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Music marketing tools and applications have opened up the field for what’s possible for musicians trying to make a living. However, this has also resulted in a crowded field where necessary strategies change very quickly. Gone are the days when a band like the Arctic Monkeys could set up a MySpace page and push their music.

Luckily, new avenues open up all the time. This article will attempt to break down some of the basics one needs to know about the business of music marketing and promotion. The advice here will attempt to be evergreen, however difficult that may be considering the shifting nature of the industry.

The focus of this article is primarily on SEO, social media, and streaming. Additionally, while the information is primarily for artists, small labels might also find it handy.

SEO for Music Marketing

Search engine optimization can be crucial for any digital marketing operation. Keyword research can be particularly pertinent, so here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If you have active channels, keep track of what keywords your audience is using to find you.
  • Using meta descriptions with appropriate genres and descriptive text can go a long way.
  • Create backlinks to your site.
    • If you performed at a venue, ask them to share your website and socials.
    • If a blog or news site reported on an event you took part in, link it and ask them to add a link to your website.
    • Enter online music competitions. This can be a great way to publish your work to an audience and get the hosts to link your platforms.
  • YouTube is second to Google and can provide a lot of SEO opportunities. Use YouTube Search terms to optimize your channel and create playlists.
  • Find songs that are searched often (perhaps on Google Trends) and cover them. These searches might net you some views and build up your online presence.
  • Use all-in-one social media kits like Buffer to post on as many channels as you can.
  • Use to make use of the best technical SEO practices for venue page creation

Music Event Marketing Tips

Music Marketing

Event promotion is its own can of worms, but luckily we already have articles about that. Specifically, when dealing with music, we suggest:

  • Engage in album launch invitations and countdowns that link to your site.
  • Create event summaries and pages for each different event.
  • Select hashtags for every different event. This also encourages people to live-tweet or stream it.
  • Remarket old event content during eras with fewer gigs (consistent posting is important).

Mobile Phones are the way to go

There’s another important aspect of music marketing that artists sometimes forget: Mobile phones. According to recent research, most people are listening to their music on their phones with this trend climbing annually. With that in mind, one should note the importance of optimizing for mobile.

This automatically means that more mobile-friendly platforms like TikTok and Instagram are favourable. TikTok influencer marketing can come in handy here, as musicians like Lil Nas X have gotten famous off the platform. As a collaborative app, TikTok music and artist outreach allow you to jam with other people or have them dance to your songs or turn them into memes instantly.

Instagram also has features that link up with programs like Spotify to allow for cross-channel promotion. It’s also best to check your website or blog for mobile performance. Naturally, since most people use Instagram and TikTok via phones, they will want to find your other socials and websites on their phones.

Market research for the music industry indicates that the best day to release music is a Friday. This is a general rule, but there is a logic to it. Weekends give more time for people to view a post before any of your announcements are lost to the airwaves.

As the research shows, streaming covers 83% of music consumption (excluding live events, merch, and other ancillary earnings). Among that slice of the pie, Spotify takes the biggest share (these stats include both subscribers and free users).

Music Marketing Streaming

In terms of user-share, the story can be a little bit different. YouTube has an overwhelming share but this includes a massive user base whose interests range outside of just music.

Music Marketing Streaming

Music platforms like SoundCloud can get 76 million regular users and are a great way to reach an audience, but the jury is out on monetization. A lot of the user base is there to discover new artists for free so the willingness to pay can vary. As mentioned earlier, TikTok is growing every year and has a track record of bringing in listeners to new artists.

Similarly, in terms of social media, Facebook is still recommended by people in the field. Their advertising options and group creation are the simplest and it still has the largest user base. Additionally, it’s very easy to set up events and activities on it.

Music Streaming Platforms

The best streaming platform to make money can really vary based on a number of factors. In short: If possible try as many as you can simultaneously and keep the ones that are working. However, it can be useful to know their strengths and weaknesses and what to expect.

There are several reasons why calculating royalties gets tricky:

  • Rates are rarely flat rate sums.
  • Figures can change over time as strategies adjust.
  • Different platforms have different tiers of payment.
  • Stream values can vary geographically.

Music Streaming Payment Levels

If you’re looking for the best place to get paid, that conversation can get tricky very quickly. On the surface, Amazon Music has the highest numeric value paid, but that number is deceptive. Most people use Amazon Prime, not Amazon Music Unlimited. This means that the actual rate is far lower than advertised as it is a different payment tier.

Out of the subscription streaming platforms, Napster provides the most royalties followed by Tidal. That said, Spotify’s target market is the most extensive with a massive user base but provides a far smaller share from each stream. Conversely, while having a semi-established market, direct buying platforms like Bandcamp can be more profitable than streaming.

Ideally, you should have your music on as many as possible to optimize your earnings and cover the largest cross-section of potential listeners.

Music Marketing Streaming Revenue

The Risk of Marketing Music on Streaming Services

Spotify marketing strategies generally also apply to other streaming platforms. However, it’s worth noting that apps like Tidal are more friendly towards new artists due to how the algorithm and app layout operate. Still, these streaming apps always provide an uphill battle against established musicians.

Marketing on streaming services can be tricky, but there are some things to keep in mind. It might be best to say up-front that the music streaming services market, as it exists now, will not be sustainable for musicians. As music streaming grows, royalties slow to a trickle. Thus, smaller artists may be better off finding paid gigs and other deals to supplement the meagre streaming revenue.

Other Strategies for Monetizing & Marketing Music Online

There are other online avenues for making a living. You could set up a Fiverr account and wait for small gigs with paying clients. Platforms like these can be a particularly decent revenue stream for music producers, where other musicians might need tracks mixed or mastered. It can be a decent way to get some side revenue and is useful when considering how to market yourself as a music producer.

Setting up YouTube channels has worked for artists in the past, although this is a crowded market. Many musicians do tutorials on YouTube or review equipment (and even procure deals with companies doing it). There’s no neat bible for how to start a music promotion channel.

There’s a lot more to music industry management and promotion than one article can cover but hopefully, this is a good primer to start off. If you’d like to check out our marketing services, we provide consulting and online promotion for a range of clients.