Just how important is music marketing?

Photo credit: Camilo Jiménez

Most indie musicians don’t have a problem with overdrive, they’re not seen enough. But it’s still possible to annoy your current audience if you’re not careful about how you promote yourself. You need to have an online presence, but you also don’t want to be too present all the time. You need a healthy balance. So here’s how to do the right amount of music marketing…

Is there too much marketing?

Comedian, musician and director Bo Burnham doesn’t post much on Instagram. In fact, he posts once every several months. It is not very internet user in general. When he launched his Netflix special INSIDE, which won him three Emmy Awards and a Grammy Award, he posted on his Instagram on April 26, 2021. Before that, his last post was in June 2020. Almost a year of silence on his profile.

Admittedly, Burnham already had a large following, so he didn’t need to focus on growing. But there’s something to be said for not posting unless you have something to say. Publishing for the sake of publishing may not be the best music promotion strategy. Also, if people get used to seeing your content every day, each post becomes less special. As I’ll talk about below, quality content always trumps quantity – if it’s just for the sake of quantity.

How to do the right amount of music marketing

Music marketing these days is less about using traditional marketing methods, like ads, and more about focusing on your overall online presence. So everything you post, you could say, is part of your music marketing strategy. And the “right” amount of music marketing will be different for each artist, but below are some tips for finding a balance that works for you.

Quality always trumps quantity

The quality of your social media content and music promotion attempts is the top priority here. I’m not saying you shouldn’t post something online every day or several times a week. Some platforms require it for you to grow your audience, like TikTok and YouTube. But the key is to focus on the value your content brings to your subscribers.

If you create music on a regular basis (which you need to do if you want to make it your career), you’ll have no problem finding interesting and valuable content to post. Take a quick video of yourself in the studio or on stage. Post a selfie with an update on what you created that day. Share a voice memo of a song you write.

Don’t post something just for the sake of posting it, just because you feel you need to stay in front of your audience at all times.

Talk less about your music

You know those people who only talk about their “thing” all the time? They’re super annoying and not fun to talk to, so don’t be that person online. Don’t just talk about your music. And I get it, it’s your social media profile and people follow you to hear from you. But, for example, your friends aren’t friends with you because you make music – that’s just one aspect of you that they like. So share your music, but also share the work of other musicians, champion the causes you care about, post funny memes or anything that can set your pants on fire. Don’t make your social media profiles 100% about your music.

Don’t post too much of a thing

Along the same lines, your social media shouldn’t be about just one thing. You are an interesting, multifaceted human being. Your existence isn’t one-dimensional, and neither should your online presence. So post more than just your music or your music in general. Share everything that is important to you. Not only is it a more authentic way to live online, but it will also allow your audience to get to know you better. And connecting with your fans is always a good thing for your music career.

Have a mailing list, but only use it when needed

If you don’t have a mailing list at this point, you’re late. Yes, people probably get more emails than they can handle, but most of those emails are from companies trying to sell them something. When a fan subscribes to your mailing list, it means they care enough about you and your music to hear from you.

The trick is to only email your fans when you have something that interests them. Don’t just email them with something like “Not much has happened with my music lately, but check out my song from 6 months ago if you haven’t not already done!” If you have nothing to say, better not clutter your fans’ inboxes with an email that says nothing.

Be authentic no matter what

Whatever you do, be your authentic self. No need to worry about which “voice” to use to develop your “brand”. The simplest and most real approach is to make your brand your identity, not an image that you create and curate. Granted, we all organize our lives online to some degree, but just make sure you don’t post anything you’ll regret the next day.

Authenticity is the best kind of music marketing and always will be, whether online or on stage. In the long run, this will outperform ads, news articles, and playlists.

If you’re wondering if you’re doing too much music marketing, ask yourself, “If I were to market directly to my mom/friend/loved one, how often and by what means should I share my music ?”

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