If you’re a music artist, band, manager or label owner you need music marketing. The idea that great music will somehow just sell itself is a myth. Great music with no marketing will perform worse than mediocre music with great marketing.
I’ve spent the last 5 years obsessing over music marketing, and i’ve either tried most things myself or I have clients who have tried them. So in this post i’m going to give you 23 music marketing ideas for 2023.
The Music Marketing Ideas
Without further ado, here is the list of music marketing ideas.
1. Release Music Consistently
One of the most important things you can do as a music artist is release music regularly. My recommendation is you strive to release new music every 4-8 weeks. I’ll admit this can be challenging, so feel free to batch create music before you start your release cycle.
Releasing music every 4-8 weeks means you always have something new to talk about and promote, but you still have enough time to fully promote each release. Not every release will perform well. But if you have a new song coming within a month or two it isn’t the end of the world.
You can release faster than every 4 weeks but keep in mind you may see diminishing returns.
2. Post On Social Media
It is pretty much impossible to post too much on social media. This is because on average only about 3-8% of your audience actually sees your posts. So if you post about your new song 10 times, your entire audience likely still doesn’t know your new song is even out.
I recommend planning for 30-50 social media videos per song. Post them daily across Instagram Reels, TikTok, Facebook Reels and YouTube Shorts. This means if you have 40 videos, you’ve effectively posted 160 pieces of content online.
Remember that social media content should be fairly simple. We’re talking 15-30 second clips that can often be cut out of longer form content like music videos and performance. Get personal, show your humanity and have fun.
3. Run Digital Ads
In my experience digital ads, specifically Facebook ads (or Meta ads now), are one of the most effective ways to promote your music online. I’ve personally generated over 100+ Million Spotify streams using Facebook conversion ads.
However you can also use Facebook ads to promote your shows, sell merch, get more social media engagement, grow your mailing list and much more.
Meta ads are the big winner now for almost all of that. However if you want more YouTube views then Google ads is your best bet. And if you want TikTok engagement then TikTok ads may be worth exploring.
4. Collaborate With Other Artists
Collaborating with other artists is an easy and fun way to grow your audience. If you have 1,000 fans and they have 1,000 fans, releasing a song together may be a great way for each of you to walk out the other side with 1,500 fans.
The best way to collaborate is to make both artists primary artists. This causes the song to show up on both of your profiles on the DSP’s (Spotify, Apple Music etc). It will also push the song out to both of your fans.
Additionally both of you are pushing the song on social media, sharing ad budgets and other promotional budgets. This means you either have twice the push for the same effort and cash, or the same push for half the effort and cash.
It’s a win for both parties as long as your audiences align, and its always a good time!
5. Waterfall Release Strategy
The waterfall release strategy is a way of repacking already released material by bundling it with newer music. Each new release then drives traffic to the previous music in addition to promoting new music.
It’s easier to just show you, so take a look at this example:
First the single Headlocked was released. Then, we released the Come Alive ‘EP’ which contained two songs – one being Headlocked and the other being the new song Come Alive. We also continued this process for several more songs.
You can do this with pretty much every music distributor including Melodist and DistroKid. I also wrote an article showing how to do a waterfall release strategy with DistroKid.
6. Play Shows
Playing live can actually be a marketing strategy, and it was a staple marketing method for a long time before social media existed. Nowadays social media is the stage, but the real stage is still a stage.
At the extreme end of this, some artists considering touring a marketing expensive and not a money making method. Although it can be an incredibly profitable area for some.
When you start you’ll likely be playing small venues with little or no pay. Try to find similar artists in your area and see if you can open for them. Find out where people play and contact the venue or promoter and ask if you can play too.
Just keep in mind venues are a business and they book bands thats sell tickets. If you’re a small band you won’t drive sales, so you’ll likely be shoved into opening spots until you can actually draw your own crowd.
7. The $1.80 Strategy
The $1.80 strategy is something Gary Vee came up with and talked about online years ago. The concept is simple: think of 9 hashtags or topics on social media and leave your 2 cents on 10 posts in each.
This means if you think #alternativemetal is a decent hashtag for your music, you would find awesome content using that hashtag and leave comments on 10 posts in that hashtag. Then you go to your next hashtag and repeat the process.
You want to leave thoughtful comments and be a real human. Don’t just spam and don’t beg people to check out your music. The theory is that a percentage of the people that see your comment will check out your profile and follow you. If you do this every day it adds up to some serious audience growth.
One of my clients has been doing this for a few months this year and he’s gone from 80 Instagram followers to nearly 900 in only 3 months. It is hard work but its free social media growth.
8. Pitch To Curators
There are people online that own Spotify playlists, music blogs, YouTube channels and other pieces of digital real estate you can get on. In some cases you can find their contact information and send them an email or DM to ask if you can get on their platform.
I ran a $600 experiment comparing SubmitHub to Playlist Push. Click here to see who won!
In any case it is often fairly affordable to reach out to them and shoot your shot. This can be a brutal process because you’ll deal with a lot of rejections (80% rejection rates are actually GOOD), but its fairly low effort and low cost. Some genres will be more successful than others though.
If you want 10% off your first SubmitHub campaign, click here to use my coupon.
9. Hiring A Promotion Company
Promotion companies can take many different forms. This might mean you hire a digital ad agency like Forbid Media. Or it might mean you hire a playlist company like Partnered Projects, Moonstrive Media or Indie Music Academy.
10. Hire A PR Company
Investing in a public relations (PR) company can greatly enhance an artist’s visibility and reputation in the music industry. PR professionals are skilled at crafting and spreading a compelling narrative about an artist and their music.
They leverage their extensive networks of media contacts – including music journalists, radio programmers, and influential bloggers – to secure coverage that can elevate an artist’s profile.
However, I want to emphasize that not everyone is ready for PR. PR often will not move the needle for streaming or sales. This is most suited for an artist already gaining traction and doing great things, looking to spread the message of that traction and increase brand perception.
PR can be very expensive, often $2k-$4k per month. Spending $2k per month on Facebook ads would make a massive impact in your streaming volume or sales, while PR will not.
11. Partner With A Record Label
There are many small to medium sized record labels that have the skills or resources to market your music. If they like your music and believe in your potential they’ll often handle marketing in exchange for a percentage of the record.
This might mean you’re giving them 50% or more of the royalties, but in exchange you don’t worry about marketing and don’t have to front the money to push the song. Just keep in mind all expenses are recoupable and some labels might not have your best interests at heart.
Always read the contract, talk to other artists on the label and speak up if something seems off to you. I know some great label owners but there are also some sketch-balls out there.
12. Network With Other Bands
Aside from the social aspect, networking with other artists in your local scene or genre can have career benefits as well. Sometimes an artist will have a show but is looking for an opener. Maybe they test out a new marketing tool and tell you about it. Or perhaps they help you avoid hiring a sleezy manager.
Don’t treat other artists / bands as competition. There is room for all of you to gain fans. If you’re similar you will like share fans, and can collaborate in interesting ways to help each other grow.
13. Pitch To College Radio
Many colleges have some type of local radio station, and often its on campus in a freely accessible area. This means you can likely walk directly into the radio station and talk to someone in charge of running a particular show on the radio.
Sometimes the competition will be fierce, but often college radios are eager to feature other students or just local artists on their station. Find out the name of the person who runs the show for your genre of music and get in touch with them!
You may even be able to do a live studio performance on the radio.
14. Contact Influencers
If there are influencers who make content in your genre of music, contact them! They might be willing to share or repost your social media content, or use your song in one of their pieces of content.
This could be an Instagram or TikTok creator, a YouTube channel or a podcast creator. Don’t just look for creators that share music content though. Consider creators that you’re interested in that use music natively in their own content.
15. Start A YouTube Channel
Every artist should have some type of YouTube channel where you post your music videos, and Shorts for short-form content. However some of you may also have aspirations to become a content creator on YouTube.
If you make the right type of content you can actually use it to promote your music. Ever notice how so many content creators end up releasing mediocre music and having decent numbers? If people love you, they will check out your music.
At the time i’m writing this I have about 60,000 subscribers, so I have some knowledge to pass your way:
- Being a content creator is a ton of work, but it is awesome
- It is very easy to grow the wrong audience, and end up with people who don’t care about your music
- Aim to post at least once per week, and stick to it for at least a year
- Your goal is to get as many people as possible to click on your video, and then watch the entire thing
16. Start A Podcast
Similar to how you can grow a YouTube audience and use it to promote your music, you can do the same thing with a podcast. Maybe its a music podcast, or maybe its a personal podcast. Just make sure you have a way to incorporate your music some way.
I’ve seen artists make podcasts talking about their music in innovate ways. For example, going through the lyrics and production process, or doing a commentary in between the music, or just doing a fun show hanging out with the band members.
It doesn’t have to be a tool to grow a new audience. You can use the podcast just as a way to entertain existing fans who want more behind the scenes information.
I have a podcast called Modern Music Marketing where I interview people doing cool things in the music industry.
17. Start A Blog
Piggy backing off of the previous topics, you can also grow an audience with a blog. When you make content on a website on topics people are searching for, the search engines will show your pages in the index.
You could make a blog talking about music production techniques for technical death metal, and then use your band as the example in every post. Maybe you’re really big into makeup and it fits in with your music brand, so you grow a blog talking about it and then funnel people to check out your music.
At the very least even if you don’t want to be a ‘blogger’, you can (and should) create a blog on your website either for lyrics, releases and/or behind the scenes content.
If you don’t have a website you can build one with MusicFunnels. Not only do you get a site with a blog, but it also comes with an online store, sales funnels and email marketing! Get your 14-day free trial.
18. Buy On A Tour
This is somewhat controversial but also super common. Artists going on tour sometimes leave the first opening slot open, and then sell that slot to other artists who want to buy onto the tour.
Imagine a decent sized band in your exact genre is going on a 10 date tour. Every show is in front of 2,000 to 4,000 people. Their fans will definitely love your music. If you were to open on that tour you would be exposed to about 30,000 of their most die-hard fans.
Spending $5,000 to buy that opening slot might be an amazing investment. It may even be the cheapest form of marketing you could possibly do. You could even still profit if you sell enough merch on the tour.
Every band will have their own price, and finding these deals is difficult. This is why networking can be important because otherwise you’ll never hear about these buy-on opportunities.
19. Run A Radio Airplay Campaign
There is a company called Radio Airplay that will promote your song on internet radio for a price. They’re plugged into the internet radio platform Jango, and show your music in between other people’s music on internet radio stations.
Potential fans can easily click to learn more about your music or follow you.
You probably won’t turn into a superstar doing this, but depending on your demographics it might be another angle thats worth a small amount of your time or money.
20. Release Cover Songs
This won’t be for everyone, but covers can be a solid way to promote your artist project. On social media and YouTube, people love seeing songs they already know reimagined in unique ways. Capitalize on trending songs and make your own cover.
21. Cross Promote With Other Bands
Outside of releasing music with other artists, you can also cross promote with other artists. This means you agree to share each others stuff on social media, let your email list know when the other artist drops music, and maybe you even show up in their content if you live nearby.
Maybe content creators such as YouTube creators, bloggers and podcasts will reference other creators in their niche. They may also have them for guests in each others podcasts or social media content. This is the closest comparison to that, and it can be very beneficial if you can take advantage of it.
22. Network At Shows
Even when not performing, attending other artists’ shows provides invaluable networking opportunities for musicians. Such events can be ideal platforms for discovering and connecting with like-minded individuals within the same genre.
By establishing relationships with your peers, you not only immerse yourself in the culture and latest trends of your genre, but also lay groundwork for potential collaborations, partnerships, or simply gaining insights from those at different stages of their musical journey.
23. Attend Industry Conferences
Music industry conferences are a rich resource for artists seeking to hone their craft and grow their careers. Whether digital or physical, these events gather a diverse mix of industry professionals – record label representatives, booking agents, music publishers, producers, and more.
These participants come together to share knowledge, discuss industry trends, and get a pulse on the current music scene. Conferences provide opportunities to learn from their expertise through panel discussions, workshops, and keynote presentations.
Opportunities often come to those who actively seek them out, and industry conferences can be one of the richest sources of such chances.
What Is Music Marketing?
Music marketing is just marketing applied to the music industry. Promoting things like music and film are much different than promoting products and services.
While your music is your product (or at least one of them), it holds no value to people unless they enjoy your music first. This drastically changes the marketing strategy for a lot of different objectives.
Sometimes marketing will involve paid strategies (such as Facebook ads, Google ads, influencer marketing) and other times it will involve organic strategies (social media, touring, outreach).
How Can Music Marketing Help You?
Music marketing can help you get your music heard for the first time. It can help you grow your mailing list, sell merch and sell tickets to shows. Pretty much anything where you need people to do some action for you.
Music Marketing FAQ
Let’s cover some frequently asked questions.
How do I get my music online?
What does a music marketer do?
A music marketer is someone that markets music. Very often this can be the artist themselves, but when an artist has a team it will either be the manager or someone at the record label.
How much does music marketing cost?
You can market your music for free, but it takes a lot more time and work. Money definitely helps but I know artists that have done it 100% organically, and then when they have enough money coming in from their music they start investing.
Most artists I know that have paid marketing budgets have about $500 to $1,000 per song, and you can make a LOT happen with that. In my opinion in this price range you should go nearly 100% Facebook ads and do it yourself.
How much does Spotify pay per stream?
Depending on the countries it could be $0.001 to $0.004 per stream. You can use this Spotify royalty calculator to figure out roughly how much you should make depending on your country selection and streaming numbers.
That calculator also works for Apple Music, Tidal, Deezer and more.
Should you pay to promote your music?
Some artists feel that paying to promote their music is cheating. They’ll often believe that ‘great music should sell itself’ or ‘people that pay are just buying streams’ – both of these things are false.
First of all, every company in the world markets. Whether its a small business trying to get going or a massive corporation like Apple or Walmart. Additionally, every successful artist in the world has some type of paid marketing going on.
Second, we’re not buying streams. You should 100% not use any bots or fake stuff in your marketing. Yes some big artists cheat and use bots, but those artists are damn fools and they should be ashamed for doing so.
What you should pay for is the ability to reach real people who might like your music. Whether this means using ads, hiring a social media strategist, running a playlist campaign or anything else on this list.