How to Get Your Music Heard: Influencer Marketing for Musicians
“I feel like once the song is done, you put it out there... if people want to make strange videos, great. You know, like chaos theory applied to the music business.”
The game has changed in the music industry...
There are more than 60,000 songs released on Spotify every day, and the industry has never been more saturated with fantastic music. Everyone from 14-year-olds in their bedroom to Grammy-winning artists are creating incredible songs. And as an artist, it's become evident that your music alone is no longer enough to stand out or break through.
Even with this level of saturation across the industry, most artists fail to think outside the box by not taking music promotion as seriously as they take music production. Instead, they rely on out-of-date methods to promote their music. These methods are almost always ineffective, expensive, and rarely produce the desired results.
We'll run through what some of these are, the pros and cons, and the most effective way to get your music heard this year. There are many 'classic' approaches to promoting your music. They're worth a shot, have pros and cons, but none of them have quite kept up with the times. What has? Let's get into it...
Classic Approaches To Getting Your Music Heard
Can record labels help you grow? Absolutely. They have their place, but most don't have the same power and distribution that they enjoyed even a few years ago. And the tide continues to shift away from them. But like all things, they have their own pros and cons.
Record labels have the benefit of established distribution and promotion (especially the top, major labels). Being able to tap into these resources can be invaluable and sometimes even leads to artists receiving advances when they sign long-term deals. Simply put, label heads know how the distribution process works, and the best label heads are friends with Spotify editors and curators, and will likely give you more opportunities to grow once you have signed with them.
But most importantly, record labels offer social proof and a form of quality control – the track normally has to be 'high-quality' to get signed, and then you're in the company of the other 'high-quality' artists who have signed to that label. It's a good look and gives an artist an air of validity and professionalism along with having a wealth of industry connections that can bypass the process's most challenging steps.
But now the downsides...
Getting signed to a record label can take a LOT of work. You'll likely reach out to tens if not hundreds of labels and not hear back. And even when you do get a track signed and released, you'll have to split the royalties. Once you get more attuned to the workings of the industry, you may also begin to get skeptical of the fact that you rarely own the masters of your recording, which can be pivotal in the shifting landscape as the industry moves towards high-valued NFTs and others.
And that loss of control is only the beginning! Releasing with labels often means you need to abide by their schedules, meaning it could take a long time to release your music. This is a bad idea according to the CEO of Spotify. Plus, if it's not an 'A' label, they may even make you pay for the promotion while taking their share of royalties. This means you're essentially giving up almost all of your rights to the music while getting absolutely nothing in return (save for a couple of hundred plays on a streaming platform).
So can it work out with a label? Yes, but it's often a lot of time, work, and energy for not much in return.
Blogs, YouTube Channels, Spotify Playlists
Music blogs, YouTube channels, and Spotify playlists are all similar strategies that can be effective for promoting your music. But you should expect a few things before you sink too much time into them.
These outlets are amazing ways to gain exposure to a target audience for your genre. These are usually highly engaged users that can listen on the spot (e.g. on a Spotify playlist or YouTube video). And they are all run by real people, which can, in turn, help you get picked up by Spotify's algorithmic playlist curation (e.g. Discover Weekly and Release Radar). You are then presented directly to the ears of thousands if not millions more listeners. YouTube playlists have the additional benefit of true staying power and can continue to gain views (listens) for years.
But more than any other lever of this industry, these outlets can be incredibly tricky...
Because blogging has largely diminished in recent years, especially in the music space. The peak EDM-blog days of 2014 are over. It can be difficult to get in touch with the blog, channel, or playlist to promote your music. Expect tens if not hundreds of emails sent without a response.
Sure, you can use a playlisting service, but these are often expensive and again do not guarantee which playlists you end up on. It could be a large fee for dismal results — it's another 'pay for hope' method.
There's no doubt DJ support can help get your music heard, and it's gratifying when an idol of yours plays your song. Whether it's played on a radio show, at a festival, etc. it helps, but let's dive deeper into the pros and cons of getting DJ support from top-tier artists.
The benefits of getting DJs to support your music are obvious. It brings new exposure to a target audience that's likely to enjoy your music along with social proof — "Tiesto played my track so it must be good". You're then on some level associated with that artist. Plus it can be incredibly gratifying to have your favorite artists play your music and that validation is what most got most producers into making music in the first place.
But getting support from top DJs shares a lot of the downsides that record labels do. Similar to labels, you'll likely reach out to tens if not hundreds of DJs and never hear back. You can also pay a service to help you get DJ support, but the price often starts at several hundred dollars, and they don't guarantee anything.
Maybe some big DJs will play your tracks, maybe they won't. You pay for hope and cross your fingers. And even after all of that, it's difficult to quantify impact — e.g. it was played on radio show X, but how many new fans did you gain?
Trying to get as much DJ support as possible can be an efficient way to spend your time. But you have to weigh the pros and cons of whether you'll handle this process yourself, or pay a service, and how much it's worth to you.
Modern Music Distribution: Influencer Marketing for Musicians
In the last 12-18 months alone, the music industry has transformed again. The way that music is discovered and engaged with has fundamentally changed, and will only move more in this direction. As an artist, you need to capitalize on this shift.
So what are we talking about?
What is arguably the most effective way to promote your music as an artist in 2021?
Influencer marketing for music.
The explosion of TikTok, Instagram Reels, Instagram Stories, Snapchat Sounds — these music sharing tools have created an unbelievable opportunity for artists to share their music with the world, if you leverage them correctly. Influencer support is the new DJ support. TikToks are the new radio stations. Instagram Reels, Stories, etc. are what drive your number of streams — not the other way around.
Not leveraging influencer marketing for music today would be like not leveraging electricity for your house. Sure, you can light candles to survive. You can reach out to labels to sign your track. But why not avoid the pain and turn on the power switch?
Who has leveraged the power? Let's look at a few examples:
- Imanbek (DJ/Producer) launched his career after going viral on TikTok with smash-hit 'Roses'. He won a grammy and now has songs with Afrojack, David Guetta, and Rita Ora.
- Tiesto had a Spotify top 10 global hit with 'The Business' by having fans make TikToks and IG Reels of the song. It's in more than 129k TikToks that are viewed more than 113M times
- Olivia Rodrigo broke Spotify's streaming record for one-week (100M streams) largely thanks to TikTok virality.
- Lil Nas X made his career on TikTok.
The list is truly endless and will only continue to grow. Influencer marketing is modern music distribution — ride the wave or get crushed by it.
The Challenge With Influencer Marketing for Music...
The challenge is, it's not easy having influencers share your music. If you're an emerging artist trying to work with an influencer today, it's highly unlikely that they ever even open up your message or email (let alone reply to it).
And even if you do get in touch, the questions then become trickier – did they listen to my music? Are they going to share it? When and where will they post this? How much is it going to cost?
Perhaps most importantly, am I going to pay them and they'll never promote my song?
It's tedious, uncertain, and insecure. But, there's another way...
These pioneers created a unique workflow for music creation. They sidestepped the constraints of needing studio musicians and prohibitively expensive technology by leveraging pre-recorded source material to create their music.
SpaceLoud is a new platform the connects artists and influencers. It empowers artists to share their music with new listeners, and influencers get paid to share music they love. It's an easy, transparent, and secure way for artists and influencers to work together and grow their careers.
Trusted by Blasterjaxx, Sophie Francis, Dannic, Henry Fong, and many more, here's how it works:
As you can see above, SpaceLoud solves every problem that artists will face when trying to execute influencer marketing campaigns for their music.
The main benefits are the most obvious. SpaceLoud allows you to find and connect with influencers in minutes. Then you send and receive proposals to share your music in a few clicks all while maintaining full control over your budget, which influencers you work with, and when are where your music is shared
And perhaps most important: payment protection. You'll never pay a penny until an influencer shares your music on their channel and uploads a screenshot of the stats for each of the posts on to SpaceLoud.
This way, you know exactly how effective the posts were — how many people engaged, viewed, etc. There are no more guessing games, and no chance you pay an influencer and get screwed.
And one more thing: there are no fees for artists whatsoever. The only price you'll ever pay is what you determine is fair for the influencer to promote your music. We don't take any fees from artists on top of that. Game changer.
It's Time To Take Your Career To The Next Level
If it wasn't clear already, the old ways of music promotion are not enough. Labels, music blogs, etc. — give them a shot, but it's absolutely essential that you stay up to date with the most effective promotion methods. And that today, is influencer marketing for music.
It's not without its problems, but SpaceLoud solves every single one of them for you. Find influencers you like, and leverage them to reach new fans like never before.
It's a new golden age of opportunity for artists, and we hope you'll take advantage of it with SpaceLoud and influencer marketing for music, and you can save up to 10% on this game-changing platform by using code "HYBERBITS-10OFF"