By now it’s apparent that there is a ton of music out there – over-saturation is a term you may hear often these days. For anyone getting involved with the music industry there is always a need for more exposure and promotion. If an artist or a record label has it, they will sell better, simple as that.
At Symphonic Distribution, my team and I have been incredibly fortunate to work with several thousand unique record labels and artists over the years and many of them have asked us for feedback and suggestions on how to sell better. Here are 7 quick tips that you can apply to increase your exposure and potential.
There is so much material being released every single day that it’s hard to be noticed just by one song, especially if you are an independent artist. Don’t put all of your eggs in one album. Rather, do a 2 track EP and then another one 2 months down the line. Releasing music in a “little by little” method is the new way of making it as an artist. By releasing smaller doses, you can use any profits of that album (if any) to apply to the next release and/or recording session.
For record labels, get as many quality artists as you can and do 2 to 3 releases a month. There are enough artists out there that make amazing music so do your best to find these people. Use free resources such as Soundcloud, ReverbNation, Facebook to discover and reach out to new artists. Chances are if you message them and educate them on the “Digital Music Industry for Independents” then you will be able to appeal to them and they will see your vision. When approaching anyone though, be humble and don’t sell the world, as there isn’t much of a guarantee in the independent music world.
2. Make your album art POP.
No, not Andy Warhol pop, but make it stand out and make it look as professional as possible with high-quality design. As much as everyone loves the music, it’s not ALL about the music for companies like Apple, Spotify, Rhapsody, Amazon, etc. They want to be able to feature a product that looks amazing on their website. And to obtain real estate on their website through a featured placement will enhance your exposure, give you credibility among other top quality acts, and may impact sales positively as well.
3. Get Social.
Your social networks, websites, and photos should all be cohesive. iTunes, Beatport, and other stores and streaming platforms do their research and there is a chance that they will support someone that has more of a social presence – AND a well-branded social presence. You must have a logo or professional press photo as well as a well-designed Facebook cover picture. Make it look great – it’s not that costly anymore to get top quality design.
4. Do some online networking.
There are a ton of blogs out there that are completely user driven. They are dependent on emails from record labels and artists to keep their brand up to date with some of the latest and greatest music. Build yourself an email list but don’t spam them – try and engage in an organic conversation with each and every potential blog you contact and remember to start small. You probably won’t be getting Pitchfork or Vice’s attention right away because they too will do a lot of research. Set yourself up and do some free remixes or songs and send them out to smaller blogs. Once one posts it, go on to the next one and so on until you are at the point that a major publication will consider posting.
5. Tell people where to buy your music.
So you have an album out….. great! Where do people buy it? Make sure to always communicate effectively and make it simple on your fans. Give them the direct link to your product so that they don’t have to waste time searching. iTunes is the leader in Digital Sales and they have a handy dandy Link-Maker. One other fun tool is to do a “Countdown” for your release, perhaps 14 days before it actually drops. Start doing something each day for your fans to keep them engaged right before the release so that when the release drops, it’s as if they have achieved victory and gotten an award for being a dedicated fan.
6. Merchandise yourself!
You may have a gig at which you absolutely kill it but don’t expect anyone to remember your name or the songs you played unless you GIVE them something that they can physically hold in their hands. Do a business card with a direct link to your album on one side, and on the flipside, tell them where they can interact with you. Give folks a free download for attending your show with a download card. Bring free (but professional looking) CDs (yes, there are some people that still use them!). Don’t expect to make a profit off your merchandise unless you’ve started to get some solid and consistent gigs but do expect that your fans will appreciate the offerings very much – thus potentially creating you more fans through word of mouth and social media.
7. Work closely with your record label or distributor.
We’re a bit biased since we are a Distributor but we feel it’s vitally important that we have a good communication with each and every record label and artist we distribute. We deal with so many different partners and record labels that we definitely don’t mind you checking in and asking us feedback on what you can do to make your brand better. Chances are, other distributors and record labels feel the same way and would welcome you to chime in more often. By doing so, we’ll recommend that you fill out a featured release placement form that we will use to get stores such as iTunes, Beatport, and Amazon to feature you. Without you keeping us informed, it’s hard to take advantage of this free and effective offering.
We wish you the best of luck and success. We always will stress to keep your head up with positivity and to continue to perfect your craft of making top quality music because there is an audience that appreciates it and that is loyal to those that strive for a unique sound.