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How to Promote Your Music Online


Create and publish Music has never been easier, but promoting your work has never been more confusing. Should you focus on TikTok or touring? Is online promotion worth your time when you don’t have many followers?

To crack the code, we talked to indie musicians, marketers, fashionistas, and even professors. While there’s no guaranteed formula for success, we’ve found a wealth of tips and tricks for musicians of all kinds. Let’s dive into the water.

join playlist

Streaming is by far the most popular way people consume music today, and adding the right playlist can make your music career. Although anyone can create a playlist on Spotify or Apple Music, only a small group of people have a large following. How can you be a big name if you don’t have your own pop playlist?

Services like SubmitHub and Playlist Push allow you to submit to playlist creators, music bloggers, and social media influencers. SubmitHub has free and paid submission options, but playlist push is paid only. Playlists like IndieMono and Alexrainbirdmusic offer various types of free submissions. While Spotify doesn’t allow playlist owners to charge for inclusion, it appears to allow (or at least tolerate) submission fees.

Do these strategies work? Yes, but artists should be prepared to “go through a lot of rejection,” said Jonathan Teeter, frontman of the indie band Films on Song in Charlottesville, Virginia. One addition to the playlist BIRP.FM brought more than 10,000 streams to his band’s single “Ritual Day.” “Having to pay $1-3 to submit via SubmitHub isn’t ideal, but it can be helpful if you know which bloggers and influencers like what.”

Rejection is part of the game, and it’s important to keep your jaw down. “Music is art. Art is hard,” said KCRW radio DJ Jason Kramer, one of the first fashionistas to spot Billie Eilish and Finneas. “Artists just have to be them. Play what they need to play,” he continued, “take the chance and don’t be afraid.”

Create your own playlist

You don’t have to rely on other people’s playlists to listen to. On Spotify and Apple Music, if a playlist is public, anyone can find and follow it. The exact algorithm is not public, but playlists whose names are based on iconic lyrics, new albums, locations or feelings (such as “New York Autumn Vibes”) seem to occasionally perform well on Spotify, even for users without fans. Seemingly without trying, some users created playlists that got thousands of listeners. Artists can post their favorite playlists to their artist profiles, gain new followers and show off their favorite tracks. Apple Music doesn’t show a playlist’s follower count, so it’s harder to tell which strategies are working there.

Which playlist are you on? The Apple Music for Artists and Spotify for Artists apps will give you song play counts, information about playlists you’ve added to, and other useful information.

Use resources from streaming services

Apple Music for Artists has a page with tips and tools for promoting your work. You can even create your own QR code to link to your song or album. Spotify has a similar resource called a code generator, and they even explain how to submit a song for inclusion in a playlist. SoundCloud also has a page with tips to help creators monetize and promote their music. QR codes that link to streaming or social are great for stickers, posters or other promotional materials.

Collaborate on tracks and covers

Featured and collaborative songs are probably the most common in hip-hop, but no matter the genre, they can be a great way to grow your audience.For example, indie rock group Surfer Blood released a cooked, which features other artists covering their songs. In addition to the page of the artist who made the cover, the tracks also appear on Surfer Blood’s page, maximizing everyone’s exposure.

Covering a well-known song can be another great way to attract new listeners. This article is not legal advice, but keep in mind that if you cover a song, you must pay royalties to the song’s creator. Fortunately, a service like DistroKid can handle that for you.

develop your image

Social media has become so important to music promotion that even artists who died decades ago have active Instagram profiles. While it’s a powerful tool for artists, music influencer Ari Elkins cautions artists not to ignore their music. “Getting thousands of followers on TikTok is exciting, but it’s crucial that those followers exist for your music, not just for irrelevant viral videos that have nothing to do with you as an artist. “

While social media can bring success, the game is always changing. Cehryl is a Hong Kong-based indie pop artist who originally uploaded her own recordings to SoundCloud and now has a recording contract on Spotify and over 100,000 monthly listeners. But she warns that what worked before may not work now. “If I were starting from scratch today, I wouldn’t be starting with SoundCloud. I’d just distribute it to all streaming platforms and promote it mostly on Instagram.”

What strategy should you use when you’re on TikTok or Instagram? “It’s not just likes,” says Kas Robinson, a social media strategist in Sydney, Australia, noting that social media algorithms take into account factors such as “time spent on content, engagement, and number of shares and saves.” If you Not sure what to do, Kas recommends getting started right away. “Give yourself a starting point and work on improving your content over time.”

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