How to promote music without spending lots of money!

Same old question. What’s the best way to promote online without spending funds? How do you engage people?

Alrighty - I have had your post in my mind all day and trying to figure out the shortest possible way to answer this. A lot of this follows on from my other post / discussion that you’ll find over here: Music Promotion - What works for you? [MegaPost] - #9 by Si_G

But - coming back to your specific question…

Well now we have a slightly different question to answer. And the shortest answer to it is… the best way is to focus and spend a lot of time doing the same thing. Without paid media to “kick-start” what you’re doing it will just simply take longer and - at times you may feel like it isn’t worth it, or that it isn’t working but… if you get your strategy right then you’re onto a winner.

So, what's the right strategy?

The honest answer here is… whatever works for you… If you have found something that is working and you read this post then I would advise you to not change what you’re doing overnight based purely on what some guy said on the internet… but that is probably the most annoying answer for someone starting out.

Step 1: What's your focus?

I’ve covered this more over on The Music Promotion Megathread, but just to recap what I see as the 3x main strategic approaches:

  1. To grow your listeners / fanbase
  2. To grow music revenues aka royalties
  3. To get more people to gigs

Let’s assume for now that you’re looking at Number 1… growing listeners / fanbase…

Step 2: Where is your Base?

Choosing which channels you use is key - you don’t want to spread yourself too thinly - this just takes a LOT of time to manage and will end up with you spending every waking hour maintaining what you’re doing.

Also remember, with every channel (e.g. Facebook / Twitter / Insta / TikTok as well as Spotify / Deezer / YouTube) you are basically at the whim of massive corporations whose aim is to make money so you have to jump through hoops (aka master the algorithm) if you want to grow without spending money and these channels can simply change overnight if they want to and cut you off from your audience (much like Facebook did with algorithm changes many years ago, if you want to reach more the ~20% of your FB page audience, then you have to pay).

You want to give people one space (aka a base) where they can find you, follow you and where you can grow a following and, you want to have a reasonable sense of safety that you won’t be cutoff from your hard-earned followers overnight.

This is the channel you will promote and… NOTHING ELSE.

It sounds counter-intuitive… naturally you would think that being on every channel will give more opportunity for people to follow you, but all you are doing here is weakening your impact. Every follower on a channel you are not focused on is essentially a lost potential.

So, now you have your “base” from there you can bring people to it and take people from it, spend some time making it both look “nice” and become a functional home for your music.

I will put together a post on what to look for as a “Base” I am not 100% sure on what to recommend at the moment, if others have a suggestion (looking at you @A2D, @zirnoise @Milla-Cristie for a bit of experience if you have found one).

In terms of “bases”, I would see Spotify, Bandcamp or SoundCloud being good starting bases - with Spotify being perhaps the most “risky” as they are in a big revenue crunch right now, also, definitely take a look at the latest video from @Nicholas on how the Spotify Algorithm works

Step 3: Find your "awareness" channel

This is the place where you will find new fans, pick a channel that has a good x-section between a deep reach and niche audience. I haven’t found a link to your music on the Community or on Spotify so I can’t really make any recommendations for you, but over on the Promotion Megathread I suggested some routes for specific genres (e.g. Beatport for Electronic, Reddit for “big band music” etc).

My biggest recommendation for awareness though - do not use Linktr.ee links - sounds counter intuitive right? Well if you use a linktr.ee link, you’re spreading out your fan base again - the only link you will put in these channels is to your “base”.

If you drop a link to your music @Efosasimon then we’ll have a look at more possible awareness channels for you :slight_smile:

I hope this helps!

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Hello @Si_G, @Efosasimon,

Always happy to share my experience with this musician community :heart_hands:

I must said, I have tried a lot with all the internet places, apps, means to distribute my music, and also reading advices. And my current conclusion is, first I wanna have fun :wink: :ok_hand:

My personal results are :

  • My distributor is now iMusician
    I have tried other ways in the past like audius, audiomack, soundcloud, and even recently bandcamp posting pre-songs, more to learn the different ways of doing. A long time ago, I have not tried because vynil, cd was too complicated, recently it seems more easy but too earlier for me

  • Youtube - if you do not make a videoclip is not so great

  • Twitter - is very tied to trends

  • Fb (now Meta) - costs much in ad not very valuable to build my audience

  • Instagram - is now my focus but take care of what you publish to it

  • Tiktok - you could have hundreds of views and suddenly 0 without knowing what’s wrong

  • Reddit - can ban easily your publication if you have not read the thread policy carefully tied to the subject and applied it

  • Snapchat - seems in regression

  • Linktr.ee - only target my Spotify

  • Paid promotion services - I never, never used it

To answer to @Si_G I created also accounts on these channels to own an official artist name windows opportunity.

I publish mainly on Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer now also on Beatport but I wait since 3 weeks to have access to my Beatport artist profile to be able to customize it ; as Simon said it takes times to manage too many ways.

My artist pro hub with links to many of these :

A2D new single ECo (imusician.pro)

Currently, even I you have seen the series Playlist about Spotify history on Netflix, I must said they paid the more. This is only my personal experience of course.

Hope my answer help.

A2D

Hey @A2D - that’s massive, thanks for the answer and hopefully it is helpful for everyone!

Yes - this is actually a great point - owning your own name on some of the channels can be very valuable (trust me, we still have some problems with our own :man_facepalming:

I agree - it is ridiculously easy to get banned completely.

Oh so much! Twitter is kinda the place you go to get the latest news or complain about a company IMHO.

YouTube takes a LOT of work - we have two people working here dedicated to creating content for and managing the promotion of YouTube and it just takes time. If you have the time to do it though it can be incredibly powerful.

Unless you’re advertising conspiracy theories, I feel like Facebook is now dead for advertisers.

I would say to send directly to Spotify, but am I right in thinking that you get click data from Linktr.ee? Or is there another reason you use it?


On a further note, we are spending time here in the iMusician Marketing “Bunker” researching how the “Rise of the Superfan” is shaping the industry and - working with our colleagues in Product to come up with the next iterations of Artist Hub. We’re using the “Awareness & Hub” model I posted above and hope to come up with a true “hub” that allows artists to post and publish content / updates etc - But this is all for the future!

If you have the time, I’d recommend some reading around the whole Superfan concept…

That should keep you all busy for a while!

1 Like

@Si_G,

Thank you a lot for the recommended links. Now, I’ll be busy :smile:

To answer your question about linktree ; why I do not use a direct link to Spotify is more a question of spams of all kinds you received when you have link types that are searched by bots or bad guys to fool you. That’s also something a musician or a band must be prepared, a lot of garbage messages, emails, and we must be able to be as save as possible.

Have a good time with the music :headphones:

Wow , this is truly insightful. Thanks a million. Here’s a link to my EP Chop my money, Baby (The EP)

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