Key Steps To Take After Your First Release – Music Marketing Tips
Have you recently finished a new music project that you plan on releasing? If so, congrats! You’ve taken a major step already, however there is a lot more to come. Something that a lot of artists struggle with when they want to release music, is where to start with the marketing? What steps to take to set everything up. How to grow a fan base to hear the music you have been working so hard on. This is why Nightstorm Digital has put together this short article with a few tips and tricks on how to get your first listeners.
What exactly do you want to achieve? Who is your music for? What is the ideal audience to target (age, location, interest, similar artists etc..). Now this step might sound a bit cliché, but is important that you establish a step by step plan BEFORE your music is released, so that upon release, you are ready to execute whatever strategy you have come up with.
The first, and perhaps most important step is to make sure that your music is good. If your music is not good it becomes so much harder to conduct marketing and promotion, that is the bitter truth I suppose. How can you make your music the best it can be? Well, first of all you can get other’s to listen to it. By this I do not only mean friends and family, but also people you have never met who are not afraid to give an honest opinion. For this you can join Discord servers or Reddit subreddits where you can post your music and ask for feedback. Do not get discouraged if you receive negative feedback. Take it as a chance to improve. Furthermore, if you do not know how to mix and master yourself, or produce high quality instrumentals, it is worth it to pay someone who is experienced and who can ensure that you have a well engineered track. It makes a big difference. Not only does your music have to be on top, but also everything else like cover art, graphic designs… Do not think that rushing something will work or that nobody will notice. The finer details do matter.
Upload your music to your distributor early (Distrokid, CD Baby, Tunecore…) so that you can submit your music to editorial playlists (3-5 weeks before release).
Construct a list of possible playlists that you can submit your music to on the day of release. To do this, find artists that make similar music to you and go to their Spotify “About” page to see what playlists they are discovered on. Check these playlists and see if there is any way to reach out the curator (can usually be found in the description). Once you have done this, add the information to the document/spreadsheet so that it is neatly organized and stored for future releases as well. Do this for as many playlists as you can, both big and small. You can also research on forums like Reddit and reach out to curators on Instagram. Another good tool to use is www.submithub.com and www.labelradar.com (cost more).
Now, do the same but for YouTube curators (YouTube channels that repost music). This is a very powerful method of driving good, highly targeted traffic to your Spotify/Apple Music/SoundCloud… The reason for this is because these YouTube repost channels often focus around a very specific genre and niche and thus the listeners on that particular channel are very targeted for that type of music, and if you get reposted there is generally a high conversion rate. So, as mentioned earlier, create a document or spreadsheet with as many contacts and links to YouTube repost channels as you can find. Create a email template and reach out to each and everyone of these channels when your music is released. Overtime, you can refine your list of channels by removing those that do not open, respond or repost your music (use the Google Extension Mail Tracker to see if you’re emails are opened or not).
Use your social media platforms effective to create organic outreach and engagement. Even if you are not very big on Instagram, Twitter or any other social media platform, being active is essential. You have to use several methods to get into the algorithm as it is them who decide who gets to see your posts. For Instagram, we at Nightstorm Digital have discovered that it is not good to send your post to people using DMs. Instead, if you want people to engage on your post, send them a message informing them that you have posted instead of sending the actual post. The key to increase organic engagement is to not fall on the wrong side of Instagram’s algorithm. In addition, you can also ask friends or other people you know to SAVE your post, as this is a very strong engagement indicator for Instagram.
With social media platforms, you also have to create varied content. As a musician, this can be posting “snippets”/previews of your music, vlog/studio/production/recording content and general “every-day” content. Another tip is to collaborate with as many producers and musicians as you can, because this can help expose you to their fan base as well. Now, speaking of collaborations, if you are a upcoming musician I can highly recommend working with producers, not only for your own project, but for theirs as well. Hear me out. A lot of producers who has worked with us have continuously expressed how often they want to find a singer to work with so they can release their own projects. Being on these producer projects is a great way for you to get your name out there, have new people hear your voice and music, and also, doing it mostly for free.
Lastly, before I move onto the next point, you need to use multiple different platforms, but focus primarily on 2-4. It should be possible to find you on most major social media apps, but you need to focus on a select few, such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Tik-Tok, which are the ones we recommend.
Run ADs on social media platforms. This will require you spend a little bit of money, but the good thing with social media ADs is that your budget can be very flexible. You can start with 5-10$ to test various different campaigns, with emphasis on “test”. You should set up different AD sets with different videos, parts of the song, content types etc… and see which one performs best. After you have gathered analytics regarding what type of AD is performing the best (maybe it’s a preview video, or a dance, or a visualizer…) you will allocate a greater proportion of your budget to that particular campaign. As the campaign goes on, you will need to monitor it often and make optimizations, such as tweaking the location or interests etc… Facebook ADs (includes Instagram) is a great place to start and can get you very solid results if used correctly. The ADs you run can either be directly to your music streaming platform (Spotify, Apple Music etc…) or to your profile page (to gain followers) or even to a pre-save page if you are running a pre-release campaign. Now, I won’t get too much into pre-release campaigns in this post, but they might be worth mixing in with your other campaigns. This is because pre-release campaigns can lead to pre-saves, which in turn can be very beneficial for the Spotify algorithm and can help you land on algorithmic playlists, such as Discover Weekly.
Submit your music to labels, influencers, radio shows, join podcasts etc… Follow creators on Instagram and YouTube as many of these people host music reviews and more where you can submit your music and expose it to their following base. Any exposure is good exposure. Join podcasts and small radio shows. There are plenty of new podcasts that are eager to interview new artists and musicians, you just have to reach out and ask if you can join. Spend a little bit of time every day on Instagram and Twitter and network, network, network…
Test, Use, Optimize and Repeat. What I mean with this is: You need to test what works for you. Do you get better results with ADs? Or playlisting?. Use what works and stop wasting time and budget on things that do not work as well. Optimize. Make sure you are always checking the analytics and finding areas where you can make changes to make your campaign more time and budget efficient. Repeat. You have to stay consistent! Success rarely happens overnight, and you need to understand that building a organic and real fan base takes time, but is not impossible, especially if you use the right techniques and have good music.
Come up with a good release schedule. I recommend to release a single every 4-6 weeks as a upcoming artist, with 1-2 EPs and 2 Albums per year.