So, you have spent hundreds of hours working on your new single, making it sound the best it can be and putting nothing less than blood, sweat and (many) tears into getting it finished. You’re all set for the big release and excited about the reaction it’s going to get. But then you start to question whether this amazing song of yours might fall under the radar and not get the credit it deserves. You are not alone.
Too many artists finish their records and then release them without a further thought, missing all of the opportunities that they could have seized to make their song stand out from the crowd and increase their fanbase. Remember, you have to have a decent sized fanbase before record labels will sit up and take notice and the best way to build a fanbase is to release as many songs as you can, as regularly as you can, and to spend some time promoting them to show the world what you are made of. So let’s get started…
Before we look at how to promote your new record, you should do some pre-release prep to make sure your release runs smoothly and to maximum effect. So before you release anything, sit down and do the following:
– Write a press release: Make it short, sharp and informative with photos and social media links. This will tell the media all about your release in an attractive one page document
– Upload your single as a private download link on Soundcloud (or another platform) so that the media can gain quick and easy access to your song if they want to feature it (if you send mp3s attached to emails it’s likely to be deleted right away).
– Pick a release date that is 2-6 weeks in advance (this approach is used by leading music promotion companies and record labels). There is little value in putting out your record the week after you finished it with no promotion whatsoever, it will just fly by the wayside with the zillions of other songs floating around in the unknown music realm. You need a couple of weeks to promote the record before its released so that it gains maximum impact on its release date.
– Request a ‘pre-order’ release from your digital distributor: when you are promoting your song before it’s released, you want to ensure you grab that listener’s attention straight away and get them to pre-order your release before they move onto the next song and forget about yours. In the modern world we have short attention spans and don’t have the patience to listen in detail to songs. Music fans now live in the moment so make sure you secure that sale by selecting the ‘pre-order’ release option via your digital distributor (Tunecore, Ditto, CD Baby, AWAL and Distrokid are my recommended distributors).
WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR NEW RECORD
Now that you are all prepped for your release, let’s take a look at the top 10 ways to promote your release:
1. Do a mini-tour: This is an artist’s bread and butter and one of the best ways to promote your new record is to perform it live at gigs, but many artists don’t perform live these days. Set up a few local gigs over your 2-6 week pre-release campaign and be sure to take some copies of your single or some flyers with the download link on it so that people can pre-order it.
2. Hire a promotions company: This is the most obvious thing to do, but also the most costly. Prices can range from £500 – £3000 for a 6 week promotions campaign focussing on media and radio. If you have the budget for it then shop around and find a promotions company with a proven track record and a clear plan of how they will promote your record. Or check out some lower-end promotional services via the likes of http://www.fiverr.com which includes targeted YouTube views or reviews and interviews about your new record. All for a very reasonable price of £10 per service.
3. Plug your music on social media: Social media is very powerful and if you are serious about your music then you should plug your new record across all social media platforms. Post regularly with the relevant download links. If you want to blow a small budget then turn one of your posts into a ‘sponsored’ post on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can set your maximum price for the day and ensure the ad specifically targets the right age groups, in the right locations and with an interest in your genre of music. Run a sponsored ad campaign about a week before or just after your release date and reach thousands of new potential fans.
4. Get blog reviews: Blogs are extremely powerful when it comes to new music. If you are able to get your new single reviewed by a major blog, then your profile will increase massively. Remember though, only contact blogs that work with your genre of music as many of them are genre specific. Be sure to send them a downloadable link to your song and your press release. This is probably the most effective way of increasing your profile at no cost. So do your research and get mailing! Send them your cool new press release.
5. Get on a playlist: This is the new modern way of getting mass exposure. Getting on a Spotify playlist is big business and can really break an artist. It’s not easy trying to get on a playlist but it’s worth the effort. First of all find a popular playlist that is similar in genre to your music. Then find out who the playlist curator is and send them the link to your music and a copy of your press release. You will increase your chances of being play listed if you have more than 250 Spotify followers and you have an artist verified status from Spotify. An alternative approach is to create your own playlist of well-known songs (which are in a similar genre to yours) and then slot your single in the middle of the playlist. TIP: you don’t have to be subscribed to Spotify to have an artist profile with them. The Spotify artist account also provides some incredible statistics and data about your releases and fanbase. You can gain access to your artist account by clicking on this link: https://artists.spotify.com
6. Approach your local media: The local rag love a local success story! Reach out to the editor or entertainment editor and send them your press release and single and ask for an interview or a featured article on the run up to your release date. You will be surprised at how many local newspapers support local independent artists and it’s a great way of getting the local community behind you. Use that press release and those Soundcloud links!
7. Get a remix done: A couple of years ago I ran an online remix contest for my single Every Cloud. I had hundreds of entries and picked 5 winners and made a special remix EP out of it and released it. Turns out that one of the dubstep remixes by producer J.G.F got play listed on some of the most popular mainstream EDM TV channels and thrust my profile as a vocalist into the stratosphere. Getting a remix done can bring in new potential fans and generate another stream of income for you. You can advertise your remix for free on many remix contest sites.
8. Get a video done: My clients often ask me whether they need a video to accompany their single release. In an ideal world where money grows on trees and flows out of taps, yes, you should. But with the average video costing £1,500 – it’s not always possible. But there are many alternatives. You can get a lyric video done, do an improvised low budget ‘mime along’ video from your bedroom, do a ‘live’ unplugged version of your song or get an animated version done. Having a video will give you more options and engage with many more potential fans who are likely to be more enticed by visual music.
9. Target online and college radio stations: Whilst you could spend thousands on hiring a radio plugger to get you on the radio, you might want to start small. It’s very difficult to get on national radio unless you are killing it on regional and online radio. There are thousands of online community and college radio stations that support independent music. Directories like the Unsigned Guide list all of the good radio stations. So take a look and send your new single en masse. I did this a couple of years ago and ended up being invited to sing live on both Croydon and Wandsworth community radio stations which both had thousands of listeners – plus people can log on anywhere in the world to hear you! It’s all part of that plan to build up your profile as an artist. Keep chipping away at it!
10. Submit your song to BBC Introducing: If you are based in the UK then BBC Introducing is definitely worth a shot. BBC Introducing are responsible for discovering and supporting many of our biggest stars including George Ezra, Jack Garratt and Viola Beach. Simply sign-up and upload your song(s) which will be sent to a BBC radio DJ in your local region. The BBC guarantee that your song will get listened to and, if the DJ likes it, then it could get play listed on BBC radio and lead to national BBC Radio 1 coverage – which would certainly put a rocket up your music career!
TOP TIP: Don’t underestimate the unconditional support from your friends and family either. Make use of their enthusiasm and ask them to spread the word. It’s free promotion after all!
Finally, as a music producer who has worked with many artists, both signed and unsigned, if I could offer any words of wisdom, it would be to release songs as regularly as you can to engage your fanbase and attract new fans. The more material you have, the more fans you will attract. It is a gruelling and tough industry that requires fierce commitment and hard work. It’s just like building a business – it’s takes time and effort. So keep going and put out new songs to attract those new fans.
Now go and start preparing for your big single release!
About the author
Aubrey Whitfield is a British Music Producer, songwriter and vocalist and is currently one of the highest profile female music producers in the UK. www.aubreywhitfield.com