How to promote music effectively

Well I recently had a conversation with an artist who I’m working. He was asking me about some promotion tactics and ideas on how to promote music, and I thought I would go ahead and write an article about it. It’s as simple as this, without promotion, you are non existent because no one will know about you or your talents, simple as that. Even if you had a Dr. Dre beat, with Lil Wayne and the Rza on the track, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t promote your music you WON’T get anywhere no matter how talented or how good your song is. Record labels have big budgets dedicated to promotion and experts who know how to promote music. Examples, when you turn on the TV and hear interviews and watch their videos, that’s promotion. The radio wasn't meant for your entertainment. It’s a promotional tool because they radio stations get paid to play the same songs over and over. It’s a little bit harder for an indie to compete, but there are ways that they standout from the rest of the competition and ways of promoting music effectively...

Create entertaining videos
There is no one way to do this and there is no formula to this either. Pretty much, make a video that entertains people, share it on social networks and forums etc and hopefully people will share that video. Perfect example of a viral video is the OK Go Treadmill video. It’s a low budget video of guys doing a choreographed routine on treadmills. The video has almost 8 million views on you tube. Why? Simple, because it’s different and entertaining. Another example of an artist having videos go viral is Lil B from the Pack. Each one of his videos have easily over a million views and this has helped him get a ridiculous buzz to the point where even celebrities such as Hugh Hefner following him on tweeter. Sounds crazy right? It’s doable and you could be next to creating that great video everyone loves.

Get a Face book fan page
This helps because you have more features to wok with compared to a regular face book page. Also it helps you keep track of statistics for your music and you can make it your homepage too.

Join online communities that are in your niche market.
Don’t just stick to Face book, MySpace and Twitter. There are tons of other online communities that you can link up with fans who want to hear your music. Examples include reverb nation, last fm, rhapsody etc You just have to find them a joint at least about 5 or so. However, remember to keep them all updated. There is nothing more annoying than an artist telling you to check out their new music, when it’s old and you have already heard it.

Post on forums
Posting on forums helps get your name out there too, and finding niche forums that are dedicated to your genre helps a lot too. Post tracks there but remember to follow forum rules other wise you will be banned. Also before you post your music, observe the community a bit, to see what kind of responses people are giving. If you see that everyone who posts their music is hated on, then you are wasting your time posting on that forum.

Have a street team
This is self explanatory. Have people help you pass out fliers, cds, promotional material or whatever.

Make a personal connection with fans
The internet has helped to make a closer connection with people who are like minded and has helped artists get a closer connection with their fans. Back in the day, it was near impossible to even contact, talk or see how an artist daily routine etc. Artist who have used social media to make a more personal connection with their fans include Kanye, Joe Budden, Fabulous and Mac Miller. Observe what they were doing and add your own twist to it. You could start you own daily video blog (has to be relevant to your music, not posting videos of you going to Wal-Mart to get some detergent), write a blog, post videos of studio sessions etc

Stop tweeting about irrelevant stuff
I’ve seen multiple people tweeting about taking a number two in the toilet or that they are doing laundry...How this is entertaining or makes you closer to somebody, whom followed you because you said you had MUSIC related updates, is beyond me. Yes it okay to tweet about funny off topic stuff at times, but some people just go overboard and you don’t want to be tagged as a nonsense twitter.

Give out free music
Giving out free music is a great way to promote too. If you decide to give out all your music for free, you have to be doing live shows to generate revenue through tickets sells, merchandise and new unheard music that is exclusive for the show goers etc. This could or might not work because there is no guarantee that you will have a full house every show. Also giving out all your music for free might have a negative impact. If people are used to getting music for free from you, why would they start paying?

Internet radio
Internet radio stations are always looking for new music. Approach them and see if they will give you some spins.

College radio stations
This is a best kept secret by most successful independent artist on the come up that they don’t want the rest of the competition to know. Getting on a college radio station is great promotion. You will be getting your music played for free; to an audience who are old enough to go to your shows if you perform in nightclubs etc Famous artist such as Ghostface Killah and Talib Kweli have even been using this method for years.

Ask yourself this, are you promoting to the right people?
For example, I've had multiple beat makers use paid advertisement saying oh I've seen you on twitter that you were looking for beats so I sent you an email. Firstly I’m a producer myself and why would I be tweeting that I need beats? This is a waste of time and money because the message is going to the wrong person and the wrong audience.

If you are on social networks, read a person's profile at least before you start promoting. I've seen, especially on sound click, rappers going on other rappers profiles, saying check out my music, I got the hottest song online, I’m he dopest mc you will ever hear etc To be honest, why would another rapper care for your music, when you are direct competition to them? They WONT buy your music and this also gives them a perfect chance to hate on your music even if its good.9/10 of these rappers you promote to, will leave a negative comment on your profile, so a by passer might read them and actually think you indeed your music is horrible and wont bother to give your music a chance. Another example, a fan writes that they like country and electronic music on their profile. Not to say people can’t listen to multiple genres, but wouldn't it make sense to try and target people who like your genre first?

Bottom line is that you have to find ways to make yourself stand out from everyone else. That’s the best promotion tool you have as an artist.