Below you will find a brief marketing plan devised for record labels who release consistently. As with business plans, this marketing plan will evolve to show more detail and include tools to better help you and your brand grow while you apply your respective strategies to better help your brand.
1. Suggestions On How To Release:
Many labels around the world believe that volume is the way to go. Some prefer to release only a little bit here and there. First, we believe that you should focus on quality over quantity, but still be consistent (sounds contradicting but truly, it’s not). If you’re a former label that used to release vinyl, you remember the cost and time that it took to promote releases. We recommend that as a label, you release at least 2-3 EP’s monthly of 2-5 tracks (singles are good as well however, are very easily lost after a day or two of being released unless there is a name of Deadmau5, Tiesto, etc… attached). Of course, keeping quality in mind at all times. If you stop releasing music consistently, your material may be lost in the very overcrowded shuffle.
When it comes to exclusives, review all the offerings stores have and get familiarized with which one is the best for you. Review all the tools available for features in our Music Merchandising section.
2. Have a presence (Web, Social Networks)
It’s VERY important that, as a record label, you are registered on social networks such as Soundcloud, Facebook, and Twitter. (There are others of course, but we recommend those three). Having a website is just as important, but sticking to a simple page that is informational and links individuals to the various Social Networks is a good idea to start out. But remember that whatever networks you do decide to go with, you should maintain and keep up with it. It’s all about content and what you’re providing your fans. As your record label grows, then you can expand on your website and use various other methods to grow the brand. Here are some helpful articles that can help in developing your online brand:
I. Pre-Release Steps
This plan is written with the basis that you already have your record label started, and are about to release a brand new release. In addition, all of these are suggestions given to you based on our previous experiences and conversations with record labels. The Music Industry being so over crowded makes it very difficult for music to sell, but it doesn’t hurt to try. With that said, let’s get going.
So, you have your music, your cover art and the release ready to go. Perhaps you even submitted to us or your distributor, what do you do now? Do you wait for it to be live? Do you just sit back and expect sales to come? Absolutely not.
Create a promo email for blogs to repost
Online blogs have grown tremendously over the years. A great idea for a record label that wants to promote a release is to prepare an email that includes the cover of the release, a bio of the release, bio of the artist and remixers (if there are remixers), a Soundcloud player for them to repost, and lastly (and most importantly), a free track or DJ Mix. We recommend that you deliver this, especially a free track or DJ Mix, because many blogs cater to individuals that do not want to purchase material, but simply listen to it.
By appealing to those who just want free music, the name of your label, release, and artists will be ingrained in their minds. You never know if they will end up purchasing the release or maybe a different one in the future. (Sometimes, you have to give a little to get a little). VERY IMPORTANT: Remember if a blog is actually featuring you on their site, return the favor and share the content. Ultimately, they are sharing your music not only because they like it, but because it will drive up their own traffic. So please share the content, it will make you look more professional and they will most likely feature you again because you shared their content.
Want some tips on how to get more support from blog? Recommend you check out our previous post:
Get to Marketing
This is, in our opinion, the trickiest and most challenging part. So what now? The important element here is to build the momentum of the release. We suggest you organize yourself and make a list of the sequence of events and promotions you will be doing for the release and their corresponding dates. This way you will also be able to keep track of what you’ve done so far and be able to use it for future releases as well.
Make announcements, teasers on who will be in it, viral hashtag campaigns, release preview clips, Instagram Videos, share feedback, do giveaways, share pre-sale links, give tickets to a next show, get merch and give it away, get creative and think outside the box. We’re in the music industry, you can do whatever you like. As long as it drives attention and excitement. Take a peek at what larger labels are doing to promote and get some inspiration. Remember that when starting off you will need to get very creative and be VERY careful as you are crafting your brand and message. One of my favorite quotes on this matter is:
Your listeners do not consume your music. They consume your brand that in the process creates their identity.
Symphonic Distribution also offers Marketing Services that can also be integrated into your strategy and have shown some solid results. Check out all Symphonic Marketing Services offerings here. We’ve seen some pretty solid results from record labels and artists that have tried our services. Adding them to your marketing strategy is something that may benefit you greatly.
Prepare and Send Newsletters
If you do not have a newsletter system, it isn’t a bad idea to add one to your existing website. Visit Mail Chimp and get a free account today. Newsletters are a great way to get in touch with loyal fans. If they signed up with you, then we can safely say they are interested in receiving updates on your label, releases, and artists. If you have another way of collecting email addresses from fans directly, you could even add to an Outlook database, as well. So, go forth and connect with your fan base.
Get Support From Others
Send your release to DJs that are fairly well known that play the genre or genres that your release happens to fit into. Of course, this is easier said then done, but you can message individuals via Soundcloud and possibly through their respective websites, too. These are the folks that will tell you honest and up-front opinions of what they think of the release. Chances are, if he or she likes it enough, they will play it. If you do receive feedback, then you can include it in our Featured Release Request form that is available in the Content Portal that our clients use to send in their releases.
We have agreements with ZipDJ and PromoOnly. Each of these brands can get the word out on your release to many different types of consumers and individuals. The fee to deliver to all is $20 due to bandwith costs and hosting. However, it doesn’t hurt to spend a little to make a little back.
Internet Radio / Radio Stations
If you are a DJ or know DJ’s that spin on internet radio or radio stations, go ahead and send them the release. If they like it, they will play it, plug the release and include where to find it when it is released. This is good before and after the release has been released. Symphonic has also partnered with several radio promotion companies, check them all out here.
Get Your Artists Involved
If you are releasing their music, ask them to also do these steps above and possibly recommend some other additional ideas. The more help you receive, the better the results for you and them. In addition, some artists may know individuals or ideas that you have not thought about before and possibly not listed in this area. Collaborate and get creative, think outside the box.
Shoot a Music Video
While it is not that easy and can be costly, a music video promoting a single is never a bad idea. Placing the video live on YouTube and Vimeo also gives Blogs and other websites the ability to repost your video in hopes of attracting new individuals to purchase your material. Your welcome to check out our Video Marketing Services, that can help you out in your next project.
II. Marketing when release is Live!
Now that you have done all you can to market the release before its date, it is now time to focus on promotions after the release is live. It isn’t easy at times to do what has been written above or even below for that matter, but if you at least have tried your hardest, then you should begin to see sales and exposure from your release get better and better.
Continue the above
Just because you did it before, doesn’t mean you can’t continue. Follow up with Blogs that helped you promote the material, re-email DJ’s or individuals for the purpose of marketing the material, and continue discussions with other artists to follow up the release with another release.
Facebook / Twitter
Get on the horn with all of your networks and let your followers know that your release is now live. Please, don’t just slap a link to a store and say nothing about it. Take the time to tag all the artists in it and do the same in all the social media outlets you share it on. If tweeting, do the same. This will help everyone, and it will most likely get shared with the people involved in it. Also remember to tag the store if it has an exclusive. You never know if the store might re-tweet and give you more exposure.
Some retailers do have free music widgets that you can add to your websites or blog posts. Beatport, TrackItDown, iTunes, and many more offer widgets that you can add on. Check out all the tools and promotions our Retail and Streaming Partners have!
Magazine / Online Advertising
This avenue, while costly, is helpful. When your release is live, contact big magazine publications such as (URB.com, MixMag, etc..) and consider advertising on their online portals and/or print publications. This is not a mandatory avenue and while the cost is more than likely high, it does increase exposure and adds credibility to the brand to many of the followers of the magazines. Reach out to our Marketing Department and we can help you get the latest media rate cards if you are interested.
III. Getting New Talent
A good label has a solid A&R department setup to determine which songs and releases are worth while to the label. While the word “department” is daunting, a simple method of establishing quality control is the basis for a solid A&R of the label. (In other words, don’t just release anything. Truly believe in and focus on songs that will work for the masses.) Additionally, it is important for the label to state their vision and plan to feature artists interested in releasing music via the label. (Don’t just shun people away because you don’t like their music. Be constructive to artists and communicate what you do not like so an artist can learn and deliver quality content to you in the future.) In addition to A&R, a good label has consistent releases scheduled as well as a marketing plan in place for promoting those releases.
Spread the word
While there are now thousands of digital labels out there, the mainstream media and pop culture has yet to catch on to the massive wave of digital labels out there. It is great to get the word out to news publications, DJ’s, and fans that you are out there and people can purchase your music online because the idea is still very fresh in the minds of many. Let the world know you’re out there. Simple messages and emails to folks that you feel will take interest will help exponentially.
Want more info on Branding? Check out some helpful posts we’ve done in the past:
Search for Quality Material
There are millions of artists on Soundcloud, and other social networking websites. Look through the ones that you feel have quality content, artist information, and perhaps an established fan base. When finding an artist, make contact and state a bit about your label (Label Bio, Releases, Where label is purchased, etc.). When telling them this, state that you are interested in releasing their content and begin the process to sign the quality artist and music to your label. Most times, artists will be very interested and will love that you are showing interest in them and their music.
Set a release schedule
Once you have signed new talent, begin to organize releases and marketing based on this plan and/or a similar plan you have devised. When releasing music from an artist, make them feel it’s going to be a long-term relationship not just a “one off”. If they release one track to you and then disappear then you need to consider having artists that will have more to bring to the table so you can have consistent releases in the market.
Exploring Additional Opportunities
At Symphonic, we are constantly looking for the latest trends and tips in the music industry, so feel welcome to check out our blog to get the latest tips for promoting your music. You are free to pursue those options and we are here to assist, free of charge, with giving you direction and helping build a strategy to grow your brand.
We hope you find this basic Marketing Strategy just as effective for you, your artists, and record label. We hope you consider these ideas however, always be open for suggestions to make this plan better. Additionally, we understand that some labels that may read this do not cater to Electronic Dance Music. Regardless, we believe some of these activities can still be applied for other genres and will still offer some useful insight. We wish you the best of luck and thank you for taking the time to read and implement this plan into your operations.
Have suggestions? Send them our way!