We get countless links to Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and homepages of hopeful bands worldwide every day. Here are a few tips on how to make your music heard – not only in the tone spy.
No music editor anywhere can still listen to all the music that is sent to her by e-mail. You would need a huge team and no one would pay the time to listen to music anymore. The principles of the past no longer work in online music media. Today, advertising budgets are no longer sufficient to refinance umpteen permanent editors, as was the case in the 90s.
In this respect, we have to adapt to a new situation and rethink online promotion. One way is via Reddit which is worth a try. Unless you might want to focus on other platforms and need to hit delete account.
The following tips can help to make your music heard (this also applies to labels) and conquer your fans online.
1. Be realistic
Let’s not kid ourselves: the Internet is full of music. On the Internet, you measure yourself against the whole world. When there was hardly any music to listen to online, today we no longer fill a gap but pick out the best we can find. Your music is one of them? Then please read on. Otherwise: off to the rehearsal room and practice.
2. Think global, act local
It is a myth that artists today become “discovered” and famous overnight. There are no longer three television channels where you could start a great career with a single appearance until the 80s. The rule today is that you first have to make a name for yourself in your own city or region in order to become interesting to the media. Some also manage to do this via social networks or Youtube, but it often just takes luck.
Those who are really exceptionally good will sooner or later prevail and will find open ears everywhere. And also collects the necessary tools to survive in the tough music business. So: first convince your immediate environment of your talent and do not wait to be “discovered” by chance. That’s not going to happen!
Of course, there are also the Mark Forsters and Tim Bendzkos in the music world, who prevail because of their extreme mediocrity and harmlessness, a quality that is in great demand, especially in mainstream radio. If that’s your goal, you should contact a major record company directly and have a few hits in your luggage.
3. Promote your music on blogs on the net
You already have your city under control? Great, then you have a corresponding confirmation to try it in the www and make yourself heard there. The provider Submithub enables bands and labels to send their music to selected blogs (also to us!) and to receive constructive feedback.
Of course, you won’t reach an audience of millions via blogs, but you can use the feedback for your press work and on your homepage. It’s an honor when someone takes the time to write about you! Blogs can only do that for very few artists. You can also reach us on Submithub.
4. If you notice, be different
With Submithub (as in real life), you only have about 10 seconds to make a first impression. But most bands sound similar to many other bands and therefore immediately fall through the sieve. The most common reason why we reject music is lack of originality. Therefore very important: be different and be immediately recognizable. This is the only way to stay in the memory of the media and fans.
If you don’t know a band yet, pictures also help to know who you’re dealing with. After all, we’re not here at The Voice of Germany. An original visual appearance helps enormously, especially at the beginning in the media world. Ask Sido, Cro or Daft Punk. But also musically, of course, a separate style should already be recognizable. Absolutely no one needs a copy of successful artists and has never led to a sustainable career.
5. Make your homepage your virtual home
Your homepage should be the linchpin of everything you do online! Maintain your homepage, and make it your virtual home with an attached fan club. Very important: your own homepage should only belong to you and not to companies like Facebook, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, or anyone else. Remember MySpace? Level. Everything there is about your band should first be on your own homepage and only then on the various platforms.
ALSO READ: How to Leverage Social Media for Musicians
“Alone they make you in” Rio Reiser already knew. Not everyone who has the talent for music or songwriting has the talent to market themselves. As long as you can’t afford an experienced manager, find someone trustworthy from your circle of friends or team up with other bands and give each other feedback about your public relations and learn from each experience.
So: before you send anything to the press or a label, let someone at least read it briefly and preferably not your biggest fan, but someone who can judge it neutrally and with a professional eye.
7. Don’t send promo spam to media or blogs
Expensive press kits or vinyl are not useful for sampling, rather put the money into your equipment or posters. Fun Fact: Particularly unoriginal bands often stand out for their particularly expensive glossy press kits.
A singer-songwriter who is extremely successful today sent us his first demo with a few nice personal words, something you would much rather listen to than someone who turns the big wheel and already introduces himself as the successor to Coldplay.
But even unmotivated, generic mails with a link and null statements such as “listen to my music” should never be sent to magazines and blogs! No one has the time or desire to listen to any music indiscriminately.
What we actually need if we want to report on music is reasonable press material, bundled in a professional Dropbox press folder:
- A selection of photos for web (square or transverse 3:2), max. 1500px. Portrait is unsuitable for online!
- A 30-second video snippet for Instagram and Facebook (for Stories)
- A press release with all information (ready to print, informative, and without advertising formulations) and with the key facts as keywords
- if applicable, quotes from other media
Never send us high-resolution images to the mailbox! This is a waste of resources and loading time. If necessary, we are happy to download the images from Dropbox. Do not hide your press releases in such a way that we first have to register for them, unfortunately, we do not have time for that.
8. Maintain your mailing list more than your Facebook
So don’t just get your fans on your Facebook profile or Instagram, but ask them wherever possible for their address for your newsletter. This allows you to establish important contacts with people in the long term, whom you can reach directly by e-mail again and again. Even if Facebook or Instagram one day suffers the same fate as MySpace.
9. Respect your fans
Only real fans are relevant contacts, so don’t work with any purchased nonsense addresses or other tricks, but give your true fans everywhere the opportunity to voluntarily leave their e-mail address. At the concert, on your homepage, on Facebook. And then don’t spam them, but treat them with respect and really only send them messages if there is something important to report or hear. A tour, album, video, or new songs and free downloads on your homepage. Don’t forget to observe the rules of the new data protection regulation.
10. Learn to work with Fangates
A simple way to collect fan contacts is fangates: in exchange for an e-mail address, fans receive free goodies such as a free download or discounted tickets. Many stars have already grown their fanbase in this way, from Thom Yorke to Marilyn Manson to Cro. Especially for newcomers: Give your music away generously and wait until a need arises! There are numerous tools from Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Official.fm, and recently BitTorrent. And then drum for it at your concerts, in music media, and on your pages on the net. As long as you don’t sell anything, your music has no monetary value. So: be generous!