Over the past two decades the internet has completely changed the world, and the music industry is no exception. When streaming and downloading services first emerged, the recording industry was in turmoil. Suddenly, sales were plummeting.
At first, music tried fighting back. Metallica and Dr Dre became embroiled in public court battles with Napster, and major labels tried unsuccessfully to start their own platforms.
The problem was that there was no putting the cat back in the bag, the public were starting to realise they didn’t need to buy CDs anymore. If they liked a song, they could just AskJeeves or Yahoo (remember this is the early noughties), and were brought to somewhere they could download it for free.
But where the internet taketh, so too does it giveth. After a few false starts and many, many changes to the ways that technology and music interact, music streaming has become the new norm.
While there are countless places for you to upload your music, reigning supreme among the various platforms are Spotify and YouTube. But you can’t just upload a song and expect the streams and money to roll in, so let’s look at how to promote your music.
Who Are You?
Before you upload anything, you need to decide what you want to be putting out. The most successful profiles are focussed. If you want to release music and makeup videos, set up individual YouTube channels. It’s the same with Spotify, if you’re working with different bands, create individual accounts.
Make sure your account information is up to date and that you’ve added everything you can. For YouTube, upload banner art, make a trailer and pick a channel icon and featured channels; all of these things will instantly catch your visitor’s eye. Check out ACM’s own YouTube channel here to get a feel for what you should be aiming for.
Similarly, Spotify offers loads of ways to make your Artist Profile instantly more appealing to listeners. Choose your best songs to be the first thing users see, have a picture that’s going to grab people’s attention and make sure your artist bio is completely up to date. There’s nothing that looks more lazy in 2019 than reading on a band’s profile that they’re ‘excited about their upcoming album, releasing late 2017’.
Who’s Listening To You?
Are you planning a tour, but you don’t know where you’d sell the most tickets? Analytics.
Do you have a new album coming out but you’re not sure where to spend your advertising budget? Analytics.
Before the internet, only massive companies could afford this kind of market data, now you’re able to see it all for free – so make the most of it!
Getting People On Your Pages For Free
So you’ve set up your channel or profile, it looks great. Next you upload your masterpiece, even better. Now you sit back and wait for the labels to come calling. The only problem is that no-one knows you exist yet. But don’t just sit there, twiddling your thumbs, get stuck into music marketing!
The cheapest way of getting your name known is organically, through social media. While it’s best to keep your different accounts separate, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them to promote each other. If you have multiple Spotify accounts, make yourself your Artist Pick. If you’re using YouTube, choose your other channels as your featured channels.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat – any social media platform that you have an account with should have a link to your YouTube and Spotify. But don’t stop there, ask friends and family to do the same. It’s even fine to ask your fans, maybe sweeten the deal by offering a shout out or some merchandise in return.
The internet grants artists invaluable access to their fans. Get involved in the comments sections across all social media, post regularly and give people a bit of insight into who you are. Fans like to feel as if they’re involved with the band. Occasionally give gentle reminders that fans can help you by giving you a follow or recommending you to their mates. For example, why not visit ACM’s Spotify page with loads of great music from alumni and current graduates?
But Don’t Forget The Money…
Of course, this all gives you the opportunity to monetise your music, just don’t expect to be raking it in right off the bat. Spotify pays out $0.006 to $0.0084 per stream and YouTube on average a whopping $0.002 per click. You also need to remember that this money will be split among all the rights holders. It’s fine for pop stars clocking up billions of streams, but for most people it’s not going to be a windfall.
What you can do to increase your revenue is put ads on your YouTube videos. Annoying as these may be, they are a legitimate way of making money. YouTube have various types of ads making it difficult to put a price on how much you earn per view. But, if one of your videos goes viral, you might have a serious chunk of change on your hands.
This works both ways – if you’re looking to increase your viewers or listeners, why not pay for ads? It’s a great way of targeting audiences that haven’t heard about you yet. YouTube and Spotify are goldmines for information on choosing the types of ads you want – just remember to use analytics so you don’t blow your budget on the wrong demographics.
Between them, YouTube and Spotify have over 2 billion monthly users. Every day there are countless opportunities for your music to become someone’s new favourite song. Don’t sell yourself short – make sure you’re pushing your music every way possible.