How To Promote Music Well If You Suck At Planning
Most strategies for promoting music involve many months of pre-release planning, which is great if you have the self-control to not just blast out the sick new tracks you can't wait to show the world or the help of a label. But if you're an independent artist who is overwhelmed at the prospect of trying to plan many months of promotion leading up to an album (one you've spent way too long recording to begin with!) this post is for you, so strap in.
One challenge independent artists bump into is that once music is out and you've told everyone about it, it's kind of old news. How many new video clips can you make bringing people's attention to the same songs? A few. And do that for sure. And keep doing it for many months. But there's a lot more you can do!
College Radio Promotion
Who could have guessed that a college radio promotion company would suggest this! But seriously, one of our favorite things about college radio promo is that our ten weeks of servicing the record to college and community stations all over the USA begins *after* an album is released. It's even common for us to begin campaigns a good number of months after a record has been released. College radio promotion is an excellent way to ensure that people (specifically, the kind of obsessive music nerds who listen to college radio) keep discovering your record for many months after your release, giving your record the best chance possible at a long, healthy lifecycle.
Readers of the little red radio blog will know that we're beginning to sound like a broken record, but getting out and playing regional shows is important for countless reasons (read more about how to tour more easily here!) but if you're in the business of getting fans and selling records, playing out is your best shot at doing both.
Find Authentic Ways to Be Creative
An album is still new as long as you're finding new ways to share it with the world. The best way to create content for your music is to center it around something you already love doing.
Love staying up late and singing in the living room with your roommates? Turn that into an intimate acoustic performance video. Love calligraphy? Making a time-lapse video of you hand-writing your lyrics on fancy parchment and do a give-away contest on your socials where fans can enter to win the actual parchment. The key here isn't how clever you can be, but how much enjoyment you take from whatever creative promotional ideas you have. This ensures to things:
You'll have fun doing it so you're likely to continue doing stuff *like* that (i.e. you're having fun and not wasting a ton of energy)
If you find whatever you're doing cool and amusing, the chances are pretty high that other people who connect with your music will feel the same way.
The best marketing is specific, so don't try to be general. Another way of saying this, is, don't try to make shit you think everyone will like. Your music isn't for everyone, it's just for other freaks like you. OK, you freak?
Begin Talking to Labels
It might feel intimidating submitting your music to labels, but I'm begging you (and so are they) to just do it. Record labels need artists and it's harder than you think to discover excellent new music! Most labels are much smaller than you're imagining and get fewer submissions than you think. At least at mid-sized labels, there's a very high chance your music will get listened to, even if they don't respond this time around. Your job is to share what you're doing and to keep getting better at it.
While many labels prefer to get artist submission before an album has been released, post-album release is also a great time to begin the conversation because you probably look as busy and dialed and awesome as you ever have. You've got fresh new songs pictures and you're looking cute as heck, so get out there.
Submit to Music Festivals
You've got brand new music to show off - it's a great time to submit to music festivals and show the people booking them what you've been up to! Same goes for reaching out to local venues and trying to get spots opening for bigger bands coming through town. You can't expect people in the music industry to keep tabs on what new music you've released. So it's important toreach out for specific opportunities and give people a chance to appreciate all the hard work you've put into your new (or newish) record. Go make it happen!
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