How to Promote Your Music as a Performing Songwriter

 

If you’re a singer songwriter who wants to get your music heard by lots of people, there are a few key steps you can take to get the ball rolling.  Maybe you have already done some of them, maybe you are just starting to develop a plan. 

Regardless, the important thing is to start somewhere.  Even if your budget is like most creatives, small, or less than you would like, you can get going doing the following things by yourself.

Taking the below items, and working on them to showcase you and your music, you will have a the basics of a marketing plan before you know it.

Fire up your digital marketing.

You want people to find you right? Well, you have to be where THEY are, which for most people, on social media. You know better than anyone where your peeps hang out and what channels they live on.  Go there! 

Start with the channels you feel most comfortable posting on, then tackle all the major social media platforms to connect with your ideal future fan. Create videos on short-form music-driven apps, like Tik Tok, that creatively iuse of your songs.

 You Need an EPK (electronic press kit)

It isn’t only artists that need a press kit, everybody needs and electronic press kit these days.  Why?  Because you need to have all your information in one place for people to access.  Especially when you’re pitching yourself and your music, you want to make it super easy for someone to see what you look like, hear what your music sounds like, where you’ve played and of course, who you are. 

It’s your digital resume – full of great promo materials  you can send to music industry influencers and playlist curators..This provides everyone – record labels, agents, producers, venue bookers, and the media with everything they need to know about you as an artist. Your EPK should include an artist bio, photos, videos, press releases, contact information, and any upcoming gigs.

You Need A Website

Speaking of digital discovery, you need either a songwriter, artist or band website to give music fans a place to discover your catalog. Make sure to include any performing and tour dates, an artist bio, a discography, links to buy your stuff, links to your social channels and email list, new releases, a link to your EPK (electronic press kit), and links to where fans can listen to your new music.

Get Your Music on streaming platforms.

Sign up for artist accounts on all major music streaming platforms and upload your high quality, produced tracks to give the public an easy place to listen to your work. You can also track the popularity of your songs via artist dashboards.

Email Marketing is a MUST.

An email list is an essential music promotion tool to promote new work as you create it. Most importantly, you OWN the data so this is the most important tool you have.  Social platforms own your data, and if they go down or go away, you’re screwed.

You should collect emails every place you can. Include an easily visible sign-up form on your website to build up your marketing list. Hand out flyers and display in-person sign-up sheets at your live shows.

One of the best ways to encourage people to sign up for your email list is to give your subscribers exclusive perks like new music discount codes or pre-sale access to concerts to incentivize sign-ups. Once you build a solid list of subscribers, use email marketing to promote new releases, announce tour dates, and give general updates on your music.

Contact and pitch music blogs.

Getting covered on influential music blogs can level up your music career and grow your fan base. Look for niche blogs that promote and review you style of music.Start with a few smaller blogs to get a feel for what they’re looking for, and to develop a relationship with the editor or writers. 

When you’re writing messages to music bloggers, provide them with a brief description of your sound, your EPK, and links to your most successful tracks.

Find playlist curators.

Playlist curators who like your music can be one of the fastest ways to build new fans and a following.  People visit or use playlists they know, like and trust so you want to get yourself on a playlist you think serves your listening audience.

If they’re already going to a known playlist to get their music jam on, then get to know the various playlist curators who live in your genre.  Start small and reach out with a song or two.  Don’t send them every song you’ve recorded. That is the fastest way to get blocked. 

And just like A&R people, the biggest curators tend to know each other and share feedback and new music they love.  Don’t be the one they say ‘ yeah and if this person contacts you – delete’ about.

Live Shows Build Fans and Audiences

See and hearing is believing. By performing live, you have a chance to develop a fan base and interact with listeners. When you’re first starting out, most likely you’ll have to play in small venues like local coffee shops and bars. But the more often you play, and the more people come to your shows, you will be able to move to larger clubs or venues.

Once your fan base grows large enough, you can use your email list and social media channels to determine which cities to perform in and schedule dates at venues.

Make a Video

Video is king, Releasing a really good music video is one of the best ways to promote your music online. Be creative with your video concept.  Think about a hook to make it shareable, such as theming it around a recent viral meme trend or filming it in a single complex take.

Don’t worry if you have limited resources. Phones are so good now you can even get someone you trust to simply shoot a live performance. Then use a good photo/editing app to edit the video. Share clips from your music videos on your social channels, and host them on your website.

4 tips for getting music sync placements

From the Reverbnation Blog (edited)

Landing a big sync placement can give you much-needed financial support and exposure for your music as an artist, but it’s not easy. These opportunities are usually hard to come by because of the overwhelming amount of music that’s out there coupled with how many artists there are with the same goals as you.

But this doesn’t mean all hope is lost when it comes to finding opportunities to get your music licensed. 

1. Don’t forget about smaller placements, especially if you’re

developing your experience 

Not all sync placements are the same, especially in 2022. Getting a song picked up for a car commercial can be career-changing for an artist, but it’s an extremely rare occurrence. 

Smaller placements and micro-licensing opportunities won’t provide massive amounts of money or exposure, but they can help fund your career and bring your music attention in smaller ways. 

Making your songs available for small companies and independent content creators is helpful for showing music supervisors who might be in charge of bigger placements what your music looks and sounds like in media contexts. If you’ve never had your music licensed before, working with a micro-licensing company is a good place to start.

2. Make sure your sound has an intentional mood and

direction

In 2022, your music does not have to be recorded and produced

in a multi-million dollar studio in order to be licensed. But

creating music with a clear direction in mood, production

style, and genre will increase your chances at finding sync

opportunities in a big way. 

 

  • Choose a sound and deliver it consistently to the best of your ability, whether it’s something radio-friendly or more lofi.
  •  A consistent approach will help curators know how to categorize your music and envision how it best fits with their projects. 

Your latest single might not be a good fit for someone’s upcoming placement, but if someone likes what you’re doing, they’ll consider you for upcoming opportunities. 

 

3. Take an active approach to pitching your music (Don’t

assume music supervisors will find you)

If you wait for music supervisors and sync placement agencies to find you, your music may never get licensed. Similar to pitching to blogs, it might seem like sharing your music for music placement consideration is a waste of time, but it’s not.

 

If your work is good enough, someone will eventually listen and choose to work with you. Keep in mind that doing this takes a lot of time, research, and follow up, but it’s worth it.

 

4. Think about the needs of content creators, but don’t come

off as inauthentic 

 

Doing this requires a delicate balancing act. You don’t want to force yourself to sound a certain way, but creating music that’s obscure, cryptic, and self-indulgent will be a lot harder to sync than music that’s accessible

 

If finding opportunities for your music to be featured in commercials, TV, and movies is a big priority, listen closely to the songs that you hear in the media you consume. This will give you an idea of what’s being chosen and the function songs provide for music supervisors. 

 

Sync opportunities are hard for many musicians to get, but they aren’t impossible to find. This is an area of music that rewards independent musicians for making as much great, consistent music as they can and doing the tireless work of getting it heard by the right people.

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