After countless hours writing, recording and mixing; you’ve finally finished your first song. You tested it out with your friends (and their friends), and everyone agrees that it’s really good. Now you’re ready for the world to hear what you have to offer. Time to claim your status as the next big thing!
Easy, killer. You’ve got a few things to take care of first.
1. Establish a Professional Web Presence
While your social media profiles are a good place to start (especially if you already have a large following), simply having social media followers is not enough to help you sustain a career. You need a way to quantify the number of people who are checking out your music, and a way to collect as much information about them as possible. The foundation of your presence should be your own website. If you don’t have web design experience, we recommend starting with Squarespace for a nice clean look. Learn to use the analytic features to your advantage, so that you can understand where your views are coming from, and who’s sticking around for a while. Your website and social media should go hand in hand, and all should have links referring back to each other. Make sure they all have professional photos uploaded, and you establish a similar look for all of them so that potential fans can see the connection.
2. Map Out Your Goals and Game Plan
Why are you releasing this song now? Do you have an album coming out that you want to draw attention to? Perhaps you want to reach 1,000 followers on Twitter, or get 50 people to sign up for your mailing list. Having specific, measurable goals helps you to stay on track. If people were responding well to your song last week, but the attention is now fading, it may be time to look for other outlets to post your music to. Once you reach your goal (or it becomes exceedingly clear that you won’t be able to this go-round), it’s time to regroup and get ready for the next step.
3. Get The Word Out (Market Yourself)
Just putting a song on the internet and hoping to go viral is not enough. You have a great song, but unless you can find a way to reach people outside of your immediate circle, you’ll be stuck at 50 Soundcloud plays forever. It’s time to get the word out. This is where you can get creative. Get your friends to all post your song/artwork on their social media channels at the same time. If you’re a band, try going Downtown, plugging in your amps and playing an impromptu sidewalk performance (for best results, ask a business owner for their permission first). Go to an open mic night and perform your song for people you don’t know. Be sure to always refer people to your website and social media for more information. Someone you meet may have a friend across the country that they send your songs to. Before you know it, you have potential fans all over the place!
On the internet side of things, there are a number of ways you can get the word out. If you’re using Soundcloud, be sure to use the appropriate genre tags so that your song will show up in search results. You can also pay for Facebook Ads to reach audiences in specific locations. Post your cover art on Instagram and be sure to #hashtag it up. The possibilities are endless and it’s easy to get lost, so be sure that your marketing falls in line with the Game Plan you just made. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself falling into a bottomless marketing pit.
*Bonus Tip: Join a Performing Rights Organization*
Performing Rights Organizations (PRO’s) collect royalties on your behalf when your songs are played live, on radio or on television. The three in North America are ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Each has their own perks and rites of membership, but all are inexpensive to join. In addition to the 3 above, you can join SoundExchange to collect royalties from internet streaming (Pandora, etc). Once you join, be sure to register your song in their database. If your song happens to be the next big hit, they’ll make sure you get paid for your efforts.
Now that you have a web presence and a good plan in place, it’s finally time to show the world what you’re made of. Remember, no one become successful overnight, and this is just the first of many releases to come. You’ll get better with each one, and hopefully your fan base will grow along with you. As your fan base grows, you’ll be able to tell why they’re on board with you, and you’ll be able to monetize your audience. Keep it up, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful music career.
Still need help coming up with that Game Plan or measuring success? Reach out to us for a consultation, and we’ll help you get it squared away.