Learning how to promote online music and music IRL requires a completely different set of skills. Certain strategies work better in one space than another, but one factor is clear – promotion strategies in both spaces are essential.
Below we will dive into some of the best platforms and strategies to guide your plan for online music promotion. Promoting your music online comes with its own set of special abilities, but with these proven tips, you will have no trouble achieving new sets of ears.
Essential platforms for promoting your music
In today’s music industry, social media is an important ingredient. The ways of promoting music, in general, have shifted sharply due to this massive reorientation within the music industry. A big change is that labels no longer contract artists. They draw fan bases.
This means you’ll need to prove that you’re marketable and strong enough to build a fan base before an A&R will consider talking to you (assuming finding a big label is your goal). While this power shift brings more work for artists, it also gives musicians more influence over the types of deals they sign, which can be invaluable over the course of their lives.
Label or not, learning how to promote music online is just another essential skill for serious musicians. Here are some key platforms that host some of the best ways to promote your music:
Reddit may not be the first place you think of when it comes to music promotion, but the thread-based platform is a great place to promote your music and connect with other musicians. Threads like Music Promotion are a great place to start! Here, you can get upvotes that help your thread get promoted to more people on Reddit. What is Reddit Upvote? You can learn more here.
You can also find fans of similar artists through subthreads to find new fans.
TikTok has completely changed the music industry as we know it. Old and new songs have turned into global hits overnight, simply because of the power of this app. That said, it’s very beneficial to post your music and build a fan base on TikTok. As with most other social media, the algorithm rewards you for posting consistently.
It can feel overwhelming to create short videos quite consistently, but like any other skill, it’s something you can learn and successfully integrate into your daily routine. This app has immense pushing power for the music industry, so even if you only get one new fan a day, it’s definitely worth your time. Use the power of your music, trends, and collaboration features like “duet” and “stitch” to build your fan base.
Spotify, Apple Music, and other DSPs
The vast majority of listeners will jam to your music on digital streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music through playlists and liked songs. Therefore, it is essential that you take the time to upload to these sites through a distribution service such as Distrokid or with the help of your team.
Note that Spotify offers artists the ability to have their tracks heard for editorial consideration before the release date. Apple Music doesn’t offer the same capability, but independent artists can still end up on editorial playlists if you commit to music promotion and visibility. To give your music the best chance of reaching tastemakers and playlists, make sure your music is delivered to these platforms at least a month before the release date.
Discord is a great way to give your fans a space that is independent of algorithms. This channel allows you to connect directly with fans, and build a self-sufficient fan base. You can share exclusive content through your Discord and host listening parties with your audience. It’s a great way to bring your top fans along and build a stronger bond.
Instagram is a great platform to promote your music and connect with your fans. Although the site is increasingly focusing on short videos, you can still use photos to connect with your fans in a whole new way. Instagram Stories also has features that let you link links to new music directly to your posts, so your fans stay informed.
Believe it or not, YouTube is the most popular music streaming service. That’s why it’s essential to upload your music to the platform to find new fans. Music videos can help your fans visualize the universe your music lives in, and connect with it on a deeper level. They also don’t have to be incredibly complex productions. Even a DIY video can do wonders!
At the very least, you can create a visualizer or text videos for your most popular releases. For artists who don’t have enough time or graphical experience to produce videos for this channel, there are plenty of services that can turn your music into a lyric video for a fee. Promote your music as much as possible with videos. It’s one of the most effective ways to grab the attention of new fans.
SoundCloud is a great way to release tracks and test songs without putting them on your official streaming artist page. Use genre tags and communicate with other musicians in your area to build your network. This can also be a great place to find new bands or artists who are on the cusp of the next big thing in music. Additionally, some listeners prefer to listen to music only through SoundCloud, so feel free to promote your new releases here as well.
If you’re funny and you express yourself better in words than in photos, Twitter is a place where you’ll shine. Keep your fans informed about your upload schedule, and new releases, and interact with your fans on Twitter. It’s also one of the few places where hashtags still have a good degree of influence. As with any social media platform, your Twitter profile should have easy access to your links and website so that your fans can get stuck.
Facebook, or Meta as it is now known, may not be the most modern social media platform, but it still has its value. Using the platform can help you attract a new demographic, and allow you to create valuable analytics that can help you place ads and learn more about your audience. Put all tour dates on Facebook events and invite your friends and fans. You never know who’s coming, and the platform’s intuitive interface makes it easy to see who’s coming.
While most of your music promotion will be rooted in digital streaming platforms and social media, music blogs can also help you earn some notoriety and potential fans, depending on the stature of the publication. Music blogs can help boost your online presence as a musician, and give you credibility under the sea of other creators.
That being said, music blog placements can be tricky to earn. Indie artists usually email blog outlets directly with a pitch including a link to the song (usually a month before it is actually released), press photos, an artist bio, and a mission statement regarding your artistic vision. Small artists can also use services like SubmitHub to streamline the process, although playlist pitching funnels come at an additional cost.
Note that some music blogs are more likely to cover you if you are gaining fame online or in person. It’s kind of a catch-22, but that’s all to say that putting effort into your social media is essential to your success on multiple fronts.