A guest post by Janette Berrios
How to Advance Your Music Career in a Digital Age
Being a musician these days is tough! Back in the good ‘ol days, artists just had to worry about learning their craft and booking shows, hoping to get radio support along the way that could eventually get you signed to a label. But today things have gotten a bit more complicated. But with every challenge there always lies opportunity. This opportunity is that we now have more access to information than ever before–information is knowledge. Now all the barriers of entry only large record labels knew about are out there in the open. With a bit of research and time, we know the industry works and we know how musicians can make money in it. Artists today are lucky to have a window of opportunity literally at their fingertips for thousands of music fans to discover them. These music promotion tips will help you to bring your music into the digital age.
Hopefully this post will shed some light on the basics that I feel every artist or label should get familiarized with today. These will not only help you get familiarized with how to generate revenue from your music and create further exposure, it will help educate you so you’re prepared to get a fair deal should a label come knocking on your door.
Know how your music can make money
Musicians and record labels today have the ability to wear many hats. They have to be promoters, social media managers, booking agents, designers, and so much more. I always recommend that if you’re doing to be investing time in making music and promoting it, learn ways you can make money from it. Music makes 13 different types of royalties–sales from download stores like iTunes, Beatport, Amazon, etc. are just one type of royalty– and you should get familiarized with all the different varieties of revenue streams your music can make and how to collect them. Symphonic offers services that can help you collect them all, and you can learn about them here.
Utilize promotion tools
There are countless social media platforms out there (and more on the way) and they all have their own etiquette. When deciding where and how you’ll be promoting your music, make sure to start with ONE profile. As you get comfortable with the amount of consistent content that you’re sharing on that platform, you can move on to trying others.
Once you’ve decided what platform(s) you’ll be using to promote, you should consider reviewing social media management tools. These allow you to schedule posts ahead of time you, allowing you to make sure you’re being consistent. Consistency is key! Create a connection and make sure you’re cultivating it. Here are some of the top social media management platforms out there:
Regardless whether or not you decide to use any of these, I highly recommend that you also take a peek at link shorteners like Bitly or Geni.us, which help you track the clicks on the links you’re sharing. But keep in mind that when sharing iTunes links, depending on where your fans are and what type of mobile device they use, they may not always be able to open iTunes links because they could be using an Andriod device and vice-versa. Using services like Geni.us will help in generating a link that can be used by all users.
Once you’ve determined these aspects of your music strategy, remember that the music industry is a relationship business and the less time you spend behind a computer, the better! To help manage your time, try to use the the 30/20/10 rule. This means you will only spend one hour a day on social media–30 minutes on your most important profile, 20 minutes on the second-most important, and 10 minutes on the third. This prevents spending too much time on each or checking all day for notifications.
Learn to brand your music
We live in a social media-filled, 140 character era where the attention span of anyone on the Internet is just one click away from making a lasting first impression. It’s sad that we only will give music-or anything for that matter–a chance based only on their “look” or branding. In order to combat this, it’s important that you look the part. Not only will this help you in getting more followers but it will help you get the attention of promoters, managers and more. There are tons of free tools today like Canva, PicMonkey and BeFunky that can be used to make promotional assets if you lack the funds. Take pride in everything that you put out and take your time with it if you don’t feel ready.
If you would like to know a bit more on branding and the tone in which you should be addressing your followers, I highly recommend you read the following articles we’ve done on the topic:
Significance of Branding as Recording Artists
Brand Discovery through a Tangible Roadmap
6 Definitions You MUST have for your Music’s Brand
Keep in mind that you have to have a voice and you have to be consistent, and it will take time. You just have to learn how to do it correctly.
Spend more time on Spotify
Spotify is now the most popular streaming platform in the world, making it truly a great tool for music discovery and one you should definitely be utilizing. Check out our tips on how to stream your music on Spotify where you’ll find all the necessary tools available for artists and record labels. My personal recommendations would be:
Get your profile verified. This will allow you to update the cover photos of your playlist covers and also add a bio to each playlist.
Create playlist themes that aren’t just genre-based, but also themed by activities that your music is good to listen to while doing. For example, techno is great for the underground club scene, reggae for BBQs or the beach, progressive house for festivals and so on. Also, as a record label you are also able to have your top artists create playlists for you as well.
Build your Spotify following. Your fans become your promoters just by listening and you showing up on their feeds. Spotify now also recommends nearby concerts to fans who listen to a lot of your music or follow you, and nearby concerts are shown to users visiting your artist discography page on Spotify.
If you need some inspiration and or ideas, check out our Spotify profile and see what we’ve done. While you’re there, give us a follow, too!
Make sure you’re a marketing funnel
This is a small tip that makes a HUGE difference! Make sure that all your social media profiles include the links to your website and/or all other profiles. Typically most profiles allow you to add these somewhere. You never know when someone will stumble on you and would like to hear more from you or learn more. Another big tip to remember is when sharing your music via YouTube or SoundCloud, remember to always add purchase details for your release and links to your other social media channels. Here’s a great example of what you should be putting in the body of SoundCloud and YouTube descriptions.
(Bio of the release)
Merchandise Madness: bit.ly/PlayMeShop
Listen on Spotify: http://bit.ly/Peaks_SF
– Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/donkongmusic
– Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/donkong
– Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/donkongmusic
For Play Me updates and future releases, be sure to follow us at:
– Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/playmerecords
– Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/playmerecords
– Soundcloud: http://www.soundcloud.com/playmerecords
– YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/playmerecords
– Instagram: http://instagram.com/playmerecords
Put all of your music on YouTube
YouTube is the third most popular website in the world, making it undoubtedly one of the best tools to discover music. Not only that, but you can also monetize the views your videos generate from the ad revenue. Plus, if someone uploads your music on their own channel, you can earn money from the that ad revenue as well through Content ID.
A great example we have is from one of our clients, Keith MacKenzie of Illeven Eleven Recordings. One of his songs, “When I’m Bored,” suddenly went viral in Japan after thousands of people started making simple videos with Japanese animations–some of them reaching over 10 million views. Unfortunately, he didn’t have YouTube Monetization activated on his tracks at the time, but now that he does, he’s still generating some sweet revenue from these.
Sign up for YouTube Monetization here and don’t lose out on potential revenue you could be making!
If you’d like to discuss any of these topics further, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via Twitter or email. Thanks for reading and go KILL it out there!