Welcome to the biggest open-ended question ever!
For the sake of putting some stakes in the ground, lets make a broad definition of what we mean here:
Promoting music is the process of promoting and selling products and services.
It’s an obvious point, but lets make it just in case: if no one knows about you and your music, it’s going to be very hard to build a fan base and get going.
Marketing these days is a vast ever-evolving topic.
Here are some potential channels for marketing:
- Social networking
- Being involved in a cause
- Viral marketing
- Joint ventures
- Handing out fliers
- Pay per click
- Give aways
- Hosting an event
- Putting up bandit signs
- Making videos and putting them online.
- Internet Radio Stations
- iPhone Apps
- Video Marketing
- Search engine optimization
- Cost per action
- Affiliate marketing
- Is there an end to this?….
So where the hell do you start?
When you are starting to think about how to promote your music, what’s the best way ?
First off, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that having a “press kit” is initially a complete waste of time.
In my experience, the first and best way to promote your music is to promote it to 2 groups of people:
- the group of people who are the “front line” music fans in your niche - the people who live, sleep and breathe your kind of music.
- The group of people who have businesses that revolve around your niche.
And the best way to promote yourself to these people is to become part of their conversation and engage with them.
OK, so you want to know how to promote music, but why would you want to market yourself to these people?
In the beginning you need to preach to the converted, and you need to preach to those who have a vested interest in helping you.
The Front Line:
Lets take a quick look at people you know who really like music - and I’m talking about the people who live, breathe and die a certain type of music.
They are in the front row of the concert, they dress like the artists they like, they are in line to get their shirt signed, they are in forums discussing….you get the picture right?
In my own experience, the best way to get started is to get this first line of people interested.
If you try to get people interested who are occasional music consumers or even those who hardly ever consume music (my mum for example), its going to be really hard to get them to become fans and spread the word.
Instead, focus on those in the front line, once these people are into your music, you can then move up the ladder to more generic music consumers.
At the same time as marketing yourself to the front line, the other group of people you want to promote music to are the Godfathers.
The Godfathers are those who control various media properties and media channels who need content/talent in order to make money – i.e., they have a vested interest in nurturing and investing in talent. With these people on your side, they will promote your music to their “channels” and this serves three main purposes:
- You get exposure
- You get credibility by being featured on “professional” looking media channels.
- You get the music industry (those who have businesses that make money via music and artists) talking about you - and they may decide to get in touch with you as they see others in their business working with you….
So don’t waste time trying to promote music to people who don’t care. Start small and start focused and move step-by-step to success.