In the music business, creating the music is just half the battle. You have to find a way to let people know about your music. At this stage, it’s time to treat music like a business. If you feel you have a product people would enjoy, to create a promotional plan to let customers know about your recordings, performances and broadcasts.
Know Your Audience
You can go broke trying to market to everybody, according to RenegadeProducer.com. You need to identify your “tribe,” the people who are most likely to appreciate the music you are promoting. Go to venues that feature your kind of music and pay attention to who is in the audience. Examine websites that offer similar music and determine who their advertisements are geared toward. Create a profile of your ideal fan. Include age, gender if applicable, and tastes in everything from movies to electronic products. Decide where they would most likely live, how much money they might earn and what their goals may be. Some of this comes from your instincts, and some of it comes from asking people detailed questions. Talk to people who like the kind of music you plan to promote.
Skip the Advertising
Advertising does very little to get people to listen to a new artist, according to the Music Biz Academy. Your promotion plan should designate the money you would have spent on advertising to hire a street team to promote live performances. A street team is a group of people who hand out flyers to the public and tell people about an upcoming performance. If performing is not part of the promotion plan, set aside a budget for producing a video. This will allow people to hear and see the performance online at free video sites. Your promotion plan should list all of the video sites you plan to upload the video to.
The Free Download Issue
Your plan must explain whether or not you will offer free downloads of your music. Many Internet users expect to listen to an artist for free, and will be unlikely to buy music they’ve never heard. Free downloads do not cost you money because you do not have to manufacture a physical product, but they do deprive you of income. Your promotion plan should include your policy about downloading a second song or an entire album. For example, you could offer a free download of the first song, and then sell downloads of additional songs. This could make up for the loss of income from the download.
Email Database and Social Media Contacts
Your promotion plan must explain how you will get fan emails. For example, you can have audience members enter their emails on a sign-up sheet at live shows, or you can ask for email addresses when listeners request a free download online. In addition, your plan should include the kinds of email notices you intend to distribute. You should know what kinds of messages you want to put out, and how often you will send them. Your plan should include ways to obtain social media contact information as well. You can send out messages through social media to supplement your email campaign.
You have to plan for electronic and physical distribution. Electronic distribution includes websites that regularly feature new music, as well as Internet radio stations that play emerging artists. Physical distribution of CDs involves finding retailers who will display and sell CDs. As you develop your plan, be realistic about the money you will need to manufacture CDs.
Your unique style, look and approach to music must guide the promotion plan. Include details in the plan about how you are going to remind people of your brand. For example, decide if you will have posters made with the same image as your CD cover. Determine if you will pay an artist to develop a logo for you. Plan for any gimmicks that will help people remember your brand, such as giveaways of free items with your name on them.
Think about whether your music can be easily associated with enthusiasts of NASCAR, rodeos, horror movies or video games, to name a few niche interests. You can promote to the target audience by passing out flyers at events or by posting articles about your music where these enthusiasts go to participate in their niche community. Your plan should explore all possibilities for promotions to such audiences.
About the Author
Kevin Johnston writes for Ameriprise Financial, the Rutgers University MBA Program and Evan Carmichael. He has written about business, marketing, finance, sales and investing for publications such as “The New York Daily News,” “Business Age” and “Nation’s Business.” He is an instructional designer with credits for companies such as ADP, Standard and Poor’s and Bank of America.