Important Marketing Tips For Your Band & Music Videos

In the light of recent work we did for a new band here in the UK, and the common problems we encounter every time, I thought I'd share our experience of marketing your band, music and music videos. We might post something more practical later on but for now I think it's important to discuss the right mindset to adopt and the overall strategy you'll be going for. This is the decision-making process, how you act and react to promote yourself.

1. Take your marketing efforts seriously

Time to get serious about your music business (band, music studio or otherwise)

Time to get serious about your music business (band, music studio or otherwise)

This is a business, a proper industry run by sharks (and a few dolphins). You need to be smart, you need to be responsive and do the right investments:

  • Be smart: surround yourself with the right people. Bad choices have hurt more than one superstar in the past, from David Bowie to Paul McCartney. If something isn't working, try harder or try a different way. Test, test test. Then measure your results and take an informed decision ;
  • Be responsive: if something isn't working at all, change your approach. Talk to people, how have others succeeded where you haven't? Have they made use of resources you hadn't considered? This world is changing fast, so you need to follow the same pace ;
  • Invest in the right stuff: Is Facebook not yielding any results whatsoever? Perhaps it's better for you to focus your time on Twitter. Is an £8,000 music video really going to make a difference if you're only starting out? Yes, no? Depends, do you have a great social following or any contacts in the industry? What is your strategy? Do you plan to build from the bottom-up, very gradually building a fan base? Or will you attack this top-down, targeting big names in the industry first?

All of this can be exhausting and annoying but it will pay off... well.. provided that your music is good, relevant (e.g. to a 12 year old) or timely and that you have that special amount of luck. Luck is something you can't control, so do whatever you can to cover all the rest, all the stuff that you have some degree of control over.

2. Outreach vs. Engagement

Making the most of social media to promote your music

Making the most of social media to promote your music

  • Twitter: pretty sweet for outreach. For musicians, I think that's where it's most important. You can engage with your fans and all that, but the opportunity to connect and build relationships with professionals in the music industry:
    • music journalists ;
    • bloggers ;
    • producers ;
    • sound engineers ;
    • manufacturers and so on.

Everyone can bring something completely different and it's generally a good thing for you to have multiple contacts. They're just as many ways get more professional advice and opportunities for: reviews, better informed decisions, expert help when recording as well as sponsorship (e.g. if you use a particular brand/equipment).

  • Facebook: pretty sweet for engagement. Facebook is great for outreach also, especially if you interact loads with other artists (cross-promotion posts, collaborations, etc) or pages such as radios, venues and so on. But where it excels it's at engaging with your fans. Recent updates to the way Facebook displays your stuff makes it harder and harder to appear in your followers' news feed. So keep in mind that what works best are:
    • Posts with images
    • Posts with videos
    • Frequency of posts: the recommended standard being 1-2 daily. But like every social platform this may depend on your community. Again, test to see what works best.
    • Ads of all sorts - page like, post like, website or iTunes link. This will require a fair amount of testing to make the most out of your investment.
       
  • Instagram: great for both outreach (though non-professional) and engagement. As instantaneous as it gets.
  • LinkedIn: Often underused - if at all - there are however a few interesting groups which gather industry professionals, producers and musicians. Always worth a look!
  • Pinterest: since YouTube videos are now "pinnable" and playable on the website, this is something definitely worth trying, especially when you consider the main demographic present on the website (i.e. women from 18-45). Which takes me to our next point... 

3. Know your audience

Do you know who listens to your stuff? Do you know who it appeals to the most?

No?

You really, really should. This is like music business 101. And it should drive a lot of the decisions you make in terms of branding, videos, voice/tone on social media, which platforms to use, etc.

I mentioned the women demographic in the previous point. To put it bluntly, every possible research on the topic has shown that the ability to reach out to women is one of the main pillars of success in the music industry. It's a bit like the influence of gays on fashion. They influence it. Not always, but most of the time. Not that you HAVE to cater for them, but just keep it in mind. Everyone's into a different music style and every music style pleases very different people, but the point is to keep in mind who your "influencers" are. The ones who will be deeply enthusiastic about your stuff and will help you share what you do.

4. Running It like a business

Run this thing like a pro!

Run this thing like a pro!

Run your band like professionals. Consider yourself and act like a business. This means quite a few things:

  • Review whatever contract you sign with a lawyer ;
  • Have a "business plan":
    • What matters to you? What do you want to achieve? How do you plan to achieve it?
    • Is the number of followers important to get noticed (answer: yes)? Then how many do you need and how will you get them? 
    • How do you plan to make money? Making a living as a musician is getting tougher and tougher. iTunes means you won't sell as many albums anymore, Spotify pays peanuts, YouTube can be a solution but requires a lot more work - especially in this saturated market. Most of the time will need to think of a mix of revenue-generating sources. Selling vinyls, T-shirts, whatever you can think of to complement the mix. But do plan it.

If you want to know more about the industry, there's a good slideshow presentation below. It's a tad long but you can easily skip the parts you're not interested in. 

And if you have any questions or new strategies you'd like to discuss, please do ask away in the comment section below :)

NOTE: This is part of a series on music marketing, read our other articles below: