The Independent Musician - The Five Best Ways to Get Your Music Heard
Part 2 of the Independent Musician series
Welcome back to our Independent Musician series, touching on some of the essentials for an independent musician in today's music industry. Last time (Part 1), we addressed the methods by which a musician can get their music out into the world, both physical and digital. Today, the matter of actually getting that music into the hands of potential listeners. Releasing music is only the first of many steps of a music career. Without an audience to hear it, releasing music in itself is fruitless. However, using any combination of these five methods below can help you build the traction you need to establish a foundation of a musician's career.
1. Social media
The modern essential. Social media is perhaps your most powerful option for establishing an audience. With the right social media content, you can attract massive amounts of listeners. Some musician base their careers on social media alone! However, its ease comes with an obvious drawback, there is a massive amount of noise to fight through. Every other aspiring artist is trying to get their voice heard as well, so you need to provide a reason why potential audience members should be listening to yours.
Key rules to follow for social media include consistent content, content of a consistent quality, effective hashtags, proper timing, and more. Social media marketing could have a post of its own, so we will likely cover that sometime in the coming weeks.
2. Spotify playlists
Spotify playlists have a lot of potential. With 87 million subscribers as of November 2018, the enormous streaming platform has a vibrant playlist community, as well as highly popular playlists produced in-house by Spotify.
In regards to their playlists, you can submit to them directly if you upload music to their platform. This submission can be done through your Spotify for Artists page. As for independent playlists, the submission process varies. Some of them accept playlist submissions through directly messaging the curators, other choose their own music through the Discovery feature. The stronger of an independent audience you have, the more likely it is your music will be featured on one of these playlists.
The music blog has been an online staple for many years. For larger projects, such as an EP or an album, you might consider submitting your music to one of these blogs for review. Keep in mind however, they may not review it. It is best to find blogs that review your style of music, or review musicians of your level of popularity.
Once you find a blog you think best suits your music, the method of contacting them varies. Some accept cold open emails, meaning pitching your music directly to the submissions address of the blog. Other blogs only accept submissions through aggregation sites, such as SubmitHub (https://www.submithub.com/). In fact, we recommend submitting through an aggregator to begin with, unless you have absolute confidence in your persuasive skills.
4. Live performance
Live performance is the absolute best way to connect with a local audience. Live shows are the best way to get your name heard in the community, perhaps the only truly effective way. A live show will bring out local fans, as well as new listeners alike. From here, you can plug your digital music release, or sell physical copies of your work.
However, depending on your location, it may be easier said than done to book a live show. Many venues in larger cities will require you work through an agent. In smaller cities, it will likely be simply knowing the right people.
It's also essential to determine the right venue for your music, a coffee shop likely won't enjoy your hard rock trio, and likewise a bar may not enjoy your calm, singer-songwriter aesthetic. Once you get in the right place however, live performance will bring you a boost unlike anything else.
5. Direct marketing
The classic hustle. Certainly not a method for everyone, but directly marketing your music on the street can be effective to build an audience. Whether that takes the form of selling your music through a sales pitch, or busking on the sidewalk, the direct approach is sometimes what a musician needs to get their name heard in the early stages of their career.
Be sure to research your local laws regarding these acts however, as they may not be allowed in your location.
You may find that a combination of these effort works the best for you, or one in particular you wish to run with. Let us know on social media which one you think is best to get your music heard!
An important reminder! Bloom has a new short story coming up this Friday, February 15th! You'll be able to find it on this very blog when it drops!