You are a passionate new musician looking to get your songs out there and get heard. You and your band just released an EP, but don’t have a label to help you promote it. You’re an indie singer that just wants to be heard, but doesn’t yet have the means to pay for PR.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Well, if you’re wondering how to promote your music in 2021, then it should. Whether you’re a new artist just starting out or an old hand to music just looking for a wider reach, there’s a lot you can do to promote your music without selling your soul to a record label.
In fact, with so many new music platforms, it’s never been easier to learn how to promote your music on social media.
Anyone with a computer and a decent microphone can call themselves an artist nowadays, but what separates these wannabes from actual musicians like you, is the reach. Actual musicians have fans. Actual musicians have an audience.
You may be thinking that what makes an actual musician is a huge corporate record label backing them and setting them up on world tours, but realistically, there are very few artists whose careers reflect that sentiment, and fewer still that actually want it.
Sure a manager and PR agent can help share the load, but they aren’t necessary and they aren’t what you should be focusing on if you’re just starting out. The only thing you need to do as a new artist is be heard.
It has never been simpler than it is today to get your music out there. The wide variety of social media and music platforms make self-promotion a breeze.
Here is the definitive guide on how to promote your music in 2021.
We will cover how to build an audience and promote your music on social media
- The Best Platforms to Promote Your Music
- How to promote your music on Youtube
- How to promote your music on SoundCloud
- How to promote your music on Facebook
How to promote your music on streaming platforms
- Promoting your music with Playlists
- How to promote your music on Spotify
- How to promote your music on Apple Music
- How to promote your music on Deezer
- How to promote your music with a website
How to Use the Platforms to Promote Your Music
Let’s start with the most popular platforms for music promotion.
YouTube is a resource like no other. It acts as an important tool in the music industry and can be integral to launching your fanbase. YouTube offers a unique environment for creators, in that, it is just as useful for beginner artists as it is for established ones. And, of course, it’s free.
To promote your music on YouTube you will first need a channel. Keep it professional and clean, dedicated to just you or your band. Here you will want to post videos that really help to garner an audience.
A good starting point to gaining recognition on YouTube is to post covers of popular songs that fit your musical style. This way, you can utilize and appeal to existing audiences while also showcasing your style.
From there, you will want to post music videos; YouTube is a visual platform after all. These videos should be creative and reflect something about you and your music. You want your audience to get a feel for you, to learn what to expect. The foundation of a good fanbase is consistency.
To really establish a loyal fanbase, you will need to connect to people on a personal level. YouTube makes this easy by offering tools like comments and polling systems. This will allow you to truly engage with your audience. Don’t be afraid to post some more personal videos as well; behind the scenes, Q&A, etc.
If that’s still not enough, YouTube is great for posting cross-platform. You can link your videos on other sites, post teasers, snippets, and promos whenever you get the chance. Remember, the trick to succeeding on YouTube, especially in the beginning, is audience engagement. Give them a reason to look you up. Give them a reason to stay.
SoundCloud is another great platform for beginner artists. It is an audio-based platform that allows for a more controlled release and sharing of music than YouTube. With SoundCloud, you can pick and choose exactly who you share your tracks with, engage audience feedback on unfinished tracks, and encourage fans to make their own playlists using your songs.
Like YouTube, SoundCloud is great for sharing cross-platform. Unlike YouTube, however, you can utilize audio files only. This makes them great for saving data space, and all the better for adding to the mystery of teasers.
To get started as a SoundCloud artist, simply make an account. As with YouTube, you’re going to want to make sure you are targeting a specific audience. Use tags to help the right people find your music. Make sure to add a ‘Buy’ link to your songs. Help your fans out a bit by directing them to where they can purchase your music; you want to make money after all.
Since you’re just starting out and need to find a way to better promote your music, why not give out a free song? Pick your best song and let people download it for free. People love free stuff and are more likely to buy your music if they like you as an artist.
SoundCloud offers a unique perspective when it comes to comments. Using the waveform, you can comment on parts of your own track, ask for feedback and see what parts do and don’t resonate with your audience. This is a vital tool for improving your sound, inviting your fans to participate, and getting feedback.
Facebook can be thought of as a bit like a cross between YouTube and your personal website when it comes to promoting your music. Use Facebook to advertise. Cover your account in you – you, your band, album covers, tour promotions, official art – anything and everything you have that reflects your music should be on Facebook.
Facebook is the place you really want to promote your image. Keep music posts limited and instead post links to other sites with your music, post promos, contests, and giveaways. Think of it as one big, evolving ad for you.
If you want to get the most out of Facebook, don’t use it for the same things you use the other sites for. If you post your music to YouTube and SoundCloud, then post your tour dates on Facebook; post about your upcoming album release, share all your other links.
Boosting posts and targeted ads can also help you reach a wider audience. A boosted post is great if you already said something, but feel it hasn’t garnered enough engagement or views. Targeted ads, on the other hand, are a good way to appeal to your desired demographic and bring more people into your audience.
You want Facebook to act as a central hub. If someone looks you up, make Facebook their one-stop-shop for every other thing connected to you. List all your social media, include Facebook-exclusive pictures, use it to post the latest band news. It is quite literally free advertising; make the most of it.
How to Promote Your Music with Playlists
Playlists are a great way to combine your best tracks for easy access to your listeners.
How to promote your music on Spotify
Spotify is known for playlists. Getting onto the top Spotify playlists will boost your musical reach significantly. Becoming an artist isn’t quite as easy as it is on YouTube, however. Not just anyone can make it to the greats.
The fastest way to get recognized on Spotify is to sign up for a ‘Spotify for Artists’ account; registering this way will guarantee you a verified account. This means you’ll have a little blue check next to your name. That check tells audiences and other artists that you are the real deal. It’s the first step to building a loyal and trusting following.
On Spotify, you can check all of your listener statistics: who’s listening, what’s most popular, how many are interested, etc. These tools make it easy to decide what songs to promote and how.
Get the most out of Spotify by pitching yet-to-be-released songs to the editors. If picked, these songs will end up on the editor’s playlists, promoted to more than just your followers when they come out. You can also boost already released songs by getting them ‘discovered’. This can be done by keeping up its popularity among your followers.
The best way to promote your music on Spotify is to get it on as many playlists as possible to rack up listens. There are a number of ways to do this and different types of playlists to focus on.
As mentioned, there are editor playlists. To get on these, you need to pitch unreleased songs. There are also algorithmic playlists; one’s that are generated to encompass different vibes.
These are all the ones that Spotify puts together based on the tone, mood, or genre of the song. Finally, there are also audience-generated playlists; ones that listeners put together themselves.
These playlists are particularly important as it shows you exactly what your audience is looking for and the types of artists they associate your music with. Another way to promote your music on Spotify is to collaborate with other artists. Make group playlists with them. Make something specifically for a collaboration piece.
Collaborations on Spotify are a great way to show your fans that you have reach as an artist and ambition to create. It helps a lot with engagement and encourages fans to think of you alongside other artists.
How to promote your music on Apple Music
Apple Music functions much in the same way that Spotify does. Promotion is derived mostly from featuring on top playlists. At the same time, it is a little more like Facebook, in that with Apple Connect there is a bigger opportunity to engage with your audience.
To promote your music on Apple Music start by making an artist account. This will allow you to show off your style, cover art, and, of course, your music. Get verified and set up your profile to reflect you or your band.
Uploading music to Apple Music is a bit trickier. As a new artist, you will need an aggregator. This is any company trusted by Apple Music. For a fee, you can upload your music to them, and they will get it put onto Apple music. The fee may be a commission or percentage of royalties.
You can also upload music directly to Apple Music, but not as a new artist. You need a minimum of twenty albums, an International Standard Recording Code, and a Universal Product Code to even be considered and even then it’s a long and arduous process.
As an artist on Apple Music, it’s a good idea not only to get your songs on to playlists but to make your own. This is a fast and efficient way to promote your own music while also showcasing for your fans what music you like; what inspires you.
For generating buzz around your music on Apple Music, try a pre-release campaign. This will help to get the word out before you release new music, and have people clamoring to get it when it comes out.
How to promote your music on Deezer
Deezer is a music streaming service similar to Spotify and Apple Music. You can play or download songs, create playlists and additionally listen to the radio. Like Apple Music, as an independent artist, you will need to use a digital distribution service to get your music on Deezer. The process is simple and doesn’t cost much, but it is the only way to get onto Deezer without a label backing you.
As an artist on Deezer, you can promote your music by paying for a campaign; this will promote your music across the platform by adding it to playlists and increasing its accessibility to listeners, or by getting it onto playlists yourself. As with Spotify and Apple Music, the more people hear it, play it, favorite it, the more royalties you earn.
Of course, it is still imperative that you promote all your music cross-platform. Give your audience access by easing the search. The less people have to look, the easier you’ll be to find.
Make a Website
Finally, one of the most important steps you should take to promoting your music is making yourself, or your band, a website. Your website should function like a dictionary dedicated solely to your music. It should be the first place people go when they want to learn about you.
To build a good website you need to design it around your style. Get some great cover art, include photos of the band, tell your fans about yourself and your music. List everything and anything that relates to your music here. Add song lyrics, embed your latest music videos, highlight those tour dates, and give your fans a way to reach you.
Obviously, don’t go putting your phone number and personal email on your website, but rather allow fans to give you their emails; get them on mailing lists. If fans want you to promote yourself to them, then do it. Let them be the first to hear about new tour dates, give them links to where your next song will drop, promote merch if you have it.
Your website and mailing list are the golden tickets to self-promotion. It’s your audience asking you to give them more. It couldn’t be any easier.
So, now you know how to promote your music in 2021. It isn’t about having a label, or calling up a PR agent, or even hiring the right manager. Promoting your music requires you to build an audience, find a niche and appeal to those in it. The biggest thing you can do to promote your music is to spread the word.
YouTube, SoundCloud, and Facebook are the best place to start. If used correctly, these social media platforms can increase audience engagement to ridiculous degrees and help you build a true and loyal fanbase.
Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer build recognition even further by getting actual listening time for your songs. They can help you earn royalties, collaborate with other artists, and refine your style. As dedicated music platforms, they give you a real look into the statistics of your songs.
Last, but by no means least, your website is an integral part of promoting your music. It is the soul behind the songs; the place you can cultivate and personalize in every aspect. Having a website and mailing list are the foundations of music promotion.
Also, never forget to link everything cross-platform. Help your audience find you; that’s what promoting is all about.
Now you know what to do. Get out there and start sharing. Make a website, get rolling on those social media accounts, design some cover art, promote, promote, promote!