There’s no shortage of artists, producers, singer-songwriters, DJs and bands who want to get their music heard. And if you’re reading this, you’re likely in a similar situation.
You might be working on an EP, building a remixing career or looking for a new musical collaborator. No matter the genre or specific musical role you’re drawn to, here are 5 tips to attract and grow an audience.
Find your edge
You might have heard music that made you go, “I could have done that.” But be wary of that feeling turning into, “I could do that.”
Instead, it’s important to find your own unique story to share.
After all, when you play your tracks to someone, you don’t really want to hear “Oh okay, you sound like…” as their first response. The audience you’re hoping to build will want to invest in you, to follow your journey and to feel part of the personal story that you’re building with your music.
- Read More: Getting Exposure For Your Music
Craft your story
When you’re beginning the process of trying to get your music heard, start by thinking about your narrative. To understand this, consider your favorite artist and the piece of their music you like the best.
- How was it made?
- Where was it made?
- What could it have felt like to be in the studio while it was made?
- How were the lyrics written?
- What was the artist going through at the time?
- How do they step back from the sounds of their previous album in order to make the new one?
- What was that artist doing in the two-year gap since the previous record?
The answers to these questions and many others are that artist’s story. And it’s as essential to the promotional narrative as the music itself.
Photos and videos that you share on social media can allow your fanbase to feel closer to you. A snapshot of your lyric-writing process or a photo with the writer you’re collaborating with adds a personal touch. If you’re collaborating, the fans of your collaborator will be attracted to your work, just as your work will help direct traffic to your co-writer’s work. The result: a larger fanbase for both of you.
- Read More: A Musician’s Guide To Self-Promotion
Play live shows
Firstly, what type of music are you making? If your music can be played live, preparing for live shows should be your first priority.
Rehearse until you can play your songs in your sleep. One thing which will set you apart is your ability to perform live well. Practise your songs so that you find new things in them that can be emphasized when you’re playing to an audience, taking the opportunity to make the live performances of your tracks different from the recorded versions. That way, your audience has a reason to come and see you live, rather than just play your records at home.
At your gigs, spread the word about forthcoming shows. Try to build a database of your fans. Encourage them to follow you on social media. Make sure that when your set is finished, you’re available to your audience. Stick around, get to know your fans, ask them questions. This will help them feel more connected to you.
But be careful with what you post online. It’s valuable to show the range of your interests and to offer an insight into your personality. However, sharing anything badly worded or poorly considered will cost you your fanbase very quickly. Don’t pick fights online – keep your messaging positive.
Build a website
As we’ve already discussed, the advantages of social media are clear. You get to build a narrative around your project with words, photos and videos. The main problem with social media – especially with YouTube – is that most content consumers are restless.
Much as we would love our audiences to subscribe to our channels and watch our content from one video to the next, the reality is that the draw of related content on the same page makes it all too easy for someone to ‘click away’ from your content to something else.
One way around this is to build a website. Collate all of the content you’ve got on the web in one place, via services like Squarespace and Wix. Hosting a site needn’t cost the world. It needn’t be complicated, either. Many sites are now happy to run as ‘aggregators’, pulling your resources in from elsewhere, such as your SoundCloud, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook feeds.
- Read More: Connect Your Social Media On BandLab
That said, websites only work well if they’re regularly updated. There’s got to be a reason for your fans to come back and visit your site repeatedly. Maybe try to update your site with a social media or ‘newsletter’-style post. Once a month, use your site to push your story with a new blog post or video. If your audience knows that they’re getting new content every couple of weeks, they’ll spread the word.
It’s important to cast your net, build new relationships, and get your music heard by people not directly within your musical orbit.
We’ve already discussed the huge advantages that can come from musical collaboration. There’s no reason your collaborations should stop with like-minded musicians. Try to find other creatives who might benefit from knowing your music is out there.
Forming meaningful relationships with artists in all kinds of creative spheres is incredibly valuable. Catching people on the way up their own career ladders means you’re not trying to break into a working relationship that might already have been forged between established career professionals.
Getting your music heard takes time
To summarize, building a fanbase takes time, patience and skill. It starts with having great, original music and it develops from that point with you telling the story of how you make that music. Exactly how you do this depends on the type of music you make, but the media at your disposal are widely available. Through words, pictures and videos, you can create a compelling narrative that can build an ever-growing audience.
Widen the potential reach of your work by collaborating with others both in music and beyond. Begin to make a name for yourself in as many creative areas as possible. Identify those whose work you like and reach out to them – what’s the worst that can happen? Play your music live as much as possible and do this to the very best of your ability. Find ways to make your live set one that people will flock to in ever-greater numbers.
Mostly, be an entrepreneur and think of as many creative ways as possible to get your music heard. You worked hard to build an original collection of tracks, so work similarly hard to get it the audience it deserves.
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Read More: How To Brand Yourself As A Music Artist