Music Promotion - What works for you? [MegaPost]

Hey all,

Simon here - I do marketing at iMusician with the rest of the team and… I’m really interested in how you are promoting yourselves in 2022.

I’m hoping that this thread can eventually lead to us finding the different ways that work (and those that don’t) for independent artists / different genres and I wanted to grow this discussion into some case studies and hopefully some tests that we can run together to see what works.

You can also use this to ask me anything (AMA) and I’l try to respond as fast as possible.

But first… “Simon’s very brief state of the advertising market 2022” (let’s see if you agree)

State of the music market 2022 (opinionated)
There are far far far too many options. Too many channels, too many places to build your fanbase and too many places you can very easily lose a lot of time and money to without getting much of a result. We’re all stuck in a “war” between different platforms as they compete with each other to grow their own popularity and, ultimately, make more money for their shareholders. The level to which a Spotify or YouTube cares about the independent musician is, ultimately, very low.

Set & Focus on your goals

Ask yourself… Do I NEED to be on Instagram? Is it actually working for me? Is it where my audience are? Does it actually help ME achieve MY goals, or am I just helping Instagram get more screen time so they can serve more ads? Then repeat this for every single platform out there until you find the one that is actually working.

For an independent musician today the key should be a complete and unwavering focus on what you want to achieve, this should then set out where and how you promote yourself. There are multiple focuses that (i believe) can be generally summarized as the following:

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

The 3 different focuses above should lead to some quite different conclusions on the channels you choose to promote yourself.

1. To grow your listeners / fanbase
If you want to grow your listeners as quickly as possible then you need to go to where they are. By that I mean, it will probably be Spotify, but it is also worth checking out and finding the where communities exist.
For example,

  • The electronic scene is strong on Beatport / Traxsource so someone like @A2D might be better off trying to grow their fanbase there, rather than competing with ALL of the genres and ALL of the music available on Spotify (interested to hear your thoughts)
  • For “big band” sounds (e.g. @alainhenriot ) then posting to and gaining and audience on Reddit’s Big Band SubReddit might work to get the attention of people who are interested.

2. To grow music revenues (aka royalties)
Growing your music revenue is not the same as growing your fanbase. To grow your (streaming) music revenues you should focus on the platform that can give you the most money. This will most probably be the download platform

  • For example, the amount you’re paid for a download (e.g. Apple Music) can be much more than what you get for a stream, HOWEVER, it is important to note that the market size is significantly smaller for downloads.
  • By using Bandcamp to sell music & merch… you can tap into a smaller (but still valuable) market of

3. To get more people to gigs
Your gigs can make you much more $$$ than streaming, and it can be seen as a way of growing your profile and following on music platforms. I see this as an entirely separate tactic to the rest and one that, if taken on, could be a great way to build both fanbases and royalties, it will probably work best for those with their own gigs (e.g. not part of festivals / clubs) as you’re much more in control when you’re the main attraction.

There are multiple platforms that will list your gigs for you (Bands in Town, Songkick, and, of course, creating an event on Facebook etc. You can always promote this more by using social platforms (and this is one of the few places I’d suggest using Facebook ads, otherwise I hate them so much)

Example:
Use Facebook ads to create an audience for:

  • The city/town you’re playing in…
  • Plus those that are interested in the genre you play
  • Plus those that follow bands similar to you (big or small bands).

Sidenote: We could do a whole topic on Facebook advertising, let me know if you want this and we’ll set it up.

Keep the focus
Whatever you’re doing, keep the focus. For instance, if you’re growing your following on Spotify, make sure that this is the top link on your Artist Hub page, filter out all other shops on Music Analytics and make sure every link you post allows people to get to Spotify quickly. And… most importantly… DON’T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE (apart from the whole making music thing :sweat_smile:) .

Conclusion
This post doesn’t cover half of what you need to do as an independent artist to promote yourself, but I wanted to start this discussion and get you (yes, you!) involved. In the future I’d love to work with you to create amazing content that is valuable to you (everything from a specific focus on how to use Facebook / Instagram / Spotify advertising platforms to “how to’s” on creating a release calendar)

I’ll keep updating this thread as we go, and we can then build out the guides and information you need to succeed (catchy tag line eh! :wink: )

Tell me about you
Let’s start this (hopefully megathread) off by answering some of the following questions:

  1. Where are you focused (growing fanbase / revenue / gigs)
  2. What are you doing right now for promotion?
  3. What’s the biggest challenge for you right now?

Also tagging

  • @SmokinBrains who asked about this on the Introduce Yourself topic earlier
  • @Snowmoney - who have over 3M streams and can probably give some good advice
  • @Roger_Ricks - because this guy donates to kids charities and we all need more of this.
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@Si_G this is a great advice :dart:, I’m right now at the creation of my next single targeting Beatport exclusive… and after 14 days Traxsource.

WOW, I received hints from iMusician even without asking it :ok_hand:

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Good advice @Si_G You can waste a lot of time on posting on social media and it seems to get you nowhere! I like Bandcamp its good from the artists point as you have complete control of your distribution, but being discovered on there is pot luck as the way you search for Genres can bring up anything!
Like @A2D I am focusing on beatport exclusives as the this is good for EDM especially as I produce Techno and a lot of DJs and producers go to it and post chart positions and releases on there socials.

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@A2D @Milla-Cristie Does the Beatport “exclusive” bring you any real benefits (I am also learning here, most of my experience is with Google / Facebook / Amazon etc). I see what they’re offering but is it more the higher price or the better feature placements that helps you the most.

We have a lotta love for Beatport - you both already know a lot but I’ll post the link to the Beatport Webinar anyway.

Good to know about Beatport exclusives though…, any thoughts on how iMusician can make the exclusives easier? (I am already thinking we could allow for a future of “delayed release dates” for other shops (if this exists already I am gonna be super embarrassed and @Nicholas will give me his most disapproving look, you’ve all seen it on the iMusician Show for sure).

Also, thanks for your kind words both, this first post was a bit too general but I’ll get to some more specific direction later on.

Also @Milla-Cristie - the only thing that I would say is worthwhile when it comes to social is Instagram. Facebook’s algorithm has become ridiculous (a non-promoted post will reach only 5% of your followers, so you can build a huge audience but STILL have to pay to reach it).

Instagram, especially Instagram stories have been particularly useful for us in the past @antonioayora runs our social media and has pretty much given up on Facebook, there’s no point unless you’re pushing a lot of money into it.

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Hi @Si_G , Thanks for the reply, regarding the socials I agree with you about Instagram, I recently unpublished my FB page I was posting and commenting etc but not picking up any new followers etc, I just keep my instagram now and all my followers are music related but when I checked a couple of mainstream artists in the Genre I’m interested in they have more followers on FB than they do on IG?
Regarding Beatport my last release I put on Beatport (not exclusive) and Bandamp and picked up some sales on Beatport only and this was not exclusive as I put it on BC and it did not qualify, so now I have a couple of exclusives coming out soon (Hence my other post on here regarding how to get a Beatport exclusive? ) probably won’t get anything out of it but you got to keep trying!!

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@Si_G @Milla-Cristie I agree and will immediately focus on music creation for Beatport Exclusive now that I have discovered that it was possible even without label with the support of iMusician team in the “electronic dance” genre.

Except, that I must create a new single :wink:

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@A2D and @Milla-Cristie yeah, I have actually just spotted this as well and will put something together for our product roadmap that will allow for the handling of exclusives… didn’t know that this was working for electronic so well! (at least one good thing from this discussion already!) We’ll look at what’s possible and hopefully be able to develop something to handle this. Seems like the workaround would be to release on Beatport (but you’ll need a label to go direct etc etc) and then use iMusician for the remainder of the shops, not ideal for sure… we have a couple of huge product updates in the pipeline at the moment but this is definitely interesting.

@Milla-Cristie - unpublishing the Facebook page is a BIG step, but glad it seems to be working for you. The one thing I will say from working with a lot of clients in the past is to focus on what works for YOU. In the beginning it can be good to know where other mainstream artists are but you never know if they grew their following back in the days when Facebook’s algo was actually decent.

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@Si_G For me if I get some more sales on my next Beatport releases I will stick with that shop only to qualify for exclusives and Beatport allow you distribute to some other streaming platforms and still qualify for the “Exclusive” So I will go with spotify as well as this seems so popular ATM with lots of artists using there links straight to spotify, my only concern is when releasing with IM you select the streaming platforms and then Beatport as your only shop that Delivery sort this and still get you the “Excusive” with Beatport as you will be selecting the “Regular” plan which is more expensive and you are only selecting the one shop! (and a couple of streams) this won’t be for everyone but I will see how I get on. what do you Think?
I will just keep plodding along with the socials, that’s a good point about the mainstream artists.

@Milla-Cristie yeah I definitely see your issue here… you get one shop but you only want “one” in order to get the exclusive. Honestly it’s something we’ve only just spotted now on this discussion (which I am happy with, it’s why I wanted to launch a proper community, so we get REAL feedback and can make REAL changes.
Beatport “exclusive” has definitely hit the list on how we manage it without people having to pay over the odds.

With socials… have you ever tried promoting posts on Instagram?

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@Si_G @Milla-Cristie I have tried IG once and strangely even if I used their promoting service via business manager FB, and they accept the promotion, they blocked my account one week. This means take care with IG ! And their support do not answer to explain the reason. It was a scary moment :hushed: but after a week suddenly I can post again and my abonnees does not see anything. They are not as responsive as IM :grin:

What the f…k, I know that Insta can be a bit weird but wow that sounds serious… Yeah support from Facebook is non-existent unless you’re spending around 50K (euro) per month, even then it is a bit sh*t.

Did they give you any reasons in the end or just no communication?

sidenote, I am gonna go turn off the language filter, sometimes swearing is necessary :rofl:

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Hey @Milla-Cristie and @A2D Good news.

If you want to do Beatport exclusive, you can upload on iMusician with Beatport only selected(plus allowed shops) AND we will (manually) give you a voucher code to do the second release for a $10 re-release fee (I was wrong with my information, apologies, we’re working on this at the moment and will try to get it down in price) with all other download shops.

Manual at the moment but progress at least… you’ll need to get hold of our Support team via “need help” on the app… we’re kinda working this out as we go so please bear with us if it doesn’t work amazingly easy at first.

@Maurizio is your man to thank for making this happen :wink:

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@Si_G they do not communicate at all (F@#$%). It is only because I crawled the net that I read that I’m not the only one. I assure you my promotion was politically correct & I own the rights of the images (I have created myself). Check on the web, you will see that happens a lot with IG they are the master and we are the … :expressionless: No more promoting on IG for me, the same tool business manager works for FB (meta) and messenger it is better but the real return is verrrrryyyy low :arrow_lower_right:

@Si_G iMusician are :yellow_heart::orange_heart::heart::broken_heart:

Thx for the voucher !

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100%, we pulled all of our Facebook ads last year. I’m used to being incredibly specific with targeting (used to work for a major performance marketing agency) and when they introduced their algo only ads it completely f%^ked the whole game. It takes about 10k of “learning” before the ads actually start performing and even then our campaigns were running with negative returns… trying to get a positive return on investment when looking at what music pays is just f(*king hard…

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Hey, @Si_G This is great, so just to clarify, when in delivery I would select the “Regular” Plan but only select Beatport as the only shop then the allowed services that beatport specify (I put their list below)
say spotify then this would qualify for a voucher?

This taken from Beatport website,
we ask that we are the only download store with the release. Streaming platforms are ok.

Allowed
Amazon Music Streaming Services

Apple Music

Deezer

Google Play Music

Spotify

Youtube

Vinyl Distribution

All streaming platforms that do not have a DJ integrations functionality

Soundcloud Premieres/Previews

@Milla-Cristie … I see you asked the question over here: Beatport Exclusive - #2 by Cayo, I’ll let @Cayo and @Maurizio update the information as it comes (we’re just working on this so please bear with) and we’ll get some concrete answers soon. Thanks for your patience :slight_smile:

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@Si_G I suspected they stop my promo on IG because it is suddenly working with hits coming from various countries and their algo decides it is fake ! After accepting the $ :roll_eyes:

But if you check on my Spotify the abonnees come from all these countries. Currently, I do not understand what’s could going wrong with my IG publications ?

A2D_official (@a2dlive) • Photos et vidéos Instagram

As you said no communication from them too !

We are stronger because we loved the music :headphones: :muscle:

I’ve heard this before - I’d definitely recommend running separate campaigns in specific countries with specific language(s) set as I believe a “global” approach will instantly get the attraction of the “scammer radar”

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@Si_G very good shared advice :ok_hand: