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Music Promotion Tips & Community Building with Ashely K Stoyanov from #WomenCrushMusic

In this episode Ashley K. Stoyanov from #WomenCrushMusic gives music promotion tips and advice for how artists can build a community around their music. She’s worked at PR agencies, record labels, helps businesses with community building, and founded #WomenCrushMusic. Her approach to music promotion is entirely organic, without advertisements, focusing on making connections, engaging fans organically on social media, and PR.

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Important Points:

Ashley, shares how her genuine passion and willingness to help encouraged more volunteers to join her cause, to create opportunities for female songwriters and in the male-dominated music industry 

During the pandemic, Ashley and her team used IG, live performances, and webinars to teach songwriters how to make and manage money during the lockdown. She also tackled the challenge of filling the gap in the lack of conversion, especially for venues that supported performances before the pandemic.

Ashley reminds listeners to stay engaged with their followers and community by putting themselves on their radar. She also emphasizes the importance of avoiding cookie-cutter corporate pitches and letting creativity flow naturally.

Andrew and Ashley discuss how understanding who your listeners are can help create a more targeted strategy for your music. 

Podcast Outline:

[01:04]: Ashley shares the start of her journey in Portland; connecting people in the music industry- Ashley

[01:32]: What started out as Ashley voluntarily curating women’s songwriter showcases eventually evolved into a team of 30 volunteers- Ashley 

[04:12]: IG Live enabled Wxman Crush to mount performances and organize webinars to help musicians make and manage money during the pandemic and lockdown.- Ashley 

[04:58]: Ashley and her team mounted tours through online ticket sales and sponsorship to bridge the gap for local venues that used to provide a platform for performances during the lockdown- Ashley

[05:39]: Ashley shares how the organization thrives from donations and sponsors- Ashley 

[10:05]: Ashley shares her experience working with big record labels- Ashley

[11:04]: Her background in building and growing communities for online brands like Yelp and other startups helped her build skills for setting up Wxman Crush- Ashley

[15:27]: Andrew and Ashley emphasized pitching valuable and relevant music and content- Andrew and Ashley 

[17:27]: Learning from one of her artists hampered by Covid-19, Ashley shares how important it is to just do and show people what you have. Let them hear your work, no matter what.- Ashley

[21:25]: Pro-tip from Ashley: Keep your community, and fans engaged, even with small updates- Ashley 

[22:40]: Ashley encourages musicians and songwriters to just keep on churning out content for their followers- Ashley

[38:32]: Partnerships with like-minded organizations and virtual events helped open doors for Wxman Crush- Ashley 

[40:19]: According to Ashley, if you’re a musician just starting up with social media, go to Instagram first to test the waters- Ashley

[41:47]: Andrew and Ashley talk about the details of finding out what kind of people listen to your music will help you plan what platform you should use and reach them- Andrew & Ashley

[44:22]: Andrew emphasized how e-mails help generate better engagement, especially if you release lead magnets or exclusive content- Andrew

[46:19]: Ashley talked about how she uses LinkedIn to build business relationships, especially when reaching out to music executives- Ashley

[50:17]: Wxman Crush’s blog has an editorial coordinator that sifts through the pitches to find the most creative artist- Ashley

[54:53]: Andrew and Ashley discuss why the music industry is dominated by men and how even major record labels have only a few women talents- Andrew & Ashley

[59:50]: Ashley shares the story of releasing her first music and the awkward experience after she was approached by a producer- Ashley

Wise Words:  

[03:14]: It was purely we wanted to create these opportunities. So that’s when I decided I wanted to go the nonprofit route because I never wanted artists to have to pay for anything.-Ashley

[24:21]: You don’t have to make it political, but even within the music industry, there’s so much happening. Like, what will the industry even look like in the future? Speak out about that. What are you doing to kind of deal with this new life? You know, speak out about that. Because I think that, you know, if you’re feeling it, chances are other people are feeling it too. You know, you’re not alone, and you’re definitely not alone.-Ashley

[34:25]: Heavily utilizing social media and cranking out content around a release, even if I’m not always the best example of it. I think every artist should have, for example, daily Instagram content. If they can like, try to put a bunch of TikTok content out. Try to put out YouTube videos behind the scenes. Get organic stuff…before you even get into ads.-Andrew

[38:32]: People ask me about ads. I’m like, “I don’t know.” But I do know that you could attract more people if you start doing partnerships with like-minded organizations, or you start hosting virtual events to get more people in the door, or whatever it is.-Ashley

[1:02]: Of 75 Female songwriters and producers interviewed, 40% recall being dismissed or discounted by colleagues. Of Grammy nominees between 2013 and 2019, only 10.4% were women. Now, I also have statistics from 2019 of the different percentages of female acts signed to major labels. Atlantic Records-31%, Def Jam-21%, Republic- 28%, Interscope-28% UMG-30%, ETA 9%.-Ashley

[1:05]: In general, with everything in life, my perspective is like everything in life should be an equal playing field for everyone involved. –Andrew

Resources Mentioned:

  • Ashely’s Website – link
  • #WomenCrushMusic – link

Learn More:

If you enjoyed this interview you might also like this one I did with Llynks on how she built a music career entirely from scratch.