In the digital age, becoming a successful musician requires more skills than just mastering an instrument. A novice musician typically handles his or her own marketing, show scheduling and discography dissemination. It’s a full-time job — although it can take years or even decades before the venture becomes profitable. Some musicians never get the proper recognition they deserve due to poor self-marketing tactics. That’s why we’ve created this guide on how to get your music noticed. Written by a music writer and someone who actively looks for new artists, this guide intends to start brand new musicians off on the right foot and provide artists with the basic tools necessary to stand out.
If you believe you’ve followed the steps below and would like to submit your music for consideration for upcoming coverage through 303 Magazine, please e-mail [email protected] with the proper information about your work.
Are You Easy to Find?
Music streaming services are the standard in 2019. One of the first focuses a new artist should have is getting his or her music on main streaming platforms as quickly (and correctly) as possible. These platforms include Spotify, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, Apple Music, YouTube and Google Play, just to name a few. Bandcamp, SoundCloud and YouTube are typically the quickest and most affordable option for new artists. Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play usually require a third-party distributor to upload your music and can cost a bit more in both money and time commitment. Ideally, you want to become available on all platforms over time, but when starting out, choose two to three that your budget and time allow for. We suggest SoundCloud and Bandcamp as these both make it easy to start sharing your music.
When setting these accounts up, pay close attention to detail. Your artist name, album names and songs should show exactly how you would like them to be featured. All titles should have proper capitalization and punctuation. If a music writer is looking to cover your work, keep in mind they will look to you for proper representation of your discography and band name.
For example, if your band name is “The Good Guys” but you upload your music under, “Alex’s Music,” the writer can only go based off of what you provide, thus associating your work with “Alex’s Music,” not the band name you intended. If you send out a press release for your new song, “Find the Way” although you uploaded the song as “The Way Version 3,” you’re making it difficult for the press to find and cover your work. Pay close attention to detail from the start so you’re easily searchable and correctly represented across all platforms.
How Are You Sharing Your Music?
Social media is a crucial element for artists in 2019. It’s one of the most effective platforms for sharing art. An artist can connect with fans, share upcoming shows and reach out to potential fans easier than ever before. Start utilizing Facebook (at a minimum) as early and often as possible. Create a content plan for what you want to share on social media. While the omelet you had for breakfast may look interesting to you, keep your audience in mind and focus on band-related content while you build your following.
Cover all the bases when creating your social media profiles — upload a high-quality cover photo and profile picture, fill out the “About Us” information, include a contact email and post regularly. If a music writer is looking for information on your band, providing one (or no) photos, no posts and no “About Us” information makes it difficult to provide any coverage. The more information you provide, the easier it is for the press to cover your work.
How to Contact the Press
While social media is great for growing your fanbase, the press is a great outlet for getting your music to a wide audience, quickly. Start compiling a database of press contacts as early as possible. Many press contacts provide contact emails on the website they provide coverage for. Search for journalists who cover similar work to your genre and create a list of the names and emails of these contacts. When you release new discography, have an upcoming show date, or have other newsworthy information, plan to send a press release to your contacts.
A press release may sound intimidating to new musicians, but it’s simply a document or email that makes it easy for the press to find relevant information. At a minimum, a press release should contain the following: the band name and all band members, written as they should appear. If you’re sharing new discography, include the song or album name and a link to the work. Include any links to social media profiles or a website where the contact can find more information. Additional information that the press may find useful includes band photos, the history of the band, background information on the song (such as inspiration or meaning behind the name), upcoming show dates and what’s in store for the future (such as an album in the works).
Provide contact information, preferably an email address, on your streaming and social profiles so press contacts can reach out with any additional questions. Check the email address regularly so you don’t miss questions about your work and miss an opportunity for coverage. In short, the more relevant information you provide, the easier you’re making it for the press contact to create newsworthy content, thus increasing your chances for press coverage.
Artists can refer to this checklist to help stay on track when beginning marketing efforts.
- Is my music available on streaming platforms? Does my band name and discography appear how I want it represented?
- Do I have social media profiles set up for fans and the press to find me? Do these social media accounts contain as much information as I can provide? This includes band photos, tour dates, “About Us” information (start date, current location, genre, band members, etc.) and a contact email.
- Am I posting relevant content on these profiles regularly?
- Do I have a list of press contacts relevant to my style of music?
- Do I have a press release ready to share when the time comes? Does it include the band name, band location, links to my streaming platforms, social media profiles, website and upcoming events? Does it also include band photos and other relevant information such as the band history or information behind the song, album, music video or other content I’m sharing? Did I include contact information to an email I check regularly?
- Am I easy to contact? Do I check the email I provide on social media and press releases regularly?
If you answered yes to the above, you’re off to a great start. Making your music accessible and available is the first vital step to getting your music noticed.