The Beginners Guide To Promoting An Album - Part One: Essentials

distribution
distribution

Marketing and promotion almost comes as an afterthought for many musicians. They get so caught up in the creative process that they forget there is another layer to their job, which is the marketing and promotion of that album. Truth be told, marketing your album starts before you even step foot in the studio!

I got started in the music industry in 2000 when the music world started to change dramatically. Walking through that change over the next 10 years was both educational and, to be honest, very exciting. I love the freedom and options that artists have, and I think this is the most exciting time to be a musician. 

On the other hand, it can be incredibly confusing, overwhelming and frustrating when you have no clue how to market and promote your new album. That being said, we are announcing our "Beginners Guide To Promoting An Album" series. It's going to outline the steps that you need to take in order to properly set up the release of a new album. Knowing it's good to have deadlines and parameters in place to guide you, we are going to set this up as a timeline so you know what you need to be doing and when.

Now, I know some of you might be thinking, "my album is finished so I can't do some of the steps prior to the release date," which is fine. Just start where you are at and as soon as possible. It's not the end of the world if you don't fall perfectly within this timeline. Another beauty of being an independent artists: YOU create the timeline! 

Our first order of business is to talk about the most essential elements that need to be established FIRST. These are the foundation and base on which you will build your plan. Get these set up first and then you can get rolling on the other promotional aspects. 

Ideally these three aspects would be set up or well on their way to being set up. If not, get started right away on:  

  1. Your Website 
  2. Social Media outlets (we suggest at least Facebook, Twitter & YouTube) 
  3. Your Distribution 

YOUR WEBSITE:

We have several posts on our blog that show you how to set up your website, which can be found below: 

Your website is your main information hub on the internet, therefore it is the most important aspect of your promotional efforts. Get this rolling as soon as possible! While you wait for your website to be completed, get a Flavors.me page set up until your website is completed. 

SOCIAL MEDIA:

We suggest getting your Facebook and Twitter accounts rolling as soon as possible. Signing up for a YouTube account (even if you don't have videos yet) is essential as well because video is an essential aspect to your social media presence. 

DISTRIBUTION:

Yes, you want to sell your album on your website.  But don't limit yourself to just one form of distribution. We are huge fans of BandCamp, which also has tools to sell physical merch.  CDBaby or Tunecore will get your music set up on all of the major digital media outlets like iTunes, Amazon, Rhapsody, Spotify, etc. These options all offer tools that allow you to sell your digital products on your own website and even on your Facebook page. 

NoiseTrade and Soundcloud are services which can also enable you to sell your digital music, but their primary purpose is serving as very powerful marketing tools which allow you to engage and grow your fan base. We will get into more detail regarding NoiseTrade and Soundcloud in a bit.

Here are a few additional factors to keep in mind:  

  • Don't focus on getting signed.  While being signed to a major label was the end-all-be-all back in the day, not so anymore. What you DO need to focus on is building a solid and thriving fan base. This allows for the option to work with a label in the future so they can possibly help you expand your reach to new markets.
  • If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.  Remember that 99% of the time, the most worthwhile things in life come at a cost and are not easy. 
  • Surround yourself with people that you trust and who are as passionate about your music as you are.

NEXT TIME: We will break down the timeline so you can properly promote your album!

ACTION POINT: How long did it take you to get your website, social media and distribution set up? What suggestions do you have to share with other musicians? 

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Jenn Hanson-dePaulaComment