8 Reasons Your Music-Marketing Isn’t Working

Learning the skills to effectively self-promote is key to establishing a financially successful career in the music industry. No matter how talented you are, it’s pointless churning out great songs while nobody knows they exist. Artists, at the beginning of their career, often underestimate not only the power of music-marketing but the importance of learning to do it well.

Here are some of the most common music-marketing mistakes, and how you can avoid them:

#1Only using social media

Social media sites offer a unique platform of communication between musicians and their fans. Artists can share videos, reviews, and information about future gigs to keep their followers excited about their work.

However, while Facebook, Twitter and Instagram might be great tools for keeping your existing followers up-to-date, social media has limited potential to expand your fanbase. People tend to ignore the advertisements littering their social media feeds, and funnel their attention towards the profiles that they already know.

Therefore, it’s vital that you explore alternative avenues of music-marketing, rather than relying on social media alone to introduce new people to your music.

Furthermore, when it comes to business communication with labels, promoters and journalists you should use more formal platforms, like e-mail or telephone. Not only is this more professional, but any respected influencer will be bombarded daily with Facebook messages from wannabe artists — messages which they probably ignore.

#2Ignoring ‘outsiders’ and freelancers

It can be very difficult to secure a feature article with one of the major music publications — even for musicians who have already amassed a significant following. But, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of freelance bloggers, who normally focus on a specific genre or style of music.

If you’re an artist in the early stage of your career, it’s worthwhile reaching-out to these smaller, genre-specific bloggers who are not only more likely to give you a feature, but whose readership are already passionate about your type of music.

A feature written by a lesser-known, niche blogger might get fewer views than the mainstream music websites, but your article is less likely to get lost amongst hundreds of others, and the people who do read it will actually take interest.

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#3Outsourcing to automated marketing services

You’ll encounter plenty of companies offering to undertake your music-promotion, however, the services they provide aren’t necessarily as effective or professional as they claim.

Many of these commercial marketing providers rely on automated programs that simply churn out generic, impersonal e-mails to influencers — which are normally discarded as quickly as they are sent.

These blanket marketing tactics from third-party companies are a waste of time and money; you’ll have far more success-and control if you handle your own music-promotion by approaching potential contacts directly.

#4Cold-calling and mass e-mails

Nothing will irritate a music professional — and encourage them to black-list you — more quickly than receiving an impersonal e-mail from an artist ‘reaching-out’ to multiple contacts in one go. Mass emails seem lazy, and influencers won’t believe that you have a serious interest in working with their brand or company.

A far better approach is to first conduct some research on the individual you intend to contact, and then find a way to embed this research in the message — so it looks like you’ve got a genuine, considered interest in their work.

For example, if you’re reaching-out to a particular music blog, you could mention some of your favourite artists previously featured on the website. They’ll appreciate that you’ve spent some time getting to know their work, and therefore be more receptive to writing about you.

If you do insist on sending the same e-mail to more than one person, be sure to utilise the ‘BCC’ (Blind Carbon Copy) function, so the list of recipients isn’t visible on the message itself.

#5Not making yourself stand-out

It’s no secret that the music industry is incredibly competitive: there are thousands of talented individuals fighting for attention from the public and industry professionals. So, establishing your own unique image and sound is one of the most vital aspects of the self-promotion process.

Don’t be tempted to try and imitate the career of already successful artists, or consciously make music which seems to fit the established pop mould. Copy-cat tactics will not only diminish your creative freedom, but also make you indistinguishable from the masses of other artists chasing commercial success in this way.

Record labels want to represent fresh, exciting talent that will make an impact in the industry — not more of what’s already been done. So, if you want your music to make a lasting impression — and avoid your demos being sent to the discard pile — focus on developing an authentic sound, rather than being ruled but what you think will be successful.

#6Targeting the wrong audience

Promotion is most successful when it has been tailored specifically towards a target audience.

So, first you must identify type of person you think is most likely to enjoy your music, and then consider the best way to reach these potential fans. Instagram might be a great platform for communicating with millennials, but radio and print will be more effective for reaching older generations.

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#7Inconsistent marketing

Most artists recognise the importance of self-promotion at certain points in their career, such as before an album release, however music-marketing should actually be a constant consideration. Fans can be fickle, so if you’re not consistent with your promotion you’ll quickly lose their attention.

Regularly update your social media pages with relevant, shareable content to keep fans updated on the latest developments in your career, and never stop looking for opportunities to generate exposure.

Appearances and collaborations with other artists, reaching-out to bloggers and promotional offers on your music are all great ways to sustain the buzz around your work between major events — like an album drop or tour.

#8Paying for fake followers, likes or views

Beware of the websites making grand promises to get you hordes of new followers. If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is: the thousands of followers and views they’re selling are likely fake, and a total waste of money. Record labels expect artists to have a real, significant online following before they’ll consider offering them a record deal, and they’re experts are sorting authentic fans from the fake ones.

If you’ve got a hundred thousand followers on Instagram, but only two comments on each photo, it’s obvious that you’ve paid for fake followers. Spare yourself the expense and disappoint by focusing on raising your profile genuinely, rather than forking out for useless fakes — or you’ll risk being seen as unprofessional and desperate.

Do you have any tried and tested self-promotion tips?
We would love to hear about them in the comments below!

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