Written by Melanie Kealey
Videos by American Songwriter
In the current digital age, marketing music on multiple platforms is a must for a successful songwriter. As an indie artist, the opportunity to self-manage and build a solid fan base through numerous online tools is a process that can prove to be both fulfilling and draining at the same time.
To market your music in a meaningful way, you’ll want to create a strategy you can follow through on. Choose the outlets that make sense for your music, and be consistent. This will help you generate interest in your songs and cultivate a fanbase.
So which online music marketing tools are a good fit to promote your songs? Here are ten to consider:
1. Mailing list
Even if you’re active on social media, it’s important to build up your mailing list. Collecting email addresses is a surefire way to guarantee that you’ve got a direct line to a potential fan.
Maintaining your email list over your years of work will pay off when you’ve got a new release to promote or an upcoming tour to announce. Once someone is on your mailing list, be sure to communicate regularly and professionally to nurture that relationship. It can last a long time since people rarely change their email addresses.
2. Artist website
Although there are lots of easy and free ways to promote your music, don’t underestimate the power of an artist’s website. If you make a website for your music, you control the content and the experience. Your fans can always find you at your own .com, and this is where they will go to learn more about you and to buy music and merch, without the distractions of a newsfeed or ads.
Keep your music website up to date, and use it as a tool to market your music in a clear and concise way on your own terms. You can also make a digital press kit on your website, and use that for active outreach to promote your music.
In the world of social media, Facebook is used by hundreds of millions of people every day. Checking the newsfeed is a daily habit which means that if you market your music there, you’re likely to reach many people who are also there, and who are used to finding news this way.
To better target your fan demographic, consider using Facebook ads if you have something specific to promote, like an upcoming single, an album release party, or an upcoming tour. This will increase the chance of interested fans seeing your content and engaging with your posts.
Instagram has been growing steadily in popularity and is the perfect place to build your music brand, especially if you rely on visual content with your music promotion.
There are many ways to engage an audience with your music on Instagram. From inviting comments on your photos to filming quick stories about your life, or creating reels with your music, this platform offers different ways for fans to enjoy and interact with you.
Snapchat is an easy way to dip your toes into sharing updates since it’s designed to be off the cuff and personal. The snaps disappear after 24 hours, but it’s a fun way to connect with fans who are also using the service.
Market your music by taking fans behind the scenes and sharing updates from the studio, on tour, or even a chat over coffee.
TikTok has taken the social media world by storm, even surpassing YouTube in average watch time. Take advantage of the format by creating short clips that highlight your music, and be sure to submit your music through your digital distributor so that others can use it in their videos.
If your music is trending in a TikTok video, there’s a good chance that lots of people will hear it. You can also use TikTok as a way to further engage with fans, and build a solid brand there.
As a live streaming platform, Twitch has also taken off in popularity over the course of the last year and a half. Many musicians not only perform shows on Twitch, but host Q & A sessions to further engage their fanbase.
Consistency is key to using Twitch to market your music successfully. You’ll want to be sure that you stream regularly, and also engage with the Twitch community on a larger scale by supporting other live streamers.
YouTube remains a consistent source of music discovery, with artists releasing videos or performing live streams on the platform. To market your music successfully with YouTube, upload videos regularly to establish your brand.
Consider performing snippets of your songs, covers to make your sound relatable, or create lyric videos. The more content you add to YouTube, the better your chances are of coming up in a search or making it onto a video playlist.
9. Spotify for artists
It’s no secret that many music fans love to stream tracks using services like Spotify or Apple Music. If you want to market your music on these platforms, make sure you also take advantage of the data provided by Spotify for Artists.
While Spotify alone probably isn’t going to make you rich, the value of discovery is worth noting, especially if you get a song or two on a popular playlist.
If you’re a performing artist, getting your music on Bandsintown is essential for discovery. It’s the largest network that allows fans to track your shows. With people more eager than ever to support artists and enjoy live music again, claiming your artist page and adding shows is a great way to make sure anyone who wants to catch you live is able to do so.
Bandsintown also allows you to sync all of your tour dates across your website, Facebook page, and other social networks – all from making updates in one place, which adds to the ease of use.
If you’re just getting started with marketing your music online, take note of these tools and try out a few. Once you find a place where you can create updates authentically and enjoy the process of sharing your music, be consistent in the promotion to those platforms. This will help you get a sense of where your true fans are, and how to market to them in a genuine way.
Melanie Kealey is the Communications Manager at the music website platform Bandzoogle. In addition to overseeing the Bandzoogle blog, she regularly writes posts with helpful website tips for musicians. Melanie also coordinates external communications including email marketing and social media. She lives in Ottawa with her two young sons and husband, musician Tyler Kealey.