Everybody thinks online marketing is an easy job due to all the social media that are available to us. Just share your releases on Facebook and Instagram, they say. But there is actually so much more work behind a successful promotional campaign, especially if the budget is tight/non-existent. This article will discuss all the possible ways of free promotion, including the timeframe for one campaign. Before starting this process, it is essential to have a digital distributor (for self-releasing).
The first 2-4 weeks of a release promo campaign are what comes before actually releasing anything. The artist should upload their work through their distribution service as a pre-release and set a later release date. This time during the pre-release will be used to garner Spotify saves that are beneficial for the algorithm, as well as pitching your work. It will be important to find promoters, playlists and curators who are willing to include your release on their channels in order to gain you a bigger following post-release. The reason why we leave so much leeway before the release date is because it takes promoters time to come across your submission. Sometimes it can take even 6 weeks. My favourite submission networks for this are LabelRadal and SubmitHub. The first platform gives you access to both labels (if you have unreleased music to pitch) and promoters with YouTube channels, who will share your work if they like it. On SubmitHub, you will find different types of curators- Youtubers, instagram influencers, and Spotify Playlists. Both of these networks allow you to pitch to a certain extent for free, but better features come with a subscription. However, most of the time, I could get away with sticking to the free version, especially on SubmitHub.
The next step is to figure out your social media campaigns. Have a total of 3 announcements- the day of pre-release, one day before the official release, and then finally the day of release. This way you will build up hype and interest. Also, make sure you are always active on your social media and have quality content that grows your following, as well as keeping your engagement up. If your social media is a bit dead, you won’t generate many streams from promotional posts.
Now it’s time to think about Spotify specifically. I focus on this platform because it has shown the most results for my efforts. After the official release date, you will have to search out playlist curators and build real connections with them. This way, you will have someone to come back to time and time again for each next release. Make sure to offer some sort of value proposition to curators, not just blindly begging them to playlist your tracks. Start with smaller playlists and build your way up as your streams grow.
The next thing in mind is to always keep up with how streaming platform algorithms are changing. For example, Spotify recently announced that they will be pushing out artists who agree to forgo some of their streaming profits in return for promotion. This could actually make the popular artists even more popular and the smaller ones will stay small, because they cannot afford to cut their already small profit.
TikTok has become a really important gateway to potential fans. Adding your tracks to their library opens up the possibility of your track going viral. For example, tiktokers tend to come up with trends that are copied by many other users on the platform. Often, these trends include a specific track or song. It is important to make sure that music you are submitting to TikTok is either “memeable” or that is has a potential for popular appeal.
Lastly, if all of this seems too complicated or like a lot of work, I would suggest one more step that is paid. This step may help you get much further, as it takes away the promo burden off of you and let’s you focus on music production instead. Get yourself a virtual music manager. One great example is https://www.thevirtualmanager.co.uk/ which have a monthly fee of 24 GPB, or 240 for a yearly plan (2 free months + a free 1-on-1). Personally, I consider this the next step after self-promotion, which will open many more doors for your music.
For all of the steps to work, be realistic to yourself and objectively determine whether your music is of high quality or not. Quality comes before anything else.