Being a musician is tough – the struggle is real. You put your heart and soul into your music and put it out there, but you get little to no reaction. In short – no one gives a f&*k.
So you try to hit people up on Facebook or Instagram cuz all the gurus tell you to “promote your music on social media.”
But all your @ mentions and DM’s just end up annoying people.
What’s a rapper or singer to do? In this article we’ll try to help you find a way to get people to actually care about you and your music.
The Saturation Problem
So.. it’s 2018. Everyone’s a rapper and everyone’s online.
What’s that mean? It means there’s SO MUCH music out there that fans have become overwhelmed. To make things worse, the great equalizer that the internet was allowed a lot of sub-par music to get through.
I hear you – music is subjective. What’s good to me is bad to you and vice-versa. (For our purposes here, sub-par music means people that make music that lacks a lot of “quality signals” – sound, arrangement, production, lyrics, style, etc).
So let’s agree – there’s a lot of shitty music out there. And people have been hit up so much by random people that they ignore any and everyone who says “hey check out my music.”
So first things first – stop it. Don’t ever ever ever ever hit some random person up and ask them to check out your music.
If you do that, I promise you, you will LOSE a potential fan, not gain one.
How to Get People to Listen
It’s tricky. But to get people to actually listen to your music you have to make sure your music is available for them when they’re ready.
What’s that mean? It means we live in an on-demand culture.
People do things when they want to. And there will come a time when your potential audience wants to find some new music to vibe out to.
And when they do, you need to be ready. Not to DM them like a stalker when they’re in new music discovery mode – that’s not what I mean.
Put Your Music Everywhere
Being ready means having your music available everywhere people find new music.
First and foremost, make sure your music is on Spotify or Soundcloud. It’s great if you can get your music on a popular playlist, but that’s a topic for another article.
Next, make sure your music is on different music forums. If you go to Google and type in “new music forum + [genre]” where [genre] is the type of music you make, you’ll get a list of forums where music is shared.
Join these forums, interact with other people’s posts and check out other new music. Be genuine and give some love to the stuff you actually like.
Then post your own stuff.
It can be great to get your music on new music blogs (both big and small ones), but they’re bombarded with music every day so it’s tough. But you might as well reach out and see if you can get featured.
Why do this: the idea is to have your music accessible when people are actively searching for new stuff. These are the fans you want to cultivate – not the random person on Instagram who doesn’t give a damn.
It’s a slow process, and there’s not a great way to measure how effective it is because of how slow it can be.
Ideally here’s what happens: someone who loves music decides to look for new music, hits up a blog or Spotify playlist and finds your song. They like it and in turn end up telling their friends about it. Their friends like it and tell their friends about it.
And on and on.
Word of mouth is and always will be the best form of marketing – regardless of what the product is. When a trusted source (like a friend) recommends something, people are more likely to give it a chance.
You randomly telling someone you’re awesome has much less of an impact.
Collaborating with other artists is one of the best ways to gain new fans. Of course, the people you collaborate with should be serious musicians who also promote their music and take the craft seriously.
When you collaborate, you potentially get your music in front of people who will actually listen to it. Fans of an artist will listen to the song because an artist they like is on the song.
And if you’re dope, they’ll probably end up liking you and your music too.
That means NEW FANS.
These same people wouldn’t give you the time of day if you just started advertising your music directly to them on the internet.
Take Advantage of Every Opportunity Out There
There are tons of fan-building opportunities all around you – you just have to be on the lookout.
Are there open-mic night’s around your city you can perform at? Are there famous acts coming to your city you can open up for? Are there radio contests or shows where the DJs feature local/unsigned music?
There are tons of these opportunities around and they’re a great way to gain new fans.
People that go to open mic nights are usually searching for new music. Lots of local and even satellite radio stations offer up-and-coming artists a chance to showcase their music.
It’s just a matter of searching out the opportunities and going for them.
This form of marketing/promotion is a million times better than the spam you’ve been sending all day today.
The Big Takeaway
The main idea here is this – don’t try and force your music down someone’s throat who doesn’t give a f&$k. And unfortunately, that’s going to be 90% of people you try and push your music on.
Most people are busy and by interrupting them and trying to force your music on them, all you’re doing is annoying them and losing a fan for life.
Even if your music is great, they no longer care because you didn’t approach them in the right way.
And in all honesty, there is no right way.
That’s why it’s so important to get your music out there, available for people who are actively looking for new music.
This may be a small portion of people (let’s face it, most open mic nights are empty rooms), but even 1 new fan from these opportunities is priceless.
Because if you nurture the relationship with these fans, they’ll tell their friends about you. And if you just keep at it, this will eventually snowball into a large enough fan base that you can sustain your music career from.