Get ways to promote your music as indie music artists or singer-songwriters and learn how to sell your music online with these online music promotion tips.
The music industry has not been kind to those who make their living off of it, and they’re not a fan of the changes that the internet and peer-to-peer sharing have brought to the music business.
Today, digital media can be freely downloaded and shared by anyone with a device, anywhere in the world. Record companies can’t control every person on the planet with a connected device and most music companies have been fighting an uphill battle against file sharers.
This has alienated many consumers and adversely impacted business opportunities that could have helped their revenue streams grow larger, had they just decided to embrace technology instead of fighting it.
This article lists a number of online music promotion tips to help you learn how to be a successful singer-songwriter or indie music artist who doesn’t depend on record labels to thrive.
You’ll find out what steps every aspiring creative should take in order for their craftsmanship to go far beyond just being good and become a top song sales artist.
These tips on marketing for music artists will inspire you to build your career as an indie music artist so that you get noticed on your journey to fame and success.
- Being a Successful Indie Music Artist Takes More than Talent
- 10 Music Promotion Tips For Indie Music Artists
- #1. Learn all about the music business
- #2. Create a business plan
- #3. Get your legal paperwork in place
- #4. Use technology to create and promote your music
- #5. Build an online presence
- #6. Build a mailing list
- #7. Get to know your audience
- #8. Create a promotional strategy
- #9. Treat your most loyal fans like royalty
- #10. Keep growing your network
- Tips to boost creativity & artistic expression
Being a Successful Indie Music Artist Takes More than Talent
As an indie music artist or singer-songwriter, you spend most of your time being creative. But writing a great song or playing an instrument well is not the hardest part of being a successful independent artist.
Creative people are gifted with many talents and tend to excel at many things. The term “Jack of all trades” could quite easily apply to musicians or artists who possess a versatile skill set, including being able to find inspiration from other creative professionals.
The life of an indie music artist is filled with challenges, from finding the time to practice your craft and take care of your own needs, while holding down a day job. It’s no wonder that so few people choose this path in favor of job stability and a steady income.
It’s not unusual to find musicians who started out as astrophysicists (Queen guitarist, Brian May), MIT engineers (Tom Scholz from the hard rock band, Boston), or teachers (Sting).
There’s a long list of famous people with these backgrounds, including The Darkness frontman, Whitfield Crane, who studied architecture before becoming an accomplished musician.
The truth is that it takes more than just talent to be a successful musician. Your musical talent can’t compare with the passion, determination, and recording and promotional skills you’ll need to make your music shine.
You need the skills of an artist, recording technician, and marketer all rolled into one – but this won’t help if you don’t know how the music business works.
The two most important things you will need to succeed in the music industry are a great work ethic and the passion and determination to succeed against great odds.
10 Music Promotion Tips For Indie Music Artists
Here are some online music promotion tips to help you become a successful singer-songwriter or indie music artist.
#1. Learn all about the music business
In the past, people had to pay a lot for tutoring to master musical instruments or learn songwriting techniques. These skills were only accessible to those who could afford expensive hobbies.
In recent years, however, we’ve seen an abundance of online courses and resources that provide easy access to learning, regardless of income level, so now people of all ages and from all of walks life can study music.
You can even access courses to help you learn from the titans of the music industry and study music online with a Music Masterclass by Grammy Award winners.
These best-selling music artists will show you what it takes to become a top song sales artist, successful musician, singer-songwriter, or independent artist, so you can take a step towards achieving your goals and dreams at any age.
This list of Music MasterClasses features some of the world’s best singer-songwriters, famous musicians, music producers, DJs, and titans of the music industry. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn directly from them and absorb the lessons you need to succeed in the music industry.
#2. Create a business plan
As more and more musicians become frustrated with the traditional music industry, the number of those who have found success without a record label is rising.
Even the hugely-successful singer-songwriter, Taylor Swift, is reclaiming her work by re-recording songs that were originally released over a decade ago.
It’s an attractive option for those looking to break through the traditional barriers, and with millions already doing so, it’s clear that this path will continue being traveled by many talented indie music artists across genres.
But you’ll need a proper business plan on the road to becoming a successful singer-songwriter or indie music artist. You need to either find the time in your schedule to work on a music business plan or hire someone to create it for you.
Creating a business plan will provide you with a roadmap for your indie music business and give you an idea of the time, resources, and funds you’ll need to invest in creating and promoting your art.
#3. Get your legal paperwork in place
The process of getting songs published is easier when you have all the right paperwork. If you’re planning on making a living as a musician, you’ll need to be registered as a business or as a self-employed sole trader or proprietor.
You need to make sure that your taxes and income are all accounted for, so it’s a good idea to hire an accountant or bookkeeper online.
You should also consult a lawyer to learn how music copyrights work, how to register your own music copyrights, and whether you need to create a music publishing company or record company of your own.
You should register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office to protect it. While you have rights to your work once you’ve created it, you should formally register it to enhance those rights and enable you to legally pursue anyone who violates them.
By registering your work, you formally notify everyone that you are asserting ownership of it and specify when it was created. Early registration might protect your right to statutory damages and legal expenses should you need to file a lawsuit.
The music business can be a minefield for independent artists, who are often left to navigate the legalities on their own. But, you can hire a legal consultant online to provide legal advice on all of this and also handle all the legal paperwork for you.
#4. Use technology to create and promote your music
In the past, the best way to make it as a singer-songwriter or indie music artist in the music industry was to collaborate with an experienced music producer who had worked on some big records and could give you the opportunity to make radio-ready recordings.
The good news is that, with today’s technology, you no longer have to pay a hefty price tag for a music recording studio or hire session musicians to make your dreams come true.
Technology has made it easier than ever for indie music artists and aspiring singer-songwriters to make their own records at home. All you need is a Home computer DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) system that you can find at an online retailer or at your local electronics store.
You can buy your own mix pad and music engineering software, music production tools, home recording studio equipment, and even hire musicians and audio engineering professionals online at a relatively low cost.
You no longer need a record deal with record labels or a record producer with a master quality music recording studio, when you can hire music studio production professionals online to make a decent demo recording.
For most busy singer-songwriters and independent artists, outsourcing all the time-consuming tasks to freelancers who offer music, audio, and voice services is really the best way to help you stay focused on your creative process.
As an indie music artist and singer-songwriter, jumping into the world of entrepreneurship can seem like a daunting task, but with new technology, tools, and services available, it’s never been easier to succeed.
If you need funding for your nascent music business, you can turn to sites like beatBread, a platform intended to help musicians fund their projects by issuing loans to musicians with as few as 10,000 monthly listeners.
Indie artists can get loans from $1,000 to $2,000,000, keep 100% ownership of their masters, and pay back loans via streaming and airplay income.
Where you previously needed a music label or record company with a huge advertising budget to market and sell your recordings, you can now hire the best music promotion professionals online to promote your music for a very affordable rate.
This will also allow you to set your own price on your music without interference from a major record company.
#5. Build an online presence
As an indie music artist, you’ll need to come up with a business name, logo, and short slogan that encompass who you are, and clearly convey the message of your music to your listeners.
So, register your business name, buy a domain that represents what you and your music stand for, and start setting up an online presence as soon as possible.
Create your Indie music artist profile on websites like Amazon, YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud, Audiomack, Magroove, Bandcamp, Vimeo, Tidal, and Google Play.
In addition to selling your music from online retail stores and music streaming apps, you should also sell your albums from your own website, or at least provide links to the stores where they are available.
If you want your music to stand out, you need to create the right branding, and today it’s easier than ever to get your music promo seen by all the right people in the all right places, so your fans can find your music online.
Make sure your logo and branding are consistent throughout your site, your stationery, your music artwork, and any other communications devices, such as email.
If you enjoy building and updating your own website, you can work on your web design skills, or better yet, hire a freelancer to design a professional website for you.
Make your business stand out with expert website building, branding, and social media marketing skills, and learn how to take your music business online.
#6. Build a mailing list
Make sure your indie music artist website has a way to build a mailing list, such as a double opt-in signup form, so you can follow up with fans by email and offer them exclusive freebies or giveaways for subscribing.
Follow the rules of good email etiquette and don’t spam or purchase email databases. Only send emails to people who have opted into your mailing list, and always provide an unsubscribe link to allow subscribers to remove themselves from your list.
Ensure your fans can reach you by email or hire a virtual assistant or customer service professional to help you answer buyer emails and fan mail promptly. Most internet users expect a reply to their email queries within 12 to 24 hours.
When you contact businesses by email, use a business signature with your indie music artist or singer-songwriter’s name and website address. Add the link to your latest music launch too.
#7. Get to know your audience
To promote your music successfully, you have to find the right market for it. This will involve doing some market research and introducing new promotions or running ads, based on what you need.
You can hire a community management professional to find groups of people who like music that’s similar to yours. Try to learn everything you can about your audience so that you can get a clear picture of the kind of listeners that would be interested in your music.
Study the fans of musicians in the same genre, and whose music is similar to yours, to understand what makes them tick and what they respond to.
#8. Create a promotional strategy
Create a promotional strategy leading up to the release of your new music launches. Create an outreach plan and hire a virtual assistant to reach out to online publications, podcasts, and music bloggers who may be interested in your music.
If you have some money to invest, plan a set of online concerts close to your new album release dates. Send out a press release and showcase any media coverage or airplay you get as a news item on your website.
Linking News has connections to more than 330,000 newspapers, 900,000 journalists, and 90 million social media influencers worldwide, and can get your press release featured on ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and more by posting it on reputable news and media websites.
You can save time, effort, and money by outsourcing these tasks to a YouTube music video promotion service, or spend some time learning how to promote your music on YouTube and other music promotion sites.
In the Grow Your Audience With YouTube Marketing online course, you’ll learn how to set up, customize, and optimize your own successful YouTube channel to attract a wide audience for your music brand.
Use the mailing list you’ve been gathering on your website to send the news to your fans and send out a regular newsletter. Send them alerts of new releases and run contests with low-cost giveaways, like a signed T-shirt or swag bag.
Take the help of your fans to leverage and build the momentum of your promotional campaigns. You can use a free WordPress plugin like Simple Giveaways to grow your email list and traffic with contests and make your promotions go viral.
#9. Treat your most loyal fans like royalty
You can use services like Patreon to get your most loyal fans to pay for extra privileges, and give them exclusive access to music downloads or tickets to online events that are different from the ones you’re selling to the public.
For example, you could give your Patreon fans an early un-mastered demo mix, or an exclusive mix that you’re never going to release for sale. You could even invite them to an exclusive online concert or Zoom call where you can answer their questions about you and your music.
Make sure all free giveaways of your music are either short clips or low-fi mono samples and don’t price your new music releases or exclusive offers lower than those by major record companies. If you price your offers too low, you’re at risk of looking like an amateur.
#10. Keep growing your network
Opportunities come to those who are prepared for them. So be prepared to showcase your indie music business and your art at every opportunity. Keep your latest music releases handy on your Smartphone or iPod and play them for anyone who asks what you do.
Join an online songwriting community or forum for feedback and support. Attend music festivals and networking events to meet other songwriters and industry professionals.
As an independent artist, building a network is very important, especially if you want to be open to new connections and opportunities. Don’t worry if you’re introverted or have never been a “people person.”
In Keith Ferrazzi’s Complete Guide to Building Your Network course, you’ll learn what a personal network is and how it benefits you professionally and personally.
You’ll also learn how to develop the strong personal relationships needed to achieve your goals, develop deeper, stronger, more mutually beneficial relationships, and create a strategy for maintaining these relationships.
The best thing about being an indie music artist is that you’re living your dream. While most people are quite content to let their music be a hobby, there are few things in life more satisfying than being respected and admired for something you create.
Musicians are always working to make their creations enjoyable and memorable. But the real magic of creativity is not in the creation itself, but rather in what you do with that knowledge. When your work impacts others, it feeds the soul.
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- How to learn creative writing skills and be a better writer
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- How to sell art online and make money from your artwork
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© 2022 – 2023, Priya Florence Shah. All rights reserved.
Priya Florence Shah is a bestselling author, an award-winning online publisher, and an online branding consultant. Download her free personal branding eBooks and check out Devi2Diva, her book on emotional self-care for women. In her spare time, Priya writes science-fiction novels and poetry and chills with her two-legged and four-legged kids.