How to self-promote your music

kus Blog, Creative Commons, News


So you are an artist and have a new album. You want to make yourself heard, but nobody, absolutely nobody has waited for your release. Your missing a fan base. Build a fan base. Collect e-mails with your newsletter, run a blog and collect RSS subscribers, don’t forget Twitter and Facebook. Try it at MySpace. Play gigs at your local community (that’s the best) and sell your CD’s there.

So you have an album

You’ve sent all your friends and newsletter subscribers an e-mail, updated your blog with your latest YouTube video (200 views) and gave away some tracks for free (500 downloads). Wow, you used a Creative Commons license, but it was not self-promoting. You’ve sold 50 downloads on iTunes. Time for a change. First of all you need an EPK, the electronic press kit (Wikipedia).

Electronic Press Kit

An EPK in the music industry might contain the following:

  • Biography
  • Music clips (with accompanying lyrics)
  • High resolution press photos
  • Tour dates
  • Promotional videos
  • Website links
  • Press reviews and interviews
  • “RIYL” or “recommended if you like” list: a listing of artists of similar styles or genres
  • Contact information

Most Netlabels don’t have EPKs. That’s very unprofessional. Some rare examples like aquietbump or rec72 have it for every release.

Spread the word

Music is not self-promoting. You have to move your ass and inform the local press (Rolling Stone is not a good start) and local radio stations. Write personal e-mails and use your phone.

Hail the music blogs

When it comes to internet promotion, then you have to inform the music blogs. Anthony Volodkins hypem from NY is the central of all music blogs. Go to the blog directory and look for blogs that fit your music genre. Follow the links to the blogs and send the bloggers a personal message (don’t forget to include your link to the EPK). No spam, a personal message.

Size matters

Choose the music blogs wisely. You need blogs with audience. Grab Firefox and download the SearchStatus plugin. Now you can see the Alexa rank at the lower right side of your browser. Is it around 200’000? Send an e-mail. Is it around 1.2 million, don’t waste your time. Another good indicator is the amount of followers on hypem.

Netlabel places

To be honest, there are no high frequent Netlabel places, but you can give it a try. Nobody went famous with these tips, but it’s fun. Go to clongclongmoo and submit your music. Netlabels.org was once a good place. It’s dead now and waiting for the rebirth. Netlabelindex also maintains a release database. SoundShiva looks good. Upload it to archive.org, ccMixter, Jamendo, Free Music Archive, Dogmazic (we uploaded two compilations to archive.org, made no promo and they have been downloaded over 40’000 times) and soniqsquirrel.

Podcasts

Podcaster are always looking for good music. The problem: In most cases it has to podsafe (safe to play in podcasts, means almost royalty free). Submit your music to music alley and read this article, where music podcasters look for podsafe music. Search at PodcastAlley, PodcastDirectory or iTunes some music podcasts and write the podcasters a personal e-mail. Don’t forget about IndieFeed.

Free Downloads?

We’re not sure if this is necessary. Free streaming (progressive download) is the key. Upload to YouTube, Soundcloud. Spotify is also nice. Just give away one promo track, this is more effective, than spreading the whole album.

Pay what you want

Bandcamp offers nice options to accomplish this task. But. It only works for Radioheads album Rainbows. All other newcomer artists only earn cents. If your fan base is small, this is nothing for you.

Distribution

Oh that’s hard. There are so many possibilities. We like CDBaby. FUGA , IODA and Finetunes are good-looking, but we have no experience with. We need your feedback.

Forums

Google for relevant forums and drop a message. Always carefully watch out, that you don’t spam.

More tips

Do you have more tips? What are your experiences? Write us your opinion. Do you have good/bad experiences with promotion agency’s? Distributors? Are you a self-promoter? Do you run a Netlabel? We want to hear from you.

Thanks for the image illuminaut