The days of relying on record labels to notice and promote you are over. These days artists need to make some noise themselves to get seen by a label. If you can show you have loyal fanbase labels are more likely to take an interest (In fact, if you have a big enough audience, you may decide to go the fully independent route). While this may seem like a lot of work, the Internet has removed a lot of the boundaries — people can know your work in any country.
So, how do you go about getting yourself noticed online?
The first thing you need to do is the plan. Get some help from a professional if you have to, but you need to create a marketing plan to follow. While you think that over, here are a few pointers to get you going…
- Don’t expect to get paid right away. Sorry to burst your dreams of an immediate payday, but you will probably need to give away your music for free to start with to get your name out there. Build that rep, and then you can start thinking about getting people to pay for your music – but the fact is, people are unlikely to buy music by an artist they have never heard of.
- Get yourself an online profile. You need to be findable so people can hear about or buy your music. This used to mean a website, but these days you can get things rolling with social media – make sure it is professional!
- Get a website. Yeah, really. We know that we said you could get things moving on social media – but you might want to buy a domain name for yourself or your band, get it hosted and optimize the site, so it gets seen on search engines (well, Google). We haven’t got time to tell you all about search engine optimization, but you can find out about that online… (obviously!).
- Decide on a genre. Yeah, you may not want to be tied down to a particular style, but it makes it much easier to promote yourself to the right places and people if you work out where your music should be placed.
- Find a music distribution site. You can use these to help promote and sell your music. It can also be an excellent way to attract listeners as there are people who are on the lookout for new acts.
- Improve your website content. You will want to draw people in, so use plenty of photos and videos (if you can) and make sure to tell your story. People connect with other people, so use that to your advantage. Make sure to include your music so people can hear it (Soundcloud or YouTube?).
- Get your music reviewed. This will not only help get your name out there on other sites but will allow you to include positive reviews on your website, so it’s not just you telling the world how great you are! You may get a bad review here and there, but don’t let it get you down, take it as valuable feedback that you can improve from. You will do better at getting heard if you include a press kit with your music – a bio and a few pictures to help introduce yourself (don’t forget to include contact details!).
Now you are all set up; you can start to think about how to turn your music into money. Maybe you will sell your music online, or you may decide to give it away for free (for the time being) and make your money from ads on your site. Of course, the most obvious another way to make some money (and get noticed) is to start playing live shows – you can then tell fans to check out your website (and sell some merch at the shows!).