Music is more than just an artform. It’s a business that’s constantly evolving, both in style and technology. From streaming to social media, the ways in which we discover, listen to, and talk about music are changing.
For those who work in this industry–solo musicians, bands, DJs, producers–this evolution represents a great opportunity: It’s never been easier to access, create, and promote your work with your own music website. But that also poses a significant challenge: How do you distinguish yourself and build a strategy for success in this increasingly crowded modern music world?
The answer lies in music marketing.
The music business depends on buzz, and platforms like Bandcamp and SoundCloud help you create that buzz. We’ve now added integrated Smart Apps for both these platforms in our website builder: show your profile, add your songs as a playlist (just like with iTunes or Spotify) or share quick links to your profile in your navigation.
What is music marketing?
Simply put, music marketing is a set of strategies that are useful for:
- creating the brand of the artist, band or music service provider (e.g. recording studio)
- promoting that music product or service
- building a bond of loyalty with the intended audience (e.g. your fans or customers)
When it comes to marketing your music, the methods and goals aren’t all that different from those of traditional marketing. In a business sense, the music is the product and the fans are the consumers.
Traditionally, major record companies did much of the promotional work for musicians and bands. But these days many independent artists and bands need to do their own marketing if they want to reach new fans. If you’re looking for helpful ways to boost your music marketing, we have written this article for you.
Bring your music website online with Jimdo.
Why is music marketing important?
Musicians are usually not used to thinking in terms of branding or positioning. Many people believe it’s talent alone that determines your popularity in the music business and that the term ‘marketing’ seems almost out of place.
Nothing could be more wrong! Music is a product that is intended to be marketed and, like all products, it needs promotion.
Music marketing is crucial to your success as a musician. By outlining a precise music marketing plan and putting it into action you can:
- Make more people aware of your music or your music services and reach the right audience.
- Build and strengthen your relationship with your audience and, above all, create a group of loyal fans who will support you throughout your career. As consumers, fans don’t just buy the music product or service. They also promote it through reviews, opinions and shares on social media or music platforms like Bandcamp and SoundCloud.
- Get more booking requests for concerts, shows, recordings and music productions.
- Improve online sales of your music (cassettes, CDs, vinyls), your services, and your merchandise.
- Communicate your professionalism: It helps people understand that music is not just a hobby for you, but a real profession.
- Measure your success, particularly in relation to your competitors.
How to create a music marketing strategy
An effective music marketing strategy involves defining and planning the following steps:
1. Develop your brand and tone of voice:
Marketing guru Philip Kotler has described a brand as “a name, term, sign, symbol, design or combination thereof that identifies a seller’s product or service and differentiates it from that of its competitor”. Even though music products and services are related to an art form and therefore deeply touch the emotions of the consumer, Kotler’s statement can also be applied to the world of music.
Whether you are a solo musician, in a band, working as a DJ or in music production, the first step is to define your specific identity. To do this, you need to answer a few questions: Why do you make music? What do you want to express with it? Why did you decide to launch your musical project?
You have to make people understand why your art is unique and original. In other words, define not only your poetics and aesthetics, but also your vision and mission. These traits will outline the human and artistic essence of your brand, which is key in making a good first impression on your audience. If you would like to explore this idea further, we recommend reading our definitive guide to branding.
2. Build audience personas
The second step in developing a music marketing plan is to identify and accurately understand your target market and audience. You need to be clear about who you are trying to reach.
A good way to start is outlining the persona of your ideal fan. It helps to answer the following questions:
- Who are your current and potential fans?
- Why are they attracted to your music?
- What are their interests and passions?
- What websites, blogs, and magazines do they read to discover new music?
- What platforms do they use to listen to your music? Are they looking for new music on BandCamp? Are they talking about and sharing music through SoundCloud? Do they create playlists of their favorite music on Spotify?
You may be wondering how to find this kind of information.
If you have a professional profile on Facebook and Instagram, you can use the analytics tools that come with these platforms to find data about your followers such as gender, age, location, and other pages/profiles they like (and thus learn about what other music they’re interested in).
If you have a website or shop created with Jimdo and it’s linked to your Google Analytics account, you can use this free service to get all the useful information you need about the people–most likely to be current or potential fans–who visit your pages.
3. Create your music marketing content
Once you’ve developed your brand identity and figured out the kind of fans you’d like to reach, you can start creating music marketing content that’s catered to your audience.
For your fans, music marketing content is relevant when it is interesting, engaging or entertaining. For you, music marketing content is effective when it creates or reinforces interest in your products or services, e.g. your music.
Here is a list of the types of content you can use to implement your music marketing strategy:
- Audio: Music must obviously be the cornerstone of your strategy. Wherever people see your marketing, make your music available. You can offer it as physical products (CDs, vinyls, cassettes) or add your digital playlists from Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp or SoundCloud.
- Video: This includes clips of your music, recordings of live concerts and backstage scenes, interviews, video streaming of concerts or events with your fans.
- Images: photos and other types of images (e.g. event graphics, posters, playbills, social media posts) contribute to the visual identity of your music brand. If you don’t have the budget to pay for the services of a professional photographer or designer, you may find it helpful to read our article on alternative image editing tools to Photoshop.
- Logo: A logo plays a central role in building your music brand identity. It should ideally evoke the same feelings in fans as your music, encapsulate the aesthetics of your music project, and attract the attention of potential fans. Again, you don’t need to invest a lot of money in this: With Jimdo you can create your logo for free.
Design a logo that makes your business stand out.
- Written content: Words tell the story of your music project (e.g. by including an ‘about me’ page and a press kit on your website). Through your website and social media, you can generate buzz around upcoming releases or events, showcase your discography, describe your products (both music and merchandise) and services, and interact with your fans
All this content can be adapted depending on the music marketing channels you want to use: for example, if you post a longform video interview with your band to promote your upcoming album, you can cut it down into a few short teaser video clips to share on social media.
4. Set goals and measure your success
We suggest that you define precise goals that are realistic to achieve and objectively measurable. It is also important that you set a timeframe within which each objective should be achieved.
In this way you will have two concrete elements to refer to when deciding whether your music marketing plan is effective or not.
Here is a list of possible targets (to be achieved by X date):
- X increase in the number of visits to your website or online shop
- X increase in the number of online sales of your products or services
- X increase in the number of people who subscribe to your newsletter via your website
- X increase in the amount of followers on social media
- X increase in the engagement rate with your social media community
- X increase in songs listened to or downloaded from major music platforms (Spotify, SoundCloud, etc.)
You are probably wondering how to tell if the goals you set are reasonable.
Perhaps this isn’t your first time creating a music marketing strategy. If you’ve got previous experience, that’s a great place to start. What were some past goals you had in your music career, and which strategies did you use to achieve them? What were the results and how long did it take? The answers to these questions can form the basis of your future goals. And don’t stress, you can always modify them later.
If, on the other hand, you don’t have much music marketing experience (maybe you’re just starting your solo music career or just formed your own band) don’t worry: You have to start somewhere! In this case, it may be useful to do some market research online. You can draw inspiration from other bands or musicians who appeal to a similar audience or arrived on the scene at a similar time. What results did they achieve?
5. Set your budget
Nowadays, music marketing doesn’t necessarily need to involve a lot of money. Building a website or an online shop, setting up professional social media pages, uploading your music to major music platforms, and creating text and visual content is easier and cheaper than ever.
However, there can still be expenses, especially if you want to offer quality music products and services and increase your visibility, not only online, but also in real life. Just think of the costs of music production, merchandise and advertising on social media or offline (flyers, posters, stickers, etc.).
In your music marketing plan you need to establish exactly how much you are willing to spend and, again, within what timeframe. The good news is that there are currently a number of inexpensive ways to raise money to finance your music business: for example, you can ask current and potential fans for help and raise money on a crowdfunding platform.
What are the right tools for music marketing?
Once you have concretely defined the main elements of your music marketing strategy, you can move on to the execution phase, which largely consists of sharing your content on the right marketing channels. Here is a comprehensive list:
A website is one of the main virtual places fans will visit to find information about your music or services. Unlike content shared on social media and industry platforms such as Spotify, having a website allows you to register your own domain and have full control over the content you publish and the data on your site, without intermediaries.
Your website is also where all other profiles come together. Add icons in your navigation to show your profiles on music platforms like Spotify, Bandcamp, SoundCloud, or social media like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Add videos of shows and playlists with your songs. Use your website to give visitors every option to keep following you.
In addition, with the inclusion of a contact form and the clever use of call-to-actions, you can use a website to collect the email addresses of people interested in your music project. This allows you to send them a newsletter.
Even if you have no programming or design knowledge, you can use Jimdo to create your own music website for free.
Bring your music website online with Jimdo.
Just like your website, having your own online store to sell your merchandise allows you to cut out the middleman. Your own online store gives you full control over the music products and services you offer. No advertising of third-party services, no commissions on sales and no percentages to pay to platforms for listening to your music.
All profits from the sale of music, services and merchandise stay in your pocket!
Start selling your products online with Jimdo.
It goes without saying that having good visibility and, above all, regular interaction with followers on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is fundamental to the marketing success of almost every business. The music industry is no exception. To find out how best to use your content in this context, we suggest you read our guide to building an effective social media strategy.
Expanding your reach and building a genuine fanbase is not always possible solely through organic growth–that is, for free. Sometimes you have to do more than just create a lot of posts on Facebook, for example.
It can be helpful to give your music marketing content a ‘boost’. Investing a set budget on social media advertising, or even platforms such as YouTube and Spotify, can allow you to quickly reach very specific audiences.
It’s not just social media where music marketing is important! There are many platforms that are regularly followed by music lovers who want to listen to their favorite artists or discover new music. Pick a platform that suits you and start building buzz.
With Smart Apps, your website and music platform can boost each other: link your site in your profile and show your profile and songs on your website. You can easily connect platforms like Spotify, Reddit, SoundCloud, Apple Music or Bandcamp to your site. For a complete list, we suggest you read our article “8 best places to upload your music online for free”.
Email marketing is still one of the most important tools for promoting music and building your fanbase. You already have the content to share because you have prepared it when you set up your music marketing plan. Now it’s just a matter of reworking it for your newsletter readers.
Not sure where to start? Follow the tips we have compiled for you in our article
It is important to network with people who can help you spread the word about your music products and services. Submit to music journals and blogs, contact radio stations and podcasts that are listened to by the audience you are most interested in reaching, attend events and festivals, follow and be followed by music influencers, and start collaborating with other artists and brands.
If you have read this article to the end, congratulations! You now have all the elements to define your music marketing strategy and put it into practice. Instead of making impulse decisions based on gut instinct, you will now have a thoughtful strategy to promote your music brand and to build your fanbase. You’ll start to see results before you know it!
Music marketing FAQs
Music marketing is a set of strategies to create and promote the brand and work of an artist, band or music service provider, as well as build a bond with the intended audience or fanbase.
Music marketing generates buzz for your music or music services, creates opportunities for you to engage with current and potential fans, helps you book events more easily, boosts your sales, and communicates your professionalism as an artist.
An effective music marketing strategy involves defining and planning the following elements: establishing your brand and tone of voice, identifying your ideal audience, creating audio, text and visual content to be used in your chosen marketing channels, setting objectives and timelines for achieving them, and knowing what your budget is.
The best marketing channels for you to share the audio, text and visual content you create to promote your music project are: your website and/or online store, social media, ads, music platforms, newsletters, and networking.