3 Ways to Promote Your Music That Don’t Involve Screaming at Strangers to Buy Your Mixtape

We get it, everyone has a hustle and advertising your music isn’t always cheap. This past week I traveled to my hometown of Seattle. There were the usual eclectic group of street performers, vendors and homeless Seattleites peppering the downtown area. One particular group of young rap artists were stationed at the ferry terminal, approaching anyone walking in close range in an attempt to hand out their mixtape. Upon learning that they wanted cash for their CDs, I offered the next best thing a broke millennial can do- social media support. The first two members of the group were cool, but the last dude had so little faith that I would finish typing in his username on my way out (“Okay, do it right now”) that when I continued walking and typing because I was in a rush (“Wait, wait, wait, do it now!”) he shrieked at me until I was well past the terminal (“Hey! Wait! Stop! DO IT RIGHT NOW!!!) Sigh. Sir. There are plenty of ways to market your music. This ain’t one of them. So, if you're looking for a couple helpful tips to promote your art that don't involve verbally assaulting strangers, look no further.

1. Post and Make It Count

The most obvious and cost-effective option is something you likely already spend hours on. Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and IG are all free to use, but how can you ensure your post won't be buried among the thousands of other musicians online? Do something different-it’s not enough to just share your song and expect people to listen to it. Post your music to all of your social media profiles, and include context! People are more likely to listen to a new artist if they have an idea of your subject matter and how it relates to them. We know your music is important to you, but tell us why it’s important to us. Scroll down your TL and see what people are talking about, then try sharing a few quotes from your songs- the more relevant, the better. When you go live, have your music playing in the background, or take it to another level and give miniature performances on social media. Make the “social” part of social media work for you. Peak your audience’s interest, get them talking and always direct them back to your music.

2. Tap into the Dance Craze: Just when you thought you escaped one viral dance challenge, another comes right down the pipe. Now whenever “In My Feelings” comes on, half the population breaks out in dance, while the rest of us break out in a rash. The Post Traumatic Song Disorder is here and it’s on to the next one. Use this generation's obsession with goofy dances to your advantage. Enlist the help of a few dance savvy friends (or professionals if you know them) and create choreography to your song. Keep the steps simple and catchy- the more easily it’s learned, the quicker the dance will spread to others and the more your song will be circulated.

3. Get on the List: No, not the VIP club list for tonight. Ever wonder how those “Discover New Music” on Spotify and Apple are put together? Submitting your music to your favorite platforms is easier than you think! The biggest playlists are controlled by the music platforms or the labels, and are difficult to get onto unless you're working directly with one of them. However, there's a whole other section of independent curators who are much more accessible. Yes, these playlists are smaller but getting onto one can have much bigger benefits. Making it onto one of these lists will increase your play count and expose you to influencers, which can ultimately snag the attention of those in charge and get you onto the main playlists. Check out and easily submit to independent curators like Soundplate, SongPickr and Work Hard Playlist Hard. While there’s definitely nothing wrong with hitting the streets and passing out CDs, there are more efficient ways to share your art with the world. Whatever your hustle, hustle hard. Just keep the shrieking to a minimum.

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