Have you ever wondered the following?: “How can I gain more fans for my music?” “What do I need to do to promote my music as a BIG level?” “Where should I go to promote my music for maximum exposure?” These are all common questions I get asked by musicians on a frequent basis. In order to achieve great success in your music career, you ‘will’ need to build a fan base of people who are dedicated to your music and musical activities.
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:
- You need your music to be heard by more people.
- Once someone listens to your music, you need them to help support you in some manner (buying your albums, watching you live, purchasing any merchandise,
- You need to transform your fans into totally fanatics who will use word of mouth to tell all their friends about you and your music.
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.
Even though these goals are separate from one another as specific achievements, they are all connected together. Once you are able to reach success with one of them, your potential to achieve the others with increase greatly. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you can make progress to take your music career in the direction you want.
To successfully promote your music to more fans, you must begin to think in a creative and strategic manner rather than simply taking random isolated actions (most bands make this mistake continuously). In other words, instead of looking for a general, all encompassing formula that you can copy to get more fans, you must train yourself to think like a successful professional musician. When I train musicians in my music careers development program, I show them how to creatively come up with ideas to get more music fans in a way that relates to their own specific music career. When you understand how to think in this manner it will be much less difficult to effectively promote your music.
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 assessment to measure your music career promotion skills first before you finish 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.
Music Promotion Action Step: Get more people to listen to your music.
Join other musicians in participating in a compilation CD. After you have released a compilation album, you have achieved a couple of important things. First, you have successfully produced a record that contains your own music. Second, not only have you gained a tool to promote yourself to your fans, but you have gained a tool that potentially promotes you to every other musician’s fans on the album (with no additional effort on your part). Remember, the goal of this is not to make money directly, but rather to use the album as a very inexpensive tool to promote your music (and the music of the other musicians) to more people on a larger scale. You can also apply this idea as a way to leverage your own album releases and products to a bigger list of fans. The idea of “leverage” (using one action to gain multiple benefits) is absolutely critical if you want to achieve a high level of success in your music career. This is something I help members in my Music Careers Mentoring Program develop and refine.
Team up with the other musicians in your local area. Many musicians make the mistake of considering all other local musicians as “competition” rather than a great opportunity for leverage. Instead of doing this, work together with one or more bands in your area (with a similar style to yours) to get more fans to see you play and listen to your music. One idea to help you do this is to set up a performance with you and one or more bands at a specific club/venue in a combined effort to bring in as many fans as you can. By doing this, you will not only build rapport with the owner of the place you are playing at (because you’ll be bringing in more business), but you will gain the chance to promote your music to the fans of other bands. This idea may seem like common sense, but you’d surprised at how many bands never think about this (or actually go through with it). Additionally, a lot of bands do not get much out of this idea because they play with bands who are of a totally different musical style or work together with bands who do not put out a good effort to promote the show to their fans…and the main benefits they seek to gain out of the performance are lost. If you are collaborating with a band who is not putting out much effort to contact and attract their fans, simply don’t play with them. A popular example of this idea is how smaller bands will approach bigger bands and request to perform as an opening act. However, it is not necessary to find a highly successful band to make this work – simply look for musicians who are dedicated, ambitious and willing to take action.
Music Promotion Action Step: Get your fans to take the next step
Give people a good reason to become your fan AND purchase your music. People who are successful with their music promotion efforts understand how to get their fan base to purchase their music rather than download it (without paying) while also making them into loyal, returning customers. One way to do this for yourself is to create a valuable incentive that can only be attained by the people who actually buy your music. In order to effectively do this, you should create something that is not easy to reproduce digitally. For example, some kind of merchandise item, a backstage pass, a special event ticket, etc (that is only available once the fan can prove to you that he or she purchased your music) are some great methods for achieving both of these goals at the same time. The point here is to get your to understand the idea of using one method of music promotion to accomplish multiple goals at the same time and bring you closer to your fans.
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.
Music Promotion Action Step: Transform your current fans into FANATICS
Put together special gatherings or events that immerse your fans in your music and engage them on a whole new level (in contrast to merely listening to your music or watching you live). There a nearly endless ways for you to do this – limited only by your own willingness to be creative. However, remember the key is to develop your relationship with your music fans.
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.
To learn more about what you personally need to do to gain more music fans, finish this free music career promotion skills assessment and get my personal feedback to help you succeed in your music career.