The challenge most musicians have is promoting their music effectively. There are many social media networks and websites to upload your music but which services are most effective in getting your music heard?
The answer is that you must have a plan of releasing your music that actually reflects the classic way music has been released and promoted in the past.
The old music model, that has been used for signed artists over the last 50 years, basically had a formula for promotion that seems to have been forgotten by many musicians. Artists would release a few singles and then announce a release date for the full album. There was a marketing push that included interviews, videos and press releases about the upcoming tour or local gigs that would follow the release of an album.
Well, times have changed. Now everyone can immediately release an album very quickly and push their latest musical creation out into the world and hope someone is listening. This is the first mistake that many artists make. You must first create hype around your new music and release it as singles….just like the old days.
New Music Model for Album Releases:
Release one single per month on Soundcloud.com to grow your audience. You will want to offer music blogs the exclusive first announcement and first release of the single on their blog (usually done by sharing the song via Soundcloud for the release). Music blogs like to be the first to find that new hit song that might go viral. Music bloggers and podcasts are like the Radio DJ’s of the past.
It’s all about building hype for your new music.
Everyone has a short attention span, so releasing one song a month keeps the listeners engaged. Even after the album is released, continue with the once a month single release model to make sure to keep the audience hooked.
Announce a single’s release on Soundcloud to your twitter followers and other social networks such as Instagram. This will help get the word out. Instagram is great way to share those behind the scenes moments captured in photos. And people love to see glimpses into the creative process.
Marketing your music
There is a site called Feature.fm that allows you to pay to get your music targeted to specific demographics of listeners on a streaming website called www.8tracks.com. This will help cast a wide net to capture the ears of potential listeners.
Information about www.8tracks.com (courtesy of feature.fm):
Reach: 9,000,000 people
8tracks is one of the most popular radio streaming services in the world with over 9 million listeners across all genres who are considered music trendsetters. Because 8tracks is based on human curated mixes, your songs can be added to playlists for everyone to hear.
This is a very effective way to get people to actually listen to your music. The music gets placed into 8tracks.com playlists and you can use the url of your Soundcloud song as the track that is streamed. This means you get heard on 8tracks.com and get qualified streams on Soundcloud!
According to feature.fm’s website, if you have a budget of $100 you can get 4,000 listens. This may be true but you have to target the right demographic to get the right audience for your music. While promoting the release of Earthbound, the latest album from my brother Chuck Cote (a music project called Simple Forces), he used feature.fm to see which songs worked best with specific age groups and demographics. It was very interesting to see which songs got the most plays and to see the break-down of the demographics. The one thing that is lacking with feature.fm right now is that it needs more streaming partners. I do think it is a great way to get immediate listeners on 8tracks.com and I look forward to seeing the progress feature.fm makes towards getting more streaming services on-board.
So, now you know how to get your music heard. The challenge is deciding on a release date for the full album.
If you take a look at the movie industry, they release the movie in theaters (this is comparable to releasing a single on radio). Then after a few months the movie releases on DVD/Blu-ray or on-demand rental (compare this to releasing CD’s and getting your music on iTunes for digital downloads) and then a few months later it is available for rental through kiosks like Redbox. Then months or sometimes years after that, movies stream on Netflix (this is comparable to Spotify in terms of the “all you can listen to” business model for a monthly recurring charge).
Step by Step process to follow:
- Release Singles once per month on Soundcloud (remember to start connecting with music bloggers to give them the option of getting to be the first blog to release the single and do cross promotion on twitter announcing the single).
- Use feature.fm to get people to actually listen to the songs.
- Announce release date of album on your band’s website and through social media.
- Attempt to do interviews on podcasts and music blogs. If you have the time, produce a lyric video to accompany the single.
- Release full album on iTunes and other digital streaming partners. (Streaming basically is the new form of radio). It would be wise to release at least 3 singles before publishing the full album to digital distribution.
- Rinse and Repeat.
So how do you make money in this new music model? It all comes back to performing in front of an audience in live gigs and tours (and possibly online gigs) if you’ve grown a big enough audience. The real money is to be made with selling merchandise at shows. It all depends on whether or not you took the time to grow that fan base and find those die-hard fans that will come out to see your live shows and buy all the merchandise you have to offer them.
It will be interesting to see if live streaming concerts and the beginning of virtual reality concerts will help smaller bands to reach wider audiences (only time will tell).
I’m currently in the process of writing and recording music with the Reverse Engineers and we will be experimenting with the subscription model introduced by bandcamp.com (click here for more info about offering subscription services through Bandcamp). This is a relatively new music model, I will follow up with another blog post at a later date to share information on whether or not the subscription model is working for us.
I’ve detailed just a few ways on how you can promote your music online. Just remember on taking time to focus on writing great music first and then have the courage and drive to get the world to hear it!