The landscape of the music industry has completely changed for artists in the past five years. Big labels aren’t randomly discovering people singing or rapping in local malls like they used to. However, this does allow space for more artists to create music and organically grow their image and brand. While you’re waiting for Roc Nation to finally answer your DMs on Twitter, we’ve got some creative ways to promote yourself.
1. Have A Brand
Every artist has a brand, even the bland and forgettable ones, and that’s essentially being bland and forgettable. Once you’ve realized that brand or persona, hone in on it and make that your selling point. Your music is important, but so is who you are as an artist. Your fans want to know you by something outside of the songs you sing. Rihanna, for example, has a brand that almost everyone knows about. Her billion-dollar empire doesn’t just come from music. Her brand is being herself and not giving a damn, which people love her for. If her music does not draw you in, you’ll be drawn in by her makeup, fashion choices, or personality on social media. Try to make a brand unique to you and not a rip-off of another artist; people can easily spot the inauthenticity if you’re trying to fake it.
2. Share On Social Media
Don’t be afraid to share your music across all social media platforms. Post on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, WhatsApp, LinkedIn… you get the point. It may be a little cringy, but it’ll pay off in the long run. You have to start somewhere, and that’s showing yourself off on the internet for followers and engagement!
Hashtags go a long way in helping you reach specific people. Use it to describe your sound and what kind of artist you are. Be wise in what you tag, and don’t start randomly hashtagging irrelevant things like #countrymusic when you make metalcore. beabadoobee is an artist with an amazing social media presence and following. Before becoming an artist, she already had a following thanks to her pretty aesthetic and relatable Instagram feed. With her following on Instagram, she was able to share her early music and build a fan base. She practiced that strategy to get a large following on Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube.
3. Collab With Other Artists
When you collaborate with another artist, their fans can quickly become yours. It’s even better if you both work to build a community of listeners. Obviously, as an independent artist, you’re not going to snag a Drake collab (or maybe you will if you tag him enough on Instagram). So reach out to other independent and small artists and see what you can cook up together in the studio. It unintentionally might lead to a hit and your big break.
The Drainer subculture is a collective of artists that have benefited mightily from collaborations. They’ve built their niche community of loyal fans by making and collaborating on each other’s music. Essentially, if you know Bladee, you know Ecco2k. If you know Thaiboy Digital, you know Yung Sherman, etc. They often share the stage performing at the same gigs and events.
4. Submit Your Music To Blogs
Music blogs are a great platform to get your music out there and have it listened to. Why not submit to them and open yourself up to more exposure? You might receive a favorable review, or your work might be torn to shreds. Either way, it’s an opportunity to say, “Look, Mom, I made it on a music blog!” However the review goes, readers will still be interested in hearing your music, which gives you access to a new audience. Since you are already on our site, you might as well submit your music HERE. At Ratings Game Music, you have a chance to be placed on our playlists or have a blog post created. Not to brag, but our SEO is on point, which will only expand your popularity on the net 😊.
One of the best ways to get your music reviewed and potentially placed is through music submission sites such as SubmitHub and Groover. Once signed up, you will be able to connect with thousands of curators. Even if they don’t do a service for you, they will at least let you know why they didn’t select your song.
5. Have A Website
This is where you can stand out from other artists. Your website can be anything you want it to be as long as you have a bio and link to your music. Having one helps build a more intimate and personal connection with your existing fans. It also helps those who are unfamiliar with you get more acquainted. It’s your playground to promote your music, give updates, sell merch, and communicate with your audience.
Chance The Rapper is someone with a pretty cool website. It’s colorful and eye-catching, with several pages to visit. You could spend a good hour there with all his exciting pages about himself as a rapper and his personal life.
6. Get On Playlists
In today’s landscape, where some people deem the effort of uncovering new music overwhelming, they opt for the ease offered by thoughtfully curated playlists on streaming platforms like Spotify. You have the opportunity to present and promote your music by submitting it to streaming services and distribution platforms. Moreover, you can curate a playlist of your own, featuring not only your compositions but also those of like-minded artists sharing your sonic direction. This approach not only showcases your work but also fosters connections with fellow creators, offering an additional benefit of networking.
7. Perform Live
If you want people outside the internet to know who you are, live performing is everything. Stage fright will be a given, but the more you perform, the more confidence you’ll gain. Everyone loves a good performance, so ensure you’re giving one lively and full of spirit.
Look into your local music scene for events and places where you can perform. Don’t forget, playing at your local cafe could eventually lead to playing at sold-out arenas.
Seeing Beyoncé live was a completely unreal experience. Aside from her great singing and dancing, she also provided cool visuals for fans to see as well. Her shows can turn a casual fan into an actual stan. Beyhive, I finally get it.
8. Create A Bandcamp
A great site for independent musicians, Bandcamp can help you reach the far and in-between. You can sell music and merch there using it as a free second website. Unlike streaming sites that pay you less than the cost of a big mac per 1,000 streams, Bandcamp only takes ten percent off any merch or music purchased.
Panchiko’s Bandcamp is a great page. There are several ways for fans to support them, either by purchasing and streaming their music or buying their merch. They also have exclusive community messages for their followers to see and interact with.
9. Make Music Videos
What’s a song without a visual representation of it? This is a chance for you to get creative and breathe new life into your music. Depending on the algorithm and how well you make the video, it might go viral. The planning and costs may be intimidating, but remember, you don’t need a budget when you have an imagination. You can even get help from aspiring filmmakers in your community who are more than willing to do it for free. They gain experience, and you get a cool music video to share and promote.
10. Be Apart Of Your Local Music Scene
Community is such an important thing to build and be a part of. Instead of taking a more individualistic approach to sharing your music, become active in your area. People want to support their local homegrown artists and see them succeed. You can grow a following by having a solid presence in your community, so get out there and connect with others. You’d be surprised by the kind of people you’d meet in your scene. You might find your future bandmate, manager, or president of your fan club.
Being an independent artist isn’t easy, but hopefully, these tips can help you find an audience. As you await stardom, remember to keep pushing and working on your craft. You’ll get there one day, and it might just be today!
Urenna is a lover of music and creative writing.