If you are still with me after my last monster posts, you now understand development, preparation and distribution. You found the right distribution partner and you have the songs ready to go. How do you launch your music and not have it disappear into the abyss? And....how do you get noticed by the streaming services and get some playlist action?
Lets make sure we first understand the connection between your socials and the DSPs.
Once you have done this, you can see where your music is being played, how many times, what playlists you are on etc. In the case of Spotify you can also submit your songs for playlists.
As you can see, in order to sign up you have to prove that you are actually really the artist who is claiming the page, and you have to enter your socials into the system. This is your first clue to how much the AI (artificial intelligence) of these systems weigh in your engagement and presence online.
Basically, especially Spotify uses AI and machine learning to discover and act on insights from external data and user behavior, preserving its place as one of the most popular music streaming sites on the web. What this means is that if you are putting out your first single, and have never had any streams on anything else, your name does not pop up anywhere on the internet, you don't have blogs or an active social media it is almost impossible to get on a playlist, no matter how good you are!
For my label, I have started a 3 month rebranding program for all my artists, to make sure their socials, internet presence and activity is going up drastically before we even release a single, to make sure we create the best digital landscape for the artist. If an artist is not able to do this, I won’t work with them. Sounds harsh but I have seen the artists that I really believed in fail because of their unwillingness to do socials. The music industry is hard, touring is hard, if you can’t commit to doing a few posts a week and engaging your fans, try to convince anyone in the industry that you are actually able to do the hard stuff. On another note, the same thing goes for artists unwilling to play. If you can‘t play your own songs on a piano or guitar or avoid to ask an accompanist so you don’t have to play a show it’s not gonna work. I have plenty of examples of artists who won‘t do socials and won‘t play but the summary is, none of them still do music.
Obviously, this is up to you, but if you don't want to put in the time to constantly post to your socials, grow engagement, be present in the digital and the real world, it will be very hard for you to be noticed by the machine before you will be noticed by people.
So, here are my 5 tips to up your game!
This is not all about if the AI can find your name on the internet, the real reason why we make music is to make sure as many people hear it. If you want to be heard, you have to actively reach out to fans and make sure that people who don't know you, can also hear your music. This is now mainly done through socials, if you play a show, you advertise on facebook, insta, TikTok, you can even pay for a short add and make sure more people who are not in your social circle will know about it. Your socials are you first step to connecting with an audience and eventually connecting with moderators from playlists.
If you want to know more about artist branding, check out this article.
The minimal amount of engagement from you to your fans should be post 3 times a week, and each day, add to your stories. You can link your accounts if you really don't want to do this or you are having a hard time, but make sure you engage, talk to your fans, ask questions. If you post a picture and the caption is: "Hard Work" I can almost guarentee you that there will be minimal to zero engagement. If you however post "What have you been up to today? I've been busy in the studio." you will probably get some responses.
There are several music festivals around the world where the reps from Apple, Spotify, Deezer etc label services will do masterclasses and seminars. Music Bizz, Eurosonic, ADE etc. At those festival you will also find like minded individuals, third party playlist moderators etc. Create personal relationship. Now, one really important thing about relationships, don't run them dry, don't email every 3 days, follow up every week, ask for favors. These are of course the obvious relationships you are looking for , but don't forget to meet your peers. It would be great to find artists who you can feature with, write with, etc. There are other ways to get to the top so be open to who you meet. Someone once gave me the best advices ever, it was to surround yourself with 3 kinds of people, peers, people who aspire to be like you and people you strive to be like.
3.Think outside the box.
There are more options than being on a Spotify moderated playlist.
There are AI generated playlists, created by DSP's based on location, fan engagement, etc. There are Third party playlists, yoga playlists by companies such as Yoga Girl, even brands like Coke, Nike have playlists, and last but not least there are user generate playlists. Made by your fans, or followers.
Targeting those playlists be researching who moderates them will help you slowly move up the charts, encouraging your fans and friends to add you to their playlists, etc.
This also again applies to booking shows, getting more PR, gaining more followers. Look outside of the box. For instance, do you want to be featured in Billboard Magazine? Sending them an email will probably not do anything, however, researching who writes for them and also writes for smaller blogs, target those blogs, get in touch with the journalist and have him or her become familiar with your music. You might eventually end up in Billboard, or not, but it sure gets your someplace else instead of sitting around waiting for the one big thing you want.
So, you released a single, 2 months later another single, 6 months later another single. If you are wondering why the numbers haven't picked up, it's because you haven't given the fans something to follow up with consistently. When you gain a new fan, they want to hear more stuff, they want new stuff. Having people sit around and wait for you is not an ideal situation. It's better to release something every 6 or 8 weeks for a whole year, even though the first 3 or 4 songs might not get the noise you want them to have, they were needed to create the motion for the others. So don't wait for people to ask you for new music, always be a step ahead. Same thing goes for your socials, if you post 3 times a week for a while and suddenly you stop, you will see your numbers dramatically drop and when you decided to pick it back up it's like you're starting all over again from scratch. Being consistent will actually safe you a lot of time and trouble, by creating a habit for yourself you are also creating a solid fanbase and an expectation on what you can give them. Check out this life hack on how to make a habit stick.
“I think that I had a luxury and a privilege to be able to sleep on the floor of my drummer’s house, to be able to sleep in a car my sister gave me, to be able to sleep at the studio where my rock band performed, to be able to sneak into 24 Hour fitness and use the showers there.”
Lizzo, Prince, Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Ed Sheeran. None of these roads were easy, none of these careers came without sacrifice. They all needed a ton of believing in their music and strength to become the super hero they eventually became.
I know this article is about marketing, and you need PR, playlists, attention from radio, the industry, all eyes on you. But none of that will happen without believing in yourself.
Here is a little personal story from my side as a producer. I have often worked with artists who I believed in more than they believed in themselves. I found myself find band members for them, think of photoshoots and video shoots, come up with social media strategies, but at the end of the day, it was an uneven balance, and it created the expectation for the artist that they could only do things with a team, and the lack of a team became an excuse for their lack of success, eventually they saw me as the reason why it didn't work out. Like I said in the very first article, you need to find you team, you need to know what tasks need to happen to make it work and you need to be the captain of your own ship.
These blog posts are not step by step instructions on how to get PR, and playlists, it's about finding a different angle to look at those things and creating new opportunities for yourself. Your socials, relationships, out of the box thinking, consistency topped off with a dose of believing in yourself will get you into any door.
If you have any questions you would like me to handle in future blog posts, let me know.
If you need some 1 on 1 consulting, give me a shout!
get in touch!