Music promotion spreads your music, grows your fanbase and advances your career.
In the past music promotion was taken care of by industry professionals. But today the power of music promotion is back in the artist’s hands.
It’s a lot of work. But with the right plan you can grow your music on your own terms and share it successfully in a way that fits your vision.
Making strong music promotion part of your music marketing plan includes online tools like digital distribution, social media and email, as well as traditional means like live shows, press kits and mailing lists.
How to promote your music independently:
- Make good music
- Get verified
- Write a music press release
- Build a fanbase
- Share your music
- Share on social media
1. Make good music: You need great tracks first
Let’s get this out of the way right now—if you want to do good music promotion you have to start with good music.
It can seem like promotion muscle is all it takes to push a track to the top. But if the music you’re promoting doesn’t have something to offer to listeners you won’t get anywhere.
Do your best to make your music as compelling as possible before you start your promotion.
When you’ve finished tracks you’re proud of you’ll have the confidence to set goals and promote yourself enthusiastically online.
Making the best music you can is a commitment to your fans and listeners.
2. Release your music on streaming platforms
The advent of streaming platforms changed the way most people listen to music—and it changed the way artists promote their tracks.
Today, having a plan for promoting an upcoming release and existing catalogs of music on streaming platforms is critical for every artist, big or small.
That’s partly because revenue from streaming platforms is one-way artists can monetize their music with song streams, merch sales and concert tickets.
But, these platforms are also hubs that fans flock towards to find new music—whether that be through playlists, music journalism or algorithm recommendations.
Each platform has its unique quirks for finding success—but there are few things in common between them.
For example, each platform will have an artist profile that you’ll need to claim and fill out.
And, to get your music on any and all streaming platforms you’ll need to choose a distribution service provider.
If you’re interested, LANDR Distribution is an excellent option with a variety of music distribution plans.
Let’s dive into the specifics of promoting your music on today’s major streaming platforms—Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal.
How to promote your music on Spotify
Out of all the streaming platforms, Spotify offers the most opportunities for promoting your tracks.
From experience enhancements like album visuals with Spotify Canvas, to scrolling lyrics to playlisting submission and its revered algorithm recommendations, Spotify excels at offering promotion tools.
By claiming your profile you’ll be able to submit upcoming releases for playlisting on Spotify’s own playlists and you’ll be able to add merch, tour dates and customization to your profile.
You’ll also be able to use Canvas—Spotify’s visual album art tool that allows artists to add custom looping videos that show while a song is playing.
Promoting your music effectively on Spotify means having some kind of plan to get your fans listening to your new tracks the moment they come out.
Check out our past writing on promolinks and pre-save campaigns if you’re interested in running one!
Spotify doesn’t have to be an intimidating platform—if your music is great and you have a plan to promote your tracks, you’ll have no problem finding fans to love your music.
How to promote your music on Apple Music
Apple Music is the other major streaming platform and while it doesn’t have nearly as many promotional tools as Spotify, it’s totally worth keeping in mind as you plan your releases and promote your tracks.
Again, the first step to success on Apple Music is claiming your Apple Music for Artists profile—this will allow you to customize your profile, add a bio and custom artwork.
Once you get your music on Apple Music and claim your profile you’ll also have access to a handful song sharing tools like a special Twitter link that’ll share an in-feed player and a player that you can embed on websites.
Unfortunately, Apple Music does not offer an option to submit your music for playlisting directly—you’ll need to have relationships with their curators to get a placement.
So, you’ll either need to have built up a significant following or have a public relations agent working to get the attention of these curators.
Outside of Apple Music’s own tools, you can always funnel people towards your streaming profiles with a promolink that lets fans choose their streaming service and quickly find your tracks.
Of course, like any streaming platform, uploading consistently and growing your fanbase of monthly listeners is key for growing your streams and increasing your chances of getting playlisted or recommended by the algorithm.
Just focus on making authentic good music that your fans love and streaming platforms will have to pay attention to your tracks!https://www.landr.com/en/how-to-sell-your-music-on-apple-music-and-itunes/
How to promote your music on Tidal
Tidal is the third most popular streaming platform—but interestingly, it’s known for paying out the best rates per stream, so planning to promote your music on this platform could be lucrative.
Much like Apple Music, Tidal doesn’t doesn’t have very much in the way of promotional tools compared to its competitor, Spotify.
But claiming your Tidal for Artists profile once you get your Music on Tidal is definitely an important first step since you’ll be able to add a level of customization to your artist page and you’ll have control over your bio and artwork.
Aside from the handful of customization options Tidal offers, your best bet for promoting your music on Tidal is to include links to your Tidal page as part of your release plan.
So, make sure to include Tidal in your promolinks and let your fans know where they can stream your tracks.
3. Write a music press release and reach out to playlists and blogs
The music media is a powerful force in music promotion.
Coverage from even a small music press outlet can do a huge amount to bring your music to a wider audience.
It’s the same with playlists. The biggest ones have hundreds of thousands of followers and daily listeners.
But trying to find coverage is hard and getting tastemakers interested in your music is an intimidating task. But it’s worth it for the huge amount of traffic they can generate.
Here’s how to get started finding out where—and how—to reach out.
Who to contact
Music blogs are some of the most influential tastemakers out there.
Look for blogs that are posting tracks and artists like yourself and find out how to contact them.
Streaming playlists are another major player. Playlists aren’t exactly media outlets, but they’re still key platforms for promotion.
You can’t exactly submit directly to the big branded playlists, but there are tons of user generated ones that can help you move up the ladder and get noticed by other curators.
Just be wary of playlisting schemes that offer fake streams in exchange for payment—using this kind of service could result in your music getting taken down, banned from streaming platforms and even legal action.
Just stick to traditional promotional methods and identify legitimate playlists to shoot for, then contact the curators who manage them.
How you contact your industry connections is just as important as who you reach out to.
Find out more about how to promote your music with blogs and playlists:
4. How to build a fanbase for your music
The ultimate goal of your music promotion is building a fanbase.
You need to connect with the people who will support your music by streaming tracks, buying merch and attending shows.
But building a fanbase from scratch is difficult. You’ll have to use all the tools you have at your disposal to get fans on board.
Use traditional methods
There’s lots of great ways to promote your music that have been around for ages.
Get into the real world
Events, live music and person-to-person networking are absolutely essential for effective music promotion.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in promoting your music online. But if you forget about real life you’ll miss important ways to build your audience.
Own your space online
Your band website is your music’s home online. It’s the one place you control how your fans interact with your content completely.
Don’t let the opportunity go to waste, find out how to build an effective band website.
5. How to share new music: Release it right
Sharing your music is one of the most basic parts of music promotion. But there are more ways to share than ever before.
Sharing your music in a meaningful way that increases your following is hard. But you have to do it—if you didn’t there would be nothing to listen to!
Getting ready to share
Sharing music online has never been easier. You might be closer than you think to being ready to go live with your tracks.
Find out how to share with confidence—and why it’s worth it.
Don’t get thrown off by metrics
It’s tempting to get too focused on measuring the success of your tracks or posts by a single number.
But the fact is that social media stats tell a complicated story that can get glossed over when you’re only looking at likes.
Find out why you might be getting social media metrics all wrong.
6. Promote your music on social media
You can’t fill an engaging social media feed with just your releases themselves.
Music promotion is about way more than just music today.
It’s videos, images, interviews, articles, playlists, sample packs, studio tours, live shows and anything else that can help build the story around your sound.
Making memes, TikToks and quippy Tweets are useful to create your narrative and build your following.
Whether you like it or not, your fans want you to have some sort of presence on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and wherever else they consume content.
Remember that as an artist you have a voice that people are listening to—you’re fortunate to have a platform to share your ideas and thoughts about the cultural moment.
Approach your promotion with the question ‘what does this say about my music?’ to help guide your efforts. The answer will help you decide what to say yes to, and what to pass on.
Just be careful to start with your sound and vision as a launchpad when planning your social content.
Each social media platform has its quirks and rules of engagement, so let’s take a closer look at the unique considerations you should take when promoting your music on today’s most popular platforms.
How to promote your music on TikTok
TikTok is a relatively new social media platform that grew popular with the Gen Z generation and is now widely accepted as the hottest new social media platform.
TikTok’s original premise revolved around music—most early TikToks were about sharing duets to music, whether that be duets with other artists on the platform or top 40’s pop tunes.
On top of that, TikTok changed the game by offering creators the ability to caption their short 15-60 second videos with music from its extensive library of tracks.
Because of that, many viral TikTok songs have taken the world by storm, spawning new pop-star careers and reviving 70s classics.
TikTok is one of the main ways young people discover music today, so having a presence there and at least making sure you get your music on TikTok to make it available on the platform’s music library is critical.
Many artists have built a major following on TikTok by documenting their studio workflow, making funny memes and sharing content regularly.
Making daily videos is a lot of work, so you need to be prepared to make the commitment to engage with this platform—but if you find a niche and learn how to make content that resonates, the reward can be huge.
How to promote your music on YouTube
If there’s any social media channel where music is massively consumed, it’s definitely YouTube.
It’s a streaming platform in its own right, especially since YouTube Music is a competitor with Spotify, but even the video platform features tons and tons of music, playlists, videos and live performances.
If you want to be a successful artist you need to produce a music video for each of your tracks and have live video performances and interviews on YouTube.
That means both posting on your own channel, but also finding opportunities to get on live performance channels like KEXP or Tiny Desk, to name a few of the bigger channels.
Of course, you may also be compensated for your music if it’s used by other creators in their videos with the help of YouTube Content ID—an invention by Google that identifies and monetizes your music whenever someone else uses it on YouTube.
Making videos isn’t easy, it takes a big team and a lot of time to create good video content—but the rewards can be game-changing.
Many artists, like Vulf Peck, for example, have built their careers around putting music performance videos on YouTube.
How to promote your music on Twitter
Twitter is a great platform if you want to engage with a community—especially if you’re outspoken and like to share thoughts, opinions and jokes.
The platform naturally lends itself to written content, but there’s plenty of support for sharing music and links to your music on streaming platforms.
Think of Twitter like a giant cocktail party—all you have to do is go and find a corner of like-minded people and start chatting with others in your niche.
Start commenting, dropping your (hopefully reasonable) takes and get the conversation going about your life and career as an artist.
Twitter is a great space for networking and finding people you identify with—just be careful about what you say online, it’s a public forum and you’ll be definitely be held accountable for your words and actions.
7. How to copyright your music
Music copyrights are as simple as they are complicated—that’s because determining who exactly owns what and how much of a song is never easy.
The good news is that your music is automatically copyrighted the second you write it. By law, you own any lyrics, melodies and recordings you create the second they’re written down.
Of course, you may want to register your music with the copyright office and keep up to date with the music-specific copyright laws that have changed since the enactment of the music modernization act of 2020.
But, in general, if you work with a partner or with a group of artists and producers the most complicated part of working out copyright is determining who exactly owns the copyright of a song.
If you’re not sure, it may help to consult a music lawyer or a copyright lawyer to ensure the right credits are given to the right people.
We’ve written on the topic before if you’d like to learn more.
8. How to license your music
When it comes to monetizing and promoting your music, music licensing is where the rubber hits the road.
One video game, television or movie licensing deal can change the trajectory of your music career in an instant.
But getting that kind of deal takes years of hard, hard work.
You need to be writing AAA music, have a following and excellent representation in terms of management to realistically have a chance of landing a significant licensing deal.
That’s because sync licensing deals are usually worked out between a publisher who represents you, and sells your music to the media company looking to use your content in their production.
So, if you’re just getting started, don’t worry about finding a major licensing deal—just focus on creating your music and let the big deals come when you have a larger following and some form of management.
If you are ready to take the next step, you need to start working on finding professional representation in the form of a manager and publisher.
Chances are, if you’ve signed with a record label, you’ll eventually have representation from these key personnel.
Prepare to make an investment in hiring the publisher too, this kind of representation rarely comes for free and usually can be quite expensive.
We discuss licensing in more detail in past articles, if you’d like to learn more.