By Tom Hess
Are you trying to find the best way to promote your music and gain a huge following of fans? This is a major concern for the majority of musicians; both for those who are just starting their music careers and for those who have been in the music business for a long time. There is no doubt that having a major following of fans for your music is crucial to big and long lasting success in the music industry.
However, the truth is that there is no all encompassing answer on the topic of how to promote your music. This is because you or the band you are playing in are likely facing many unique challenges that would need to be overcome before you could gain more fans and effectively promote your music. The good news is, whether you are just starting in the music business or are a seasoned pro, being able to get more music fans and promote your music really comes down to reaching the following three goals:
1. You have to get more people to check out your music.
2. You need the people who check out your music to give you some kind of support (either by buying your music, coming out to your shows, purchasing products your release, etc.)
3. You need to turn your fans into FANATICS to where they will tell others (on their own) about how great you and your music are.
No matter what it is that you are trying to achieve in the music business, the three goals mentioned above will apply to anything you do as long as you are trying to develop a strong relationship with your fans.
These goals may all seem to be separate from one another; however, they are in fact all connected. Once you are able to achieve success with any single one of them, you will greatly improve your chances for success with any of the others. As soon as you truly ‘get’ this basic truth, you will find it much easier to be productive in your efforts.
In order to achieve great success as you promote you music to your fans, you must learn how to think in a strategic manner rather than just taking inconsistent and isolated actions (a mistake that most musicians and bands make). Instead of trying to find a general formula that you can apply to help you get more fans for your music, you need to begin thinking in the same manner as most professional musicians. While training other musicians to succeed in their music careers, I help them understand how to find creative ideas that they can apply in their own music career in order to quickly gain more music fans. Once you gain the ability to think this way in your own music career, it will become much easier for you to overcome any obstacles that stand in the way of your promotional efforts.
To illustrate what I mean and give you various steps (that you can take right now to get more music fans), here are some quick and easy things you can do to accomplish all three of the music promotion goals mentioned above.
However, before I discuss this in more detail, you will be able to get much more benefit from reading this article if you take the time (right now) to assess your current understanding of how to attract music fans. Take this free test on how to promote a music career now before you read the following sections of this article. Open a separate tab in your browser now, finish the assessment and then come back when you are done.
Now that you have measured your current music promotion abilities, I am going to show you a few ways to promote your music. While you are reading, try to think creatively and focus on the ‘style’ of thinking that makes up the foundation for these ideas rather than just the ideas themselves. This will help you to better understand what makes them effective and how you can use them in your own music career.
Promoting Your Music Objective: Get more people to hear your music
Solution #1: Release music with other musicians on a compilation album. While releasing a compilation record with other artists, you not only release your own music, but the songs of others. This is important because once you do this you are able to promote your music to both your fans AND the fans of every other musician on the record. Remember, your main objective here is not necessarily to make a lot of money; but to utilize the album as an inexpensive tool for gaining much more exposure to new fans than what you would gain on your own. Later on, you can get maximum leverage out of this by promoting your own records, products or merchandise to your new extended network of fans. This idea of using one action to produce MANY benefits is one of the many success strategies that I train musicians to use in my Music Careers Mentoring Program.
Solution #2: Work together with other musicians locally. Instead of considering other local musicians to be your competition (for gaining more fans), work together with local musical artists of a similar genre to help you gain access to larger amount of fans who are interested in hearing and seeing you play music. One method for achieving this is to work with another band to perform at the same venue in an effort to bring together the fan base of both bands. By doing this, you will not only improve your relationship with the owner of the venue (because you are bringing in more people), but you will have the opportunity to advertise your music to the other band’s fan base (and them to yours). This idea is very fundamental, but in reality not many bands take initiative to actually go out and do it. On top of that, many bands make the mistake of sharing the venue with other bands who are not in their target market, or with bands who do not make a strong effort to attract their fans to the venue (thus taking away the mutual benefit). One example of pulling this idea off (which is fairly common in the music business) is when a band with a small following becomes and opening act for a much larger band. However, if you cannot find a highly successful band to open for you can still achieve this; you will need to simply find a band that contains musicians who have enough ambition to take ACTION and implement this strategy.
Promoting Your Music Objective: Get your fans to take the next step
Solution #1: Make sure that people have incentive to both be a fan of your music AND purchase your music. Those who have mastered the ability to successfully promote music find ways to get their fan base to buy their music as opposed to downloading it online for free. Additionally, they are able to take an average listener and turn him/her into a loyal fan. A great way to do this is to offer something special to people who actually BUY your music (that cannot be obtained by simply downloading it for free). To effectively do this, it is important that whatever you are offering cannot be easily reproduced through digital media. This could include things such as VIP passes to your concerts, merchandise or other creative and unique items. The main thing to get out this idea is that you can implement a single strategy to achieve good music promotion while also developing a stronger relationship between you and your fans.
Solution #2: Become familiar with your current fan base. It is easy to successfully promote yourself as a musician when you can put yourself out there to those who already give you their support whenever you pursue new projects in your musical career. Most musicians think that their biggest problem is a lack of music fans, when in fact, they simply do not know who their real fans are and how to get in touch with them. Instead of contacting these specific fans, a lot of musicians focus their efforts on the general public. The truth is, this approach can work; however, promoting your music in this manner will cost a great deal of money and time. To dramatically cut down on your costs with regards to money, energy and time; make your musical promotion more effective by finding an easy way to stay in touch with your fan base at all times.
Promoting Your Music Objective: Changing Casual Music Fans Into True Fanatics
Solution #1: Create unique events around your music that encourages your fans to interact with you in ways other than just listening to your songs or coming to your shows. There exist many different ways to do this (limited only by your personal creativity); however, no matter what you do, your main goal should always be to expand upon the relationship you have with your fans in order to close the gap between you are your fans.
Solution #2: Reward your greatest fans with unique items and attention that casual fans do not have access to. This can easily be tied together with the point made in solution #1 above or as an independent idea on its own. If you want the fans of your music to take initiative in a specific way (such as spreading your band’s reputation or music to their friends), think of things that you can offer to them that will really get them enthusiastic about what is going on beyond your music. When you do this, offer something that really helps to spread your band’s image as opposed to merely offering cash or “free t-shirts”. Go the extra mile to really offer your most loyal music fans something special.
As you have read, once you take a more detailed approach to understanding specifically what it is that you want to do when it comes to “gaining more music fans”, it’s a lot easier to understand specifically which action steps you must perform to make this happen. The majority of musicians only think about improving their music while trying to appeal to the general public, but doing this is only one aspect of musical promotion. Of course, your music is important; however there are aspects of your music career that you must work on in order to effectively get more fans for your music. As soon as you begin focusing on these aspects, you will start to gain much greater results in your music promotion efforts.
Start getting more fans of your music career by assessing your current promotional skills in this free assessment on how to promote a music career.
About The Author:
Tom Hess is an electric guitar teacher online and a music career mentor. He plays guitar and tours with the band Rhapsody Of Fire. Tom also trains musicians on how to succeed in the music business. On his professional musician website tomhess.net you can read many more articles about making a living with a music career.