will mean your account is prioritised.
If you haven’t been verified already, we suggest you do so now. Lucky for you it’s a much simpler process now that Spotify have launched Spotify for Artists. Simply log in and confirm your details, after a few weeks you will see a little blue check mark on your Spotify profile.
Share your Artist Profile on Social Media
This is for the purpose of getting as many followers as possible. The more followers you have, the greater the credibility you will have as an artist. This helps validate that you have a fan base to any curators looking at your profile, especially for independent playlists as they know there is a chance you will share the playlist on your social media if you were to be added to it, which helps boost the exposure of the playlist and gain more followers. We would always recommend sharing every playlist on your socials, to show any curator that you are willing to reciprocate their belief in you by promoting their playlist to your fans.
Make sure you have a complete Artist biography
Spotify are proud of their platform and will favour those who take the time to make their profile as detailed as possible with great imagery. So, ensure to write the best Artist biography you can with great artwork as well as links to your socials. We understand that this isn’t an area people often visit, but the playlist curators do and that’s who are important to us right now.
Create your own Spotify playlist
This is a great way to get your initial streams, by creating a playlist of similar artists which includes your music, you can promote this playlist which can generate listens and fans. Make sure to give your playlist a name which will entice people to click and listen and your playlist must have more than 30 songs.
How to find playlists to pitch
In order to pitch to Spotify playlists, you need to know how to find them. There are 3 types of playlists to search for genre, mood/activity and similar artists.
This will be most people’s go-to search, if you are an indie-rock band it is natural to search for indie-rock or rock to find suitable playlists.
These are the playlists which we listen to based on how we want to feel, whether it is working out, a road trip or simply waking up in the morning.
These are playlists which are based on similar artists to yourself. Often when a band releases a new album, users will create playlists containing that album and similar tracks.
Pitching to Spotify playlists
Blogs and Brands playlists
This is the best place to start, because these guys tend to take a while to get back to you, so it won’t come through as your first playlist placement.
These branded playlists and blogs have a large following and are considered as early tastemakers for Spotify. Playlists such as Indiemono and Songpickr have submission platforms as well as Facebook pages and email addresses where you can email the curators to consider your track.
You can find these by searching Spotify and finding any playlist which isn’t curated by Spotify or a person’s name.
Once you have found your playlist you can then click the playlist and hover over the description of the playlist, very often the playlist will tell you where you can submit your music. Most of the time there will be an email address, however there are larger playlists such as Indiemono who have an entire platform dedicated to submitting tracks to their collection of playlists.
Some playlists also exclusively use Submithub and this can be a great way to ensure that popular playlist curators such as BIRP.FM listen to your track.
This is where things get really interesting. There are thousands of playlists which have been created by regular Spotify users which you can target.
Contacting them is easy, firstly you search the type of playlist you’d like to be on and look at the results.
Find a playlist which is curated by someone with a real name and click on their profile.
Make a mental note of their profile picture and search for them on Facebook.
Search for their name on Facebook, and match up the profile picture
Bonus Tip: If their name does not come up, or if there are too many results, go through their followers on Spotify, and find someone with a unique name and match up their profile. Once you’ve found that person you can search within their friends list for the target playlister.
These types of playlists require a precise approach because it is not their job or hobby to consider new tracks from bands. Not only this, they will be constantly inundated with requests from bands hoping to get a place on their playlist, so simply sending them the track and hoping just isn’t going to cut it.
You should message them on Facebook, firstly complimenting their playlist and congratulating them on picking up such a popular following. You can even pick out a couple of tracks from the playlist which you like and commend them for discovering such an awesome track. Then ask if they would consider your own track, potentially comparing yourself to an artist which is already on their playlist to help validate why your track is suitable for their playlist.
You need to be able to make yourself stand out, and this is much different to standing out if you were going for a PR campaign, you need to give them something in return for considering your track of giving you feedback. One thing you can do is let them know that you will help promote their playlist by announcing that you have been added to their playlist on your socials, which will be of benefit to them as they receive more followers.
You could even run a competition which is exclusive to Spotify curators, by adding their name to a list hosted on your Facebook page, and by giving you feedback on your track could get them entered in to a competition to win an iPad or some gift vouchers. This would help you stand out and show your appreciation that you value their time and are willing to give back.
How to get on Spotify Official Playlists
Now that you have been added to a few playlists, this is your best chance of securing your spot on a Spotify Official playlist. There is potential for your track to be picked up by one of the ‘Data curators’ at Spotify who will notice your track is getting popular and start recommending it to various playlist curators.
Spotify for Artists
Spotify launched this feature back in August 2018 and it is currently still in beta. This is currently your best chance of getting added to a Spotify Official playlist.
Spotify recommends that you submit your song at least 4 weeks before your release to give you the best chance of being placed on an Official playlist.
You can log in to your Spotify for Artists app here:
Once your distributor has uploaded your track to Spotify, in the top right corner of the dashboard you will have the option to ‘Submit your song’.
Here you’ll be faced with multiple categories so Spotify can find the playlists most suited to your music.
On the next page, you will be asked to describe your song. Here is your opportunity to really validate your track and give the curator the reasons why they should take your track seriously. Previously, this field used to ask you to describe what your track is about and the meaning behind it but Spotify has now changed this which gives a strong indication of exactly what they are looking for.
Your pitch should include any press you have received, major venues you have played at and and relevant previous successes, along with a short pitch describing the track itself. You will have a total of 500 characters to squeeze your pitch in to.
UPDATE:Spotify have now changed the layout of their dashboard, if you can’t see a button to submit your track, go to the music tab, then to ‘upcoming’ and your new release will be there.
Pitching directly to curators
We may need to push things along a little more, with your 5 or 6 independent playlists, your track will begin to pick up streams and get picked up by the Spotify algorithm. This is the perfect time to now approach curators who will be able to identify that you have been added to popular playlists, generating streams and potentially showing up on Discover Weekly playlists.
To do this, you need to know exactly who you are targeting and which playlists they curate. The best way of doing this is to search on Linkedin to find Spotify playlist curators. They are usually called ‘Editors’, so your search term should be ‘Spotify Editor’. Usually in their bio they will tell you which playlists they curate and if they don’t, you need to final their personal Spotify profile and look to see which playlists they follow, this will give you a good indication of the genre they like and therefore will curate.
Once you add them on LinkedIn, you will have the function to message them and pitch them your music. Not only this, you can follow up with an email by using RocketReach, which can scrape the internet for their email address or guess their email address with a high degree of accuracy.
Approaching these guys is completely different to any other, they are the most wanted men and women on the planet, and constantly have a mailbox full of tracks to consider every single day, so you need to stand out.
Your email should be kept short and concise, giving them an accurate indication of the genre and similar artists. Don’t be afraid to follow up, their job is an incredibly difficult one and sometimes they may miss your email.
Spotify Official curators still use online blogs to find new music, so your general online presence is incredibly important. You could get discovered by a large playlist curator via an online blogs, which means that using music pr companies to get additional exposure will prove to be a great investment and help with that final push on to Spotify playlists.
If you don’t work in the marketing industry, you may not have heard that Facebook has made dramatic changes to their News Feed algorithm, and it may significantly affect your music promotion results.
Whether you are constantly creating content for your audience, or simply pushing your music video, this is everything you need to know to continue to promote your music on Facebook.
On January 12th, the marketing sector received news that caused panic across the industry. Mark Zuckerberg announced major changes to the Facebook Algorithm, which will now be prioritising posts that create a meaningful conversation and displaying it to those who interact with you most. Zuckerberg is hoping the change will result in more organic reach, for real people to have real conversations.
For personal accounts, this means that those who you speak to frequently on messenger and regularly like your posts will be more likely to see your next posts.
Facebook pages will see a significant decrease in their organic reach, with Zuckerberg actually aiming for people to spend less time on Facebook, but the time they do spend on the platform will be better quality time and an overall better experience.
Facebook believes that interactions between friends and family is worth more than interaction with a fan page, therefore it will be more likely to show posts from your Facebook friends and family than a music fan page, which is going to make your band’s Facebook page work even harder to gain fans and get engagement.
“Page posts that generate conversation between people will show higher in News Feed. For example, live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook–in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos”
How to get your posts to rank higher?
Your post should aim to be receiving comments, shares and reactions, anything such as clicking the video, watching it or hovering over the video will have no impact on how far your post ranks in your fan’s news feeds.
Something you may not be aware of is that not only does Facebook consider someone sharing your post to their own news feed a ‘share’ but if someone was to take the link and share it to a friend on Messenger, this counts as a share too, and boosts you up the rankings in your fan’s news feeds.
Not only this, Facebook takes in to account the engagement that those who share the post go on to receive, so if one person shares a post and a lot of their friends then comment on that post, the ranking is increased. This is why we advise that you do not run ‘share competitions’ on Facebook as you will be punished for not getting engagement from the posts which were shared.
Facebook call this Engagement Bait, where you make posts to instigate a reaction or share, which Facebook is now cracking down on. A lot of pages, especially in music, have relied on this technique to get engagement and grow their audience, but this was severely reducing the quality of the Facebook experience and causing people to spend less time on the platform.
As a Musician, what is the best strategy to get more engagement on your Facebook page?
Your content strategy must be relatable to your target audience, which inspires them to engage with your post. To do this, you need to know what your fans and potential fans want to see, and why they’d want to follow the posts you are putting out. Have they followed you to see backstage photos, are they inspired by the lifestyle that you as an artist are undertaking or do you have strong characters in the band who entertain the followers? Once you understand this driver, you will be able to create content on a regular basis, which receives a huge amount of engagement.
A fantastic tool we use is Google Trends which allows us to see which hot topics people are talking about across the world, so we can create social media posts that people are desperate to discuss, this means that our posts are more likely to gain interaction from our audience and therefore rank higher on news feeds. You can post your opinions to see how yours differ with others or you can post open questions and watch the discussion take place in the comments section.
This explains why you have seen so many ‘Tag a friend’ posts so often in the past 12 months, because they instigate so much interaction that they rank incredibly high on the Facebook news feed.
“Live videos often lead to discussion among viewers on Facebook–in fact, live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos. Many creators who post videos on Facebook prompt discussion among their followers, as do posts from celebrities”
Artists and bands are in the perfect position to create live content as they are used to performing live in front of a crowd. You could even use your Facebook audience to put on live sessions while interacting to each of the comments that are coming through between songs, and maybe even take requests if you’re feeling ballsy.
This example shows that you truly can achieve anything if you invest enough time in creating content for your audience. This video originally went out live to their Facebook audience, which of course went straight to the top of every news feed of those who had liked the page, and now has 4x as many YouTube views as the original track itself!
What does this algorithm change mean for pushing a music video over Facebook?
On Neil Patel’s marketing podcast, he bluntly summed up that content creators are going to have to up their game and spend more money. And that was a key point, Facebook exists to make money out of advertising revenue, therefore every decision they make is designed to make companies spend more on their platform to advertise their products. Unfortunately, this means musicians are going to have to spend more to get people to watch their latest music video.
But you can still create content which can grow your fan base with some simple steps.
One particular tip that we do encourage is to ask your audience to choose the ‘See First’ option on your page. This is similar to a YouTuber asking for a viewer to “turn on notifications”so they immediately get a notification when the new video goes live. In Facebook’s case, this feature ensures that you see every single post that the Facebook page makes, which will dramatically increase your engagement.
Because you are going to be punished so greatly for lack of interaction, one thing musicians will suffer with when promoting their music is promoting gigs themselves, so if a band are promoting a gig in Germany, and they keep advertising it on their page, this means nothing to anyone outside of Germany because someone from the UK is unlikely to travel to Germany, therefore your engagement levels are going to be incredibly low so you need to avoid this or you will be punished. Instead, you should be creating event pages for all of your gigs, that way you can promote to a specific audience, and only post on the News Feeds of those who are local to the area and actually may interact with the posts and attend the gigs.
With all of these changes in mind, you need to get your audience to follow you anywhere you go, because we all know what happened to Myspace, bands managed to build huge followings which were then useless after all of the users left, so be sure to encourage users to sign up to your mailing list to receive your content before anyone else.
Our final tip is using Facebook groups, although these were the very first method of reaching a new audience on Facebook, and actually became a bit useless, but now they are back stronger than ever before as they already operate on the basis of audience engagement, so you can either create your own fan group with exclusive content that no one else can see, which will generate very high levels of engagements, or you can post your content in specific groups online which allow you to build new fans, but be sure not to spam those groups, you need to build up your credibility first and add value to the members before you can hit them with your latest music video.
This algorithm change has been a wakeup call for a lot of marketers, not just in the music industry but across all industries, and reminded us we cannot invest the entire of our resources in to one platform, we have to diversify and show growth on multiple platforms, telling a different story. Creating unique content on each platform will help us build a large fan base, and it doesn’t matter what changes each platform decides to make, you can direct your loyal audience to anywhere you like.
Want to promote your music but don’t have the budget to hire a music publicist? No problem, there are still promotional methods you can use without having to hire a music publicist and having those relationships they have with the industry tastemakers in order to get your music on blogs, radio, playlists and publications.
This article is going to be a step by step guide to running your own music PR campaign without the need for using a music PR company, breaking down the different media outlets you can push out to, how to hit out to them and what you need to do to really start creating a buzz around your release, all without spending anything at all. Running your own music PR campaign can be a lengthy process, forcing you to do tedious jobs but it definitely comes with its rewards, so be sure to set aside enough time to commit to promoting your record by following this guide and you will see the results.
PREPARATION FOR THE RELEASE
Before anything else, make sure the release is a strong enough standard. Take your time to write, record and get the track mastered so it’s at the best quality it can be as there’s no point promoting music that doesn’t truly represent you and your style. Once you’ve got a release you’re proud of, you need to start collecting all the assets you’ll need to push it out.
1. HIGH RESOLUTION IMAGES OF THE BAND
You will need 5-10 high resolution images which suit your music genre, style and image. These are essential for getting online coverage as it can be what catches a journalist’s eye and is also what will be used in any online features, so you want it to be representative of you as an artist.
2. SINGLE/ALBUM ARTWORK
You need artwork for your release, clearly stating the track title and your artist name. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but you definitely need it again for online coverage. The artwork needs to represent your style of music and who you are as an artist. It will also be used on all digital platforms such as Spotify and can be what persuades someone to stream your track from the millions of others, so take your time with designing this.
3. A RELEASE DATE
Choose a release date for your track and make sure you stick to it. This is what all media outlets will run with so if you change it last minute, you will not only have confused fans but a load of press that’s incorrect. Get the release date booked in with your distributor as soon as you’ve sorted it so you can tick it off your to do list early on and not have to worry last minute about getting it onto the different platforms. Release dates usually fall on a Friday so choose a Friday that is a month or so away, this way you’ll have time to work on your music promotion in the run up to the release.
4. PRIVATE SOUNDCLOUD LINK
Once the track is ready, upload it as a private SoundCloud link. This is the easiest way for tastemakers to stream the release before it’s live. Some artists make the mistake of sending a download link or attaching the MP3, but nobody has the time and effort to download a track and then listen, so make sure it’s SoundCloud you focus on and send in your pitch.
HOW TO WRITE A PRESS RELEASE WHICH WILL SECURE YOUR DREAM PRESS
Writing your press release is pretty similar to writing your band biography but this time around you need to make it more focused around this specific release. The most important thing to remember when writing your press release is that you’re trying to persuade the person to listen to your track against thousands of others so it’s essential you keep it precise yet creative. The press release is the make or break as to whether your release is successful or not, so spend time on this and get others to read it over.
We know how difficult it is to write a press release, especially when writing your own, it’s similar to writing a CV and sometimes you don’t know where to start. The easiest starting point is to bullet point some key factors such as who you are, what you’re releasing, your musical history, career highlights and what you’ll be doing next e.g. touring.
The first paragraph of your press release is the most important as if it’s not engaging, no one will read on and you’ve completely wasted your time sending it and their time reading it. The first line should be something catchy such as “With over 3 million Spotify streams, indie rock band … return with ….”. Obviously not every band has the credentials to have something like that as their hook, but you can still make it interesting, using past press or support slots to engage the reader.
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the actual body of the email, showing the headline is the make or break. I’ve found writing the full press release before the headline helps as you have worked out what the most important points are already, so you can use these to work out the headline and use that for the subject bar. Make it powerful, using an active voice rather than passive.
For example, ‘After securing over 3 million Spotify streams on debut single, [insert band name] return with [insert song title]’ carries more weight than simply‘[insert band name] return with new single [insert song title’].
Have the release date (sounds stupid but many forget)
Include images of the band but also the artwork
Add your social media links
Have the private SoundCloud link
Include contact details
Make it super long, no one will read it
Make it too cliché (a good exercise for this one is to swap another artists name in and see if it’d still be fitting)
Waffle on. Many artists start giving their musical background in depth but if it’s not interesting or impactful to where you are right now, cut it out
Be cocky. No one wants to read why a band with <1000 Spotify streams are the next Fleetwood Mac
Use stupid fonts and colours
Now that you’ve got all the assets ready, you need to start your campaign around your release with some online promotion. The internet has opened up endless possibilities to promote your music, making it easier than ever for artists to secure online coverage. This needs to start prior to the actual release date as you need to give the journalists time to write and upload the feature, plus no one wants to run an article about an old track so give yourself at least 3 weeks before release date to be working on this.
WHICH SITES TO REACH OUT TO?
You need to choose the sites you pitch to carefully as if you start bombarding blogs that don’t even cover your genre, they’re going to get pissed and the music industry is a small world, so you don’t want that! Firstly, start looking into other bands that are a similar level to you, see what online coverage they’ve secured and if those sites are relevant for you.
Then you can start looking for genre specific blog, you can find these via a simple Google or social media search. Look into each site, what sort of bands they cover and think carefully about whether you’d suit their site. Also look into your geographical links, if you’re from Scotland then target Scottish music blogs. You can do this with tour dates too, so you confirm regional press around your gigs.
The final area you can focus on is angle led sites. These can be anything that has a niche, examples of this include female guitarist blogs, mental health sites and gay publications. If you feel your angle fits into any niche, approach these areas saying why you’re relevant and what you’re approaching them for. Often, these sites have large readership so can be very beneficial for building online presences and overall fanbase.
HOW TO PITCH TO ONLINE BLOGS
You have all the correct assets you need to pitch to online blogs, plus you’ve found the sites you want to hit out to, but how do you approach them?
Submit Hub: One of the easiest methods for getting your music in front of journalists is SubmitHub, plus many bloggers use it as their form of income so you’re also helping out a fellow music industry buddy.
SubmitHub is a simple submission page where you can submit your single to different blogs and they give you feedback. Sounds fantastic right? The catch is you have to pay, not much but still a fee. We highly recommend SubmitHub for emerging artists and artists that don’t use music publicists as it’s a simple way to connect with journalists without having a relationship with them already. Also, some sites only take submission via SubmitHub so sometimes it’s a necessity if you’ve got your heart set on a certain blog.
SubmitHub works with many different streaming links but most blogs prefer SoundCloud so copy and paste it into the form and fill in the correct details and you could be featured on multiple blogs with a click of a button.
Now to the real pitching, this is where your press release comes in handy. You’ve got a list of sites you want to pitch to, and you’ve collected all the right email address (more about that below). Now you need to make sure you’re sending them something that a) they’re going to open and b) they’re going to actually read. Each email has to be personalised and cannot be some mass mail out. Get your press release and copy and paste it into the email. Never attach anything like the MP3, high resolutions images or the press release as a word document as journalists don’t have the patience to download attachments and won’t be happy if you’re taking up all of their storage with your 8MB MP3s.
Once you’ve copy and pasted the press release in, you need to actually write the body of the email. Below is a simple format you can use, which will be above your press release:
“Hi [insert name],
Hope you’re well? I’m [insert name] from [insert band name] and we were hoping to get your thoughts on our upcoming single [insert song title] for your blog, which you can stream here [insert SoundCloud link]”
From here you need to start getting the most important and interesting parts of your press release e.g. who you’ve supported, who your influencers are and any previous press. You can also make this part more personal to the publication e.g. “we saw you covered [insert band name] who we supported last month…”
To finish your email, make sure the journalist knows what you want from them.
“I would love to hear your thoughts on the single for a feature or review and we also have tour dates at the bottom of the press release, which I’m happy to organise press passes for.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
If you really want to capture the journalist’s attention, show that you’ve read their previous work or that you’re a fan of their blog e.g. “after reading your review of The Hunna, I thought I’d reach out as we have a pretty similar style.” This not only shows that you’ve read their previous work, but it also gives them an indication of what your sound is like, so they’ll know whether it’s worth them taking the time to listen. Although time consuming, it will likely convert to success, so it’s worth taking the time. If the journalist doesn’t come back to you after a few weeks, send a polite follow up email, asking if they’ve had a chance to check it out yet. Chances are that if they don’t respond to a follow up email, they’re not interested so don’t be the needy artist that bugs them on email, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, just try again next time.
HOW TO GET THE RIGHT JOURNALIST AND THEIR EMAIL ADDRESSES?
Now you know which blogs to target and how to pitch to them, you need to work out how to get their email address and if it’s a larger publication, which journalist to approach.
Many lower level blogs have a generic Gmail style email address listed on their site, which is always easy for you to find and then send them your press release. However, there are many sites that won’t have a contact address or form listed on their site, this is where you need to start digging.
1. FREE EMAIL SEARCH TOOLS
There are two ways of being able to locate the best music blogger’s email addresses. Most companies use a set formula for their email address, so once you can find one employee’s email address you can guess the formula. For example, is may be the first letter of their first name following by their surname.
You may also find their email address which has already been posted somewhere online. There are fantastic tools which do this all for you such as Hunter.io. This is a powerful tool used by many music PR companies which will scout the internet for the person’s email address. If it is unable to find the address, it will give you a prediction based upon other people’s email address who work at the company.
2. PREVIOUS WORK
Use your influencers and bands similar to yourselves to find journalists that you think will like your music. If you have an indie rock style, look at who may have covered up and coming indie rock bands like No Hot Ashes recently and email them with one of our suggested templates above.
Bonus Tip: If you want to find recent features on a similar artist, Google the artist, select tools and then past week as shown below:
If you can’t find a journalist through a simple Google search or anywhere on socials, give LinkedIn a go. Quite often you’ll find a journalist through LinkedIn and if you keep yours up to date with your music, music industry news and other things you find interesting, the journalist may connect with you. From here, find their email address and drop them a line.
4. USING A HOOK
A hook is something that makes you stand out from others, something that other bands haven’t got and what can potentially get you in the major online publications. You’ll find that this is where most music PR agencies succeed but you can have just as much success if you’re creative and push to the right areas.
Major online sites receive thousands of emails per day with the same “This is my band’s new release, it’s really good, listen to it” junk so you need to have a hook that makes you stand out and be news worthy. Think about how your band is different – this could be how you came together, how you play your instruments or what your latest release is based around.
Examples of hooks that we’ve used to gain national coverage in areas such as Metro, London Evening Standard and We Plug Good Music are:
Each angle is entirely different, and you can’t always tell which will get picked up by the media so be creative and test a few out. If you worked with a major name, try that, if you’re working with a clothing line, give that a go. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed as any hook can be a potential way in.
If you use all these tips, you will begin to create a list of journalists who you know give feedback on your music and if they gave a positive review, like your music. Make sure to create a database of these contacts so you can use them again for your next release and keep building relationships.
Radio plugging is a whole other story compared to online promotion, with it being highly competitive and national radio stations having limited shows that play out emerging artists. This is why radio pluggers charge so much as you’re paying for the relationships they’ve formed with producers over the years, which you yourself can’t always gain.
Although it’s difficult, it’s possible so don’t be disheartened, you just have to start low. Use the email format you’ve already created for online promotion with the pitch and the press release copy and pasted below but this time have a link to download the track. In your online promotion pitch, you may be pitching a full EP or Album but with radio, you only need to pitch one track so don’t send a link to a full album as producers don’t have the time to listen to the full thing to work out which track is their favourite. The single which you choose to run with needs to be a radio edit, so no swearing and around 3:30mins, definitely not longer than 4mins.
The radio station will need the MP3 if they want to air the single but whatever you do, don’t attach the MP3! Use either Dropbox or WeTransfer to give them the option to download the track and have the MP3 titled correctly ‘[insert band name] – [insert song title].mp3’.
Start with pitching to regional radio stations before anything else. If you’re from Cambridge, look into Cam 105 and see if you can find an email to send your music to them (refer to ‘How to get the right journalist and their email addresses’ as this works similarly for producers/presenters). As well as regional radio, look into hospital, student and online stations to build up your portfolio of plays.
As soon as you have your finished track and release date sorted, add the MP3 to Amazing Tunes and BBC Introducing. These uploaders are the perfect gateway to national radio play, with Amazing Radio supporting emerging artists and BBC Introducing working as a springboard to BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and even 1. If your track is picked up by either Amazing Radio or BBC Introducing, you’ll be notified by email, so you can listen in to it being played on air.
The major advantage of BBC Introducing is the leads it gives you to the national BBCs. If the track is picked up well on your local BBC, you may find that it’s aired on Tom Robinson’s BBC Radio 6 Music show – The BBC Introducing Mixtape. If it isn’t picked up naturally, you can always send it via Fresh On The Net but read through the submission process carefully –http://freshonthenet.co.uk/send/
In 2019, Spotify is the leading music streaming platform, with over 207 million active monthly users, so it’s key that your music is available for people to stream on here. Besides being uploaded to Spotify and letting the algorithm work in your favour by pushing it out to the masses, you can also pitch to Spotify Official playlists via the Spotify for Artists submission form. You need to be doing this at least 4 weeks prior to release, so you may need to push your distributor to get it uploaded for you. Once it’s available on Spotify for Artists, fill in the form in as much detail as possible, giving the editors something that will make them want to listen and potentially add it to their playlists.
Music PR isn’t impossible for musicians to do completely independently and still secure fantastic results, as long as you follow this step by step guide and invest the time into each area. A DIY Music PR campaign has an amazing ROI as you invest your time and in return you secure an online presence, revenue from streams and overall growth in number of fans.
How often do you see a friend has shared a music video on their social media? Ever wondered how to make sure it is your music video people are sharing?
This guide will cover every aspect of Social Media promotion for musicians by going in-depth in to concepts used by the biggest marketing agencies in the world to break artists in to the Top 40 charts, with the power of building a loyal fanbase.
I’m sure you will have heard it, not just from us but other music PR companies too that social media is a tremendous opportunity for bands and artists. In 2018, we don’t have the usual gatekeepers who decide whether you receive the mass exposure your music deserves, you can now be in complete control of your online music promotion.
Some of the biggest bands in the world tend to have the biggest personalities, such as Liam Gallagher or Alex Turner. It is these personalities which can shine through and add something that little bit special to a band above and beyond the quality of their music.
We understand that as musicians you aren’t constantly releasing music, and there can be a lot of downtime, so you need to have a strategy which allows you to create content for your audience even when you are busy in the studio or between releases.
Success on social media isn’t just about the content you create and the tips and hacks you’re going to learn in this guide, your mindset is the most important ingredient for the perfect social media strategy. A frequent misconception of social media success is that going ‘viral’ is the ultimate goal, however when was the last time you saw a music video go viral?
It is possible to get thousands of people to share your music video. In order to do this, you need to establish a core audience who are loyal fans and have gotten used to interacting and sharing with your social media content.
This is where the power of your mindset comes in to play, because the amount of work and persistence which is required to undergo a successful social media campaign means you need to be emotionally resilient and have an attitude which can keep creating content even though you may not receive the short-term success you were hoping for. Social Media is a long-term game.
Now that you’re in the right frame of mind to conquer this beast, let’s start talking strategy.
1. Create a strategy
Musicians and bands face an incredibly difficult conundrum on social media, as listening to new music requires the listener to be in a certain mood and in a place where they can listen to music without being disturbed, and these aren’t always the same conditions when you’re surfing social media. Especially as most platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have audio muted by default, so not only do you need people to pause and listen to your track, but you need them to unmute the video, which may not seem like a significant action, but getting people to take notice of social media content is something that corporations are investing millions in to achieving to help sell products, which shows how precise and impactful your strategy needs to be.
I really wish I could tell you that it is the music that does the talking when it comes to the success of your music, but from experience of music PR there is a whole entire realm of factors which can get you noticed, and the first one is your image as a band. I see this point in every music tips blog post I ever read, to “get your image right”,and it’s a very easy point to make but it’s not easy to do. So, let’s go a bit deeper in to this, here’s our best tips for getting your image right on social media.
1) Have the same images across all social media platforms
This is something we see very frequently, where an artist has different profile pictures for each platform, which may show variation, but it does not give the impression of a complete package. Maybe one band member set up the Twitter a few years ago and it hasn’t been updated, another member manages the Facebook and then Instagram became popular and that’s where you put all of your most recent imagery. The result of this can be very messy, especially for potential fans who may be fans on Instagram and have become accustomed to your image, they may immediately recognise you on Twitter as they scroll through recommended profiles and immediately hit the follow button.
2) Make use of Facebook cover videos
This is a new feature, which done well can really make your Facebook page look special. You can upload videos as cover photos, which can be either clips of your music videos, a custom looping video or an animation which advertising your next release or tour.
3) Get professional photography
You can always tell if an artist has attempted to do their own photoshoot, and we are a big advocator for using your own equipment to create content, but when it comes to branding and imagery you really should get it professionally done. There are some amazing photographers out there now who don’t actually charge a lot of money, especially if you find someone who is looking to build their portfolio or is fresh out of University.
4) Pay attention to detail
Once you have an idea of the look and feel you’d like your band to have, it’s important that this flows throughout your imagery, down to your location and clothing. We see mistakes such as bands who have chosen a location with a boring background or clothing which does not look unique and each band member has a style which clashes with the rest of the band.
2. Decide the content should you create
Your social media strategy needs to be implemented in groups of 10, that is 10 pieces of content which have been planned in advance. This is to ensure you have a plan which you stick to and don’t succumb to temptation to change or abandon the strategy before you have produced enough content to have a large enough sample size to analyse your results.
We encourage you to have a consistent image, but that doesn’t mean your content should be the same across all your social medias, in fact it is the opposite. Each social media platform has completely different dynamics, the people who are using Snapchat are in a completely different frame of mind to those on Facebook or YouTube, you need to find a way to tell your story across various platforms and mediums.
The 3 types of content you can create on Social Media
People love to follow stories and tend to take a keen interest in other people’s lives, this is why reality TV shows such as Big Brother and Love Island have become so popular.
You should be documenting your journey as an emerging band, creating a story of how you are just beginning, the successes, the setbacks, backstage, festivals. You can pre-plan the story which will be followed, what aspects of this story are important to you and how the content will be storyboarded. Be sure to take advantage of the characters within your band, everyone is individual, and it is the people that your potential fans will relate to.
The great thing about documenting is that it is happening 24/7 around you, there is always an opportunity to document as you are quite literally publishing whatever is happening around you.
People are always looking to learn and if you can provide that, it is a fantastic opportunity to build fans and loyalty. Does someone in your band have a particular talent, or have unique techniques for creating music?
This is a great opportunity to educate people who’d like to learn your skills, who will repay you by helping you promote your music video.
If you have the ability to entertain your potential fans with content, then this is absolutely the option to take. To achieve this, you need to have great personalities in the band, with a content structure which allows you to create a high standard of videos on a consistent basis, we’ll cover more on this later.
Develop 3 Key Themes
All successful social media profiles have themes throughout, whether they are sport related, political, business or music related. But themes don’t just have to be topics, they can be something that you feel passionate about such as a charity, or perhaps you have something to protest against. These themes give people something to relate to your content. Most people on social media aren’t actually looking to learn something new, or be persuaded to change their opinion, they are looking for content which reinforces an opinion they already have. This means you shouldn’t be thinking “this will be my theme because I think a lot of people will like that”, it actually works the opposite, you should decide your theme and let your audience find you. This way you can be sure you will come across as authentic and relatable to your potential audience.
One artist we worked with decided to create cover songs on his Facebook account, and asked for suggestions in the comments for his next song. The rule was that the suggestion which got the most likes he had to cover in his next video, which led to a lot of engagement and loyalty. It also gave the audience a sense of communication with him as they truly felt like each comment may result in a video being created just for them.
Once you have come up with 3 of these themes, you will find you are pulling in fans from each of the three themes as well as the quality of your music. It is important that you stick to these themes as although it may seem a little repetitive to you, people will feel comfortable with your content when they see content which they initially followed you to see.
3. Choose the right Social Media platform to promote your Music
It’s important to pick the right platform for you, and in most cases, it is better to choose which platform you’d like to focus on once you know your content strategy. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to you to manoeuvre each one in order to tell your story to your audience.
Facebook is the best platform for when you’re just starting out as the advertising functionality is the most powerful and diverse of all the platforms. You can post any form of content whether it is images, videos, text posts or even a live video.
Once you have posted this content, Facebook allows you to pay to advertise your content and page to a precisely targeted audience, which is the most efficient way to reach a new audience
Facebook has significantly changed the way they operate in the last few months, making it even more difficult to reach your existing audience. This means, unlike other platforms, people who are following your page aren’t definitely going to be shown your latest posts. Facebook can also be quite a distracting Social Media to use, with a lot going on at the screen at once with ads, notifications and messenger.
How to build an audience on Facebook
The best way to build your audience on Facebook is using their advertising platform. We explain how best to advertise on Facebook later on.
Twitter is a great platform for allowing you to communicate with your audience and have a conversation with potential fans. The instantaneous nature of the platform allows for short bursts of activity and engagement to discuss the latest trends.
Twitter has now become the worst social media for engagement and click throughs. If you were to build an audience of 20k followers and posted your latest music video, it is very likely that no more than 200 people would click the link. This is due to the fast pace of Twitter where people choose to look at it only when they want quick information, rather than watching a full video.
How to build an audience on Twitter
For short-term results we recommend getting started with the follow/unfollow technique, but don’t get too carried away with this, the easier a follower is to get the less valuable they are to you. You should gain valuable followers by creating great content, which gets likes and retweets, spreading awareness and gaining organic followers.
Instagram is the platform everyone wants to be hot on right now. It is the cheapest and easiest place to build an audience, with use of hashtags to help get discovered and Instagram stories and live videos to keep your fans engaged. Instagram is becoming one of the most important social networks to be posting content.
Instagram has one big drawback, which is that you cannot link away from Instagram itself. If you want to post a link to your latest music video it’s not possible to do without running an ad. One way around this is to add the link to your bio and direct your fans there, but this isn’t ideal for conversions.
How to build an audience on Instagram
Building an audience on Instagram is primarily about the right hashtags. Don’t be fooled in to thinking that the most popular hashtags are the best for you though, just because there are a lot of posts for that hashtag doesn’t mean people are necessarily searching it. There are Hashtag research tools you can use to help you find the right hashtags. Be sure to be posting frequent stories, as this may not gain you followers but the algorithm does favour accounts which are using the stories feature.
Snapchat is fantastic to get people’s attention. The way people use it means that they are 100% focussed on your content and there are zero distractions, which means that 1 follower on Snapchat is worth more than any follower on other social media platforms.
Snapchat’s user base is severely on the decline, with them focussing more so on established influencers. With no discovery features it makes it very difficult for emerging artists to be discovered.
How to build an audience on Snapchat
Snapchat is the most difficult platform to build an audience. We recommend funnelling fans through other social medias by promising exclusive content on Snapchat.
As this is where you will likely be uploading your music video to, it is the ultimate goal to gain a following on YouTube, once you have a subscriber base your fans will immediately be alerted of your new music video and will likely watch it.
YouTube’s algorithm is not designed for music, it is designed for ‘YouTubers’ who build a subscriber base by creating frequent videos. Therefore, uploading one video every few months means it will be difficult to trigger the algorithm to recommend your video to others.
How to build an audience on YouTube
YouTube is about being favoured by the algorithm. A lot of people think that YouTube suggests your video based on the number of views, but it’s actually based on minutes-watched. So, if viewers are watching your videos to the very end, you are more likely to be ranked higher than those who watch the first 5 seconds and click another video. This is why it is important not to buy fake views.
Twitch deserves a special mention due to the rapid growth it has seen recently. Originally a platform to watch others play video games, Twitch has opened up to other types of content such as music. You can now build an audience entirely by streaming your music composition live.
4. Establish which mediums to use for your content
Remember with all of your content you need to be adding value to your potential fans. Montage videos which show how great your band is, or behind the scenes of the filming of your music video is actually taking from your audience rather than giving, as it is essentially an advertisement for your video. These videos only work with your loyal fans. We’re focussing on how to build new fans for your band.
Videos are by far the most difficult to get right, you need to have a storyline planned out for the video as well as enough character and energy to keep the fans watching until the end.
Successful videos come with great planning, you need to know exactly what is going to happen in each video, with a compelling beginning, middle and end.
Cover videos, if chosen wisely can provide a fantastic opportunity to attract potential fans to become familiar with your band, by covering a track that they’d like to hear. The selection of the track is the most important part. The primary mistake we see is bands who cover songs that are currently in the charts because they assume people will be searching for that song and decide to listen to their cover, however this rarely happens. It would be best to either choose a track which was very popular around 10-20 years ago which instigates nostalgia with potential fans or create a cover of a track from a completely different genre and make it your own.
Stay local and look for collaboration opportunities which both provide the foundation for entertainment as well as distribution. For example, perhaps the band need to de-stress before their big gig, so they visit the local meditation centre to focus and relax.
Maybe the band would like to perfect their stage presence, so they go to the local theatre to get lessons in theatrical acting.
Has a new cool chocolate fondue place just opened in your town? Take the band with you and check it out and film the results!
These 3 ideas have the grounding to provide great content and allow the entertaining content to form naturally, as well as providing a distribution outlet as the collaboration will likely share the video on their own socials, and also attract attention from various interest groups.
Bonus Tip: Don’t have a camera or have any knowledge of video editing?
There are so many students coming out of film school who are looking to build their portfolio. Many of which would jump at the opportunity of having content to film and edit to make their own and add it to their portfolio, so don’t be afraid to look for volunteers.
Blogs are still very much alive, and once you have your 3 key themes you can actually start a blog on behalf of your band. There are so many distribution channels for text-based content such as Medium, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Reddit. This extra exposure can help you in building a mailing list, which you can then promote your new music video to.
Images are the easiest content to create and post, however unfortunately it is difficult to build your fan-base through images alone.
If you content is going to be primarily image-based, the images need to be a step above other bands. You may need to include text within your images, which follow your key themes, allowing people to interact and comment on each image. If people do comment on your content, you should always respond to each and every engagement, this not only favours the algorithms but gives you a chance of converting another fan.
5. Distribute your content to an audience
Now that you have a content strategy and created your content, you need to know how to get it out there. There are multiple options for publicising your content and you need to have decided which routes you are taking during the planning of your content. Distribution should never be an afterthought.
The most sustainable method of promoting your content is using the resources that are already at your disposal within each platform. So, if you already have an initial fan base you can post your content on your social media, with additional reach using hashtags if you’re posting on a site such as Twitter and Instagram. It is recommended to try to get some organic momentum first before investing money because you want to be able to show that the content will generate engagement as well convincing the algorithms that people are willing to engage in this content.
This is where you find social media users who have previously shared similar content to your own. By finding people who are at a similar (or slightly higher) level to yourselves, you can search Twitter and Facebook to find people who liked the content so much they shared it. You can use websites such as Buzzsumo which allows you to take the content links and reverse search them, so you can easily find people with large audiences who have shared the link.
Once you have found them, you can simply reach out with a message such as:
“Hi [Insert Name], I noticed you shared that amazing video by [insert content creator], we actually made something similar and we really hope you enjoy it”.
As you already know that the person is willing to share this type of content if they like it, there is no need to push them to share it.
Word of mouth is the strongest form of marketing, which means this can be a very effective tool to have in your arsenal. You can find people with high follower accounts to give you shout-outs on social media and share your content. This can cost from between £30 – £2,000 depending on how large and engaged their audience is. Always be sure to choose an influencer who has an audience which is relevant to your content. You can use platforms such as Famebit to find people willing to share your content.
Collaborating with other content creators who have a fan base which may become fans of your band (and vice versa) allows you to get together to create better content than you could have on your own. For example, you could create ‘Battle of the Bands’ videos where you compete with other bands on challenges, it could be music related or something completely different.
These collaborations allow you to both create better content than what you would have been able to alone, as well as exchanging exposure with each other’s fan base, which results in you both gaining more fans.
Facebook advertising strategy
The final option is paid advertising through Facebook and Instagram.
As mentioned earlier, for artists it isn’t easy to get people to pay attention to you on social media, what makes your band worth listening to compared to the last band that invested a bunch of cash in to getting on your newsfeed?
The earlier the stage in the funnel, the more content you need to create. You only get one shot at asking your audience to listen to your track, hit them with it too early and the loyalty won’t be strong enough, or perhaps they listen but don’t share it with their friends. Timing is everything.
The truth is, that cold advertising your music video achieves very little, and Facebook will happily tell that you that you have achieved 100,000 views, however that only means 100,000 people have watched 3 seconds of your video…which is useless to you.
You need to be creating content which engages your audience and encourages people to interact. Social Media isn’t about bragging your successes such as radio play, press coverage or festival spots, you need to create a story for people to follow. Create a funnel which begins with raising awareness of your band all the way down to them listening to your music. It should look something like this:
Objective: Raising Awareness
The objective of this phase is to raise awareness of your band, maybe they won’t actually choose to follow your band at this point, but that’s fine, all we need is for them to know you exist and register your name/brand.
Content: Shorter images and videos
This is the high-volume content which you are able to put out frequently. We haven’t earned enough respect from the audience to be rewarded with a long period of their attention, so this content needs to be impactful from the very beginning. It could best be described as the teasers to the content you have to come soon or bitesize versions.
Examples of content could be short videos or images with text which surrounds one of your chosen themes, clips from previous large pieces of content or something that introduces your audience to one of the key themes
Objective: Familiarising your audience
Now that your audience are aware you exist, they may be willing to give your content a chance as you’ve come up on their social media feed quite often. This is where you begin to retarget your audience to only those who have viewed your previous content as well as people who already like/follow your page. This ensures that your longer and more in-depth content is not wasted on people who have never heard of you, and therefore would be useless to promote your music to.
Content: Longer and more in-depth
As you have the strength of your brand awareness behind you, you can now attempt to add value to people’s lives by publishing the best content you possibly can, this will be longer and more in-depth pieces of content, and I’m not just talking about videos, this could be blog posts or images with detailed text on them, any content which takes a little more time to consume.
Objective: Hit them with your release
This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for, sending out your music to your new fan base. Now that you have created loyalty and added value to your fans, they will now be intrigued enough to listen to the new release of your music, if they like it they will most likely share it, just like they have with your other content.
Content: Promoting your music
This one is self-explanatory, but you can now promote your music to your audience with the confidence that you are likely to get a lot of shares from your fan base. You can either upload your music video directly to Facebook which will result in more views, or you can direct people to the video on YouTube to generate more views and hope to trigger the YouTube algorithm.
This is the same strategy used by major corporations and marketing agencies to convert to sales, you need to build awareness and loyalty, so your fan base is strong enough to share your video. Simply asking people to share the video isn’t enough.
Without a strategy, creating content can be incredibly difficult, an idea or opportunity something isn’t going to present itself every single day, even the best YouTubers in the world admit that their daily vlogs have a script which they follow to ensure they get the footage they need. So, you need to have a structure which allows you to create this consistent content.
Hiring a music PR company to promote your release is a fantastic opportunity to raise your profile, securing high quality press and reach a wider audience, but it can also mean investing a sizeable amount of money, so it’s key you don’t waste the opportunity. The campaign could be what gets you to the next level, however you must help your music PR company along the way if you want to see the results, so here are 5 simple tips which will mean your next music PR campaign will secure the best results possible and is worth the investment.
1. Make Sure your Music is at its Best Quality
Before you approach a music PR company, make sure your music is top-notch, so the publicist has your best material to work with, reaching your full potential. The best music PR companies are bombarded with music from artists across the world, so make sure that your material is at its best, so it stands out amongst the rest and can have the most talented publicists on board. Far too many artists want to just get music out there and throw money at music PR companies to attempt to push them to the next level. However, it’s essential this music is a true representation of you, your sound and what you can bring to the industry, so you need to be spending time, money and effort on the material before doing anything else.
To be creating the best quality music, you need to be either investing your time or your money into the project. Investing your time, means learning a digital audio software to create your own music. There’s so many on offer nowadays and the internet has the educational material to teach you how to use them, so if you have the time, you can create high quality music simply from your bedroom! However, if you don’t have the time, you’ll need to invest money into the professionals and the studio time. Either is completely fine but whichever you choose, you need to guarantee that the music is at as high a quality as possible, so you can get the best results out of your music PR campaign.
2. Have All Your Other Assets Sorted
Although your music should be the main focus and be at its best, you also need the other assets alongside it. These assets are high res images, social media content, a distributor for the release and an artist bio. All of these things are essential to your music PR company as it can be what secures the press and helps get picked up by a major publication. Often, people will notice an email just from the main image alone, so these assets can be the make or break as to whether your promotional campaign is a success. The more your music PR team have to work with, the easier their job will be.
Collect all of these assets before the campaign so your music PR company can start working on the release as soon as possible and not have to wait around for you to get everything together. These items also don’t need to be expensive as you can take images yourself, write the artist bio with the help of Google and find a distributor online who can upload the track, ready for release date in minutes. All of these things take time but are essential and will be what impacts your campaign massively, so focus on putting in the effort so they’re at a high quality to match the quality of the music.
3. Know What you Want to Gain from the Campaign
Before you start any music PR campaign, make sure you know what you want to gain from it. Whether you have target media in mind or a certain number of streams, tell your music PR firm so they know what their targets are too. Be realistic but challenge the team at the same time. If you’re an artist that has zero coverage, don’t set the target of a front-page feature in a national newspaper, focus more on your niche and genre, whilst setting challenging targets that you’d love to achieve alongside your team.
Also know what you’ve hired the music PR company to do. If their specialities lie purely in press, then they won’t be securing radio play. Therefore, you need to hire a music PR company that specialise in what you want to achieve, so you know you have the best professionals working towards your targets.
Knowing what you want to achieve doesn’t necessarily mean having a number in mind. Each target may need a different way of measuring it. For example, measuring success on Spotify can only be done by seeing the number of streams but measuring success in press, doesn’t always mean the number of features but instead the quality of the features. You should aim for quality over quantity with the press side of things as 3 major blogs that have written in-depth features on your next release is worth much more than hundreds of features on small blogs that are just copy and pasting your press release.
4. Stay in Touch With your Music PR Company
If you’re working with a music PR company, you need to stay in touch with them constantly via email or phone. Without overdoing it, don’t be afraid to check in so you’re filled in on the progression of the campaign. However, you shouldn’t push your music PR team so that you’re emailing or calling every second, give them space to work and push your project as much as they can. You’d rather they spent their time working on the campaign and not talking to you all day!
Your music PR company should also be sending reports to outline who they’re speaking with and what coverage is coming through. Different companies send reports in different ways and at different times, but you should be expecting an update at least every 2 weeks so make sure you’re not emailing the day before asking for an update as the report is coming your way.
5. Promote your Promotion
It’s the job of a music PR company to gain promotion around your release but you also need to promote that promotion, so it reaches as many people as possible, you’re building relationships with the media by sharing the coverage and also allowing your fans to see that a release is out or coming soon.
To be promoting the coverage your music PR company have secured, you need to keep an eye on social media to see if the publications have tagged you in anything. If they have, make sure you share and reply/comment thanking them, so you build a rapport and show your appreciation.
Another way to building on the promotion you’ve secured is by creating your own social media content around the coverage secured. For example, if your music PR team confirmed a premiere on a high readership blog, you could get the publications logo and add it to a press image of yourself and share it on your socials. By doing this, your fans are prepared to see it premiere and you seem more credible as you’re being premiered by a large site.
6. Listen to your Music PR Team’s Advice
If you’re with a professional, established music PR company, they’re going to have years of experience of working with artists and knowing how to gain them strong exposure, so you need to let them advise you on how to progress and be open to what they have to suggest. You may disagree with them with what single to release first or what main image to run with for the press release but discuss it with them, rather than ignoring their ideas as they are the professionals and will have a reason for what they’re suggesting to you. Create that working relationship that you want for future projects by taking onboard any advice so you can progress together and hit your long-term goal.
The relationship between an artist and their music marketing company should be a close one, as your team should understand your aims, story and image so well that they can portray it to the media in a way which secures the best possible results. If your team know what you want to achieve, know what you’re about and what you want to portray to the world, then they know what’s best for you, so take any advice given to you so you can progress together.
A music PR company can make you blow up overnight but only if you’re following all of these tips, working alongside your team and taking advantage of every single opportunity given to you. If you follow these 5 simple tips, you’ll find your next music PR campaign to be your most successful one, securing the best results possible and building a relationship with your team, which will result in more amazing campaign in the future.
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