Marketing Tips for Musicians
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published May 11, 2021
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Effective marketing strategies can help musicians expand their audience, define their identity as artists and increase their opportunities to earn income. Regardless of your size, well-executed marketing strategies can have a direct impact on your success. Marketing can be an important part of managing your business as a musician, so it can help to learn different strategies for proper marketing. In this article, we explain why marketing is important for musicians and provide helpful tips you can use to promote yourself or your band.
Why is marketing for musicians important?
Marketing for musicians is important because it can grow your audience, attract the interest of recording labels and producers and connect you with your listeners. Because there is a large amount of musical content released on a daily basis, it can be difficult to ensure your audience hears your music. However, successful marketing strategies can aid in promoting your music and expanding your reach as a musician.
Marketing tips for musicians
If you're interested in learning more about how to begin effectively marketing your music, here are some tips you can use:
Solidify your brand
One of the first steps you can take in your marketing strategy is defining your identity as a musician. Solidifying your image, genre and aesthetic as an artist may make it easier to target a niche audience and focus on sharing yourself authentically. Most successful promotion requires a marketer to understand the product they're selling. With music marketing, the product isn't only the songs themselves. Clearly defining your brand, vision and contributions to your genre can help you identify what makes you unique as a musician and separates yourself from other musicians.
Outline your goals
Your marketing strategy might change depending on your goals. Whether you want to grow your social media following or secure more shows, understanding your objectives can help you narrow your strategy and focus on the most important factors to you. For this step, consider listing SMART goals that help you stay focused and create realistic expectations for what you hope to accomplish.
SMART goals include:
Specific: Think specifically about what you hope to accomplish in your marketing efforts. This can help you plan your approach.
Measurable: Try to select goals with measurable outcomes. Goals such as increasing your social media following, sales or mailing list numbers are easy to track and can provide definitive markers of progress.
Attainable: Consider selecting goals you can reasonably accomplish. It may be important to have, long-term goals, but when designing your marketing strategy, consider defining the goals in which you feel assured you can achieve.
Relevant: Consider your long-term objectives with your marketing strategy to ensure you remain relevant to your brand, values and future aspirations.
Time-based: Try to select goals you can accomplish within a set amount of time. Consider setting deadlines for yourself to keep you motivated and focused.
Read more: SMART Goals: Definition and Examples
Identify your audience
After you've identified your goals and brand, it can be helpful to define your audience. Understanding your audience can help you find better ways to reach them. Collecting individual followers on social media might not help spread your music the same way targeted marketing strategies can. Advertising to groups online in locations you know your audience spends time with venues or businesses that cater to your audience can help you reach people who might be interested in your music.
Engage with your audience
Interacting with your fans can help you maintain momentum and develop a meaningful career. Engaging with and understanding your current audience can help you develop strategies for attaining new ones. Consider sharing new content with fans in a way that communicates your integrity and values as an artist. Help them identify with you, as well as your music, to build loyalty and understanding. Your fans may provide helpful feedback you can use to guide your future efforts.
Approach smaller markets
When you begin to implement a marketing strategy, creating attainable goals may be the best way to start. If you have limited funds to invest in campaigns, consider approaching events, businesses and venues you know align with your vision as an artist. Playing in front of audiences who appreciate your music and perspective can help them learn about you and seek ways to connect with you. Colleges and universities often contain local radio stations where you can send in recordings. They also sometimes publish music reviews in student publications. Smaller efforts can produce high rewards in the long run.
Use social media
You can use social media to target specific market segments who might likely engage with it. While these strategies can be expensive, they can help expand your reach. If you don't want to invest in content promotions, consider updating your content frequently. Keep current fans engaged and maintain your relevance by posting music, pictures, images, event dates and promotional material regularly on your social media channels. Encourage fans to interact with your content and generate enthusiasm for upcoming releases to maintain engagement and increase your chances of appearing on fans' social media feeds.
Create other content
While your music is likely your primary content, promotional materials can be useful visual content. Posters, videos, T-shirts, stickers, blog posts and album covers can help people learn more about who you are as a musician before even hearing your music. Try to keep your artwork and merchandise consistent with your brand. Successful image advertising is often clear and representative and captures an audience's attention. Producing content with an interesting narrative can help fans resonate with your story and invest more of their time and energy into following your journey.
Related: 15 Jobs in the Music Industry
Distribute your music
One way to grow your audience is to ensure people have ways to hear your music. Sending your music to popular blogs, playlists and media outlets can help expand your current platform and reach more people. Consider writing an artist's biography on your social media pages and website that is engaging and successfully communicates who you are as an artist. Most followings don't accrue rapidly, and smaller platforms, such as blogs and featured playlists, can be promising places to start.
Create an effective website
Established websites and social media pages help audiences find your music. They can also be useful places to advertise upcoming events, sell merchandise and directly communicate with fans. Websites can be better places to invest time and energy than social media because you have more control over how you choose to display your content.
Invest in a radio or PR campaign
Some artists may choose to invest their resources into radio or PR campaigns. For these endeavors, it can be especially important to understand your audience so you know you're placing your content in front of the right people. PR campaigns can also be helpful if you don't have time to directly pitch your own music to audiences. A good PR campaign manager can understand your vision as an artist, help you reach more people and advertise events. While often expensive, campaigns can be effective ways to expand your reach.
Related: How Musicians Make Money
Develop an email list
One way you can interact with fans is to develop and use an email list. Communicating important information such as new releases, upcoming shows and production developments can keep fans aware of relevant information. Email often also has higher engagement rates than other forms of online advertising. Some musicians choose to offer incentives such as free downloads or merchandise in exchange for email addresses. Consider setting up tables outside your events to answer fan questions, build your email list and connect with audiences while your music is still relevant to them.
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