Alright, so let’s talk about what’s lurking in the back of every modern working musician’s mind. What are the best music marketing strategies in the modern digital age? We’ve all gotten used to home audio production, digital music distribution, and heck, even neat little tools for remote collaboration with our bandmates (wink wink).
But when it comes to marketing yourself, live shows and the occasional social media posts are no longer the only ways to get your music out there. There are hundreds of options out there. But how do you find the strategies that don’t break the bank, compete against hundreds or thousands of other artists, and still actually move the needle?
In this week’s video, Music by Lukas walks us through five of the best free music marketing strategies in 2023 with strategies designed to give you some much-needed exposure.
- Make your track searchable
- Pitch your songs to the right sources
- Collaborate with vocalists or artists who already have some streams
- Use social media the right way
- Release consistently
The First of our Five Music Marketing Strategies: Make Your Track Searchable
Music marketing strategies can include well-adopted tactics like paid advertising, but those can only get you so far. You’re likely to have better results when people naturally come across your track in organic ways. For example, you could remix a track many people are already searching for.
When ‘Stranger Things’ released its 4th season on Netflix, Kate Bush’s song “Running Up That Hill” was heavily featured and became a surprise hit almost four decades after being released. If you were one of the first artists to remix that track or had the title combined with another popular genre, you found yourself with some great, organic exposure. For example, if you produced music in a genre like Slap House, you might have found reach with something like “Running Up That Hill, Slap House Remix.”
You can always upload your track to YouTube or SoundCloud, etc. so that people can come across your tracks naturally, leading them to your profile and hearing even more of your work.
It’s also vital to have your tracks on the right playlists, have them on the proper YouTube support channels that upload new music often, and even create tutorials with your track with keywords people are already searching for.
2. Pitch Your Songs to the Right Sources
One easy way is to pitch your track directly to DJs. If you already know of DJs that have radio shows in your style, you can send them your track to play, giving you some free promotion.
This kind of support is excellent because DJs won’t charge you (or, at least, they shouldn’t). If you go to a site like 1001tracklists.com and search for “radio,” you’ll pull up tons of radio shows, filtering the results by genre.
Next is to get the email address. It often works to simply DM the DJ on Instagram and ask, “What’s the best way to submit a demo for your radio show?” You’ll be surprised at how easily you can get a response, and it even breaks the ice for a conversation as well.
Aside from submitting to Spotify playlists, you can also crowdsource for email addresses on Discord just by asking around. You can even try Googling the DJ too, as they sometimes have a way to submit demos directly to their site.
Pro Hack: To find the emails of some Spotify curators, search the genre you’re looking for and add “@gmail.com” when searching. You’ll pull up many playlists in that genre while also finding where the curator included their email (if it’s Gmail, of course) in their bio of that playlist.
You should also be reaching out to influencers on TikTok and Instagram to see if they’d be interested in using your music for their channels in some way. You could also use the music to create trending reels on social media if you already have collaboration partners. Influencers will naturally want to use it if there’s a way to get your music trending on social media reels.
3. Collaborate With Vocalists or Artists Who Already Have Some Streams
Many artists make the mistake of wanting to collab with a friend or another artist they know but with no decent following. This might be fun, but you’re doing a disservice to them and yourself because neither party has the monthly listeners to really make a difference to the other. Fun to collaborate, sure. But it could also be a waste of everyone’s time.
If you don’t have much going on in terms of listeners, and neither does your friend or fellow artist, then there isn’t much that can come from it. So, your goal is to collab with someone a little bigger than you, specifically vocalists and other artists. And the more collabs you can do, the better off you’ll be. If you collaborate with multiple artists, you’re doubling the exposure you get, and when those artists have a much bigger following, you’re certain to grow your monthly listeners as well.
If your track is a collab on a label, then you can also benefit since those labels likely have good Spotify playlists. Just make sure that any vocalist is a featured vocalist, so it shows up on their profile as well.
4. Use Social Media the Right Way
A big mistake some musicians make on social media is simply posting a picture of the track cover or using a visualizer video or a simple graphic. This kind of post makes no effort to offer a personal connection and is very unlikely to reach more people than your current following.
You want to find a way to make it personal. Use some of your personal talents to create unique content for your Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok channel.
For example, shoot some simple behind-the-scenes footage, showing your viewers what you did to create the track. Or, if you used any acoustic instruments like piano, percussion, or guitar, record footage of yourself laying down those tracks. If listeners like the track, they’ll be even more interested in seeing the process of how you made it.
Try some mini-tutorials, too. Not only will the information be useful and interesting to your audience, but it also offers you the opportunity to connect with them, and them to learn more about you, your personality, and your tastes.
If a DJ you admire used one of your tracks on their playlist, instead of lazily sharing a screenshot, you could actually record a reaction, showing how exciting it was and how much you appreciated the exposure. Appreciation and showing support for your fellow artists really resonates.
These efforts to make your content personal are effective ways to get more likes and shares. When you get personal and let your passion show, it reaches more people, and they, in turn, feel more connected to you. These are the kinds of posts that have viral potential.
5. Release Consistently
Lastly, when using singles (not albums or EPs), try to upload a new track at least once a month. This is a great way to build momentum for your work, especially if you collaborate a lot and you start working with other artists who are growing in popularity. In our recent Boomcast interview with DJ MOTi, he talks about how in his early days he would grind and release a new track weekly. Obviously that’s a very uncommon volume, but it highlights the importance of consistency, and he swears it was a huge factor in his success.
Once you find that flow, you’ll start growing your streams and hopefully working with bigger labels, too. Just keep in mind that nothing drastic will happen overnight. It’s all about riding the momentum, repeating strategies that work, and slowly expanding your reach.
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Video Transcript (Best Music Marketing Strategies 2023):
Hey, welcome back to The Boombox YouTube Channel, the home of online collaboration. I’m musicbyLukas. Coming to you from my travel music studio in Paris,
I’m curious to know how you currently market your music, so make sure to comment that below and upload your track using the link in the description to Boombox.io because me and Fabio from Noize are going to be choosing someone’s track to professionally review.
Now the best free music marketing strategies for 2023.
Number one – Make your tracks searchable.
There are plenty of ways to make people naturally come across your track that are going to be organic, and I’m going to have a lot better results than using something like paid advertising. For example, you could do a remix of a track that a lot of people are already searching for, like when Stranger Things had just come out and “Running Up The Hill” was really popular. If you were one of the first ones to remix that track or if you were to maybe have the title of that track in there with a certain genre that was also popular, like let’s say you were producing Slap House and you had “Running Up The Hill” Slap House remix. It would be a lot easier if you uploaded it on YouTube or SoundCloud, etc. for people to naturally come across that track and for people to hear your music, which could get them to your profile, hearing more of your tracks and of course having your tracks on the right playlist, having them on the right YouTube support channels that upload music often, or collaborating with other artists who also have streams or fan bases, or creating tutorials with your track that have other keywords in them that people would search. These are all multiple free ways that you could use to be able to get more people to listen to your music naturally.
2 out of 5 on our list of best music marketing strategies – pitch your songs to the right sources.
So for example, you can pitch your track to DJs. If there are DJs that have radio shows in your style, you can send them your track to play and they could give you a lot more promotion to your music for free. And DJ’s don’t charge for this kind of support. So all you need to do is go to a website like 1001tracklist.com and search the word radio. This is what I like to do because it’ll pull up a ton of different radio shows. Then you can actually filter the results by genre. So choose the genre of your music and you’re going to see a bunch of different deejay radio shows that are available. So the next step is to figure out how to submit to these DJs. Usually it’s going to be by email. That’s the way that most deejays accept demos for their radio show, including me, because I also have a radio show and this is how I do it. So your next step is to figure out how to get those emails. And one of the easiest ways to do it is literally just to go on to Instagram and DM the DJ and say, Hey, what’s the best way to submit a demo for your radio show? And then put the name of the radio show? You’ll be amazed how easy it is to be able to get a response from a DJ and even start a conversation with them. You can also find DJ mails by going to Discord and just asking other people if they know the email for a certain radio show and you can even Google it because a lot of deejays even have a way for you to be able to submit on their website for their radio show.
Also, of course, you want to submit to Spotify playlists and a little hack of course, you could submit through Spotify for artists, but there are other platforms too that you can use. Some are paid, some are free, but a little hack that you can do if you just want to find the emails of some Spotify curators is search the genre that you are looking for, like EDM or whatever your music genre is, and then put at gmail.com when you’re searching on Spotify and it’ll pull up playlists that have that genre, but also where the curator put their email, if it’s a gmail.com email address in the bio of that playlist. And you’ll see there’s actually quite a few playlists, that’ll pop up…
…and of course to Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. You want to have influencers using your music so you can start DMing influencers and ask them to use the music. And also you can use the music and your collab partners if you have collaborators on the track, can use the music to create your own kind of trending reel, and that could be helpful for you to be able to get other people to use it too, because if you can get it to start trending, then you can start to get influencers to naturally use it because they want to use that trending audio.
Three out of five on our list of music marketing strategies – Collab with vocalists or artists who already have some streams.
So one of the biggest mistakes I think a lot of artists do is they just go and collab with a friend or someone that they know who also doesn’t really have any kind of Spotify monthly listeners. And the biggest thing is that you’re not only kind of wasting your own time in that situation, but you’re also wasting the time of the other person that you’re working with because the problem is, if you don’t really have much going on yourself and you’re colliding with other people that don’t have much going on, there’s really not much that can come from that collaboration unless there’s some sort of maybe, you know, you get lucky and it gets on a playlist or something like that. So your goal is to try to collab with people who are at least a little bit bigger than you and I’m talking about vocalists and artists, and the more collabs you can get, the better. Because then for example, if you have, let’s say, 5000 monthly listeners on Spotify, but you’re colliding with someone that has 25,000 and a vocalist that’s 25,000, that means that you have a much higher chance now than your 5000 original listeners to be able to get more people that are now going to be your monthly listeners as well. And if you’re having a track, also be a collab on a label. So you’re releasing on a label that has good Spotify playlist, you’re benefiting from those as well. Just make sure that if you have a vocalist on the track that they’re a featured vocalist so that it shows up on their Spotify profile as well and isn’t just using a vocal that doesn’t really benefit you as streams.
Number four – How to use social media the right way.
So what you don’t want to do is just be posting a picture of the track cover or just posting kind of like a graphic video of the song, like a visualizer video because it’s not personal and it’s not something that’s really ever going to reach more than your current following. What you want to do is make it personal, so you want to use your personal talents to be able to create unique content on Instagram reels, Tik Tok, etc. So for example, if you played some instruments to make the track, you play piano or you play drums or guitar, record and document some behind the scenes footage showing how you did that and how you made that as part of the track. Maybe also doing like mini tutorials or doing some behind the scenes showing how you can’t believe like for example, at the track is supported by one of your favorite DJs instead of just posting like a screenshot of that deejays radio show and you know, circling that your track was played show how much that means to you by having a video of you reacting to it, looking at that support hearing that DJ shout out your name in the song and making it kind of have that impact because when you do that kind of stuff, it resonates with your followers. They like it, they share it, they comment on it, and it reaches more people and makes people feel more connected to you. And those are the kind of posts that have viral potential.
Number five – release consistently…
and if you’re using singles and not albums or EPs, I recommend that you upload around once a month. This will be a great way for you to build momentum, especially if you’re consistently collaborating and kind of slowly moving up to a little bit bigger collaborators, growing your streams, working with bigger labels. That is a really fast way that you can start to get some amazing stream numbers, which can help you be able to grow a great following. And that’s what it’s about. It’s about riding that momentum and repeating the process and slowly expanding your reach.
I hope you enjoy today’s video and let me know if you have any additional music marketing strategies in the comments below. I would love to read them and don’t forget to click the link in the description to upload your track to Boombox.io because me and Fabio for Noize are going to be choosing some tracks to professionally review signing off from Boombox the home of collaboration.
I’ll see you next time. Maybe from a different country. We’ll see. Bye.