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Music Marketing 101 - A Comprehensive Guide for DIY People!
Music Marketing 101 - A Comprehensive Guide for DIY People!

11 Free Music Marketing Strategies for Indie Musicians in 2023 – A Guide for DIY People!

Hey there, fellow indie musician! When is your next release coming up? Are you also feeling overwhelmed over how to market it? Let’s face it, being a music artist is no piece of cake!  You have to wear multiple hats – create music, schedule gigs, be your own manager, and promote yourself! Like, seriously? When I decided to pursue music as my career, I had no idea that it’s not just about those beats and rhythms which I just love to make. I mean, us artists, we know how to make music, but marketing? What’s that? And what is with those expensive PR tactics that have all the potential to break the bank? But, worry not. I’ve got your back with some brilliant marketing strategies that’ll take your music game to a whole new level, without costing you a penny! Musicians, we’ve got this!

Music Marketing 101

1) Social Media Marketing

In today’s world promoting your music on social media is no longer an option, but a necessity! The growing influence of Social Media on the world is the reason you just cannot think of ignoring this medium of promotion. Here I am sharing a list of to-do things with you, that will help you create a strong presence on social media.

  •  Identify a target audience : Determine what you represent as an artist, who your ideal fans might be and what social media platform they might be most active on. This will help you focus your efforts on the right platforms and help you plan a suitable campaign for your music.
  • Create a strong presence on social media : create a consistent brand image or a personality across all platforms. Define an aesthetic, use high quality photos and videos and make your page appealing. Additionally, don’t be afraid to speak your mind and take a stand on things. Express your opinions, not just confined to music alone. That way, you’ll attract people who vibe with you and build a loyal following.
  • Share content that is engaging : Share your thought process behind your music, behind-the-scenes footage, your struggles as an artist, and sneak peeks of your upcoming projects to keep your fans engaged and interested in your music. Another thing to keep in mind is, when it comes to social media, being real is the way to go. People dig authenticity and will engage with things that they can relate to. 
  • Collaborate with other artists and producers : This helps you gain an entirely new audience and expand your reach.
  • Engage with your audience : Don’t just act like a robot! Show some personality and emotions. Reply to your audience, and let them know how much you appreciate their support.

2) Creating a Free Website

As musicians, it is important for us to showcase all our work on social media and we have all struggled with those lengthy hyper links. What a hassle it can be! A website is just the perfect solution for that! It can give you benefits of creating a central hub for all your online presence. In addition to showcasing your entire discography, EPK, tour dates, merch etc, all in one place. It also establishes your image as a serious artist in front of fans, media outlets etc.

And, if you are wondering that this is just another costly expense, that might burn a hole in your pocket, then you don’t need to worry! You can easily begin with a free website builder such as Weebly, Wix, or Ucraft. These platforms do not require purchasing a domain or web hosting and can provide minimal functionality at the same time.

3) Submitting to Radio Channels

Believe me when I say, don’t shy away from reaching out to different media outlets via emails. As a musician, sending emails is going to be one of your key responsibilities. Go on, shoot an email to that radio station that always pops up in your car! You never know, maybe the next time you hear yourself on your favorite radio station. You can reach an extremely wide audience through radio channels. Email your tracks to the radio channels and ask if they’d be interested in playing them and possibly interviewing you. This can be a superb approach to have your music heard by a larger audience.

4) Engagement in E-mail Marketing

E-mail newsletter is one of the more cost effective way to market your music and engage with your fans. You can create a database of your fans’ emails, which you can collect via sign-up forms, incentives, local shows etc. It’s like having a direct line to your audience without all the noise of social media. Via an email newsletter, you can share exclusive content like your upcoming releases, tour dates, merch, various offers etc. This helps establish a deeper and personal connection with the audience and keeps them more stoked on your music. Also, an email list is highly targeted hence you can be sure that your content is going to people who care about it deeply and engage with it more.

5) Collaborating with Other Musicians and Producers

One of the most effective way to expand your audience is by collaborating with other artists :

  • Gaining new audience : You music reaches new audiences who might not have heard you before. It gets directly exposed to a new potential fan base. 
  • Creativity : Multiple creative minds working together can definitely spark up out of the world ideas. Also all the artists involved bring in their USP’s and create something totally new. 
  • Shared resources : You can access shared resources like producers, recording studios, equipment etc which can prove more efficient and also save you some amount of money.
  • Establishing connections : Collaboration with other artists can help you network and boost up your connections in the music industry. We know how handy those connections come in! Furthermore, you are more likely to open up new opportunities for your music career.
  • Expanded Reach on Multiple Profiles across all DSP’s: Nowadays, distributors offer you to have a track under multiple artist profiles, if it is a collaborative track. Hence your track gets featured on all the artist profiles involved in the song. This means that your song will be exposed to all the sets of followers. This way, you can leverage each other’s profiles and gain listeners who otherwise, might not have discovered your music.
  • Inclusion in Release Radars: Spotify’s release radar is a personalized playlist for every user, that is customized by algorithm according to their listening patterns and choices. This playlist features newly released tracks from artists they follow or listen to. When you collaborate with an artist, your collaborative track has the potential to appear on the release radar of your followers as well as the followers of the collaborating artists. This placement can significantly boost your visibility and increase the chances of your music reaching a wider audience.

6) Turning it up on recurring Live Sets

If you want your music to thrive, you should absolutely perform live! And hey musicians, don’t we already love the thrill that being on stage gives us? We are completely onboard for anything like this! So, be on a lookout for local music festivals and fares. People in these festivals are there just to enjoy the music and you never know, you might gain some serious fans there!

Another excellent way to give exposure to your music is through house concerts. Unlike traditional concerts, house concerts are hosted in the homes of fans, friends, or family members, creating a cozy and informal atmosphere that fosters a stronger sense of community and connection. Through recurring house concerts within a specific radius, artists can have a more meaningful connection with the audience, thus establishing regional prominence. The setting is more intimate and the audience is completely focused on the music and the artist.

Aside from that, live shows are a terrific method to generate some income and make contacts in the industry. And in the music industry, we know that contacts will always come in handy!

So go on, channelize your inbuilt charisma and light that stage on fire!

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7) Waterfall Releases

If you want to build anticipation around your EP’s and Albums, this technique might work for you. A waterfall release is like a drip-feed of music where an artist puts out their music in stages, each stage building a momentum for the next one. You can start with releasing two to three singles every month, followed by an EP or album later. 

This technique is not only effective in hyping up your upcoming releases but also builds up a “roller coaster” effect with every subsequent release. In addition to that, this strategy is known to optimize Spotify’s algorithm by generating continuous streaming of your work. Furthermore, you are more likely to be featured in editorial playlists throughout various DSP’s as they prefer artists with consistent releases, that keep the audiences engaged.  

8) Submitting to Music Blogs and Playlists

Getting your song in various playlists exposes you to a larger audience. There are a number of ways in which you can get your song featured.

  • Pitching to Editorial Playlists : Among the numerous features that streaming platforms offer, editorial playlists stand out as coveted spaces where artists can potentially reach millions of listeners. Ideally, you should start pitching your song to curators at least one month prior to your release. This can very effectively be done through emails, where you can provide all the necessary information the curator might need. Include your artist name, track title, release date, and links to your music, such as Spotify or Apple Music.
  • Submitting To Music Blogs and Other Playlist Curators : Submitting your music to music blogs is a great way to get some exposure for work. There are sites like SubmitHub, which offer standard credits to submit your music to various curators, free of cost! It provides a curated list of blogs, YouTube channels, and Spotify playlist curators who are actively seeking submissions. You can submit your song according to your choice of platform and genre. Furthermore, this is a highly targeted approach and saves the artist’s time and effort, allowing them to focus on reaching out to the right outlets and increasing their chances of getting noticed.

Your music being in these playlists, can help trigger the algorithm for you. Platforms like Spotify have a very effective algorithm and can be leveraged as one of the strongest tools to get your music discovered. The algorithm analyzes various data, including the number of streams, listener retention, playlist additions, and user interactions. When your track receives more attention it signals to the algorithm that the track is resonating with a wider audience. As a result, the algorithm may recognize the track’s momentum and begin featuring it in playlists such as Discover Weekly, Release Radar, or editorial playlists that align with the track’s genre or style.

9) Submitting to YouTube Channels

Pitching your music to YouTube channels can be a valuable strategy to increase your exposure and reach a wider audience. Start by looking for YouTube channels that align with your music genre, style, and target audience, and have an engaged subscriber base. Start emailing them your music and all the necessary information about you. A feature on these channels might mean that potentially thousands or even millions of viewers have the opportunity to discover your music. Moreover, when viewers come across your music on a channel they enjoy, they are likely to visit your own YouTube profile, further expanding your reach and potential fanbase.

10) Selling Music On Bandcamp

Bandcamp is a very useful online music platform for indie musicians. You can create their own artist profiles, connect with their fans and post and sell you music directly to them. The artist gets a place to sell their music in a variety of forms (digital downloads, CDs, vinyl, and merchandise) and fans are able to find and support them by purchasing their music or stuff straight from the artist’s Bandcamp profile. Bandcamp also gives artists tools to track their sales, analyze statistics, and interact with their fans.

11) Writing To Music Magazines

As I said before, sending emails is going to be one of your key responsibilities as an artist. Reach out to music magazines via emails, sharing your new work with them and requesting a feature. This is a great way to boost up your PR and build credibility as an artist. It is a good idea to reach out at least a month prior to your release to secure a suitable slot for your feature.

These are some of the easiest tried and tested techniques for marketing your music and are definitely going to help you gain a lot of new audience. That being said, music marketing is a very tricky business and being an artist is not for the faint hearted. But hey, that’s what makes us artists! We thrive on taking risks and trying on new things. Experimentation is what satisfies our soul. So let’s embrace the challenge and rock on!

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