What is Marketing?
Let’s face it – we’re in a unique position where it’s never been this easy to get your music out in the world. The internet and the rise of social media platforms have opened up a plethora of possibilities, enabling artists to reach a global audience from behind their screens.
Yet, a successful marketing strategy goes beyond creating a Facebook page, an Instagram profile and a Tik Tok account. There’s more music being released now than ever before (a.k.a. competition). So how can you stand out from the crowd and get people to actually listen to and purchase your masterpiece?
There’s a lot of information online…as well as misinformation. Some of it will apply to you, some of it won’t, but thankfully, the right knowledge is all out there, for free. It all depends on how you use it.
There’s a whole section of industry people whose bread and butter is marketing music. However, at what stage of your career should you opt for these specialists? And more importantly, how do you avoid the thousands of scammers that fashion themselves as industry professionals?
First things first, let’s explore what branding means. Since the dawn of time, musicians have inspired their fans not only through their music but also through their image. The most legendary musicians of all time are known for their unique image, as well as their music. Think Bowie, the Beatles, Freddie Mercury, as well as modern icons such as Lady Gaga. It’s always been the case of transforming your band into a brand.
Music branding incorporates everything from an artist’s image to social media curation. In its essence, it’s your identity as an artist and the message that you want to convey to your audience. When developing your brand, it’s super important to enhance those elements of your artistry that you like and to build on that. Authenticity is important, as music fans and industry people can spot BS from a mile away. Remember; authenticity sells, at least for the most part.
A good PR (public relations) company has good contacts with influential blogs and online magazines. Their job is to send over your music and ‘pitch’ it for coverage. This can range from a quick repost of your music video with a few words copied from the press release to a full, in-depth interview. If you’re still an emerging artist, investing in professional PR is often costly, with little results. Global publications such as NME and Billboard tend to only feature major artists, so there’s little room for new artists to make their mark. Therefore, if you’re a rookie with no label backing, we highly suggest that, instead of investing thousands of your hard-earned cash on PR, you should start contacting smaller music blogs that are as influential as the big boys, if not more, with your target audience.
Radio pluggers use their contacts at traditional/online radio station and streaming services to push your music to tastemakers and decision-makers who have the power to add your tune to radio programmes and station playlists. Like every other industry, having an industry specialist on your side can help you secure radio spots that would have otherwise been impossible to secure yourself. Before opting for a radio plugger, ask around to check whether they’re legit or not. Unfortunately, there are a lot of conmen out there that charge £1500+ for a campaign without securing any radio spots.
Social Media Management
Maybe securing the digital cover of NME is not feasible at this stage of your career – however, getting a TikTok influencer with a few thousand followers to start a seemingly-organic trend is the new way of driving your music forward. For a fee, professional social media management companies can secure deals with influencers, curate your feed, connect with industry tastemakers, create targeted ads, and so much more.
Marketing your music may seem like a scary affair – almost as if you’re selling your soul to the corporate devils. Nevertheless, it’s part and parcel of operating as an artist in the 21st century and ensuring that your music has the best chance possible of thriving in the over-saturated global music market.