Hi, Daniel. I’ve been producing music for 10 years. I released a few tracks on different labels and got support from some DJs. However, I still haven’t gathered an audience around my project.
I don’t know how to promote my music. This might be an obvious question, but what is the right strategy to do that? For example, I have a page on Facebook or Soundcloud and I want to get more followers. But I don’t know what is the best way to do that.
Another question is concerning management of an artist. I heard, that many producers are hiring managers who can help them with promotion in different media. Where can I find this person and how the process of working with manager looks like? Thanks.
Professional music producers are public persons. We need the audience, just as the film industry and theater. The problem is that not many music producers realize this simple fact: getting an audience is hard work, no less hard than the music production itself.
Facebook and Soundcloud are good platforms for promotion in general, but it’s kinda tricky. The Internet, and social networks in particular, forever changed the way how we communicate. Social media are amazing, whilst also causes another problem: many producers strive for the numbers on their social profiles, thinking it is will lead them to success. It’s nice to have a lot of followers, but it shouldn’t be a goal or measurement of your success as an artist. Don’t fall into this trap.
Also, think of social networks as one of the tools, but not limited to it. There are many other ways for promoting. Your audience will grow along with your artist name, and Facebook is a nice place to gather them. But not for finding a new one, otherwise it’s a vicious circle.
Here are some ways of promoting:
- Write good, quality music. That’s the essential foundation.
- Release music on trusted record labels. They do not necessarily have to be big ones but rather have their own niche audience, which is obviously should be your audience, too.
- Get gigs. Gigs are probably the most effective thing in terms of promotion: your name is posted on events lineup, printed on flyers, you get more fans (the real ones, not just numbers in social profile) while playing, and more business connections at the venue as well.
- Get offline business connections with industry professionals, like DJ, musicians, party promoters and event organizers, press, and so on. I wouldn’t rely much on this, but it might help to open some locked doors.
- Make guest mix appearances. Many DJs host their own radio shows and usually have guest slots. Find those DJs with a similar audience to yours. By doing guest mixes, you increase your exposure.
- Start your own radio show or a podcast on iTunes, it’s relatively easy nowadays. Unlike of guest mixes, you probably won’t increase, but you’ll get loyal fans in a long-term perspective. Also, having own radio show will keep you in a good shape as a DJ. Like a fitness, just not for the body.
- Run blog and post advice :-)
- Deal with a press. Make sure that your key releases and news are highlighted by bloggers, reviewers, and niche websites of your musical genre. Arrange an interviews, articles, and more publications.
- Arrange photo session to get quality press shots. Using it in press and social media, it could help your fans to associate your music with your identity. Consider pictures as part of your branding.
- Create a personal website and keep it up to date. It’s good to have all information about your music easily accessible in one place. Don’t rely much on social networks on this.
- Send email newsletters. Emails are strong marketing tool which you shouldn’t underestimate. Make sure to put a noticeable form on your website, so you could gather email address from those who interested in your news and updates.
- At last but not least, use social networks.
And the list can go on. As you can see, there are lot of work here need to be done. If you not doing some of these points, you clearly miss some part of the audience.
Also, I want to clarify the last point, since you asked about Facebook: “to use” social networks is not the same as “to be there”, like a shadow of presence. You have to actually actively use it: share posts, reply to comments. Do it daily, or so. Yes, it’s very time-consuming process, but it pays off. Facebook has been designed to connect people, so here it is — the connection. You can instantly get feedback from a fan in different country, musicians of the past century could only dream about! So use this tool on its full power.
As for the right strategy, and I’m afraid there is no “right” one. It’s all matter of personal choice and your personality. In general, I’d advise keeping in on the professional side of things.
Numerous selfies and photos of your breakfast might be interesting to your friends (I bet not), but most likely not to your fans. There is nothing wrong to say “please give a like”, or “please buy this track”, but repeated infinite numbers of times it looks pathetic. Pictures of cats, dogs, and internet memes might be annoying rather than funny.
Instead, I’d recommend to share details of your production: from idea and draft, to “work in progress” and behind the scenes of the final result. Show people how hard you working on in pursuit of success. Even small details of your work, like upgrading a studio gear, or finding out a new trick, might catch huge attention from your fans — it is always nice to look at the inside world, at the “kitchen” of professionals.
Remember, your music is what basically makes a connection. People love you for the music, not for the brown eyes, unless you are a pop star. So stay on topic, keep it in a professional manner, carry on with dignity. And most important, be yourself. As for the question regarding managers, perhaps, I’ll write about it next time.
On cover image: Comfort 13 club, Tel Aviv.
P.S. This post is a part of the weekly “Advice” series. I’m happy to advise on such topics as production, performance, management, marketing, and design in the music industry and beyond. Send me your questions, too.