10 music marketing strategies you can implement before getting signed
1. Create a strong social media presence
Although it’s the 21st century devil, it’s essential in this day and age that you have a strong online presence. Show people your music, how hard you’re grafting, your studio sessions, your personality. People love a behind the scenes insight into the life of an active artist. Showcase what you’re cooking up, get interesting with your content and make sure all of your socials look tidy and themed.
‘How you present yourself online is critical when marketing yourself as a new artist. It’s important to be positive, and a good contributor to the your “scene” rather than simply hard selling what YOU do as an individual all the time. Your online persona / presence is key to developing relationships and, over time, showing your value and skill set. Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed!’ – J Fresh (International DJ and artist)
2. Network, Network, Network!
This is a top music marketing strategy but often overlooked. Go to events and socialise with artists, ravers, everyone! It’s not as snaky as it sounds. Not only is it good to meet people in a networking sense, engaging with like-minded people may spark new ideas and give you the energy you need to work hard in what can be a tiring industry. It’s also a great way to remind yourself why you became an artist in the first place, because you love the music! It’s an added bonus that the people you meet may also like the music you’re making.
Talk about what you’re doing with people, post your music on your personal Facebook page, make it known that you’re an artist. You never know, your mother’s, boss’s, son’s girlfriend might work in the office of the label you’ve always dreamt of being signed to, so be vocal, but be humble.
4. Attend industry music conferences
These are great environments to mingle with some of the key industry players. Get yourself a pass and try connecting with a few labels, managers and agencies, or, don’t get a pass and get the intel as to where the best industry parties are being held and hope you end up waiting in the queue for the toilet next to London Elektricity with your favourite Hospital Records T-shirt on.
Here is a list of conferences useful to attend as a new artist:
- ADE (Amsterdam Dance Event)
- IMS (International Music Summit)
- Winter Music Conference
- Brighton Music Conference
- BEC (Beats Evolution Conference)
IMS and ADE are two conferences which can help newcomer artists gain a greater insight into the music industry. Not only can it put you in touch with people face to face, who can help progress your career and give you invaluable advice, but these conferences can also teach you just how important it is to get a better perspective on the inner workings of the industry, as well as how to stay on top of its changes – especially within the digital age.’ – Hannah Helbert, (Freelance PR agent for Ram Records, Hatched Music, Sofa Sound, Cygnus Music)
5. Familiarise yourself with software like Adobe Photoshop/Audition so that you can create your own content
To up your music marketing strategy game, start producing professional looking online content without spending your own money paying a graphic designer. This is a perfect sorcery in leading people to believe your music career is poppin’ off enough to make you enough money to afford a designer, when really you’re a behind the scenes wiz when it comes to creating content.
6. Get on the radio!
Get yourself a show on an internet or community radio station. This is a great way of marketing what you’re about and platforming yourself as a personality. People will connect with you as a person, leaving them feeling warm and familiar about connecting with your music.
‘Becoming a presenter on a radio station, no matter the size of the station is a great way to build yourself as a presenter as well as a DJ. It’s worth mentioning at this stage that being a DJ and a presenter are individual skills to develop. Yet I’ve found that the most beneficial style is somewhere in between. Use your radio show as a way to convey your unique personality and engage with an entirely new audience. Pride yourself on your curation and show your passion to the scene. Not only will the promotion of new (and established) artists help build direct relationships, but by associating yourself with some of the larger artists you play on your show, this will help you to get noticed by potential promoters, managers and labels.’ – Gully B (Reprezent Radio Presenter)
7. Remix, remix, remix!
Be daring and smash out a monster bootleg of a well known track to draw attention to your style. Or, if you know other up and coming artists starting out in a different genre, you could suggest remixing each others tracks for maximum exposure. Everyone’s a winner in this situation as your sound is exposed to a totally new audience. When your name becomes more established, you’ll be paid to remix another artist’s track. Using the technique of having your tracks remixed by artists from different genres is an industry favourite, even with the bigger artists, so it’s good to get some practice under your belt.
8. Support other artists by tagging them online when you rate/play their tracks.
As the old saying goes, what goes around comes back around and if you’re seen to be supporting other artists on their mission to get their music heard, not only does it make you a solid person, the good eggs will acknowledge and may even return the favour when the time is right. There are a lot of people grafting as hard as you are, so make good connections and be known to support the scene you work in, it won’t hinder your progression.
‘Make genuine connections, support others, share their stuff online, post a few positive words etc. because you want to, not because you expect anything back directly in return. If you like something or appreciate someone’s work, no matter how big or small, why not let them know?’ – Nausika (signed to Blu Mar Ten/Subtitles)
9. Get a job in music
Having a job in music can open up endless opportunities for a new artist. It’s a great way of learning about the industry, and a great way to show professional bodies, who may be up for checking out your artistic side, how passionate you are.
A warning with this, be careful you don’t go in on your first day with ‘I WANT TO BE A WORLD FAMOUS DJ’, written on your forehead. If a professional establishment suss out you only had one motive when applying to work in that office, and your work starts to slack, you’ll lose their respect which may hinder your reputation. Only apply for jobs you want and know you’d be good at. Be smart but be genuine, it’ll help you stand out.
10. Make sure you have your best mixes, full of your best tracks, available online
If you have good DJ mixes on your Soundcloud, make them downloadable. People are more likely to stick them on repeat and then watch out for your next upload. Electronic music listeners are attracted to accessible content, especially mixes, so if you have a good mix that’s circulating online, it will attract people to you as an artist and encourage fans to see you play live.
When your following starts to grow, this would be when you’d tone down online mixes to introduce exclusivity, but for up and coming artists, the more people can hear what you’re about, the better. Besides, who doesn’t like smashing out a good mix and sharing with the nation. Go wild and have fun!
Like this article on music marketing strategies? Check out this one on increasing your fanbase on Instagram.