Promoting Your Music Online

How to promote your music online

I spent a couple of years on Soundcloud promoting my music. I achieved one thousand eight hundred followers at one point. For a guitarist playing only instrumentals that’s impressive.

One of my tracks got 135,000 plays which, for a jazz track is pretty good, easily putting me top of the jazz charts! That's not too shabby for any artiste. Want to know how I did it?

Benny Sutton · Good Times feat. Vocalatti and Mark Dorricott

I’m guessing you’re here because you’ve posted your track somewhere online and it’s done nothing. Less than 10 views and be honest, half of those were your Mum!

So, you’re looking for the knowledge to promote yourself. Here it is.

You can't just post a track and expect instant adulation. This frustration has spawned a whole industry of companies who claim they will make you a star. They won’t, you’ve got to take responsibility. I know, you should be concentrating on the music but what’s the point if it’s not getting heard?

Not put off yet? Good! You’ve got what it takes to succeed. Read on.

Where to start?

The good news is that everyone starts at the same place. Nowhere!

Starting from scratch to promote your music online can be very daunting. It's easy to become demoralised. But listen, no one else is getting noticed either. There's not just too much noise to cut through, there are legions of really good musicians who don't get the recognition they deserve. Everyone else is in the same boat.

To get from there to recognition has nothing to do with the music.

The music industry is a popularity contest. Ever notice how really crap bands seem to get on? It's clearly not because of their music it is because they are popular. They are cultural, not musical. Being famous for being famous is not a new phenomenon. Read my Laws of Music Marketing - Law #10

Where To Promote Yourself as a Musician on social media

Remember, the old music industry business model has been smashed. OK, the suits still have control of national radio airplay, MTV etc. but the real channel for new talent is the FIRGYS (Facebook, Instagram, ReverbNation, Google, YouTube, and Soundcloud). Once you crack a FIRGY, maybe, the vultures will be interested in you.

Where should musicians be online to succeed? I did by concentrating on a single platform to begin with.

You can't dwell on the competition, to start with you need to build a fan base. Once you do that, screw the A&R guys, you don't need them.

The online platforms change their sites too often to keep up. At the risk of giving redundant advice the moment it is written there are some constants that I feel safe talking about when it comes to the main social media sites that musicians should be on…

Who are you trying to impress?

Afterglow by Benny Sutton
Afterglow by Benny Sutton

Understand the landscape.

The motivation for all those millions of uploads onto social media boils down to one thing; the need to be loved. That's right, we are kidding ourselves if we think anything else. There is little to no altruism involved. The thing to remember is that everyone is out for the same thing; they are not interested in your music, just their own.

You can use this to your advantage. It may be cynical but the best way to get people to listen to you is few kind words from you first. Once they know you, they are invested in you. This takes time I’ll admit. See the Law of 7

It’s like dating, you won’t get sex unless you buy them lunch first!

Fans, Followers, Subscribers

On YouTube they are called Subscribers, on Soundcloud they are Followers; it all amounts to the same thing – repeat business - the prime support you are cultivating.

Eventually, if you invest your time wisely, you will have a solid community who you can rely on to share, like, and listen to new releases. Perhaps you will reach a tipping point where you can be guaranteed of support.

Two things to take into account…

  1. think small
  2. Take the long view

 Why do I say start small? The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. When you tackle a big project it can be daunting. Where do you start? This can make you procrastinate, lose motivation, and put it off until tomorrow.

Like learning to play lead guitar you should take baby steps to get to the same place faster. Chip away at the problem.

When I advise taking the long view, I mean be patient. Search engine optimisation takes months to see results. Yeah, we all think we should go viral but not everyone can, can they?

Slow and steady wins the race.

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