Let’s talk about music promotion. Believe it or not, it’s not just about selling your music and getting fans out to gigs. You also need to think long-term and take action to grow your fanbase and get your music in front of a new, ever-expanding audience. After all, obscurity is the enemy!
By constantly thinking about fanbase growth as part of your music promotion efforts, you’re setting yourself to get bigger opportunities and scale up your success! Each new album release should be more successful than the last because you’ve gotten more exposure and more recognition.
So how do you actually grow your fanbase in a reliable and predictable way (without waiting around for “organic growth”)? Here are some ideas you can start using immediately to build an audience for your music:
- Live Music Promotion
With everything moving more and more towards digital, it’s easy to forget about the value of that person-to-person interaction. After all, these days you can create great quality music, release it, distribute it, promote it, and even play live.
But, just because you can release something entirely online doesn’t mean you should! In fact, these personal interactions are still extremely important in the music industry. And live performances are still the best way to grow your fanbase IF you go into it with a strategy.
Now typically when we think about gigging the thought of big, headlining gigs comes to mind. But while headlining gigs and tours are great and can be excellent ways to make money, they’re not the best option for growing your fanbase.
Think about it like this… If you’re playing a gig on your own, most of the audience will be people who are already fans of your music. Very few people just go out and buy concert tickets for bands they’re not familiar with. Sure, you might get one or two people who got dragged along by their friends. But for the most part, it’s going to be the same faces in the crowd.
Now, if you do co-headlining and collaborative gigs, everything changes! When you gig with another band, you’re both bringing your respective audiences to the show. That means a good chunk of the audience may not be familiar with your music yet. Fresh potential fans!
The more musicians you gig with, the more potential fans you’ll be getting your music in front of. So try putting together lineups of 2, 3 or even 4 bands if you can.
The key for this strategy to work is to gig with bands who play in a similar or compatible genre to you. You want to find a band who’s fans are likely to like your music.
Continuing on the same thread, you could also use gigs to grow a fanbase in new cities, states, or countries. Work with a local established band and propose a headline swap. You’ll open for them in their home town and they’ll open for you in your home town. Just make sure you pick a band with a similar musical style. Do this a few times and eventually, you’ll be able to do your own headlining show.
- Collaborate with Other Musicians to Grow Your Fanbase
Collaboration is an often overlooked way to grow your fanbase and promote your music. But as we just saw, it’s a great way to get your music in front of a new group of people and grow your fanbase exponentially. You can collaborate on pretty much anything. Just make sure you collaborate with musicians whose fans would appreciate your music.
Of course, the collaborative gig strategy we just looked at is a great option. But let’s talk about some things you can do online as well.
Obviously, you could also work together on a song or album. Try recording a cover song or two together and release them on your YouTube channels or Facebook pages. The key is to drive your fans to each other. If you create a song or video, link to each other’s website and social channels.
An even more easy-mode option is to just agree to give each other shout-outs on social media. Share each other’s newest track and tell your fans how much you dig it. (Obviously, work with artists whose music you actually do dig.) The power of a recommendation is one of the best marketing tools out there.
So why does this work so well? As a musician, your fans trust your music recommendations. And if you were to recommend or work with another musician, your fans are much more likely to give them a chance than if they just happened upon a Spotify ad. To your fans, you are a trusted source. It works exactly the same when a band recommends your music. This is targeted exposure at it’s best!
- Reach out to Music Blogs
Music blogs are a great way to reach out to new audiences and get new fans. Bloggers are always looking for fresh, new content, and the cool thing is, there are a ton of smaller blogs that are totally within your reach as an indie artist.
Blogs also tend to have a pretty niche following. This means that if your music is run on a blog, it’s guaranteed to be seen by people who already like the genre!
Do some research, find blogs that cover your type of music, and send personal emails out to bloggers. Are there any interesting stories about your new album, song, or tour? Having a unique story will definitely help you stand out from the thousands of other musicians releasing an album. Make it as easy as possible for them to cover your story and treat them like people. Remember, it’s all about establishing a relationship.
You can also harness a similar strategy with Spotify Playlists to get more fans.