Music marketing is the art and science of finding the audience for your music.
In 2014, digital music sales officially equalled physical sales for the first time ever.
As musicians, it’s liberating (and way more helpful) to see the internet as an opportunity, not a threat. Yes, the market’s more saturated than ever before. Absolutely, there’s lots more noise now too. Did you spend all year working on a release? It’s true: unfortunately, the lifespan of promoting it won’t last as long as it used to.
And that’s a good thing how?
Because, the reason this has all happened is that a lot of people use the internet. Plenty more are on their way, too.
This means that you can find and create your own audience online – an audience who are really into what you do and want more of it.
Once upon a time, the musical gatekeepers (major labels, radio, retailers) promoted music they calculated would have broad appeal. This way, there was less risk in their eyes for the huge investment it used to cost to get a band recorded and released.
Now, with this awesome internet, we can connect to each other in an unparalleled number of ways. There’s literally never been a better time to make a sustainable living from your weird and wonderful musical niche.
So, how do you build and nurture your online audience?
Have you read the 1000 True Fans Theory? No? Do it now.
The idea is that we can cultivate our own audience. You don’t need an unlimited promotional budget and you don’t need to be a pop sensation to gain self-sustainability. The internet lets us connect directly with real people who are invested in our music and art. How?
- Social media and website
- Easy and cheap distribution of your music via digital channels
- The power of analytics – knowing who and where your fans are, and using that data to find new fans
- Collaborative opportunities around the world
Once we’ve got these fans connecting with us, the idea is to give them what they want! These days, this means regular content:
- Singles, videos, remixes, live recordings, collaborations, thoughts, rants and raves, posts, photos
- Opportunities for our audience to connect with us via social media, commenting and messages
- Creating an easy opportunity for fans to purchase our music
Cool, so how do you attract these fans in the first place?
Through digital funnels. Think of social media like YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify as major channels by which your new fans can discover you. With the fresh content you’re releasing, new fans stumble across it – and some of them love it. Then they’ll ‘sign up’ somehow for more content – whether it be a like, a follow, or by giving you their email address. Now you’ve been given the greatest gift of all – their permission for ongoing connection. Now you can share your art with then, and the relationship begins.
It’s like the old-fashioned idea of having a benefactor for your art. Just make sure you remember the 1000 True Fan theory, and that each fan is a small – but essential – fraction of that one large benefactor that supports your career. By releasing a mix of free and paid content (merch, vinyl, free downloads, concert tickets), your true fans stay engaged and buy when invited. This means you’re on your way to earning a really decent wage from your music.
We build websites for musicians that help fans connect to their music and story.
Creating opportunities for engagement, such as clean, clear design and audio/video integration, allows for a better connection.
Then, facilitating easy purchase of music and merch, as well as email and social signup, allows future relationships and sustainable music practice.
If you’d like a musician-rates (really reasonable) quote for a great website, get in touch.
Content writing & editing
Great content is how you engage with your audience. Musicians know this intuitively with their own music: if it moves you, it’s likely other people will dig it too. The written word, however, can stump many of us.
Getting your point across in an engaging way is an art form. The same principles for musical technique apply to writing: it’s all about efficiency of gesture, pacing, colour and intention. And practice.
We can help with promotional materials for releases, grant applications, web content, or press features. Tom’s significant background in writing and editing includes:
- Writing and editing for online and print publications – in the arts and other professional sectors
- Freelance arts and music writing for promotion and grant applications
Get in touch if you’d like to chat about your project.