Independent music promotion: just another thing you have to worry about. When you aren’t signed to a particular label, you won’t have someone to tell you what to do in order to promote yourself. In recent years, a number of promotion methods have sprung up to answer the plight of the independent artist. But problems still exist if you’re an artist and tired of beating your head against the wall with independent music promotion.
Too Many Choices
Independent music promotion is possible in a number of ways… in fact, too many! You can promote by passing out flyers, updating your Facebook status, or playing for free for charities, but you can’t do them all at once. There are only so many hours in the day, and you are limited by your day job, if you have one. This means independent artists often spread themselves too thin and fail at promotion.
To prevent this situation, research and planning is necessary. Research promotion methods, and make a list of ways you can get yourself out there. Then, calculate about how much time you have, and how long each of your favorite methods would take. You can use these numbers to guess at how many different methods you can pursue. Set aside a certain amount of time per day or week to promote yourself, and get into the habit of doing so. Once you become successful, exhaust the possibilities, or give up at a method, you can choose another to replace it, but don’t do this too often or you’ll jump from method to method and succeed at none.
Can’t Pay to Play
Much of the radio music industry is still controlled by money. This is why certain artists are always played, and others can’t seem to get airtime at all. In some areas, “pay to play” is frowned upon or illegal, but there are always ways to get around these restrictions. Sometimes, independents will gift the radio station with gift cards, vacations or cars for the radio station to give away in promotions, and in exchange, the station plays their music.
Of course, most independents can’t afford to do this. Instead of targeting major ones, try looking up local or online stations, and those which are closely aligned with your band’s history or values. Independent music promotion is best received by those who understand the philosophy and struggles of indie artists. By going for the more personal approach, you may get airtime without the cost.
Failing at Business
You need to know business to succeed as an independent artist. This is a plain and simple fact – if you don’t have someone on your side who knows business, or don’t know it yourself, you can run yourself into the ground very quickly.
If you can’t afford to take business courses at a local community college, look in your circle of friends, family members, and loved ones to see if anyone you know can take the classes or already has business experience. Read online, try to find a mentor, and read business books to get a better grip on business practices and philosophy.
These are just a few of the problems with independent music promotion, and solutions that will help you get your music out there.
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