Updated: Apr 18, 2019
The release date of your new music should not be the day you begin promoting.
Waiting until your music is released to start promoting is way too late. Effective music promotion starts months before it’s due to be released.
A solid pre-release campaign can build excitement for your release, grow your audience, and turn casual listeners into real fans.
But where do you even start? And more importantly, how do you make it work while still having time to finish your music?
Here’s five tips to help you get the most out of your promotion efforts during the time leading up to your release.
Set Your Release Date!
Whether your music is finished or not, you need to set your release date.
Setting a release date has tons of benefits, like helping you decide how to manage your time.
Once your music is mixed and mastered, use digital distribution to set a custom release date for your project on all major streaming platforms including Spotify and Apple Music.
1. Find the story behind your new music and tell it
Every album, every song, every chord has a story inside it. Your promotion efforts should tell it.
Figure out what’s interesting and unique about your new music and tell your story in the lead up to your release.
To figure out your story, ask yourself:
What inspired me to write my music?
Did I write this body of work because I experienced something significant in my life?
Where was I when I wrote and recorded it?
What are the ideas and emotions behind my music?
These are all good questions to get you thinking about the story behind your new music.
At the end of the day, your music should speak for itself. But telling your story keeps your promotional personal and genuine.
2. Have a new bio and press release written and ready to go
You’ll need to have an up-to-date music bio and press release written and ready to send to venues, blogs, press outlets or playlist curators.
It’s important to finish your bio before your music comes out and not after.
Why? Because whether you’re pitching to radio or your local newspaper, all music media outlets plan features and promotions months in advance.
Here’s some stuff you’ll want to make sure gets included in your press release:
An announcement of your release (link out to where the music can be streamed)
Short band bio (if you are in a band)
3. Create a list of press contacts, peer, radio and bloggers
Okay, now you’ve got a narrative around your new music along with a great bio and press release to go along with it. Who are you going to reach out to?
You can spend a lot of time and money answering these questions. PR campaigns can be a lot of work. They are not cheap either-especially when you get someone else to do it. Crazy thing is you can promote your release yourself- and probably should. If you have the the right strategy, hard work and time you're good to go.
To get the most out of your promotion efforts, put a list together of everyone you want to pitch your new music to long before your release date.
This can be radio hosts, blogs, magazines, playlist curators, or even other bands that you’d like to cross-promote with.
Give yourself a few months to start the process. This will ensure there’s plenty of time for pitching, follow-up and other correspondence.
Response times and availabilities from the people you reach out to can really vary, so give yourself plenty of time to manage your promotion efforts.
Use your time to create real interactions with the people you’re speaking to. Don’t rely on cold calls or bulk emails. Try to reach out to a more manageable list and create real connections.
4. Update your website, mailing list and social media accounts
This one should be obvious, but it really is important when promoting new music.
Your fans are able to reach your music from so many different directions and sources.
You want to make sure these sources are all up to date way ahead of your release. Draft new announcements for your social media bios before your release date.
Make sure everything, and I mean everything about your band or music online is up to date.
This can and should include your:
Spotify artist page
Facebook artist page
And all the other places your listeners can learn more about you and your music
Make sure all of your online information is updated. This gives your fans the best chance to learn about your new music no matter how they listen to or follow your music.
5. Your music’s story and visual elements should match up
You must have appealing video, photos, images and even color schemes as part of the lead up to releasing.
They help to reinforce your story and build momentum during your lead-up time.
The visual element of an artist’s music has become more important than ever in the current music industry.
I'm independent artist and having all my gears going in the same direction can be overwhelming. But I can tell you knowing the story behind your music will help you come up with a great visual element for your music promotion.
Think posters, banners, merch, profiles, website design and what you post on your social media profiles.
Musiclobal has created a great tool in Musilytics to help and advice you on what your posts should be for most engagement. This would come in handy during your promotion to know what is working and what's not so you can change your strategy if you need to.
Simple posts, like your new tracks playing in your studio, a quick live jam, photos of your process or anything else that’s part of your new release are all simple ways to build momentum behind your go live date!
Documenting and sharing your process is one of the most personal and engaging ways to share your music. So try to tell your story with your visuals as well.
Steady Wins the Race
Its goes without saying, the lead up to your release takes quite a bit of planning—something musicians aren’t always known for…
But with the right patience and focus, taking care of these 5 "should do's" of promoting a new release will put you ahead of the curve for your next release.
In the end, your music will always speak for itself. But using your lead up time in smart ways will put in more ears to begin with.