As an independent artist, you’ll learn where to promote your music, and where to set-up the necessary accounts to collect all money generated from it.
The Semi-Serious Backstory
First, am I a marketing mega-guru? No.
What I am is, a talented musician and producer that struggled for over 5 years to promote my music to large audiences. Even then, I always came up short with a solution to get my music heard.
My life finally changed when I committed myself to figuring out what I was doing wrong, especially when it came to the aspect of building the proper relationships and marketing my music.
I often told myself:
"It cannot be possible that I make great music, but, for the life of me, I can't seem to get more than a few people to listen to my shit, and give me honest feedback. Or even start building a fucking audience, for that matter."
After so many years on the grind, I was extremely disappointed. At myself, my music, and everything else in my life. I even began to question whether pursuing a career in music was even worth my time and dignity.
So…when I finally got out of my depressive funk and came to my senses…
In August of 2016, I convinced my extremely supportive girlfriend that we give up our apartment in Los Angeles, sell all of our furniture, put all our bills on auto-pay and leave the country (USA) for three months, and she happily agreed.
What was meant to be a vacation from the turbulence of life, turned into an intensive study program. I started hitting the books hard, like, beast-mode hard. And for those three months, I didn't do anything else with my free time, other than to learn as much as I could about music marketing and promotion techniques. I read articles online, bought e-books, and I even bought physical books.
And guess what? Most of what I learned was pure bull - shit. I soon realized that I got caught up in the web of affiliate marketers trying to sell me rubbish, when all I wanted to do was; to really learn how to put my music out to the world and build an audience in the process.
So what did I do?
While applying a few of the decent strategies that I learned, I started doing my own thing. And ended up mixing some techniques with others.
By November of 2016, I made up my mind, applied some things I had learned, and decided to release and promote a half-finished single; one that I had recorded in my living room four years earlier in 2012.
And guess what?
As of the writing of this article, that half-finished single (titled 'Drive Away') has had exactly 2,565,574 views on YouTube. All organic views from real listeners that have translated as heavy fans to my Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook pages.
So, here's the deal. If I can do it, you can definitely do it too.
Why? Because I did it and I don't have any more intelligence than you do. All I had was the will to do it and I found a way. Period.
So without further ado, here's is exactly what I did to promote my music properly with as little money as possible (I'm not claiming that this is going to work for you 100% in the exact same way that it did for me. But I can guarantee you one thing: anything you never try, will never work).
Preparing Your Music To Collect Income, and Promoting Your Music For Maximum Exposure
First Things First, Preparing Your Music To Collect The Moolah
- Make sure that you first upload you music to Soundcloud. It's only the largest music discovery platform for independent musicians. If you don't upload to Soundcloud, then forget about promoting your music. Price: Free.
- Find a reliable distributor, like Tunecore and sign up as an artist. This way, you can use them to distribute your music to every major music platform like iTunes, Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, etc. Price: $10 per single and $30 per album released.
- Sign up for Tunecore's Publishing Administration so that once your music is released and is being consumed by a large number of listeners, they will track all of your royalties from around the world and get you paid. Price: One-time $75 set-up fee. (This has gotten me paid money from cities that I had no idea my music had ever reached. Signing up to this service is equivalent to signing up to ASCAP and/or BMI)
- Sign up to Tunecore's YouTube Sound Recording Revenue service. This service collects, and pays you all advertising money made from all YouTube videos which contains full, or partial clips of your music. Price: One-time $10 set-up fee. (Again, this has worked wonders for my streaming income.)
Second Things Second, Music Promotion Platforms That Work (I Know, Because I Use Them)
- TheArtistUnion.com; this platform was where most of the promoters looking to discover new music found my song, and many asked for my permission to promote it on their channels. From promoting on this platform, I received ten of thousands of plays, hundreds of reposts, followers, likes and comments on Soundcloud and millions of plays on YouTube from one promoter (tens of thousands from many others). Price: $49 for submitting your music (they don't accept shitty music, so please submit stuff that you know is at least 80% hot-and-ready to go).
- Hypeddit.com; helps you build a larger audience by capturing fans that listen to your music from Soundcloud and getting them to follow you on every major social media and music platform. Price: Free, and $19 per month plan (Might as well be priceless. Has gotten me hundreds of followers, fan emails, and tens of thousands of plays. Can't complain.)
- SubmitHub.com; gives you the opportunity to submit your music to very important music blogs, spotlisters and record labels, so that they can listen to your music and possibly feature you, and sign you to a deal. Not all submission are read, or accepted. However, you'll get feedback and your credits back if your submission doesn't receive a reply. And, if you do happen to get featured by an important blog, get ready to shine in the music scene, because that's a huge deal. Every blog on this platform is indexed by Hype Machine, so the more blogs that feature you, the crazier your exposure in their charts. This can potentially lead to millions of plays and hundreds of thousands of fans, label deals, collaborations, etc. Or at the worst-case scenario, more loyal fans for your music and a few ten thousand plays on Soundcloud and YouTube. Price: Free standard credits (listener not obligated to reply) or premium credits, $80 for 100 credits, $27 for 30 credits, $10 for 10, and $6 for 5 (listeners are required to reply within 48 hours or your credits get refunded). My opinion is that you need to use this service.
- Promolta.com; a YouTube video promotion platform where you pay a fee to create a promotion campaign, and the platform promotes your video to a targeted audience through a network of tens of thousands of partner websites, in return you get organic views for your video. They have a great reputation and will make sure that your video gets seen by the target audience. Their prices, however, are a bit steep for views in the high thousands. I recommend this platform for artists with heavy budgets. Price: Campaigns start as little as $10 for about 100 views (kinda steep, I know).
- MusicPromo.co; a music marketing agency located in West Hollywood, California where you have the option of choosing a set of Spotify, YouTube, Instagram and Apple Music campaigns. These guys are experts in music marketing and manage your campaigns manually to submit your music to advertisers and playlists curators directly (depending on the kind of campaign you're ordering). Once your campaign is processed then you begin to see streams via your distribution aggregator or analytics dashboard. Price: Varies from $27 to over $3,000 for campaigns. (They change the prices quite often so you need to continue checking the website before planning a release, or write to them to lock you into a rate with a deposit).
There you go. I've used all of these platforms to promote my music, and because I did. I've gotten millions of streams on my music, sales, streaming royalties, licensing opportunities (the real money), collaboration opportunities, and thousands upon thousands of loyal fans in the process. I have recovered all of my promotion expenses many times over.
Thanks for reading, I wish you the best of luck in your promo journey (remember, you can do this, it's not rocket science).