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Most artists want to spend the bulk of their time actually creating music (obviously), but sadly, the job requires so much more--namely music promotion.

Actually writing, playing, and recording music is only one part of the career of a working musician. Many of those who either have found a way to make a living with their art or who aspire to do so have learned that promoting singles and albums is almost as important and time-consuming as crafting them in the first place.

Music promotion is a wide-ranging topic that incorporates so many activities, and it can mean something completely different from one act to the next. While one Singer could spend all day conducting interviews and posing for photoshoots, another might be stuck trying to find email addresses for Editors and playlist makers. It’s not always glamorous, but if nobody knows about your music, how do you intend to make money off of it?

Read on below to learn more about the best websites and platforms on which to promote your work as well as some tips that might help you get the word out.

Music Promotion: An Overview

What is the meaning of "music promotion"?

Hugh McIntyre

The phrase “music promotion” is open and vague, and it can mean almost anything these days. Everything from a well-thought-out social campaign to standing on the street corner with fliers counts, but for the sake of this article, we’re focusing much more on the former option.

Music promotion simply means you’re spreading the word about your art, but these days, when professionals in the industry use the phrase, they’re usually referring to campaigns that involve social media, YouTube, streaming platforms, and paid advertising. These projects are usually put together and implemented with several people working with the artist, either on their own team or as hired guns.


What are the best music promotion sites?

Hugh McIntyre

The best music promotion services are:

  • Spotify
  • Groover
  • Apple Music
  • Songkick
  • Bandsintown
  • Bandcamp
  • ReverbNation
  • Pandora
  • YouTube
  • Stageit.com
  • SubmitHub
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Tumblr
  • Facebook
  • TikTok
  • Pandora
  • Soundcloud
  • Music blogs and magazines

How can I promote my music?

Hugh McIntyre

Create an email list. In the era of social media, some musicians have decided that email newsletters are a thing of the past. Sadly, they’re missing out, as they are still one of the best tools with which to reach those fans that matter most. The only people who will sign up for your newsletter are superfans, and you don’t want to miss telling them what’s new!

Use social media. You should already be on social media as an artist, but if you’re not, make sure you create accounts on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok if you want to promote your music overseas as well. Then, learn best practices and how these sites work and start posting and communicating with the world.

Get on streaming playlists. These days, millions of people discover new songs and artists they eventually fall in love with via popular playlists on streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. Competition for space on some of the most-listened-to options is fierce, but it’s not impossible to reach them! Work with a company that specializes in this kind of promotion or do a lot of research and attempt it yourself, but don’t count on scoring a win the first time.


Can I pay for music promotion?

Hugh McIntyre

Simply put, yes, you can! You can’t necessarily buy all the different kinds of promotion you want, such as a feature in Rolling Stone or plays on the local radio station, but you can spend money to secure some promo for your work.


Online Advertising. In addition to promoting your art on social media via posting about your work and reaching out to individuals, you can also help get the word out there with a bit of money. Advertising on platforms like Facebook is usually inexpensive and easy to figure out, so why not spend a few bucks to push your latest tune to the masses?

Media Outreach. If you have something new to share, such as a single, video, or album, it might be time to mount a full PR (public relations) campaign. After doing a lot of research, you can actually do the work of reaching out to Journalists, Podcast Hosts, magazines, newspapers, and TV and radio stations yourself, or you can hire a company to do it for you.

Influencers. This is another instance when you can either do your own research or work with someone who knows this world well to find influencers who are popular on social sites like Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok and pay them to feature your new single in some way. They might review it, include the tune in some kind of video marketing post or perhaps just share the cover and a snippet.

Groover is a service that allows musicians to upload their music and pay to reach out to certain outlets, playlists, influencers, and more, get their music listened to, feedback guaranteed and potential opportunities. We tell you more about Groover further down in the article.

What Should You Look for in a Music Promotion Service?

When selecting a music promotion service, there’s a lot you want to keep in mind before you pull the trigger and hire. You want someone who listens to your music and comes to the table with suggestions based on you, your look, and your art.

You also want someone who proposes items you wouldn’t have thought of yourself or programs you don’t know how to operate. If all they say is that they have a few suggestions for your social media, that’s probably not what you need. If a company steps up and lays out a plan that involves pitching Spotify playlists, creating tons of social content you never considered, and spending money on advertising on Instagram and Facebook, hear them out!

Essentially, you’re looking for expertise beyond your own, as well as a team that will put in the hours to do your music right.

What Should You Be Wary of?

There are a lot of people out there who claim to be working in “music promotion” who are just out for your money, so be careful! I could write a complete article on just what to avoid when looking for help in this realm, but I’ll stick to the most glaring red flags that you’re sure to encounter when searching for help.

Concrete promises

If a service absolutely promises you a certain number of new followers on social media or placement in a high-profile blog, be wary. Even the most connected Publicists can’t guarantee a profile in a magazine or a spot on a TV show, as things change all the time. Also, when looking at social media, anyone can buy followers or likes, so those numbers-based promises aren’t as impressive as you may think.

Instead, demand only that they work hard and smart for you. That’s all you can ask!

Are you special?

The best music promotion companies are always looking for business, but they’re still selective. If their website suggests you call them or email to start a conversation about working together, that’s a good sign. If all they want is a link to your music and your credit card info, it means you’ll be receiving the same treatment everyone else gets, and this isn’t a business where cookie-cutter plans work.

They don’t have past work to show you

If you’re willing to take a chance on someone just getting started in the music promotion game, that’s up to you, but if a company claims to have plenty of past successes to their credit, check them out! What bands or musicians have they worked with? What did they get them in terms of social media, PR, or streams? Ask for concrete examples, and possibly even to contact previous clients.

They come to you

Again, many music promotion companies are looking for new clients, but not many actually do a lot of outreach, begging for work. If the brand finds you and slips into your DM with a boilerplate message you can tell was sent to many others, don’t bother. They need you a lot more than you need them.

What Can You Do to Promote Your Music on Your Own?

A lot! In fact, you may soon find you need to start cutting back on your music promotion efforts, as you can literally spend all your time promoting your latest single, instead of writing and recording new music.

The first thing you can (and should) do on your own in the music promotion realm is to share your latest releases on social. Now, this doesn’t mean you should tweet once that your single is out and move on. An entire plan is needed, and you want exciting content for all platforms. You’ll want to tease a release, share it frequently when it drops, and then find interesting ways to continue to promote it (but not be annoying) in the days and weeks following its arrival.

You can also spend some money on ads on social sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, though if you’re going to go this route, do your research first. These processes can be a little complicated, and it may be best to let a team you eventually hire handle this instead.

What Is the Best Day to Release Music?

There are two answers to the question of the best day to release music: Friday, and any day other than Friday.

Friday is when every major artist releases their new singles and albums, as it’s the beginning of the tracking week. From Friday at midnight until the end of the following Thursday is when companies like MRC Data (formerly Nielsen) collect information about sales, streams, and radio play. Billboard then uses all the data to compile the weekly charts. If you want to have a shot at charting anywhere, stick to Friday.

If you’re not quite at that level yet, you may want to opt to release music not on a Friday, as it’s less competitive. By avoiding that day of the week, you have a better shot at grabbing people’s attention, as you won’t be up against the latest album by Taylor Swift or the Justin Bieber single.

How Often Should You Release a Song?

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to how often you should release music, but these days, the industry moves faster than ever. Unless you’re one of a select number of Singers and bands, you can’t go years in between sharing tunes, as the public will simply move on and you’ll lose momentum. You can space things out when in between albums…but not much.

Every six weeks or two months is a good schedule, especially if you’re mixing up the kind of songs you’re delivering. You don’t have to dole out a huge single every two months, but maybe adding in remixes, acoustic cuts, demos, B-side, album tracks and the likes can help you fill up that calendar.

How Do Artists Choose Singles?

Artists choose singles using a number of different methods, but ultimately, what matters most is what you feel. Do you love this song the most? Does it get stuck in your head? How do your bandmates feel? Have you played it for your friends and family? What are their thoughts?

Basically, your single should be the song that has the best shot at attracting an audience and becoming a “hit,” whatever that means for you at this stage in your career. Typically, the songs that major artists select as their singles are the ones that are the catchiest and have the best shot at dominating radio waves, so think like them!

What Are the Best Sites to Promote Your Music?

There are a lot of ways to promote your music, and almost as many websites and platforms on which to do it. So where’s a musician to start? As you begin this process, you should at least consider the following outlets, as they have helped countless other artists in the past.

Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook Ads

Advertising on social media is one of the most effective ways to reach out to people who don’t already know you and your work, if for no other reason than it’s where millions (no, billions) of people spend hours every day. Why wouldn’t you want to put yourself in front of them?

One of the best things about advertising on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is that you can start small, spending a few dollars a day, or budget hundreds, maybe even thousands for one project. You can play around and see what works, and go hyper-specific. Try it out!

Spotify Ads

Yes, there are ads on Spotify, and you can get in on that game as well. If you do an ad on the world’s biggest streaming platform correctly, the person on the other end hearing what you’ve come up with will enjoy it and perhaps even click through to find out more about you and your new song. Focus much more on the music than talking, as this is a streaming music platform, after all.

Groover

Groover was created to help artists break the wall of the first listening. Through an innovative web platform, the service connects artists who want to promote their music with the best curators, radios and labels seeking emerging talents. You’re ensured that the music curators and pros you choose to select among more than 1,600 currently active will listen to your track, give you feedback and consider your music for opportunities such as articles, radio broadcast, playlist inclusion or more if they have a crush. If they don’t reply within 7 days, you get credits back to get in touch with more!

In 3 years, more than 1.5 million pieces of feedback have been given to other 100k artists all around the world. 200k+ shares and 600+ signatures on record labels also happened through the platform. Groover is an unmissable web platform to get actual coverage and honest feedback on your new release.

Show.co

If you’re going about handling advertising yourself (instead of working with a team), you should investigate Show.co. The company can help get your advertisement not just on Spotify, but far beyond, reaching more traditional platforms like Billboard, Rolling Stone, and even Pitchfork.

Ads are just the beginning when it comes to Show.co, and if you have the time, creativity…and the money…you can do so much more for your latest song or album on the site. In fact, it may soon become your go-to stop when it comes to promoting whatever you have coming next.

Radio Airplay

Yes, you want airplay on radio…but you may also want Radio Airplay! The company focuses on a music platform called Jango, which is another internet radio service, and while you may not be familiar with it, that doesn’t mean it’s not reaching millions of people!

Radio Airplay may not be the first stop when you’re headed down the music promotion road, but it deserves to be included.

Soundplate

Soundplate is all about getting unheard music to those who curate important playlists on Spotify, Deezer and the like. The good news here is that the platform is free and easy to use. The bad news? That means everyone else and their mom will be trying it out as well.

Since it doesn’t take much time, you should absolutely submit your singles for inclusion on a number of well-trafficked playlists, but since there are hundreds, or maybe even thousands of others doing the same thing at the same time…don’t let your hopes get too high.

SubmitHub

While some companies focus on one type of music promotion, SubmitHub is looking to help musicians tackle it all in one go. On SubmitHub, an artist can look to get their latest single featured on radio, blogs, Spotify, you name it. Now, you do need to learn a bit more about the platform in order to do it well, and you should be submitting your art months in advance, but if you can get everything in order, this may be your best bet for one-stop music promotion shopping!

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