17 Best Marketing Strategies For Musicians In 2023
Looking for new ways to promote your music? Here are the best marketing strategies for musicians right now..
The music industry is saturated. There are thousands of artists and bands out there hoping to be the next big thing. With so much competition, how can anyone hope to cut through the noise and stand out?
It all comes down to having a music marketing plan.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of the best music marketing strategies that musicians can use to build momentum and grow in the music business.
And don’t worry, we won’t just reiterate the same old tips you’ve read a thousand times already.
We’ll start with the basic stuff, but if you stick around, we’ll also be sharing a bunch of lesser-known music marketing strategies that the record labels don’t want you to know about.
Ready? Let’s dive into it!
1. Create your own artist website
First, you’re going to want to create your own band or artist website. Your website serves as the central hub for all your music marketing efforts. It’s the permanent home of your digital presence and the space through which you build your own musical identity.
Your website is also where you’ll be sending all the new fans you gain through your music marketing efforts. You can use it to host your community and monetize your audience by selling music and merch directly to fans.
Fortunately, it’s easy to create your own artist website these days. Thanks to website builders like Squarespace, anyone can knock up a website in minutes using templates and intuitive design tools—no coding required.
But for musicians, we’d recommend using Sellfy. It’s an ecommerce store builder made specifically for creators, and it’s super easy to use. You can use it to build your own site or online storefront, and use it to sell digital products like albums, songs, and subscription memberships directly to your fans.
Plus, Sellfy even has its own print-on-demand product catalog, so you can sell branded merch like band t-shirts to your audience without any external platforms.
You don’t need to purchase any stock—just upload your designs to Sellfy’s print-on-demand products and add them to your store. Sellfy will print and fulfill orders on-demand by shipping them straight to the customer once they’ve paid for the item(s).
This is especially helpful because you can start selling right away. You don’t need to invest any money up-front. No wasting money on stock you can’t sell, no hassles of storing stock or shipping it out.
2. Post engaging social media content
Social media is your bread and butter when it comes to marketing. It’s arguably the most effective digital marketing channel for musicians, and an indispensable tool when it comes to getting the word out about new releases and gigs.
Ideally, you should have social media accounts on all the major platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Reddit, etc. But you might want to focus the bulk of your marketing efforts on a single social media platform to begin with.
The idea is to consistently post social media content that generates engagement, grows your organic following, and drives new fans back to your website or music. You might also want to invest in paid social media ads to reach more potential music lovers.
First, you’ll want to put together a social media marketing strategy. Figure out which social networks your fans are most likely to be active on, and how you can reach them.
Create a posting schedule and stick to it, and put together a content plan outlining what kind of content you’re going to post, e.g. behind-the-scenes videos, music snippets, viral content, themed posts, gig announcements, etc.
We’d recommend using a social media scheduling tool like Pallyy or SocialBee to plan your social strategy. You can use these tools to create a ‘content calendar’ and schedule social media posts months in advance to ensure your campaigns run like a well-oiled machine.
3. Run social contests & giveaways
Social contests and giveaways are one of the most powerful and underrated music marketing strategies. The cool thing about contests is that they have a ton of viral potential— you can use them to reach thousands of new listeners for very little effort or investment.
The idea is simple: You offer some sort of prize (e.g. concert tickets, free merchandise, a signed album, etc.) as part of a social media giveaway contest.
Then, you set it up so that users have to take some sort of action that helps promote you as an artist in order to enter.
For example, you might require users to sign up for your mailing list to enter (that way, you can email them whenever you release a new track). Or you might require entrants to follow you on social media or Spotify. You could even offer bonus entries to entrants who share the contest with their friends, which helps the contest to go viral.
At the end of the contest, you pick a winner at random. They get a prize, and you get tons of new email subscribers, followers, fans, etc. It’s a win-win.
You can use one of these social media giveaway tools to create, launch, and manage your contests. We’d recommend SweepWidget. It’s very beginner-friendly and supports a ton of entry methods – especially for Spotify and SoundCloud.
With Spotify, you can set the following entry methods:
- Follow Artist
- Follow Playlist
- Listen To A Song
With SoundCloud, you can set these entry methods:
- Follow Artist
- Like Song
- Repost Song
- Submit Song
- Listen To Song
A long with these entry methods, you’ve got the more typical entry methods for popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and more.
4. Build an email list
Email marketing is another essential marketing channel for musicians. The idea is to use your website as a vehicle to build your email list, by creating an opt-in form and encouraging visitors to sign up for your newsletter.
Then, you can email the subscribers on your list to reinforce your relationship and turn them into lifelong fans. You can also send out email broadcasts whenever you drop a new track or album to build momentum.
You can use an email newsletter platform to create your email opt-in forms and landing pages, design and send out newsletters, and plan, automate, and manage your entire email marketing campaigns from start to finish.
We’d recommend Moosend or MailerLite. Both are affordable email marketing solutions that come with all the tools you need. MailerLite in particular has a free plan for up to 1,000 subscribers.
5. Use a music distribution service
If you want to reach more listeners, it makes sense to distribute your music as far and wide as possible. The more platforms your music is available on, the more opportunities listeners will have to discover it.
And the easiest way to make your music available across the web is to use a music distribution service. They’ll upload your music to popular online streaming services and marketplaces like Spotify, Amazon, Apple Music, etc. for you to increase your discoverability and get you more exposure.
All you have to do to get started is sign up for a music distribution platform and upload your music. There are tons of these platforms out there.
Based on my research, I’d say Distrokid is the best option right now. That’s the platform I’ll be using when my next release is ready.
6. Start a YouTube channel
Starting a YouTube channel is one of the best things you can do as a musician to get your name out there. YouTube is second to none in terms of discoverability—it can help you to reach millions of listeners and start to build your own audience.
In fact, some of the biggest artists today started out on YouTube, including Justin Bieber. The superstar started out by posting home recordings to YouTube when he was just 12. A decade later, he’s one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
First, create your own YouTube channel, upload some channel art and a nice profile picture, and fill out your profile.
Then, start publishing music videos. We’d recommend uploading cover songs first to build your following (popular songs by existing artists will already get millions of searches per month, which makes it easier for listeners to discover your channel). Ideally, you should focus on trending songs that are hot right now.
Once you’ve built your following and you have plenty of subscribers, start releasing original recordings and try creating a music video or two.
7. Launch an outreach campaign
Outreach campaigns involve reaching out to influential figures in your space in order to promote your music. That might involve sending an email to a well-known music journalist or contacting bloggers that write about your genre and asking them to review your music.
You might even want to reach out to YouTube music channels and ask them to share your music with their audience. Anyone that can get more eyes on your tracks is worth hitting up.
Outreach tools can help you to find leads and reach out to them. They typically come with a bunch of features to help with prospecting, gathering contact details, sending emails, and automating your outreach efforts.
We’d recommend signing up for BuzzStream to get started. It’s a popular tool used by PR pros. Use it to find people to reach out to, send emails, schedule follow up emails, and stay organized with a CRM.
Alternatively, you can go about it the old-fashioned way and manually search the web for influential blogs, journalists, YouTubers, and creators in your space, then compile a spreadsheet with their contact details. Once you’ve got your outreach list, send them an email or slide into their DMs with your pitch.
8. Blow up on TikTok
What do Olivia Rodrigo, CKay, and Bella Poarch all have in common? Answer: They all blew up on TikTok.
In just a few short years, TikTok has grown to become one of the most popular and influential social media platforms around. It has had a huge impact on pop culture and has given rise to dozens of new music superstars. So it goes without saying that if you want to blow up, TikTok is the place to do it.
This one’s simple: Just sign up for a TikTok account and start uploading short videos that feature your music.
Aim for maximum engagement—videos that get watched to the end (i.e. those that have a high completion rate and high watch time) and get more likes, comments, and shares get pushed to more viewers by the algorithm.
If you get lucky, you might release a video that goes viral and gets your music in front of millions of new listeners.
9. Run paid promotions
Too many amateur musicians focus exclusively on growing their audience organically. But the truth is that if you want to see the best results, you’re going to have to invest in your success and spend some money.
The big record labels spend thousands of dollars to get a new artist off the ground and build some momentum. That marketing budget is typically spread across various channels, like influencer marketing, YouTube ads, Spotify playlist placement, radio plugging, etc.
You can start by experimenting with YouTube Ads. Set up your campaign through Google Ads and start with a small budget while you test the waters to see what works and what doesn’t. If you see a good return on your investment, you can scale up and increase your ad budget.
10. Leverage Spotify playlists
Spotify is the most-used music streaming service in the world. So naturally, it’s a great place to market your music and reach new listeners. And the best way to do that is through Spotify playlists.
There are a few strategies you can try when it comes to playlisting. One option is to curate your own Spotify playlist full of popular songs in a genre or theme that fits the kind of music you produce. Then, sprinkle some of your own tracks in the playlist so that listeners will stumble across them.
An even better option is to search Spotify for existing playlists in your niche that are already popular, then reach out to the playlist curator who made them and ask them to add your songs. If you can get your song added to dozens of playlists, the algorithm may start to take notice of your tracks and recommend them to Spotify editors.
And when that happens, there’s a chance you’ll get featured in an editorial playlist. These playlists have millions of followers so if you manage to get this far, it can give you a huge push.
But don’t forget other music streaming platforms. While Spotify has the largest marketshare, you might find it easier to get your music into playlists on smaller platforms.
Check out our post on how to get music featured on Spotify playlists for a full rundown of how to leverage this strategy for your own music.
11. Invite creators to use your music
This is another underrated music marketing strategy that few musicians are taking advantage of.
The idea is to reach out to creators and influencers that make videos (think YouTubers, Twitch streamers, TikTok stars, etc.) and offer to let them use your music in their projects for free.
You’ll be surprised at how many people take you up on the offer: Video creators are constantly in need of good royalty-free music for their intros and projects that won’t be copyright-claimed. And good royalty-free music is hard to come by.
You won’t get paid, but you will get to tap into their audience and reach thousands of new listeners. And you can even ask the creator you partner with to include a link back to your artist’s website in the description or caption as part of the deal.
Start by compiling a list of creators who create content that you think your music would be a good fit for, then reach out to them. Ideally, you’ll want to target creators with a pretty large following (tens of thousands of followers), but you can probably skip the huge influencers with millions of followers as they’re less likely to get back to you.
12. Start live streaming
Live streaming is huge right now. In fact, live content accounts for almost a quarter of all global viewing time. You can tap into that huge potential audience and get thousands of new fans by live streaming your music.
There are lots of ways to get started with live streaming. For example, you can live stream a concert, or create a Twitch channel where you live stream the music production process and let viewers see ‘behind the curtain’.
This is exactly what Yejuniverse does. And she’s amassed over 80K followers in the process.
Another great example is Matt Heafy, the lead singer and guitarist of Trivium who regularly streams on his Twitch channel. Heafy streams his guitar practice sessions, video games, and all sorts of behind the scenes stuff. You can even catch Trivium’s band practices.
13. Get your music on the radio
We might be living in an age of instant streaming and music on-demand, but millions of listeners still tune in to their favorite radio stations every day. If you can get your music played on the radio, it can be a great way to reach the masses and will provide a huge boost to your credibility.
Before you approach a radio station, create an EPK (electronic press kit) and pick out 1-3 of your best tracks. Then, you’ll need to figure out who to contact.
You might want to reach out to a specific DJ, the station’s producer, or the program director. You’ll usually be able to find contact details on the station’s website or social media account but if not, you can try calling in and asking for an email address.
Before you reach out, do your research as some stations may only accept submissions in a certain format or via certain channels. I’d also recommend targeting smaller stations rather than large stations as they may be more open to unsolicited requests.
14. Do a Wild PR Stunt
This is probably the most powerful marketing strategy of all—if you can pull it off. Do a wild PR stunt with some sort of gimmick that gets the press to give you a disproportionate amount of coverage, and propels you into fame and fortune.
Take your cue from well-known artists that have already done this successfully. Lady GaGa wore a meat dress and The Beatles performed their famous set from a roof in Central London. What can you do to make some noise?
15. Build a community
Try building a community around your music. That means connecting with people that share a passion for the kind of music you like to produce and building relationships with them.
You can join music communities on forums like Discord, Subreddits, etc., and engage with others. For example, if you’re a drum and bass musician, join the r/dnb subreddit and start contributing to the discussion. Ask for feedback and comment on threads.
At some point, you might even want to create your own community using Discord. Alternatively, you could create a paid community site with a platform like Podia and sell subscriptions to your biggest super-fans.
You could even create a community around specific genres, instruments, or aspects of music production that you like to focus on.
16. Network & collaborate with artists
Don’t underestimate the power of networking. Collaborating with other artists and music producers in your space can help you to reach new audiences and grow your following.
You can offer features to other well-known artists with a bigger following than you for free in order to tap into their audience. If you want to get really serious about networking, move to a music city like LA or Nashville where you’ll have more opportunities to make connections.
Regardless, you can always start off small by connecting with other musicians via online communities. Subreddits are great for this.
17. Don’t forget about offline marketing channels
So far, we’ve mostly talked about digital marketing strategies—but there are plenty of offline music marketing strategies worth exploring too. For example, you could try putting up posters in local record stores, or setting up a merch table at your live gigs.
You can use a printing service such as Vistaprint to supply all your posters, cards and flyers to advertise yourself.
Another way to promote your music offline is to try busking. Pick a busy location with plenty of footfall and play your music to passers-by. If people stop and listen, hand them a flyer or business card with your music website and details about your upcoming releases.
That concludes our roundup of the best marketing strategies for musicians right now.
But before we finish, there’s one more bonus tip we want to mention.
The most important thing you can do as a musician is consistently produce great music that audiences want to listen to.
The music marketing strategies above can help you to make some noise and get noticed. But ultimately, the quality of your music is what’s going to make the biggest difference to your career.
Oh, and while you’re here, don’t forget to check out our beginner’s guide on how to sell music online.