Things to know before Selling Music Online

As artists, we understand that it is our responsibility to breed innovation and find our own sound. So we try out new things, seek new inspirations, we try to blend in a new instrument, we start to get out of our comfort zones and do a lot more. Like new trends, music is also evolving continuously. New genres are branching out from existing ones, the set of rules that once governed individual genres are now being broken, people are trying out unconventional things to stand out from the rest. So the creative change in the music industry is constant as it will always evolve, but something has changed over the years. 

As we bonded to the Internet, this basically changed everything. Peoples’ lifestyles, entire business industries including the music industry. The music industry changed in a way that, these days a band or an artist don’t have to play in a bar for weeks and luckily out of the blaring bar talk comes out the producer, who wants to sign a deal with them. The internet has been a total game-changer, as, in the old times, an artist had to be very lucky in order to deliver their songs to the crowd.

It was solely in the hands of a producer to choose what was going out to the audience. This is one of the big reasons why a lot of talented artists couldn’t reach their sounds to audiences and a matter of fact that, you probably know a lot more artists then your dad ever did while he was the same age as you. But, luckily today, us artists have the freedom to influence our audience with our sound. 

So, I am an independent artist, more precisely a singer-songwriter and I feel that  we are way luckier than the artists from previous generations. The chances of us being heard by other music enthusiasts are way more than ever. Thanks to a thing called the “internet”. This is true, but we also have to work thrice as hard today. This is like you preparing for a test from the previous year’s question paper, but you know that the paper is going to be way tougher than the last year’s question paper. 

With some of the experience that I have gained over the years as a music artist, I want to share a few things that I thought might be of some value to you.

I started out on my musical journey in my college days when I used to think, Man! It’s so simple. You just have to write good songs and you will be touring and living your dreams. So, eventually, I started out writing songs and besides that, I used to jam a lot with my friends which resulted in our neighbours suffering from insomnia. So eventually, we had to put an end to the idea of the Jam at 2 A.M thing.

As days turned into weeks, weeks into months and years, I somehow managed to make songs based on what was going in the back of my mind, and today I have about 4 songs under my sleeve. At that point, I had this thought – Hmmm. I do have some songs, but what next?

Yes,  Recording and putting the music out onto various online platforms sure seem like the next steps. But, is that it?

It hasn’t been very long that this realisation came to me that composition was just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s not refer composing songs to just the tip but also include the portion of the iceberg under the water. But, you get the point right?

There are a lot of other aspects to it, like reaching out to your target audience, promotions, marketing, opening for a reputed band with your original, approaching influencers, making count-down videos for your new singles launch etc. 

So here are a few things I have learned about Music Marketing over the years:

SCHEDULE YOUR ALBUM/SINGLE/EP LAUNCH

Scheduling your launch is the most underrated but the most important of all the things when the production part is done. So a lot of things can be implemented in your launch schedule such as, posting countdown photos across social media, description of your upcoming work, creating visuals such as banners and flyers, Facebook/Instagram ads, approaching influencers, releasing official videos, live performance videos, uploading it on platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify and YouTube. Scheduling these things makes you more organised and lets you keep track of things that help you keep your creative fire burning.

FIND THE RIGHT TRIBE

I mostly do songs that provoke ambient vibes, heartbreak songs and sometimes songs that could give you existential chills. So, what will be the response if I target the music that I play to a community of people who are majorly into hardcore death metal?Music enthusiasts might praise you with good comments, they might even give a shout out to your new song, but, they might not cling to it, compared to a person who is more into soulful and ambient kind of genres. So delivering your craft to the right audience is important, as they will genuinely appreciate your sound and can relate to your songs even better.

DIRECTIVE SOCIAL MEDIA POSTS

YeS, we all manage to do it very well. By that, I mean running a marathon of stories that people post and give those cringY reactions. Yes, we do it very well. I am excellent at it, for crying out loud. The Internet is a game-changer for sure, provided we do what is needed. Social media is a great tool to engage with your tribe/audience and if done correctly, it can be very useful to help us reach our songs efficiently to our tribe. So, instead of posting random things on our page, we can put some meaningful posts that are more in sync with our tribe. 

Recently, on Instagram, I did a thing called #coveringsongsforpeople, where I took song requests from the audience. It went on quite well! The comment section was flooded with a lot of appreciation, likes and some criticism of my guitar that I had repaired with a cello tape. I found out that not only was it a great way to engage people but I also got to take a sneak peek at my tribe’s playlist. Also, singing for other people is fun! 

COLLABS WITH OTHER ARTISTS

Collaboration is another important aspect of music marketing and it also helps broaden your horizons as a composer. Collaborations change our approach to composing songs, especially if we are jamming with someone with a lot of technicalities. So if you are a Pop Enthusiast or a Metalhead jamming with a Jazz player, it adds a certain depth to your approach of making music and if you’re lucky, you get introduced to some brain wrecking chord progressions that might make you dizzy for a while.   

Collaboration with other artists helps us expand our community. Consider this as a student exchange programme, where someone already has a lot of friends in their campus i.e. she is fairly popular(Happy Women’s Day, by the way). Now, moving to another college for some time makes her friend circle even larger and helps her gain new experiences.

Personally speaking, it gives me a hard time, collaborating with artists, due to many reasons like the creative clash and mostly communicating my ideas effectively to the other artist, but I am working on it.  

OPENING THE ACT FOR OTHER ARTISTS

Another way of reaching out to your audience is opening up for a band or an artist who is doing well. So, the idea behind it is that your act is like a trailer of a movie that comes before the main movie starts and if they like you (probably they will), people will be more interested in visiting your own gigs. 

MAKING COUNTDOWN VIDEOS FOR YOUR ALBUM LAUNCH

As die-hard fans of the series Rick and Morty, we always had those goosebumps-inducing conversations like that episode about a  microverse inside a microverse and so on and on which Rick created and put inside his battery to keep it running. So finally when the new season approached, we got excited to see the countdown video of another season of “Rick and Morty”. So, you see where I was heading towards!. At some point in our boring schedule, the countdown video reminded us about the excitement that a new season was approaching which finally drove us to witness it while it was premiered. 

It is the same story as us marketing our new song or album. The countdown video is a reminder to our audience about the song. We can come up with a lot of creative ways to do it. I have seen a lot of artists posting countdown photos in their social media handles with a number of days left for launch written in a placard. Nowadays, almost all social media platforms have a countdown feature that can easily serve this cause.

PUTTING OUT LYRIC VIDEOS

Lyrical Videos add a new depth and releasing a few days after you launch your music can help us continue the fire burning that we started with our launch. Lyric videos are budget friendly which comes in handy for people who are just starting out sharing their songs to the world. Also, they’re not too difficult to make!   

APPROACHING INFLUENCERS

Modern day influencers are social media users with popularity and expertise in a particular niche, who usually post content of their area of knowledge and a lot of people like and follow their posts. So it is very important to notice that we have to approach the right influencers and not just any person with a huge fan following. Basically, the influencer has to have something common to the kind of music you play. 

DOING A POP-UP GIG

Gigs are the best and the most effective ways to promote your newly launched music through word of mouth. Although Social Media plays an important role for the song promotion but during gigs, you get to build more meaningful relationships with the audience. Gigs are places where you can be liked that can help you with building a fan following and also, the whole point of you making music is for touring and doing gigs, isn’t it? As long as you are getting paid. If you have any trouble on how to talk about money as a creative, you can refer to this article.

In today’s era, as artists, it is required for us to be versatile enough to make things happen. So I hope this article helped you with the basic prerequisites to understand music marketing.

If you have queries about music marketing or anything related to music, please direct the query in the comment section.

ON A SIDE NOTE 

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