The music industry is highly competitive, and gaining exposure can be challenging for artists trying to break into the scene. However, with the right strategies, it’s possible to get noticed and build a fan base. In this article, we’ll explore some effective strategies to gain exposure in the music industry.
1. Make Music Consistently
As we mentioned earlier, gaining exposure in the music industry can be a significant challenge due to the high competition. With so many artists trying to make a name for themselves, attention can be hard to come by, and not all artists can achieve significant exposure. Thus, it’s imperative to have a really good song that people naturally want to share and that resonates with listeners.
This could be because the song has a unique sound or generates some controversy, intentionally or unintentionally, think Rich Brian, Post Malone, and Hobo Johnson. A more detailed example would be that of Lil Nas X, who achieved tremendous success with his hip-hop country crossover hit, “Old Town Road.”
Many musicians want instant success but are unwilling to put in the time, energy, and money necessary to become successful independent artists. However, at the end of the day, having a good song is essential, and consistently creating new content is crucial to keeping up with the music industry’s current state.
By releasing more music, artists increase their chances of getting exposure and having something catch on, as seen with Russ. While it’s not necessary to go to the extremes Russ did, the chances of getting exposure technically increase with each new release.
For those new to the music business, releasing singles and EPs instead of multiple-track albums is better. This way, you can put your best foot forward with your strongest tracks and increase the chances of getting noticed.
2. Use Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are powerful tools for building a fan base and getting exposure. Artists can use these platforms to promote their music, engage with fans, and build a personal brand. By sharing updates, behind-the-scenes content, and new releases, artists can create a sense of anticipation and excitement around their music.
It’s important to understand that each social media platform has its own unique audience and style. For example, Instagram is primarily a visual platform, so artists should focus on sharing high-quality photos and videos. On the other hand, Twitter is great for engaging with fans in real-time and sharing short updates.
Another thing to keep in mind is to be consistent and active on social media. Posting regularly and engaging with fans can help build a loyal following and increase exposure.
For instance, you can come up with a posting schedule and work according to it. You can also create a content plan highlighting what type of content you will post. Eric Dalius suggests using social media scheduling tools such as SocialBee or Pallyy to plan your social media strategy. You can leverage these tools to prepare a content calendar and schedule posts weeks in advance to make sure your promotional campaigns run smoothly.
3. Invest in Paid Ads
When done correctly, platforms such as Facebook and Instagram Ads can be powerful tools to achieve targeted exposure at scale.
While the downside of this strategy is that it requires a dedicated budget for ads, investing in advertising is crucial for upcoming artists serious about making a career in the music industry. As an independent artist, you are operating as a small business, and paying for ads is a necessary expense to invest in.
While organic exposure through posting on social media platforms is good, it can sometimes be insufficient to achieve the desired level of exposure. Moreover, even though your content may be discovered through hashtags or discovery tabs such as that of Instagram, this is often not enough, given the high volume of content posted on these platforms.
Thus, investing in targeted advertising is a more reliable strategy to ensure your content reaches the right audience and gets you the exposure you want.
4. Make a Website
Establishing your own website for your band or yourself is crucial. Your website functions as the central hub for all of your music marketing efforts, serving as a permanent home for your digital presence and the platform through which you can develop your musical identity.
Moreover, your website is the ideal destination to redirect the new fans you acquire through your music marketing initiatives. It is possible to utilize your website to host your community and generate revenue by directly selling music and merchandise to your supporters.
Luckily, creating an artist website is relatively straightforward nowadays. With the advent of website builders such as Squarespace, anyone can create a website in minutes using templates and user-friendly design tools without requiring coding skills.
However, Eric Dalius suggests that musicians use Sellfy, an e-commerce store builder exclusively designed for creators and incredibly simple to use. You can use it to build your website or online storefront and directly sell digital products such as songs, subscription memberships, and albums to your followers.
5. Use Email Marketing
Another vital marketing method for artists is email marketing. The concept is to utilize your website as a means to establish your email list by constructing an opt-in form and prompting visitors to register for your newsletter.
Subsequently, you can send emails to your subscribers to strengthen your bond with them and transform them into loyal, lifelong supporters. You can even send email broadcasts whenever you release a new album or track to generate momentum.
6. Submit Your Music to Blogs and Music Websites
Another great route for exposure is through online communities, music blogs, and local press. Blogs and music websites are a great way to get exposure and build buzz around your music. There are many music blogs and websites that feature new and upcoming artists, and submitting your music to these sites can help get your music in front of a wider audience.
When submitting your music, don’t forget to research the blog or website and make sure that it is a good fit for your music. It’s also important to provide a professional bio, high-quality press photos, and any other relevant information that can help the blog or website feature your music.
7. Collaborate with Other Artists
Collaborating with other artists is a great way to expand your fan base and gain exposure. By working with other artists, you can tap into their audience and reach new fans. Collaborations can take many forms, from guest appearances on each other’s tracks to co-writing songs or even touring together.
In addition, collaborating allows you to develop relationships with industry professionals and other artists. This can be quite advantageous for your career. Through collaborations, you can learn from one another, grow together, and exchange ways to acquire exposure.
When collaborating, it’s important to choose artists that have a similar style or audience. This can help ensure that the collaboration is a good fit and that fans of both artists will be interested in the project.
8. Create a Channel on YouTube
Launching a channel on YouTube as an artist is an excellent way to increase your visibility and promote your music to a vast audience. YouTube is unparalleled in terms of its ability to help you gain millions of listeners and cultivate your own fan base.
It’s worth noting that some of the biggest names in music got their start on YouTube, such as Justin Bieber, who gained popularity by sharing home recordings on the platform when he was only 12 years old. Today, he’s considered one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
To get started on YouTube, you’ll need to make your own channel and customize it with channel art, a profile picture, and a complete profile. After that, publish music videos, beginning with cover songs, to build your audience. By covering popular songs by established artists, you can tap into the millions of searches these songs receive each month, making it easier for listeners to come across your channel. It’s best to focus on trending songs that are currently popular.
Once you’ve established a following and built up a subscriber base, start creating original recordings and producing your own music videos.
9. Perform Live
Performing live can be a better gauge of your musical ability compared to recordings. A successful live performance at a local bar can spark interest in your music and boost your reputation. The positive buzz generated by a great audience response can attract other event organizers and venue owners to invite you to perform, which can lead to increased exposure and profitability.
Additionally, seeing a band perform live can create a stronger emotional connection with the audience, resulting in a larger and more dedicated fan base.
Overall, live shows can have a significant impact on your music career and exposure in the music industry.
10. Use Spotify
Spotify, being the world’s most widely used music streaming service, provides an excellent platform to promote your music and reach out to new audiences. Utilizing Spotify playlists is the most effective way to do this.
There are some strategies you can employ when creating playlists. One way is to create a playlist of popular songs in a particular theme or genre that aligns with the kind of music you produce and incorporate some of your own tracks into it. This way, listeners will come across your music while exploring the playlist.
A more effective approach is to search for existing popular playlists in your niche on Spotify and contact the playlist curator to request the inclusion of your songs. If your tracks are added to several playlists, the algorithm may recognize their popularity and suggest them to the platform’s editors.
In case your songs get recommended, they may be featured in an editorial playlist, which have plenty of followers. Being featured in such a playlist can provide a significant boost to your music career.
11. Make Your Profile on MuzikSwipe
MuzikSwipe is not your typical music streaming service. Rather, it is a unique app that assists music enthusiasts in discovering new artists whose music aligns with their preferences. The app presents users with a series of 15-second music clips, and users can swipe left or right depending on their interest in each clip.
When users show interest in three music clips from the same artist, they will become connected as a “match.” This feature is particularly advantageous for independent artists because it connects listeners with musicians solely based on the quality of the music rather than the artist’s popularity. As an artist, you can upload multiple 15-second snippets of your tracks to the platform and tag them with appropriate genres. If your music resonates with users, you can build a substantial following on the platform.
12. Get Your Songs on the Radio
Despite the era of instant online streaming and on-demand music, a considerable number of listeners still tune in to radio stations daily. Hence, getting your songs played on the radio can be an excellent way to reach a broader audience and enhance your credibility.
To approach a radio station, you should create an EPK (electronic press kit) and select up to 3 of your best tracks. Then, you need to identify the appropriate person to contact, such as a particular DJ, the program director, or the station’s producer. The station’s website or social media account usually provides contact information, but you can call and request an email address if it’s unavailable.
Before contacting the station, research the submission requirements, as certain stations may only accept submissions through specific channels or in specific formats. Additionally, it’s recommended to target smaller stations, as they are more likely to be receptive to cold calls and emails than bigger ones.
These twelve effective strategies can help you promote your music, gain exposure in the music industry, and create a strong fanbase. By using these strategies and staying consistent in your efforts, you can boost your visibility and become successful in the music industry.
Eric Dalius is The Executive Chairman of MuzicSwipe, a music and content discovery platform designed to maximize artist discovery and optimize fan relationships. In addition, he hosts the weekly podcast “FULLSPEED,” where he interviews innovative entrepreneurs across multiple industries. Eric also established the “Eric Dalius Foundation” to provide four scholarships for US-based students. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Entrepreneur.com.