Setting goals and completing them are two very different things. I saw so many artists passing by over the years, successful and not so successful. There are a number of reasons why artists fail to achieve success, including the failure itself:
5. Not making the real decision
We all think that achieving goals is hard, but it isn’t if you really have decided this is the goal that YOU want to achieve. So my advice would be:
1. Don’t just think or talk about your goals, just start with no thinking
2. Memorize why it’s important for you to achieve it
3. Frame your goals with absolute certainty – that no matter what, you will find a way to make it happen
When it comes to finding success with your music, you can’t rely on fans coming to you, and instead, have to put the elbow grease to seek them out. Here we develop three essential tactics for finding your target audience before zeroing in on your marketing strategy.
You got into this industry to feel connected.
Maybe you wanted to change the world, or maybe you just wanted a way to creatively express how you were feeling. Maybe you just wanted to tell your story, and maybe you wanted to hear the stories of others.
No matter your reason, most of us can safely say we got into this industry because we were craving connection. We wanted to let others know that they’re not alone. We wanted to change lives.
Then somewhere along the way we got bogged down in having to write the next social media post or having to book the next show or having to run a PR campaign. We forgot to remember why we got into this—and our audience suffered.
What I want to talk to you about today isn’t about how to book more shows or how to run your next PR campaign—all of those things are incredibly important, but the truth is they don’t mean anything without an audience.
And if you’re thinking, “I just have to make the right music, my audience will find me”, well, I hate to break it to you, but that’s not how it works.
Getting in front of your audience means getting clear on a few key things. The truth is it’s really not all that complicated—it’s just most artists fail to invest the time and energy needed to find their fans and then let them know how much they matter.
I’ve outlined three ways you can get started today with finding your target audience—the steps are simple, and the results will speak for themselves. So don’t be one of those artists who thinks just making good music will bring them a loyal fanbase. Show your fans what they mean to you and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
1. GET CLEAR ON WHO YOU ARE
Before you even think about strategizing how to find your target audience, you want to make sure you’re crystal clear on who you are and the message you want to convey. I’ve seen so many talented bands go unnoticed simply because they have no idea who they are. I’m talking about having an actual brand.
Think about your favorite well-known artist and tell me what comes to mind. I doubt you’re fumbling around trying to put the pieces together and that’s because they have a really solid brand.
For instance: What do you think of when you think of Halsey? Mental health. LGBTQ rights. Social justice.
What about Taylor Swift? Her brand may seem to change with nearly every album cycle but there are serious consistencies that mean you and I always strike up some very clear imagery when we think of her. She takes risks. Offers her fans connection. Empowerment. And love her or hate her, she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Think about your favorite bands and see what comes to mind instantly. Your fans should be able to do the same when it comes to you. Because in order to find your target audience and know who they are and what they feel, believe, and desire, you need to first know who it is you are.
2. TAKE NOTE OF WHAT OTHER BANDS ARE DOING
Find a couple of artists who are in the position you want to be, in a similar genre, and make a serious case study out of them to figure out what they’ve done to get there and what they continue to do to stay there.
Find artists who are in the position you want to be in, say, another two or three years. It’s not realistic to compare yourself to a major label artist because they’re operating with an existing fanbase that quite frankly isn’t going anywhere even if they fail to post to social media or take another three years to put out an album.
So find artists who are more established than you are, but still growing (i.e. not necessarily signed to a label or touring the world, but who are playing more of the kind of shows you want, getting the endorsements your after, the Spotify playlists you want, etc.) then you’ll have a really good idea of what’s working.
Study what they do and how they do it. How do they interact with their audience? What platforms are they on? What kind of venues do they play? What kind of merchandise do they have? What cities are they popular in? What hashtags are they using to get in front of their fans? (tip:make a Google Doc of different groups of hashtags to use, so when it’s time to post to IG you can simply copy and paste your go-to hashtags. Having a few different groups to choose from means mixing it up so that IG will favor you in the algorithm. For whatever reason, if you use the same 10 hashtags over and over, IG tends not to like that. Probably because they think you’re a robot.).
Pay attention to everything those artists/bands do, take note, and then make it your own. If you can start to use their own strategies for getting in front of fans and make them into your own, you’re well on your way to building an engaged audience.
3. SEEK OUT YOUR FUTURE FANS
There are a lot of ways to find new fans. Offline, shows are a great place to get in front of new faces. This can be at your own shows or (and especially) the shows of others. Sometimes this means going to other artist’s shows and interacting with the audience, maybe hanging at the merch booth if one of the artists on the bill is your friend, and just getting to know people and introducing yourself. It can also mean standing outside venues of major label artist’s shows and getting to know everyone in line, having a conversation, and eventually sharing your music and asking if they want to sign up to your mailing list on the spot.
Online it can mean joining different Facebook groups and getting involved by offering feedback on fellow artist’s posts, commenting with your own stories and thoughts, and just getting involved in your online communities.
On Instagram it can mean finding artists that have a similar sound and are of a similar size to you and seeing who their fans are. If those fans they seem like they might like your music, then get to know them by following and commenting on their posts. (Note: I do NOT mean comment about your music, I mean find common ground in their photos and interact with it – i.e. comment on their photo of their latte with how good it looks and ask them what kind it is.)
At the end of the day, building a community isn’t only one of the smartest things you can do for your career, it’s honestly one of the most fulfilling. Because when you get down to it, we got into this to build a connection.
And sure, it can be overwhelming sometimes to keep up with all the day-to-day. But don’t forget why you got into this—to make a difference. To meet others who are just like you. To tell your story and hope it connects with someone else. That’s all getting in front of your target audience really is. A chance to connect. So don’t worry about “getting it right” or putting a ton of pressure on yourself. Just see it for what it is—a chance to get to know the others who truly think like you, and see the world in the same way you do.
Every feeling that an artist has (good or bad) is based on the interpretation of what things mean. Changing limited beliefs is all about coming out of the comfort zone and undergo the situation. I have seen many artists procrastinate, there is and never will be the perfect moment, so you might as well start.
How are you going to live the next years of your life? How are you going to live today in order to create the tomorrow you’re committed to? What’s important to you right now? What actions can you take today that will shape yourself and your future?
The power is to make a decision here and now. Different decisions leads to actions. Actions produce different results and reactions. Decision, commitment, persistence are the key elements to achieve the things that you want to achieve.
You will also find a way, because making a true decision means committing to achieving result, and then cutting yourself off from any other possibility. The way to make better decisions is to make more of them.
Decide what to focus on
Decide what things mean to you
Decide what to do
Hopefully this will be the start of a new chapter for you. I certainly hope this for you.
If you’re serious about getting your music heard and growing your fanbase, music marketing isn’t an option.
It’s a necessity.
So where do you start?
To get your music in front of the right people, generate momentum and consistent growth, we need to start looking at how you’re going to promote your music.
Great marketing is all about excitement, storytelling and really building traction over time.
Your music and content is one part of thousands of things just one person will see in a day.
The digital world is the noisiest it’s ever been. So, how will you stand out amongst the crowd?
Most artists focus on making great music but ignore one of the most important parts of promoting it – music marketing.
This is the vehicle that allows you to promote your music, get your music heard, generate more views for music videos, create a fanbase and so much more.
There are so many ways for independent artists to carve out their own space in the music business and make a real impact.
1. Build Your Brand Foundation
This is the most important layer to music marketing in 2022. Without this nothing else sits properly.
The foundation of building a strong brand in music is who you are and what you stand for as an artist, thinking about who your audience is and who would connect with you.
Music promotion isn’t a simple task. But, without a solid foundation, nothing will work.
Think of your artist brand as an extension of your own identity. ⠀
It’s a representation of who you are aesthetically and this is what someone will see the first time you come into their world.
Therefore it’s imperative you smash that first impression.
Here are the first steps to branding yourself in music marketing:
Write down everything that relates to you and your music
Circle the most important aspects to you
What does that LOOK like? Visually map it out. Imagery, colours, tone of voice, music, clothes.
Compare that to what you’ve been putting it so far. Does it match?
To make waves in the music industry as an artist, you need to stand for something. Getting your branding foundation right will inform everything else across your music, your imagery, and ultimately, your career.
Don’t skip this stage in a rush to chase arbitrary numbers and metrics. It doesn’t work, especially if you don’t have a solid brand first.
2. Know Your Demographic and Psychographic
The better you know your predicted audience, the better you can create music and content that they’ll love.
If they love it, you’ll build faster organic traction.
Knowing who and where your current fans are will help you learn more about who is paying attention to you, and why they are paying attention to you.
You can get detailed analytic information from your social media accounts, Spotify For Artists, and more to understand your demographic and their behaviour.
If you’re starting from scratch, you will want to build an example fan avatar.
It’s common practice in any digital marketing to know exactly who you are trying to market to before you begin. Marketing in the music industry is no different.
Think of artists that are similar to you. What kind of person listens to them and what is it about them that they are resonating with?
3. Look After Your Current Fans First
In music marketing, it’s easy to become obsessed with the numbers when trying to get more music fans.
Here’s the secret.
Marketing your music to more people begins with looking after your current followers first.
It’s in your best interest to build a community of dedicated followers. A tribe. Learn how to cultivate an environment around your brand, your music, and your music marketing platforms that can turn an interested follower into an obsessive superfan.
To do this, artists need to become less focused on the numbers and getting newer followers.
If you provide value to your current audience, from the outside looking in, people will see a community that they want to be a part of.
Give more than you take as an artist.
Being in music isn’t the same as being in sales. You need to give more and do more for your followers if you are to set a precedent for future followers to join you on your journey.
4. Allocate Time for Speaking 1-1 With Your Audience
Every single day, you need to allocate time to speak to your audience and connect.
I can’t stress how important the 1-1 is when growing your audience (it’s still also the most successful form of marketing ever!).
This means commenting on their pictures on Instagram, replying to their messages, and starting conversations about them. Take a genuine interest and you’ll be rewarded!
Doing this provides a great opportunity for being more human and creating a genuine connection with your fans.
Want to get the music industry to notice you? The music industry and record labels only care about artists who have an audience. A following of people who would do anything for you. A tribe.
The audience holds the power and strengthening your current audience with real 1-1 connections is how you can create something special.
5. Choose Which Social Media Platforms You Will Focus On
Choose a maximum of two platforms to begin with. You don’t have the time as an artist to dedicate to more properly. Research Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube and work out what suits you.
Social media is all about consumption and when you utilise social media right, it’s the most powerful tool artists have.
Everyone may say be on every digital platform, but you don’t have enough time in the day to be successful on many platforms.
It’s overwhelming and isn’t the best music promotion strategy when you’re starting out.
So you choose a platform based on where your skillset lies.
If you love video and being on camera, then I’d look at how you can utilise YouTube.
If you’re wanting to build a community and like photography & short-form content I’d choose Instagram (this is a good place for artists and music in general, if you’re not sure I’d choose Instagram).
If you want to look for where the highest organic reach and engagement is right now, artists should look at TikTok. But bear in mind for this platform you need to learn what works and how you can bring virality, as that’s what TikTok does best.
Choose your platform and keep grinding away producing content that you’re proud of and build your fanbase daily through smart promotion.
What you’re aiming for is just one person to say “I like that” and then they keep returning for more. This compounds from one person to ten people and from ten people to a thousand people.
That is how you get started.
It takes work, it takes learning, but the payoff is that you build a dedicated fanbase that loves you as an artist and your music.
6. Create Engaging Content On Social Media
Most artists view their socials as somewhere to tell people to go to Spotify and then wonder why this doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work because it isn’t engaging, you haven’t got their attention with just your music alone.
Play the socials game right, do your research, and be creative.
Average content isn’t enough. You need amazing content.
As a creative and a musician, your job is to entertain your followers. Give them a reason to follow you, a reason to engage with your content, a reason to come back to your page, time and time again.
The biggest mistake musicians make with music promotion is using social media platforms as simply a portfolio of their work.
I always see artists using ‘push’ marketing to get people to stream their new album, listen to their single or consume their music, watch their new music video with no consideration for quality of content or sign of any larger campaign at work.
So what do you do instead?
You need to surround your music with awesome content.
Instead of just releasing the song or music video and shouting ‘hey go listen to it’… break the release down into several smaller content drops.
Examples of this are behind-the-scenes photos, clips from the song, artwork, lyrics… Anything that you can bring from that master content to your audience in multiple forms.
Think outside of the box and be bold. Only marketing your music releases and not the content surrounding out is a fast track to being ignored.
7. Post Consistently
Music promotion and music marketing on social media requires a lot of effort.
You need to build consistent value every single day to start to build momentum with your music promotion.
If you post on day 1, day 5 and day 17 that is going to have nowhere near the same impact as day 1, day 2 and day 3.⠀
Social media and music marketing is about little hits every day, not big swings. This is why we break down our big single releases and music video content into smaller pieces to make sure we’re giving it in a digestible way to cause the most momentum. ⠀
This requires dedication and effort.⠀
But if you go for it and get it right, social media music marketing is powerful AF.⠀
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
Are you posting on a daily basis? ⠀
Are you replying to every comment on your posts with something meaningful? ⠀
Look at your posts and see which did well. Work out why this was and double down.⠀
Is your audience returning? Or just liking and leaving? ⠀
If this wasn’t your post or your feed, would you like and engage? ⠀
You need to be brutally honest with all of these questions.
If you’re not putting in the time and effort to put out something meaningful on a regular basis, it won’t grow.
8. Promote Your Music and Single With a Solid Plan
Don’t release your single without a plan.
Picture this scenario…
You release your new single, do everything you’ve always done, put in less time than you know you should do, and then get annoyed when it doesn’t do as well as you wanted it to.
Does that sound familiar?
Before you release your next single, you know that you need to up your music marketing game.
Your music deserves to be heard, so it’s time to get your launch strategy and campaign in place.
Too many musicians fall into the trap of having a 24-hour promotion cycle for their music, and then starting all over again after that day of excitement is over.
This leads to an endless and vicious cycle of being underwhelmed with every song release, only to make the same mistakes again and again.
Be organised and have a strategy in place that evolves a couple of weeks before the release date, as well as the weeks afterwards.
9. Music Promotion Through Paid Advertising
Music marketing through paid digital advertising only works when your brand foundation, organic social media strategy and content are in place.
But this is where brilliant strategies really make the difference as you bolster on top of your current brand and messaging.
You can push this excitement and messaging out through digital advertising where you can reach hundreds of thousands of your target audience with a very small budget (video views ads give you the most bang for your buck – just $30 could get you 50k – 100k views on your next music video!).
I get a lot of questions about social media advertising budgets, music promotion and music marketing on a low budget.
One strategy is to put your money into brand awareness and video view campaigns.
If you’re marketing on a low budget, you need to keep people on the platform. It’s cheaper and more cost-effective in the long run.
Traffic and conversion campaigns are more expensive as they take people away from the platform.
If you are going to put money into marketing your music online, remember to target effectively and concisely.
Platforms like Facebook and Instagram allow you to hyper-target specific demographics on things like age, interests, location and so much more. The more focused and defined your audience, the more likely you are to get great results for your ads and expand your follower count.
10. Pitch Your Music To Playlists
It’s a good idea to try and get your music on Spotify playlists or other streaming playlists in your genre.
Getting this right can be a game-changer for your listenership and streaming numbers.
There are loads of Spotify hacks for music artists to beat the algorithm organically, but we can take even more control and manually submit our music for playlist consideration.
You can submit your music directly to Spotify’s editorial team themselves via Spotify For Artists, as well as pitching your new release to listeners and playlist curators.
Whether you are promoting your music on Soundcloud, YouTube, Apple Music, or Spotify, it’s important to understand that your presence needs to be maintained on these services as you would your Instagram or TikTok profile.
The Spotify streaming algorithm in particular works in a similar way to social media. If you are serious about getting more Spotify streams, it’s in your best interest to look after Spotify as much as you would any other social media platform to generate organic streams and healthy data to get heard.
11. Collaborate With Other Artists & Influencers
Collaborations done well can be a worthwhile creative pursuit in music promotion.
You can crossover your fanbase with somebody else’s and generate content that is mutually beneficial for both parties.
You have to be careful with your approach when it comes to collaborations. New fans may not respond well to you if it is obvious you are just doing this for clout or a quick numbers grab!
Be authentic with collaboration campaigns.
You need to bring something genuine to the table. If you are just trying to leech off someone else’s following, it’s painfully obvious and can do more harm than good.
Going back to your demographic and psychographic, where do your ideal audience hang out? Where else is their attention?
This can help you figure out who you can contact for a potential collaboration.
Collaboration doesn’t just have to be with other musicians, although this is the most common. You can collaborate with anyone or anything. Think outside the box and consider influencers outside of the music sphere.
12. Email Marketing Campaigns
Email can be another great way of reaching dedicated fans en masse, directly to their inbox.
A music mailing list for your band is more likely to be made up of those on a different level of fandom. More dedicated followers will choose to be updated on you as an artist.
Communicating with your fans directly via email allows you to reinforce your relationship even further with them, ultimately cultivating that super-fan status.
Owning this communication channel now also gives you another asset to use when promoting your single.
You can build up momentum over time with a smart email marketing campaign and direct traffic through specific links and a call to action on new content, YouTube videos, organic streams, and more.
13. Social Media Contests & Giveaways
Running contests and giveaways on social media might seem like old news, but it can still work if done correctly.
Contests can work wonders for the algorithm as a huge boost of followers take action on your content in the hopes of getting something tangible in return.
If you are going to go through the effort of promoting your music with a giveaway, run it as part of a bigger plan.
Things like giveaways and contests often give your socials platforms a slight boost in visibility. You should expect this peak and be prepared to ride the wave.
Be crystal clear with actions your followers should take and what fans may get for free in return. The giveaway value should far exceed the effort of the action from a fan. This is how you can show how much you value those in your tribe.
14. YouTube SEO
If someone wants to find your original song and they type it into YouTube, it should come up from the sheer fact that it exists.
However, if you’re posting digital content like song covers, gear tutorials, reviews (basically things people will actually search for on YouTube), you can skyrocket the organic reach of your videos.
This is the power of SEO (search engine optimization).
It can be a good music marketing strategy to have a selection of SEO-friendly videos as an entry point to your channel. This is how someone may first become aware of you, subsequently digging deeper to become a fan of your original music and other content.
Think about your demographic.
What kind of person are you trying to attract to your channel?
What kinds of things would they be searching for?
What kind of content can you make?
For example, you could create an SEO-optimized video on ‘best guitar pedals for metal’ if this is something your desired audience might be interested in.
A popular music marketing strategy on YouTube is song covers. Perform a batch of covers from artists you love and attract new fans to your channel, where you can promote your other projects and original tracks.
15. Release Music More Frequently
Music marketing is about building momentum over time and creating exponential growth.
If you are releasing music once a year, how are you supposed to create any noticeable momentum or build a fanbase for the long term?
Planning your next single release is great. But what about the next few singles?
Releasing one song without knowing when the next single is going to be released means you are starting from scratch after every music release.
This causes you to have popularity and focus spikes which constantly lower over time because you aren’t focused on consistent growth.
Quality of music and consistency comes first.
Look after your fans and provide value over and over again with consistent and frequent releases.
Remember, you’re only ever ONE song away from greatness. One song can completely change your life.⠀
You never know JUST how close you are. Keep writing, releasing, and learning!
Warner Music is partnering with Community, a text messaging platform for direct-to-fan communications.
This marks Community’s first deal with a major music company. “Our partnership with Warner Music unlocks additional opportunities for artists to drive engaging conversations at scale with their fans. Expanded connections with fans ultimately result in increased sales, greater content consumption, deeper artist affinity, and additional opportunities for Warner Music’s roster and brands,” says David Ross, SVP of Growth, Partnerships, and Revenue at Community.
Warner Music artists have been early adopters of Community. Ali Gatie regularly texts with his fans, sending them personal birthday messages and exchanging selfies. Labelmates Junior Varsity are also building up their presence on Community. They’re doing pop-up shows in NYC and Los Angeles with fans RSVPing by texting Junior Varsity’s Community number.
Community launched in 2019 as a way to power direct relationships and one-on-one conversations through text messaging at scale. The company is headquartered in Santa Monica, California. It helps pop culture stars, local community organizers, small business owners, and more. Community drives direct relationships with their fans and customers.
Select Warner Music artists will be given the power to personally text with fans via their 10-digit Community number.
These numbers will give fans a way to stay informed of exclusive releases, drops, ticket sales, merch opportunities, and more. Community says its average open rates are around 95% within the first three minutes of receiving a text message. It also has a 59% clickthrough rate for links shared through text.
Warner Music believes direct-to-fan communication helps cut through the social algorithm interference, spam, and other distractions. “Community’s model helps us cut through the noise and give us an authentic, personal and unique way to reach superfans,” says
Scott Cherkin, SVP Global Audience Strategy, WEA.
“The direct line helps our artists get to know their fans better and opens up opportunities for them to plug their priorities – whether it be merch, concert tickets, or a new single – knowing they have an engaged and eager audience on the receiving end. Some artists are already promoting their numbers at shows to really great reception and we’re excited to offer Community even more artists in the Warner Music family.”
This last year, even rehearsing has felt like a luxury, so for those of us without our own spaces, it will be the necessary first step towards returning to playing shows.
Rehearsing can be an exhilarating, and extremely rewarding, experience; a melting pot of ideas and suggestions or the perfect run through in preparation for a performance. It can also be littered with problems and issues.
No matter whether you, the band you play with or the band/artist you’re playing for are rehearsing covers, original material or writing new material at the rehearsal, you will be paying for the rehearsal either financially or in personal time and commitment.
It makes sense to approach rehearsing in a semi-structured way, so that time is maximised, value for money is received and the desired results are achieved.
Ineffective rehearsals and lack of preparation invariably lead to band disagreements yet with some careful planning and effective communication, such problems can be avoided.
Don’t leave things to chance and by keeping everyone involved and in the loop, everyone should be on the same page, proactive and positive when they walk into the rehearsal room.
Rehearsals allow minor performance issues to be ironed out, ideas to be expressed and solutions to ongoing musical problems to be addressed. In a gigging situation, many musical errors pass by at rapid speed so rehearsals allow you to tighten everything up to produce an even better and more polished performance.
Communicate effectively when it comes to planning your rehearsal, take into account everyone’s prior commitments and availability so if the band doesn’t already, ask everyone to use an online calendar so each individual’s availability can be clearly seen and taken into consideration.
Once the date of the rehearsal is confirmed and everyone can make it, provide everyone with all the relevant information, such as where it will be, what time the room is booked for and what time the rehearsal will finish, parking availability and nearest train/tube stations and what equipment is supplied.
If parking is at a premium, suggest that those driving give themselves enough time to find appropriate parking and setting-up time. Also, let everyone know what time the room has to be vacated so that packing away time at the end is feasible. Don’t incur extra costs as a result of leaving late!
2. Make a plan of action
What is the reason for calling the rehearsal in the first place? If it is to write new material from scratch and to develop songwriting ideas, it can be difficult to create a structure as such but if it is to rehearse existing material or to learn covers and build a songlist or to run through an entire gig set before a performance, be organised as to what you want to achieve and use the time to accomplish.
Send out a list of what songs will be rehearsed, the key they will be performed in and any relevant points of note for individual instruments, such as solos or extended sections.
3. Get your songs in order beforehand
Regardless of whether songs are originals or covers, everyone should have a copy/file of each song that is to be rehearsed or provided with an online link where they can download or listen to the song prior to the rehearsal.
One vital point here is that everyone learns the same version of the song – check that there aren’t multiple album/single/remix/live versions which can cause confusion.
Stress that the songs need to be learnt beforehand so turning up to rehearsal with no idea of the song or its format isn’t acceptable. Learning the songs should be done at home, not at the rehearsal on the day so use the rehearsal to fine-tune any minor errors or to make adjustments and work out vocals, harmonies, etc. But, in essence, the ‘meat and potatoes’ of each song should be prepped and in place before arrival.
4. Treat rehearsal like a gig
That means bringing everything you need with you. Don’t assume that the studio or rehearsal premises will have any spares. Some studios will charge you to hire equipment and accessories so don’t make rehearsals more costly than they need to be.
If the studio is new to you/your band, contact them in advance to confirm exactly what equipment is included in your booking, what amplification they provide, what state is the drum kit in, does the drummer need to bring cymbals/snare/high-hat clutch, will there be enough mics/stands/cables to cover all the vocalists within the band?
If you’re not sure that the equipment provided will suit your tastes or the sound of the band, bring your own but then there is the transportation to the studio and carrying the gear in and back out again to consider.
5. Record your rehearsals
Whether the rehearsal is for original songwriting of new material or covers, it can prove beneficial to record the rehearsal either on your mobile phone or a separate MP3 recorder or another device.
It may give you insights as to whether you are making any mistakes that might be passing you by due to the hectic nature of a rehearsal or it may allow you to hear how certain vocals may be working well or clashing.
Hearing how the other musicians are playing or singing may become more apparent if you can listen back to the rehearsal after the event. With original songwriting, having a recording to listen back to can reveal great ideas that may have been overlooked at the time.
6. Be realistic about time
Consider how much time you have and plan what you can effectively accomplish in that time. If the rehearsal is in preparation for an imminent live performance, you may need to run through the entire set so consider have you given yourself enough time to do that?
Also, have you allowed enough time for setting up, breaking down, food/drink/rest/toilet breaks? If you are rehearsing to add songs to your repertoire, be sensible and don’t assume that one run-through of each song will be enough and good enough for that song to be in your set.
You may need to fine-tune it, maybe put your band’s own slant on it or incorporate it into a medley of songs. Is the song going to be going into the set immediately or will it be a song to call upon should you need it at a later date?
7. Consider having a leader
Some bands are democratic, some are a dictatorship so establish who is in charge of running the rehearsal, if that’s applicable, and consider passing that role around the band if you rehearse often so the workload is spread around.
Keep an eye on the clock and prioritise what needs the most work and effort so you get as much accomplished during the rehearsal as possible.
Consider making the person calling the rehearsal the point of contact and responsible for making the booking with the studio, all communication within the band and with the studio and sorting out the payment for the studio (although costs may be required from each member) unless the band rehearses regularly, in which case let each band member pay for one rehearsal in rotation.
8. Take breaks
Allocate break time in advance, especially when working out how much time you need before making the booking. If you’re rehearsing for 3-4 hours, you won’t need a long break to eat and refresh but for anything longer, allocate 30-45 minutes beforehand which might be broken up over the length of the rehearsal or all in one hit halfway through.
Does the studio have a snack bar or vending machines or are there places to acquire food and drinks nearby? Alternatively, suggest that everyone brings their own refreshments in advance.
It might also be worth suggesting eating well before the rehearsal in case there is nothing available, although this might leave some feeling sluggish and tired but rehearsing hungry/thirsty and low on energy is counter-productive for most people.
Keeping the mind focused and concentrated during a rehearsal can be difficult so drink plenty of water, which has the double benefit of keeping the vocal cords moist and oiled.
9. Make some time for reflection
Mirrored walls can be helpful. Forget any voyeuristic connotations! If your performance involves any sort of choreography or the band’s look and general performance need consideration, hiring a rehearsal room with a mirrored wall or some sort of mirrors could prove beneficial.
If the band is fairly large, it may also make visual communication with other band members easier without having to shout over the band.
10. Keep it down
Where possible, keep the volume levels down and you will find you feel less tired during and after the rehearsal. Pumping everything up will just drain you as your ears become fatigued by the volume levels.
IEMS (in ear monitor systems) can make things easier and may allow you to do away with speaker cabinets, PA speakers and loud drum kits if you choose to go down the electronic kit route.
Don’t be surprised if volume levels have drastically increased by the end of the rehearsal compared to what they were at the start.
Getting your song played on the radio has long been a luxury, a service reserved for artists signed to major labels or benefiting from a huge network of influence.
However, in recent years, things have been changing, and new alternatives are being put in place to encourage the discovery of new artists. But how to get your song on the radio?
Why is exposure on the radio still so important?
With the rise of social networks and new distribution channels (Instagram, Facebook, Youtube and other streaming platforms), promoting your music has never been easier or more complex at the same time. It is easy because these options are accessible to everyone. Today, it is possible to distribute your music at a lower price on the main streaming platforms. On the other hand, it’s so complex because it’s difficult to set up an effective strategy that isn’t too adventurous and time-consuming… Currently, over 20,000 new songs are released on Spotify every day and it’s hard to stick out from the crowd without spending a lot of money or wasting a lot of time.
62% of new track discoveries are made via radio, compared to 20% via streaming.
Traditional media such as the press or television have lost their allure over the years, and it is no longer as necessary as before to go through them to make one’s music known. On the other hand, in the face of competition from streaming platforms, radio remains the main source of musical discovery. 62% of new music discoveries are made on radio, compared to 20% on streaming, especially among non-subscribers to a streaming platform. Apps like Shazam allow listeners to listen to your song over and over again… on Spotify for example!
1. Have a solid musical project to get your song on the radio?
Before approaching any music professional, you must have at least some professionalism yourself in order to stand out and, above all, appear credible in your approach. Refer to the following criteria:
Build a strong and singular visual identity to support your musical project.
Have a press kit at your disposal or a good biography presenting your project and your background.
Be active and have a certain visibility on social networks (Facebook, Instagram etc.).
Have recordings of impeccable quality (.wav, 16bits, 44100htz).
Fill in the metadata of your tracks (digital information about the music: title, performer, author, composer, producer…).
2. Choose the right single to get your songs on the radio
This is the most critical step in the whole process. You must absolutely submit a work of good sound quality. This means that it must have gone through all the stages of musical creation, from choosing the title to composing, arranging, voice recording, mixing and mastering. The challenge here is to select a “single,” a track that is both representative of your musical universe and that also has a strong potential for listening, and therefore, for the audience. More simply, it is your “big hit.”
3. Respect radio formats
Another essential element in maximizing your chances of getting on the radio is the length of your song. To do this, your track should last between 2min30 and 4min. Beyond that, your chances of getting on the airwaves are often limited. Of course, we do not advise you to restrict your artistic creation. On the contrary, you must extend and express your creative potential to the maximum according to your desires and according to your own rules.
Taking risks and experimenting will help you to assert yourself as an artist. On the other hand, we recommend that you produce a “radio edit” version of your single if necessary. This means that it is a version specially adapted for radio broadcasting, respecting the duration format and excluding any obscene or shocking aspects. This version is also very often used for video clips. One of the most famous examples is Daft Punk’s One More Time, whose radio edit version has a radically different structure than the album version.
4. Takes quotas into account
Think of quotas- if you have a song in the language of your country, you’ll have a better chance of getting it onto national radios! Yes, it’s true. It’s a criteria you have to take into serious consideration if you want your song to be played on the radio. For example in France there’s a quota imposed by the CSA which is designed to protect French-language songs from the invasion of Anglo-Saxon pop songs that are flooding the airwaves.
The law of February 1, 1994 requires private radio stations to broadcast, since January 1, 1996, at significant listening hours, 40% of French songs, at least half of which must come from new talent or new productions […].
By French-language song, the CSA means any work with a text performed or recited primarily in French or in a regional French language. And by new talent, any artist who has not yet obtained two separate gold record-certified albums.
5. Choose the right radio and opt for new networks of influence
Every radio station has its own audience and therefore has a musical genre of reference. The radio station you want to present your song to is therefore also an important choice. For example, it is useless to go and propose a reggae track to a radio station specializing in metal. Choose radio stations that play tracks in the same style as your music and target the ones you are going to approach in a relevant way to maximize your chances of being played.
Fewer and fewer people are listening to radio in its traditional (over-the-air) form and a whole new form of online radio is gaining momentum and providing a new outlet for emerging artists.
Streaming music, or more accurately streaming audio, is a way of delivering sound — including music — without requiring you to download files from the internet. Music services like Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music use this method to provide songs that can be enjoyed on all types of devices.
Streaming Audio Delivery
In the past, if you wanted to listen to music or any other type of audio, you downloaded an audio file in a format such as MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG or FLAC. However, when you use a streaming delivery method, there’s no need to download a file. You can start listening through a device or smart speakers almost immediately.
Streaming differs from downloads in that no copy of the music is saved to your hard drive. If you want to hear it again, you can easily stream it again, although some paid streaming music services allow you the option to do both — stream and download.
The way the streaming process works is that the audio file is delivered in small packets so the data is buffered on your computer and played pretty much straight away. As long as there is a steady stream of packets delivered to your computer, you’ll hear the sound without any interruptions.
Requirements for Streaming Music to Computers
On a computer, in addition to obvious needs like a sound card, speakers, and an internet connection, you might also need the right software. Even though web browsers play some streaming music formats, software media players installed on your computer might come in handy.
Popular software media players include VLC, Winamp, and RealPlayer. Because there are many streaming audio formats, you may need to install a few of these players to be able to play all streaming music from various sources on the internet.
Paid Streaming Music Subscriptions
Streaming music subscriptions have made enormous gains in popularity. Apple Music, which is available on Windows PCs and Mac computers, is a streaming music subscription with more than 40 million songs you can stream to your computer.
Amazon Music and YouTube Music offer similar subscriptions. All of these paid programs offer free trials that allow you to evaluate their services. Some services such as Spotify, Deezer, and Pandora provide free tiers of advertising-supported music with the option of paid premium tiers.
Streaming to Mobile Devices
On your smartphone or tablet, the apps provided by streaming music providers are the best and usually the only way to enjoy their streaming music. However, every music service offers an app, so you just need to download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play to add streaming music to your smartphone or tablet.
Contrary to some preconceived notions, no artist can pass from the shadows into the spotlight just by snapping their fingers. Also, getting a good song out there is not enough anymore, and there is no point in making buzz just for buzz’s sake if you want to build a solid and lasting reputation. Finding your own identity as an artist and bringing together an audience around your project is a long-term process.
Indeed, you have to remain authentic, but also use the right methods to capture the audience that corresponds to you and understand what it expects from you. Knowing your fans allows you to interact with them as well as possible, but also to develop a better communication strategy in order to gain visibility- and especially notoriety. Here are some tips to help you target your audience as a musician.
1. Don’t try to please everyone
It is a question of not spreading out in order to satisfy as many people as possible. Your musical project must embody and project your own voice. This is what will make you a unique and original artist. Forcing oneself to conquer all hearts and minds is often a waste of time. It is up to you to discover your own identity in order to remain coherent and authentic. This is how your audience will identify with you. And it is also in this way that you will be able to implement your positioning and development strategy. Here are the questions you should ask yourself before targeting your audience:
To which musical genre(s) does my music correspond?
Is my project strong enough?
Am I able to easily communicate about my music?
What are the values/emotions I want to convey?
Is my music for a niche audience or a more popular one?
How do I set up a visual identity in line with my project?
What are my ambitions?
Once you have found your positioning as an artist, it will be easier to find the right audience for you.
2. Engage with a community
In order to better understand the audience you are engaging, there is nothing better than meeting the professionals and enthusiasts who correspond to your musical universe. Go to concerts, fairs, forums or any other musical event aligned with your style.
Take every opportunity to interact with the audience, musicians and even other fans. In short, you will meet people who share the same passion as you. This will not only open you up to new perspectives, but also broaden your creative field.
3. Find online discussion groups related to your musical universe
There are many Facebook groups and forums specialized around specific musical genres that have thousands of fans and insiders. These groups are an opportunity for you to get an overview of trends, listening habits, and news, but also it is an occasion to support other musicians who are in the same boat. Sharing and discovering new music on these networks is an excellent way to exchange, share, and discover other worlds.
It is the best way to maintain contact and be active and dynamic around your musical project. These groups often bring together thousands of people eager for new things and potentially receptive to your musical productions.
A Facebook group dedicated to shoegaze, dream pop, and nugaze music
Our advice: do not hesitate to give before asking (and therefore receiving). Sharing the bond of an artist you love without asking for anything beforehand can be an opportunity to create strong bonds. And one day, you may get something powerful out of it. Our slogan?
“Give, give, give, give, receive.”
4. Find the most famous artists in your musical genre and use them as a reference
Finding reference artists allows you to have a base and determine in which direction you want to go. Take for example Coldplay as a pop-rock reference. Start with accessible artists and adjust as you go along according to your stage of development and your ambitions.
The purpose here is to analyze:
What types of social networks do they communicate on?
How close are they to their fans?
How do they communicate with their fans?
What aesthetics do they adopt?
On which types of media are they featured?
What other artists are their fans listening to?
In short, it is a matter of figuring out how they got to the level they are at. Review their audience and the different communication strategies they implement. Indeed, it should not be forgotten that beyond talent, an artist must necessarily be a good communicator to be able to gain recognition and visibility.
5. Be active on social networks and build your own visual identity
To stand out and spark interest, you have to attract the eye. Proposing a striking visual identity is the best way to stand out and reach your audience with a particular imprint. Even if music remains the raw material, it is an element not to be neglected. A striking aesthetic builds loyalty and engages your audience.
6. Use data analysis tools on social networks and streaming platforms
It can be scary at first, but some social networks, including Spotify and Apple Music, have developed easy-to-use tools to better understand your audience.
On Facebook for example, you can access the statistics of your page [Tip: add /insights/ at the end of the URL of your Facebook page]. In the “People” tab you can discover the distribution in terms of Gender / Age groups / Countries / Cities of people who like your page.
On Spotify for Artists in the “Audience” section, you can also find the countries and cities where your songs are most listened to, their age group and gender, as well as artists that your audience also likes. Apple Music For Artists offers the same option, also adding data from Shazam. All of this data is essential to better understand your current audience and adapt your strategy accordingly!
7. Finding the right channels for promotion
To promote their music, artists have only two main solutions today:
Hire a press officer (~1000-2000 euros per month) which is often expensive for musicians who do not always have the contacts or the means, and with results that do not always match their expectations and the investment made.
Send hundreds of emails to media and musical influencers (such as blogs, playlists, webradios and specialist journalists) themselves. This is certainly free, but a monumental waste of time in the artist’s creative work. And above all, as the media are overwhelmed by emails, artists do not receive answers, which is often the source of great frustration.
The media, labels and other musical influencers are overwhelmed by emails from artists and their representatives (press officers, managers, labels) every day (between 100 and 500 every day even for small blogs).
Indeed, they offer the best pathways to promote your music with guaranteed feedback. These opportunities will allow you to boost your visibility and gain legitimacy!
Most artists have experienced the challenge of finding and keeping the right band members. Hopefully these interview questions will help you find exactly who you are looking for:
How serious are you? Be sure that their level matches that of your own.
What experience do you have? What bands have you been in, if any? Have you been a band leader? Be sure that you are getting someone who will fit right in.
Are you looking to join a band as a sideman, or do you want to join a band in which you are part owner? Be sure their expectations are the same as yours.
Have you ever been on the road? For how long? Some musicians think being on the road will be a blast until they see how much hard work it is. Others miss their families or significant others too much and begin to resent the situation. Be sure hat your band can handle your touring demands.
How often are you willing to rehearse? Do you need to get paid to rehearse or do you consider it part of the job? What you want to know is their work ethic, and whether or not it is equal to yours.
Do you have references? It is vital that you can talk to former band members to learn about any challenges that you might have to deal with.
Do you have any other commitments that might prevent you from fulfilling your commitment to this band? Some musicians might have separate gigs already on their books, have a vacation planned or have a day job that might conflict with your own gigs or plans.
What are your strengths? What are your limitations? Be sure that the person has a realistic perception of himself or herself. You also want to know up front if there is a gap that you will need to have someone else fill, such as back-up vocals or heavy lifting.
Besides your talent, what else can you bring to the table (computer skills, graphic design, marketing skills, contacts etc.)? Obviously, it helps when you can keep some work in-house.
How much money do you need to make? How long are you willing to work with the band to work up that salary range, or so you need that much money immediately? Be sure that their expectations are in line with what you can realistically pay them.
Are you counting on working with this band exclusively, or will you be picking up gigs whenever and wherever you can find them? Again, their intentions need to coincide with your needs.
How long do you plan on taying with the band? Is this a temporary engagement for you, or are you looking for a long-term position? Be sure that their plans and your needs are a match.
Have you ever been a band leader? Whether you need a band leader or not, this is important to know. Ssome people who are used to being the leader are not comfortable tking orders from others.
Do you need to ask anyone else for their support or pemission before you take this gig, or before you go on the road? You want to know if they have family or an employer who might prevent them from fulfilling their role.
Are you willing to invest time and/or money into the band to take it to the next level? This is important if you or other members of the band are investing in the group. You never want an imbalance in this area without a clear understanding of the relationship.
Do you have all of the equipment you need, and is it in good working order? Obviously you don’t want a band member whose amplifier keeps quitting in the middle of your shows.
Do you have other gear or equiment that could be of value to the band (recording studio, PA, van etc.)?
Do you write songs? If so, are you counting on the band performing or recording them? Be sure you manage any and all expectatons so there is no misunderstanding about this.
Do you sing lead vocals? If so, is it your goal to be the lead singer, or to share in the lead vocals? Once again, this needs to match your vision or current lineup.
Do you have a challenge with drugs, drinking or other bad habits? Know what you level of toleration is (one drink per night, no drugs etc.) Be aware that they might nor answer honestly, so check their references before bringing them into the band.
If you pick the right members from the start, you can avoid dealing with a lot of misunderstandings, ego challenges and bad habits that can jeopardize not only the band, but your reputation.