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Music Marketing: The 9 Step Digital Music Marketing Plan

Music Marketing: The 9 Step Digital Music Marketing Plan

Releasing new music is always a special and exciting moment.

You worked hard to create something that’s personal to you and now it’s time to share it with the world.

Get fast, insightful support and promotional tips, tools and tricks and distribution to 100+ music streaming platforms when you release your tracks with LANDR. Release a track.

But how do you get your tracks in front of as many people as possible?

You don’t want to put in all that time and not have anyone hear what you’ve worked so hard on.

You need a music marketing plan to grow your audience and capture the hearts of new listeners.

In this article, we’ll look at everything you can do to successfully piece together a great music marketing campaign.

Plus, we’ll show you how to promote your music in the lead up to your release and post-launch.

Preview of youtube video

1. Grow your following on social media

Your social media following is the quickest measure of your popularity and reach.

But don’t get discouraged. You don’t need tens of thousands of followers to be considered successful.

Having a small niche of followers who care about you is often enough to convince labels and press that your music is worth their attention.

There’s plenty of ways to increase your following.

Here’s a few ideas:

  • Playing shows in your local scene
  • Engaging in conversations online
  • Regularly posting about your creative process, music, and life
  • Networking with other artists

Focus on finding the right followers for your social media accounts.

1000 loyal fans are always worth more than 100,000 lukewarm (or even fake) followers.

1000 loyal fans are always worth more than 100,000 lukewarm (or even fake) followers.

2. Get a band website

Band websites are a music marketing tool that musicians often overlook.

When you create a website for your project you’re claiming an online space that’s uniquely yours.

You can design your website in any way you like, and you can use it for a number of different purposes.

For example, a website can be used to host your electronic press kit, collect fan emails for a newsletter, announce upcoming tours and events, or serve as a conceptual art piece.

The cool part about owning a website is that its content is up to you!

The cool part about owning a website is that its content is up to you!

And don’t worry about coding, tools like Squarespace or WordPress make it easy to build a custom website using a cool template.

3. Develop your EPK

If you’re planning a big release, you really need to piece together a strong EPK.

Getting press coverage should be a big focus if you’re just getting started.

We’ve written about how to make the perfect EPK before, but here’s a few quick tips.

  • Keep it simple
  • Include basic details about the release
  • Mention any major shows
  • Include past press coverage
  • Include your music, artist pictures, and any relevant music videos.

Once your press kit is ready your best bet is to send it to journalists, radio stations, blogs, and podcasts that already know about you.

If you’ve gotten press from playing shows in your local scene first reach out to any outlets that previously covered you.

It’s very rare to have your EPK get picked up by a media group that hasn’t heard of you yet.

Industry professionals get thousands of cold emails a day from hopeful artists looking for coverage.

Practice proper email etiquette to respect their time and increase your chances of getting a response.

Hot tip: You can connect with professional PR agents and publicists to generate a professional looking press release and even access more media outlets on LANDR Network.

4. Release singles from your album early on

It’s really common these days to see artists release singles sequentially in the lead up to a big release.

So once you plan the actual date of your album’s release, plan to release a few singles up to a month in advance.

That way you can treat the launch of each single as a mini-release, complete with a round of press, social posts, and even a music video.

This is why you’ll benefit from having some kind of video to accompany any single from your release.

You’ll benefit from having some kind of video to accompany any single from your release.

Scheduling your releases for online streaming is easy if you work with a distribution service like LANDR.

5. Paid promotion tactics

Digital advertising is a relatively new music marketing tactic for artists.

If you use it, you need to be careful since it won’t be effective and can cost a lot of money if you don’t do it right.

The main philosophy behind pay per click advertising is that you only want to pay for a click that will earn you money.

Only pay for a click that will earn you money.

That means targeting your paid ads to the kind of people who buy vinyl, concert tickets, merch, or at the very least stream your music.

As a starting point, your best bet is to boost posts about your single or album on social media.

Each social media platform has its own way of boosting posts, but let’s dive into how it works on Instagram.

How to boost posts on Instagram

In Instagram’s case, you have to turn your account into a business account, you can do this in the settings of your account.

Beyond boosting there’s a number of benefits to getting a business account including stats about followers and engagement and the option to put your contact in your bio.

Once you have a business profile follow these three steps to start boosting posts:

Step 1: Click the promote button at the bottom of the post you want to promote

Step 2: Pick a goal for your ad. 

You’ll have the choice between profile visits, website visits, and promotion visits. Depending on the type of post you’re promoting the goal will change.

A new album might do best with profile or promotion views, while concert promotions will do better by encouraging ticketing website clicks where viewers can purchase tickets.

Step 3: Pick an audience for your ad.

Instagram gives you the choice between automatic, local, and manual targeting.

Automatic targeting uses Instagram’s algorithms to target people like your followers, which is great for album promotion.

Local targeting chooses people in a specific location, which is perfect for concert tickets.

Manual targeting allows you to customize who exactly will see the ad.

When is paying for online music marketing worth your money?

Boosting posts to your followers ensures that people who know and care about your recordings most see your ads.

Going beyond boosted posts can be risky since pay per click advertising can get pretty complicated very quickly.

You may be better off hiring a specialist to run your paid campaigns for you, or relying on an in house expert if you have a record label supporting your release.

6. Run a Spotify Ad Campaign

Pushing your music directly where people listen most is a great way to get new listeners.

Of course, you’ll have to pay for that exposure—but similar to any paid advertising campaign finding the right timing and targeting can pay off big time.

Fortunately, there’s another way to fund your Spotify Ad campaign—LANDR’s Rising Artist Initiative.

Right now you can apply to receive $5,000 in Spotify ad credits, a full campaign created by our design team and a premium LANDR subscription for one year.

If your music is ready for a serious promotional boost, definitely apply to this awesome music marketing initiative.

7. Get playlisted

Playlists and algorithm recommendations are one of the most common ways to discover new music today.

Whenever you release a song or album, make an effort to get placements on relevant streaming playlists.

Whenever you release a song or album, make an effort to get placements on relevant streaming playlists.

There’s a few ways to do this.

The first way is to flag your album for playlisting when publishing it on Spotify and correctly identifying its genre and subgenres.

This won’t mean your album is guaranteed a playlist placement, but it means you’ll have a chance.

The second way to get your music playlisted is to work with a music publisher that has pre-existing relationships with streaming platforms and can get you an in.

Your last way to get on a playlist is by developing relationships with blogs and other media that make playlists that are independent from Spotify.

This is a great plan if your music appeals to a specific niche since smaller playlist makers like Resident Advisor or BIRP often focus on niche music.

Just be wary of anyone promising you pay-for-play playlist placements—these fake stream services will only hurt you and could result in your music getting taken down, banned and even legal action.

8. Run a college radio PR campaign

When I ran a local tape label in my early twenties one of the most effective DIY methods we had for promoting our releases was college radio PR campaigns.

We had a list of local college radio station addresses across the country, so we bought and burnt CDs, packaged them up nicely and sent them in the mail.

For less than two hundred dollars we were able to get our artists played across the country.

For less than two hundred dollars we were able to get our artists played across the country.

It worked because college radio stations get a ton of online submissions, so they love getting physical CDs in the mail.

Here’s a couple tips for making sure your radio PR blitz actually works.

  • Label the CD’s spine with your artist and album name.

Since the CD will live on a shelf in the radio station’s library, you need all the important information to be clearly visible on the spine so the DJ can see it.

  • Send the CD in a nice package

When we sent our CDs we included tons of stickers and a handwritten thank you card.

I know it worked because we got tagged in several radio station’s Instagram posts thanking us for the note and package.

  • Follow up with the radio stations by email a week after sending your packages

This helps to identify which stations checked out your package and confirm if your PR campaign was successful or not.

Once you know what radio stations actually opened and played your package, you know who to skip and who to keep in contact with for your next PR campaign.

9. Launch your album in style

It’s time for a big party to celebrate your finished release so why not plan a big launch show and tour for your new record.

It’s not just another round of PR, it’s your opportunity to start generating real excitement about your new release.

It doesn’t matter how big your project is, whether it’s a local dive bar or a mid-size night club you can find an appropriate venue for your release show.

Whether it’s a local dive bar or a mid-size night club you can find an appropriate venue for your release show.

Make a big deal about it on your social media accounts in advance of the launch day, and make sure to book acts that compliment your music and will draw new audiences in.

Get fast, insightful support and promotional tips, tools and tricks and distribution to 100+ music streaming platforms when you release your tracks with LANDR. Release a track.

Then plan a small local tour to other cities in your area. I’m sure you can find a local bar show to play in the next city over.

Running a small tour is a great way to prove you’re serious about your release.

Your music marketing plan is going to work

If you put the same effort into your music marketing plan as you put into your music you’ll have success with your next release.

Your best bet is to put together a plan and stick to it.

When you find your audience and grow your fan base, all the hard work will be worth it.

Congratulations on the new release, now get out there and promote it!

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Hot tip: Need help planning out a big marketing push around an upcoming release? LANDR Network gives you access to dozens of seasoned music industry marketing professionals, book time to start the conversation around your campaign now!

Alex Lavoie

Alex Lavoie works as a staff writer at LANDR by day and moonlights as a drummer for folk-rock outfit The Painters.

@Alex Lavoie

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