How to market music in a digital world audio

In this episode, I’m going to discuss how to market music in a digital world. Music has been around for thousands of years, and has been a way to bring people together in a unique way. It’s almost like another language. Music has changed over the centuries, with the types of instruments that were used, or the way that people presented the music. Whether in an orchestra, a rock band, or just a solo artist, it has changed dramatically. The evolution from phonograph to vinyl record, cassette tapes, CDs, and ending with MP3’s dominating the market with digital streaming was inevitable. Ever since the internet was invented and the technology behind music caught up, it has caused a paradigm shift in the way people consume music, listen to music, as well as produce and promote their music. This episode is timely considering many family and friends of mine are in the midst of promoting their music. So tune in to get some tips on how to make your music stand out from the rest.

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Here’s the transcript from this podcast episode, please excuse any typos!

So let’s talk about the actual product, the physical product of the music. A lot of people are now going back to the old ways of printing vinyl because it’s a physical, tangible product. And people nowadays like that nostalgia that comes with the artwork of the vinyl record and the sound of the vinyl record, which people argue is the best. But we can’t forget that digital streaming, Spotify, Pandora, iTunes, YouTube, and so on and so forth. Even Tik Tok has made music consumed via digital streaming platforms, way more than any other medium and so, the misconception that artists usually forget about or they or they fall into this trap is that the product they’re selling isn’t just the music. It’s also themselves.

So the first tip I would give to musicians out there listening to this or watching this video is to put yourself out there as the artists who created the music, meaning maybe shoot some short clips of yourself making a song or working on a new Lyric, or doing a couple of guitar riffs or a couple of keyboard sounds and talking about how you make the song show the different layers in the song like the percussion, the keyboard, the guitar, the vocals, show how you put it together in your sound editing program. People love to learn, right that’s one of the biggest things about especially tick tock. It’s a very visual entertainment informative platform. So if you can show 32nd clips or one minute clips of a song, people are going to follow you. And guess what when they follow you, they’re going to probably click on your link to your website. And when they do that, they’ll probably buy your music. Now of course you’re competing with a lot of people out there who are also doing the same thing. So quality is super important. This means the video quality, the sound quality, the lighting quality, even the editing quality, you really have to stand out from the crowds. So just sitting in front of a camera playing a couple of guitar tunes might not quite catch the crowd’s attention. But if you do some quick clips of showing, you know this instrument that instrument on the computer editing and like really kind of do a voiceover narrative as to what you’re doing or how you do it maybe on screen or off screen.

People’s attention spans need that quick kind of, you know, editing style. So definitely look into that kind of presentation when you’re posting these videos. Now the next thing is the right places for touring and things like that, because it’s no secret that musicians are not making a lot of money on streaming platforms nowadays. They sell merchandise and they do tours. So you have to prepare. This is kind of a pathway to playing out as often as possible, getting paid to play out as often as possible. And always have your merchandise ready. CDs, records, T-shirts, stickers, whatever you can make that people that listen to music like to bring it with you to your events, and sell sell sell because that’s where the majority of your income is gonna come from merchandise and touring. So how do you do this? I mean, it’s not the easiest thing in the world. I mean, obviously you have graphic design, you have physical product creation. There’s a lot of one stop shops, like CD Baby and whatnot online that you can find. You can also do it yourself a lot cheaper. There’s a lot of companies where you can get CDs made for like 99 cents apiece, including the jacket, you just have to have a little bit of graphic design capabilities. And T-shirts are pretty easy to make. I mean the one I’m wearing in this podcast I made for 10 bucks on some website so you can make sure it’s probably even cheaper than that. And then sell them for 20 bucks. People will be happy to support you. But every single sale you make is how you get to the next level because now you have fans and the fans are going to be posting pictures of your stuff online. When you go on a tour or when you go to a bar or a restaurant or a venue anywhere that you’re performing.

Post raffles tell people post pictures of our merchandise or US performing videos of us performing on various platforms tag us and we will pick a random tag a random person who tagged us and we will send you a swag bag in the mail or we will contact you via DM and send you an Amazon gift card whatever it is that you have to do to get people’s attention. People love free stuff and they like supporting music and artists. So I mentioned Spotify, Pandora, iTunes and the like. And those are super important that you definitely have to get onto them and that’s a whole nother process. So you definitely have to learn everything there is about Spotify, Pandora, iTunes and other platforms. I would say it’s an all in approach. So get your music on SoundCloud. Get your music on YouTube, get your music on every single free or paid platform that you can find. Get your music out there. And then you have to saturate the internet with a press release about your new album that just came out.

You have to make music videos for your music. I know that’s hard to do. But you have to find local videographers, students, friends, anybody who can help you make a music video for your songs. Because let’s not forget when MTV really came out and Video Killed the Radio Star, right? That was the big song that kind of really promoted MTV and what they were going to be all about music television.

You have to make music videos because people are visual nowadays. sure they’d like music they like listening to it. But if they can see a video to visualize what kind of ideas you had behind the song, the meaning of the song, they will connect with it. They will share that video. Think about it. Whenever you hear people going viral on YouTube it’s not the song that went viral. It’s the video that went viral. People were sharing 50 billion views on this video or whatever. People like to watch stuff. So be creative. Make your video stand out. Post it on every single video platform along with every single music platform. It goes hand in hand you got to do books that we talked about platforms and music videos and merchandise and graphics for your for your artwork for your albums and whatnot. Everything that you create, you should be putting it into what’s called a press kit. So you need to have your biography, your band’s biography, every member’s biography. You need to have your artwork, your graphics, your videos, your songs, everything that you’ve created around the band, the story of how the band was created, or how the music was created, or how you as a solo artist came to be that needs to be in a very well put package, a PDF of sorts that you can send around to journalists, for music bloggers, to write your story and tell the world about what you’re doing. This is how you really break out is getting talked about getting it posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram everywhere, getting people to talk about you, write about you, and how your music is unique because that’s important too. If you’re just another one of the middle band or artists who’s playing the same type of music and your originals are really not that original. Well then you’re not going to get talked about. So unfortunately, that part I can’t help you with but you have to focus on being unique. So make sure everything you do is your artwork, your music, your videos, everything. It’s super, super, super original. That’s how you’re gonna get noticed. Okay, so now that you have everything figured out and situated, now comes the hard part.

You engage with your fans and your followers. This is super time consuming. So you should probably find a social media manager somebody who knows your band inside and out. A producer of sorts, questions, posts or direct messages to people who are asking questions, answering questions about tour dates or merchandise or when the next album is coming out, when the next song is coming out. places they can see the band perform. You need to be engaging with people on social media especially and posting on a daily basis. You may have to also if you’re not getting the results you’re looking for, you may have to also tap into paid ads. This is a whole nother level of promotions. You have to pay Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok Facebook YouTube to post short video ads because you definitely want to go with video nowadays, especially in 2022 video is King posting short video clips may be showing like a behind the scenes of the band kind of on tour or behind the scenes of the band how they came up for the song, working in the studio, creating the graphics to help people love the underdog behind the scenes stories. They love that stuff.

So posting that as like an ad and then putting their music in the background playing so people get excited about what they’re hearing and watching. That’s how you do it right and you have to do those paid ads, see which ones perform well and then double down on those and keep on going like that. Now let’s say about 25 years ago I was a music producer in the 90s that I started my own music entertainment company I was hosting events and producing music, and I kept doing it until today even for 25 years and I’ve seen it change dramatically to the point where back then I was making music more for the radio or for clubs, or for DJs to play out at events. And then later on I started noticing it’s shifting digitally and people just taking a thumb drive with a laptop and performing music everywhere. Now we’re in the era of social media, whether we like it or not, we’re in the digital era. So you really have to create your brand, not even just your music, your brand to be all about social media. And it’s sad to say that I understand that because I am a tangible person. I’m a static person. I prefer the vinyl to CDs, the tapes, the mixers and like everything that we used to have that was handheld, but nowadays, it’s all digital. So you have to think about it. Like how can I get my music out to this social media crowd? Well, you tap into the social media crowd.

There are music content creators, there are music influencers, bloggers, journalists, fans, followers, ask them to feature your music in their next video because a lot of people do dances or they talk about songs or structure or new unique original albums have them feature in their videos if you have to pay them great or maybe give them free merchandise say hey, if you can feature my music in your next video that has, you know, maybe they have a million followers on Tiktok or something. Send them a swag bag t-shirt DVD of your outtakes CD of your music or vinyl record some stickers, send them whatever you have to be featured. You’re basically paying the money you spent for that merchandise as a tool. It’s a marketing tool. You should be giving it away for free to as many people as possible. Now I understand you want to make money off of that and you will from the people that are listening to their videos or watching their videos but you have to pay to play so use your merchandise as a tool as another paid ad of sorts or just pay the money. A lot of people just want to get paid 50 bucks, 100 bucks or whatever it is to feature something in their videos by using their platforms to promote your music. You’re gonna get a lot further a lot quicker. Well, I hope this helps you if you’re a musician out there or a band and you’re trying to get your music out there. If you have any other ideas, tips or suggestions feel free to leave them in the comments. I always listen and always answer as quickly as I can. As always, I’ll see you in the next episode.



Jason Sherman