Guestpost by Karkille – music producer and mastering engineer based in Milan, Italy. The avid ForTunes user runs a blog with tips and tricks to help artists navigate today’s music business.
Do you know how many artists, musicians and producers currently live on planet earth? ASCAP and BMI, two of the world’s biggest artists organizations currently have more than 1,5 million active members combined.
Of course no one knows exactly how many of them are still completely undiscovered, but my guess is that most of them have yet to see any significant form of success. But you probably already suspected this, so the more important question to ask ourselves is: Why?
I personally know dozens of super talented artists, who struggled getting anywhere with their music and that ended up getting sucked back into the dreaded plan B. So, if it’s not a lack of talent, what could possibly be the reason why it’s hard for many musicians to build a music career?
THE DISCOVERY FACTOR
People LOVE making excuses for their failures. I don’t know about you, but throughout my career I’ve heard or read online dozens of artists complaining and saying things like:
“Oh, It’s all luck!”
“They knew the right people who helped them reach success”
“They paid thousands of dollars to get exposed to millions of people”
And while there are some isolated cases where these sentences apply, I think it’s important to remember that these are exceptions, and as such, they cannot possibly constitute something to base your entire music promotion approach on!
Now, let me get this straight. Being the sons of someone with contacts in the entertainment business or having millions of dollars to jumpstart a music career can definitly help!
But what if you don’t have access to either of them?
BAD NEWS FIRST
It’s 2020 and yes, unfortunately the competition has become fierce. There are thousands, if not millions of artists, and they are all trying to compete for the attention of people on social media and streaming platforms.
The window is closing and the more time passes, the more the competition grows, as more and more people get access to the basic tools and knowledge needed to make music.
BUT THERE’S ALSO GOOD NEWS
Very few artists actually are willing to learn how the music business works, and then put in the work to build a professional music career from scratch. You see, most people are just plain lazy and will never go to the trouble it takes to promote music the right way.
They wait for people to come to them. They think it’s up to a manager or a label to promote their music. And they make excuses why they don’t have the resources to do so.
But luckily you are not “most people”! You are smart, you are resourceful and you are driven! And that’s why I want to help you by sharing this music promotion beginners guide.
THE MUSIC PROMOTION BEGINNERS GUIDE
If you haven’t been blessed with contacts in the music industry, crazy amounts of money, or a godsent “luck”, it just means one simple thing: You have to work your ass off to enable yourself to be in a place where you can get a real opportunity and know the right people that would later help them on your journey.
Like I always say: Hard work leads to luck.
But enough talking now! You wanna know how to promote your music in 2020, so here’s a music promotion beginners guide I developed for a few of my artist friends, and that helped them finally start building the foundations of their music success!
Build a database of the people who can help you reach more fans.
These include YouTube channels, radios, blogs, DJs, Spotify playlist curators, promotion agencies and various social media influencers. My advice is to start with people at your level. Don’t try to score the biggest blog or the hottest influencer, because chances are they aren’t interested in working with you.
Instead, start small and build your way up: Shoot for Instagram influencers with less than 30K followers at the beginning and try to contact smaller blogs and more niche YouTube channels.
I’ve made a free Google sheet template just for you with a few added things to keep in mind for your release schedule.
Build relationships with the right curators, promoters and influencers by reaching out in the right way and focusing on building a long-term relationship.
Now, this is the tricky part. The biggest mistake you can make at this point is just to DM or email people and ask for help before ever have done anything for them. It’s basic human psychology really, but to help you in this tricky part, I wrote another article covering how to network and build relationships in the music industry.
Upload your music & set the release date for a month later. Then submit it with Spotify 4 Artists and reach out to all your contacts. It’s crucial you submit your music to the stores at least 3-4 weeks before the release date.
Here’s why: The only way you can land a Spotify editorial playlist placement is by submitting your music through Spotify for artists.
If you are new to the music industry you may not know that the guys over at Spotify receive more than 25 thousand of submissions everyday. This means that if you send your music a week before the release date, they’ll simply have no time to even play your track, and you’ll have missed an opportunity for a huge free placement!
Use platforms like SubmitHub and Daily Playlists, attend events and pay for ads to target new potential fans.
If you want a list of all the places where you can submit your music, you can refer back to another article I wrote, containing the best online resources for music artists & producers.
Send your music to the people you have networked with, aka the contacts in your list. Remember to attach a link for them to download your artist press kit (A zip file containing a few images, your bio and achievements).
Convert listeners into fans by releasing music often & sharing entertaining content on social media in between your releases.
Now, this is key. You don’t just want to release music once a year. If you really want to build a successful music career, you need to be putting out music regularly. Also you need to be sharing content on social media, to convert casual listeners into die-hard fans, who’ll support you throughout your journey by consistently streaming your music and going to your live shows.
Repeat steps 1 through 6 for every release and remember: everyone starts at zero! This is where I see most projects fail. Most artists release a few songs, but after they see they haven’t seen any major success, they quit!
I know it’s hard, but the only way forward is to keep your head down, stay motivated and continue releasing.
WAIT, NO EASY FIX THEN?
I know, you probably were hoping for a quick and easy fix that could help you promote your music effortlessly. Unfortunately, this is the music business and there is no such thing as a magic pill.
There’s simply no way around doing the hard work, building the connections and consistently do what almost no one is willing to do. Like I said in the beginning: this is a long-term game, and this means that you start small, and you build your way up: one fan at a time.
With each new release you build upon the fanbase currently have right now, and with each new listener, you get one more chance to get another new loyal fan – and always keep this music promotion beginners guide in mind.
Remember, if it was easy, everybody would be famous!
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