When you first get started in the music industry, it’s essential to establish supporters to spread your music and gain as much attention as possible. Many musicians look at the most successful artists and mistakenly believe they can copy the same marketing tactics and manipulate the media in similar ways, and that’s not true. You don’t have millions of dollars but guess what, you don’t need money at all. In this article, I will explain how to promote your music without money and show you how to think of your music in an entirely new way.
Starting out it’s natural to want to win fans as quickly as possible, but that’s the wrong way to think, like most things in life you will need support to be successful. The most common support is your friends and family. These people will be the ones attending your shows, bragging about you in the streets, sharing your music on social media and championing for you any way they can. Friends and family can go a long way so be sure to acknowledge them and use them to the fullest. How do you handle family and friends?
Make them apart of your movement. Everyone wants to be apart of something especially when people know the leader personally. Give them merchandise to wear and empower them to make a difference for you. Give your closest friends or relatives a position in your circle such as social media manager, designer, personal assistant or create an area where you need the most help. Think of yourself as a business and supporters as volunteers who believe in your product or cause. Five, ten, twenty or more people make a huge difference when they are all working to make you successful. Plus you never know what skills or talents they bring to the table. You’ll be surprised at who can build websites, mix and master music, graphic design and help with business decisions all free of charge!
If you have people supporting you that don’t have special skills they are still valuable when you need bodies. Use them as extras in your video shoot, create a street team, and have them pack venues when you perform. Doing so will make you look like an established artist and your buzz will start to multiply. You don’t have to pay for promotion when you can mobilize your friends to retweet and share your songs hundreds of times; all the shares will start to snowball. Online music promotion is crucial to your success.
Take a look at the Billboard Hot 100 chart below, and you’ll see the majority of songs on the list contain features, meaning collaborations with multiple artists. And the songs that don’t are made by artists frequently collaborate with their songs in the past.
It doesn’t matter if the artist is the same genre as you, in fact, it may be better to work with people a lot different than you so you can get attention from an entirely new fan base. If you look at the Billboard Charts above Maroon 5 tapped Cardi B for a feature, and they are in no way similar to each other. Marron 5 is an all-white male Pop Rock band, while Cardi B is a mixed female Hip-Hop artist. I point out those details to show a massive difference in fan bases, but both Maroon 5 and Cardi will gain exposure from each other with cross-promotion. How do you start collaborating?
Network with musicians in your city or worldwide. Most musicians will be happy to work with you since they understand there is a benefit for both sides. It doesn’t have to stop at collaborating on a song, that’s just the beginning. Open for each other, perform together, hop on social media and interact with each other and if you’re receiving great feedback go on tour together. Even a local state tour can be extremely beneficial for exposure. Don’t forget to activate your friends and family; I’m sure they know musicians in the area or out of state who are in the same boat as you and looking to expand. You can even put someone in charge of finding collaborations for you.
If you enjoy using technology, Wave Bot is the perfect technology to find collaborators. Every week Wave Bot provides you with musicians ready to collaborate across the nation so you can start cross-promoting quickly. Wave Bot also promotes your music every week!
I’ll keep this section short since there’s not much explaining needed but there are many free services to help you promote your music. Innovadiv did not partner with any company mentioned, and I’m merely recommending them to you since the price is free.
If you’re in need of a website, give Wix a try. You can create a website for free, and they have templates specifically for musicians. To get your music online without paying for distribution use YouTube and SoundCloud, over 1.2 Billion people use those sites every month so having your music there is essential. Plus, major record labels and significant artists such as Beyonce have discovered talent directly from YouTube and SoundCloud. These next couples are a given, but you have to use social media specifically Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
I know that you probably use those sites now, but you need to create an artist profile for your music and promote your projects using your supporters and fans. You can network and build relationships, start groups to speak to the masses directly and get into the trending topics of the industry. Be careful, promoting your music on socials can lead to fraud and fake accounts following you and streaming your music which is a horrible thing. Your analytics will be flawed, and you’ll have no idea where your actual fans are. Learn how to avoid fraudulent streams and fake followers. And if you aren’t getting enough followers on IG check out the 5 Instagram Tips Every Artist Needs.
Before I started Innovadiv and Wave Bot I wan an independent musician trying to find my way. I needed a website, album cover, a place to record and help in many areas. I had no money to my name and no way to finance anything, so I got help from supporters. My friend and current business partner Matt Lo (CTO of Innovadiv) created my website from scratch and designed all my album covers. Another one of my friends from high school was a graphic designer who created my logo and merchandise designs. Another buddy started a clothing line and sponsored me with free gear that I wore during performances and photo shoots. I had no fans at the beginning, so I filled venues with friends and family in the area, but that boosted my confidence and created a buzz in my city of Chicago. To record my music, I used the home studio of a friend who I met at Texas Roadhouse when I was a server. He had incredible talent and was able to help me write lyrics, record songs, and mix and master them. He introduced me to many other producers and artists which led to collaborations.
As you can see from my story not having money forces you to be creative and as a musician that works in your favor since you’re a creative person. After years of being a musician, I started to assist other musicians that needed help just like I did in the past. My friend Matt (the same guy who created my first website) was still working with me, and we built Innovadiv together. Now I’ve worked with over 3000 musicians worldwide, and I look forward to assisting many more. Thanks for reading!