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There’s a lot of noise out there. Every Friday (and Tuesday and Thursday, and all the other days) artists are releasing tons of new music into the world.
They’re sharing it with their audience, posting about it on forums and social media, sending it to different blogs, and throwing shows to celebrate it. There is a lot of new music out there, and as amazing as that is for us as consumers, as an artist, it can often feel like cutting through the noise and really making an impact is next to impossible.
Good news though, we don’t believe in impossible, especially when it comes to getting in front of the right audience and making an impact with the thing you’ve poured your heart and soul into. You just need a strategy to help you get the word out. And here’s how you do it.
1. Develop a plan.
You’ve got to have a plan if your music stands any chance of reaching an audience. You can not simply release your song and then sulk when no one listens to it. If you want to cut through the noise, step number one is to have a solid plan. When will you release this album or song? How will you get the word out about it? What will you do differently this time around? And how will you measure the success of certain efforts?
2. Hold yourself accountable.
A logical next step, once you have your plan in place, you need to actually act on it. This means if you know you have to have your bio done by next Thursday, you make time and get it done. No excuses — don’t become your own obstacle to success. If you want this to work, you have to be willing to hold yourself accountable, and compromise on other aspects of your life.
3. Give your fans an exclusive first listen.
We’ve talked extensively about the benefits of an email list on Flypaper, and this is another instance in which it comes in extremely handy. Cutting through the noise on social media can be difficult with the way various platforms design their algorithms, but getting the word out to your mailing list? So much simpler.
Honestly, if you don’t have a mailing list, go do that right now and come back to me. You won’t believe how much more interaction you get, how many more sales go through, and how your live show attendance increases just by creating a space for your most loyal fans.
By giving your most loyal fans (your mailing list subscribers) a first listen, you’re doing two things: Firstly, you’re making sure they actually hear it, which means they’re more likely to buy it, share it, and talk about it; and secondly, you’re making sure they know how important they are to you, because they’re getting to hear this, see the artwork, read the story behind it before anyone else at all.
4. Have a launch party, and go all out.
I don’t mean just any old launch party, where you rent a venue, play a 45-minute set, thank the crowd, and head out. I mean you put together a proper party that’s memorable for absolutely everyone for years to come. How many times have you been to a release party where there were hundreds of free cupcakes for the audience to celebrate with? None? Same here; I’d love to go to one of those. I’d go to one of those shows just for the cupcakes.
Or how many times have you gone to a release show where the first 25 people in the door got a special, one of a kind, exclusive, free piece of merch? I went to one of those once — once! In 10 years in this industry, and I still hold it dear to my heart. It doesn’t even have to be something expensive. Just make this a show to remember and you’ll not only bring more people out, you’ll have them all talking about it (and you’ll have the social proof if you document it)!
5. Get creative with marketing.
Here are a couple quick tips that should get you started on the right path when it comes to going above and beyond for your new release:
- Stand outside of popular shows with major bands who are similar to you and get to know the crowd while asking them to listen to your music and (if they’re into it) sign up to your mailing list. Bring an ipPad or a piece of paper to gather names and emails.
- Create exclusive merch just for this release. If you have a nostalgic ’80s pop theme to your album, create a pack of gum for your listeners that has ’80s-inspired packaging.
- Get inside Facebook groups and interact. I don’t mean go in there and promote your music, I mean to get to know people, make connections, add value, and then on the designated promotion thread, you can share your music. By creating value and building yourself into that community, people are more likely to listen, follow you, and support you.
- Do an Instagram takeover for a venue you’re playing, a blog that has supported you, or another band. Takeovers are great for getting in front of new fans and showing the behind the scenes of daily life or major events like an album release.
- Never shy away from Playlist Marketing — making a Spotify playlist with music that inspired or is similar to your record will help build people’s associations.
6. Don’t stop just because it’s out.
There are so many cool ways to continue promoting your release once it’s out, including spreading out any press features you get (interviews and guest blogs are especially good to release a few weeks or months after), sharing behind-the-scenes photos from the recording studio, sharing stories from the writing process, reaching out to local artists you support and doing “shout out trades,” creating a special stripped-down versions of all or one of your songs, etc.
You’ve worked hard on this release, and people want to hear it — you just have to be able to get it in front of them in a creative, and engaging way. It’s not so difficult — it just takes a little creative planning and a lot of consistency, and you’ll be on your way.
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