This article is part one of seven of our definitive digital music marketing guide. This first part provides an overview of marketing channels and things to consider. For updates, make sure to follow us on Twitter or sign up for our mailing list.
If being a music artist came with pamphlet that featured a ‘frequently asked questions’ section, then atop that list would probably be “How can I market my music?”
It’s a fair question to ask. All things considered, the last decade has transformed the music industry — giving increased concentration to streaming services, social media, and digital marketing. In many ways, this transformation has democratized the music industry; it has given unparalleled opportunity to independent artists. You no longer need to wait for a label or publisher to “make you.” Instead, you can do everything yourself or with a powerful team.
It has increased opportunity for artists in ways previously unthinkable. However, harnessing this opportunity remains tremendously difficult for independent artists. It’s fair to say that many independent artists lack the kind of financial capital or social presence to become an overnight success. However, with a toolkit of strategies and methods, an artist can gradually accumulate an audience — and even turn music into their career.
You’ve probably read these kinds of guides before — so what makes this one different? Well, this is a guide which comes from the perspective of growing up and learning first-hand in the digital music space. My colleagues and I started as music bloggers, artist & label managers, and music startup alumni. In every way, this guide is informed by our desire to democratize this information so that it might help as many artists as possible.
It is important to observe — marketing is just a piece of the large puzzle that is the music industry. Good marketing is dependent on a great product. Make no mistake: talent is the biggest factor in whether or not an artist sinks or swims. Marketing is not an absolution from talent; they are mutually dependent in order to reach your goals and find success. A fatal mistake that artists make is believing that they are ready to promote their music and grow their audience when they are not. Growing your audience and marketing your work is the last-mile; it is for when you have summited the basics, found your unique and strong artistic sense of self, take pride in your vision, and are ready to build on the foundations you have set.
That said, no guide or article is going to have all the answers. This guide is not overtly general, but it also won’t provide the answers to everything. Success is not formulaic; it is not a “one-size fits all.” This is not a social media tutorial or step-by-step guide for dummies. This is a set of strategies and methodologies — some that will work, and others which will not — that require critical consideration. Some of these ideas and concepts might not fit your brand, the genre or style you produce, or your idea of what constitutes growth. You’ll have to try different things and fail to learn about yourself and your brand, and that is okay.
So without further ado, I’m proud to present this guide. It will be released in multiple parts, all free-standing in their own right and interlinking in meaningful ways. You can choose to read it all, or just peruse the parts that are important to you. As I said above, there is no “one size fits all” — this guide is a framework. As such, it’s up to you to make it useful.
The Independent Artist’s Music Marketing Guide
Intro [you are here]
Breaking Through On Spotify — An Overview
Coming Soon (subscribe to our mailing list for updates):
Growing Your Spotify Presence (With 5 Free Services & Resources)
Pitching YouTube Curators
Perfecting Your Pitch — a process for dotting your Is and crossing your Ts
& more unannounced parts. :)
Thanks for reading the introduction to “The Independent Artist’s Music Marketing Guide.” The intro was written by Noah Weidner and edited by vintroxx. This is part one of many, which will be published over a prolonged period of time. To make sure you don’t miss any updates, make sure to follow us on Twitter and sign up for our mailing list.