As the fear of contracting the corona virus spread across the world, local and state governments began to shut down places of gathering to help flatten the curve. Bars, amphitheaters, concert halls, and all other venues became vacuums of desolation, virtually destroying the cultural epicenters of most cities. This shutdown didn’t just impact business owners, it also beat the guitars, mics, and drum sticks out of the hands of hundreds of thousands of musicians, pausing their ability to perform and market the songs they worked so hard to write and produce.
Many of you may see this corona virus pandemic as a break from normal, everyday life. It gives us an unforeseen amount of free time to find new hobbies, learn new skills, and get better at the things we’ve already learned. As a musician, the silver lining here is that we have more time to write new music, learn new instruments, and become better all-around musicians. But, it’s also important to promote the music you’ve already sent out. More people are home now than ever before making this the perfect time to push your music to its maximum potential. Here are 5 ways to promote your music during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the past couple of months, live streaming has become one of the most prominent methods for businesses, brands, and musicians to speak and engage with their audiences. The industry is up by 99% year over year and it has grown over 45% in just March and April alone. Live streaming allows you to communicate and perform for your friends, family, fans, haters, and anyone else who is willing to listen in real-time creating a unique experience for everyone involved. There are plenty of platforms to stream on and the choice is yours to decide whether you’d like to show off your fresh sweatpants and new quarantine haircut on Facebook, Twitch, Instagram or YouTube.
It’s not as simple as just turning the camera on and having a chat with your audience though. You need to make your live streams engaging and ensure that your audience knows the stream is happening. It’s important to promote your stream, just as you would with a live performance. Tell your followers on Instagram with an Instagram story, share your live stream link to your personal and business Facebook pages, create a quick video, and share it on your YouTube page…whatever it takes to let your audience know that you’ll be live. These posts will pull in a variety of viewers, but you also need to keep them engaged. You can stream a Q&A, perform a new live set, or even teach your audience how to play your most popular song live. As with anything artistic, the more creative you are the more likely people are going to watch you. Treat these live streams as if you were in the room with your audience and the rest will come naturally.
As more and more people began to work from home, the number of individuals on social media surged. Engagement increased 61% over normal usage rates and the number of people on Twitter alone increased 23% when compared to last year. These numbers matched by the amount of free time everyone has makes this the perfect opportunity to double down on a social media strategy for your music. Social media is not just about posting your favourite photos or videos to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. There is a deeper strategy that will guarantee an increase in followers as well as an increase in engagement.
First of all, you need to be posting content consistently across each platform. Whether that be posting pictures and videos of your previous live shows, giving tours of your gear, or recording videos of you playing your favourite songs, you need to ensure that your content makes it through the clutter. Since everyone and their mother is also posting daily, you need to ensure that your content is seen. Secondly, you need to be sure to engage with your audience. This means replying to comments, commenting on your followers' posts, and commenting on other musicians' posts. Building these relationships will ensure that your community feels welcome and involved with your music.
An easy way to go about it is to use Placeit social media templates. Whether you’re looking to make noise on social media, want to brand your next single or you want merchandise designs for your brand. Placeit has every design template to start promoting your music in minutes!
You can also route to utilise paid ads and sponsored posts across multiple social media platforms. This will allow you to find an audience who may have never heard of your music before and increase the reach potential of your posts. These cost money and are less organic, but the results show that utilising paid posts boosts your impressions significantly where social ad impressions are up 20% year over year.
As important as a social media strategy is, it shouldn't be your only digital marketing strategy. Building a larger presence online is extremely important as well and it will give you the upper hand during these trying times. There are hundreds of thousands of music blogs, podcasts, and publications that are looking for independent artists to interview. Especially now, with so many professionals looking for content to publish in order to keep their audience’s minds off of the world around them, you are more likely than ever to have your pitch accepted. Cold call, cold email, and direct message these publications on social media with your story and your pitch. The more people and publications you reach out to the more likely you will be to break through the clutter and find someone willing to write or speak about your music.
This larger digital marketing strategy should also include a website for yourself or your band as well as profiles on every music platform you can find. It is extremely important to get your name out to as many people as possible.
Consider if your music also may be suited for radio. There are a number of ways to get your music played on global radio. Read our article about DIY radio promotion. Use WARM to track if your songs get airplay and use the info to maximise the results.
Similar to the last tip, you should be streaming your music on as many platforms as you can find. Spotify and SoundCloud are great starts, but there are thousands of other streaming platforms that will allow you to upload your music and create a free profile. Since you can’t go out and perform your new songs at open mics or concerts, you need to find a new way for your audience to hear you making the distribution of your music extremely important.
Similar to the social media strategy, you can not simply post your song and expect the masses to come and find it. You need to distribute your music and then strategically promote it across your other digital profiles. This means posting on social media, promoting through your website, or creating posts on your streaming profiles. You can utilise social media with this step as well by creating music videos and promoting those across IGTV, YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and any of the other thousand platforms that allow video. Having a video element attached to your music is extremely important today and as long as you have a smartphone you can create something. Drop show can help you too!
The landscape of the music industry has changed so much and actually putting it out there and getting heard isn’t always smooth sailing, especially at a time like this - it's always worth hiring in experts where possible. In fact, we’ve recently seen a growing base of talent on our own platform that specialises in music promotion - and we’ve even dedicated a section of the site just for this, which you can check out here: https://www.upwork.com/services/music-promotion/
As with most industries right now, many bands and artists are struggling financially. This could be the perfect opportunity to promote your brand specifically through your merchandise. You can use all of the tips above to promote your merchandise, but it is important to create merchandise that people will want to buy, even if they’ve never heard of your music before. There are millions of people who will buy a band shirt without even listening to their music. I can’t tell you how many times i’ve been in a crowd and saw a girl with a Nirvana shirt to find out she didn’t even know who Kurt Cobain was. You logo or artwork across your merchandise can help promote both your music and your brand without you having to even lift a finger. Band merchandise is like creating moving billboards.
If you would like to create new merchandise, this would be the perfect opportunity for you to work with a graphic designer who can create incredible art for you at a reasonable price. There are thousands of freelance graphic design websites that will match you with an artist who can create a T-shirt design, hat design, or album cover design for you. What’s a good band without a good album cover, right? You can then go ahead and sell these items across the web on sites like Etsy, eBay, ThreadUp, or your own personal website. Don’t forget about that backlog of old tour merchandise too. This is the perfect opportunity to sell those items and make space for new designs.
As you can see there are hundreds of creative ways that you can promote your music without even leaving your bedroom. Live streams, social media, digital marketing, and merchandise sales will help you propel your career and grow your sound exponentially. We also suggest you keep an eye on other music marketing guidelines out there, i.e. this handbook on how to promote your music.
Furthermore, we recommend using WARM to track your radio airplay on a global scale. We know that tracking where your music is getting played is really important when you are working on the next plan of action, especially during a new release. For more services and guidelines on how to promote your music in the digital world, go to Grow Your Sound.