How to promote your music OUTSIDE of blogs: 5 artists share their advice
Tried and tested tips and pieces of advice from some incredibly successful independent artists.
As an independent artist, it can seem that the only way for your music to reach a wider audience outside of playlists is through music blogs. Although blogs are incredibly valuable resources, there is a vast amount that you can (and have to) do yourself outside of these mediums in order to get as much traction as possible for your releases. Below are some tried and tested tips and pieces of advice from some incredibly successful independent artists, to help you promote your music outside of blogs.
DO - GET PERSONAL
Darce - Rapper/Songwriter/Singer
- Find individual radio presenters that play the type of music you make, read up on them before reaching out and let them know why you are a fan of what they do. Radio is a big one for independent artists.
- Let people know who you are and what you are up to, so having a visual identity is key. There are so many creative ways to do this; make sure you have video footage of events like radio interviews, create highlights of your shows and maybe even create your own vlog. Hell, I would encourage you to make some memes! Give people a reason to follow you, and to stay engaged.
- Finally, a great way to make new fans is to chat to them after gigs so make sure you hang around and tell them where they can find you. You never know who you could meet!
Photo Nicholas O Donnell
DON’T – TRY TO OPERATE ALONE
Ryan Kershaw - Co-founder of Goldirocks, award winning musician and music educator
- An area that is often overlooked by independent artists, is the idea of ‘Jumping into a bigger system' and aligning yourself with it.
- What that means, is becoming a member of an existing organization, for example, as an intern at a label or becoming part of a large network in which they already have a strong infrastructure in place, alongside a large platform to share with. That way, when you release something new, you get to advertise to their vast network for free (for example a mention or news release in the associations newsletter or social media), but you also get to be around professionals and learn as you do this. To sum it up, 'jumping into a bigger system' is a great way to learn, to network, to make new friends with similar interests and to promote your music. This can be applied to any genre and skillset - it goes for Hip Hop producers, engineers that like old school Dub, Guitarists into Djent or Acid Jazz, or composers who create soundscapes and experimental ambient textures. It works for everyone!
- An example here is myself and Music New Zealand. I started by attending their events and signing up for their newsletter. Then as I got more involved I was able to put my hand up for opportunities, which led to me being elected to the board. This meant that I was able to meet with A&Rs from major labels, festival directors from some of the largest music festivals in the world and Radio Programmers from Australia, the U.K, the U.S and more.
DO – COLLABORATE WITH OTHER ARTISTS
1000 Beasts - Genre bending music producer and multi-instrumentalist
- I think collaboration and networking with your peers and people you admire is a great way to promote your music. I've met some fantastic artists and musicians in the Irish scene who I'd now call friends - simply by talking with them and learning from them you can learn so much on how to best promote your music. By co-releasing also, it increases your audience to reach a much wider fanbase that you may not have originally had.
- I also have a bit of an ethos also where I think it's more important to focus on just making your craft as good as it can be and not to over worry about promotion or social media. In five years time, I'd rather have a solid catalogue of music that I've consistently outputted and am proud of, rather than just seeing the follow counter on my instagram go up - if you pay attention to the former, the latter will take care of itself. People are really helpful and friendly though - my most important advice would be, don't be afraid to reach out and just connect with people.
Photo by @stevenpower
DON’T - RULE OUT RADIO
Mathman - Music producer, Beat maker and DJ
- Don't think that radio plays or play listing is beyond you or your music. At every station there are always dedicated specialist shows, presenters who support new talent. I've had a lot of success in Ireland and internationally by contacting the right people with my music. The support then continues as you begin to build relationships with people off the strength of your music.
- If you're serious about your music and really want to get it out there - begin by trawling the internet for email addresses for the shows and presenters that are most likely to support your music (Don't send you new trap track to the country & western show or your new club cut to the hard news and current affairs presenter). Be smart about where and who you aim your time at. Identify key people and shows, find their emails and contact them directly in a professional and pleasant way. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain.
Within this email make sure you send:
- Your final mixed and mastered track (no demos or unfinished material)
- A radio version of your track with no profanity (allows presenters or shows to play during the day and not just after 9pm)
- A short but thorough bio on yourself
- A picture
- Links to videos, website or interviews elsewhere
- Details on any forthcoming shows or project releases (Live shows, EP or album)
Photo by Anthony O Connor
DO - THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Craic Boi Mental - Producer, rapper and media creator
- When it comes to promoting your music, always try to think outside the box. Don’t play it safe and do what everyone else is doing. Stand out - be loud and proud about who you are and what your music represents.
- Understanding your audience goes a very long way also. Get a strong sense of who your fans are - what they respond to addition to who they are. Being aware of these aspects and planning ahead with this information will get you very far in your music career.
Here are just some ways of promoting your music OUTSIDE of blogs - if you have anything to add let us know in the comments!
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