TOP 7 REASONS WHY YOUR MUSIC PROMOTION IS FAILING
I know, hearing this from a music promotion company might sound a bit pretentious, especially if somewhere in all this it tells you to use our services; but fret not, this isn’t about me, this is about you, or someone you may know. Far too many serious-minded independent musicians are shooting themselves in the proverbial foot through easily avoided mistakes, and it’s time we talk about it. So, with an open mind and a coffee in hand, let’s dive into my top seven reasons why your music promotion is failing.
1. UNPROFESSIONAL RECORDING
Nothing worthwhile can be built on quicksand, and make no mistake, your song is the very cornerstone of your musical empire, any mistake at this level is going to cost you, big-time. You might have a list of worthwhile reasons to back up why your song, or album, “is not at the level that you want it to be”, but all those reasons do not make up for the mistake already made; you released the song before it was finished, and now there is no taking it back.
It is better that you do not release a song at all if you are fine with releasing a half-baked product in the first place. This reason has nothing to do with my opinion either, so don’t rush in to tell me why I might be wrong, just yet. The music business is fierce, and it is competitive, and when it comes to making serious moves within it, an artist is expected to operate at a very high level, and anything less than industry-level sound quality is going to get swallowed up with the rest of the songs that come packed with excuses. Your song is ready to be released “only” when you can let it out into the world without your protection.
2. LACK OF INVESTMENT MONEY
Is this where I tell you that you need to have money for a promotional company? No, not at all. This is where I tell you that there is no escaping having to pay-to-play when it comes to your own music promotional efforts. It doesn’t matter what level of celebrity you might be when there is one truth to rule them all; behind every successful song is some money being spent.
People do not simply succeed on great art alone, there is far too many people using money to leap frog past the next person, and these people are usually very talented as well; the fact that they are getting noticed and you are not, is exactly why they are spending the money. Start saving a few dollars here and there, because at some point you will be needing it, and you will be happy that you put it aside when you finally do.
3. MANY ARTISTS MAKE TERRIBLE BUSINESS PEOPLE
Your music is a product, and you are a brand, and it needs to be treated just that very way. Far too many musicians are getting caught up in the idea of “artistic integrity” and “not wanting to sell-out”, and they shy away from the concept of working hard to sell their work for this reason alone. These creative minds feel as though what they have created is more than enough, and they ‘shouldn’t have to sell themselves”, but the truth is, everyone must sell themselves.
What you have created, although beautiful and unique, will one day get tattooed with a barcode, connected to a shareable link, and sold in such a way, that someone who never even helped in your music’s creation, will one day make some money off it; therefore, you will need to embrace your inner business-person, and sell the hell out of your product, as if it is the world’s best fidget-spinner!
The best way to understand your product is to put yourself in a box; yes, I know, this is exactly what us artists do not like to do; but, it is a necessary evil when it comes to successfully presenting yourself.
Simply put, choose a genre of sound that reflects what your current album sounds like, and try not to get too fancy with it either. The world knows Metal, Rock, Country, Americana, Alternative, Blues, Jazz, and the likes; but, many listeners do not dig too much deeper than that. Telling people that your sound would be best described as “Southern-dystopian-industrial-folk” is going to either have them laughing, or have them feeling turned off by your obvious attempt at originality. Just keep it simple, a couple words placed together should be more than enough to describe what you do.
Treating yourself as a product means to understand your own branding, and to make sure that the public is seeing only what you want them to see. It is tragic to see a great artist with a unique vision get all muddied up with a social media page that shares both personal, and artistic, information. Your music is a product and a business, and as such, should get its very own page that focuses on the music alone. This page is not the page to discuss what you should be wearing to the party this weekend, or what Hogwarts House you belong in. This page is about the music, period.
4. TOO MANY HIATUSES
I am going to take flak for this, but this truth-shuriken needs to be thrown. Far too many musicians are taking breaks, and for every reason under the sun. “I was too busy”, “I was going through a rough time”, “I was travelling”, “One of the members had a new baby”; the truth is, this pursuit of the life you want doesn’t stop, unless you want that pursuit itself to lose its momentum and come to a grinding halt that is.
I was working on a 365-day photography project a few years back, and I made the commitment to see it through; little did I know that I would lose my brother later in the year, and if ever there was a day that I should have been allowed to take off, an artistic mulligan if-you-will, it would have been that one, right? I forced myself to pick up my camera anyway, and I went out to capture one of the most emotionally difficult photos of my career, followed by a journal entry that was equally challenging to write; because this project was so important to me, and because I lean on creativity whenever it gets rough.
I am not saying that anyone’s pain is not enough to hold down a project, and sometimes people need to step away to see things from another angle; I get that. The problem arises whenever the momentum an artist has created is stopped dead in its tracks, for no reason that serves the betterment of the project itself. If you release an album, see it through. If you release one track, and your world gets turned upside-down, no matter what, you release the rest of it. Strike while the iron is hot, and do not let the building-hype around your project cool at all. Stay active and stay relevant, you can have a hiatus when your future manager tells you that you can.
5. TRYING TO BE EVERYWHERE AT ONCE
I think, in a perfect world, that your music would be loved and accepted by everyone on the planet, but we all know that this will never be the case. One of the greatest stresses for any musician trying to reach out to new listeners, is simply not knowing exactly how to do it. With so many social media platforms fighting to establish their importance, it can be overwhelming to know which ones to use, especially when everyone has a different opinion in-regards to this very thing. Should you use Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, SoundCloud, Twitter, Snapchat, and all the other ones at your disposal? In a word, no you should not (and yes, I know that is more than one word).
I tell our musicians the current best advice that I have, and that is that you should choose only a few places to show your work, quality over quantity this time around. You should be looking for authenticity in your accounts, and there should be a common feeling theme running throughout them all. The best way to decide on which ones you should have is to choose the ones that you will update on a regular basis. It is better that you have an active Facebook and Twitter account, than an Instagram account that see’s one new update a year from your camp.
Your social media accounts should all have a purpose, and they should be something that you want to update often. Trying to be seen by everyone by casting a wide, unfocused net, across all social platforms, will only deplete your energy, with minimal results to be seen for your efforts.
I would suggest that you have one platform, like Facebook, to reach out to people and that supports great AD-Services. Instagram is great for sharing photos easily, and right now is the number one social media service around. Lastly, make sure to have one dedicated to streaming your music, SoundCloud or Spotify (even both), are great choices.
Yes, you can follow every single app review to their current “best in the business” slogan, but the fact is, the hive-mentality of the internet, is usually, only focused on a few very specific hot and trending services at a time; is anyone using MySpace anymore? Time to embrace Facebook if you are one of the few who have tried to avoid it like the plague.
Don’t try to be everywhere, but where you are should matter, and you should have a specific reason for being there. This sort of dedicated focus will help others find you easily, and see the quality that you bring to the table.
6. ALWAYS TRYING TO BE ORIGINAL
A wise-man once said, “There are no new ideas, only new takes on old ones”. I know, this sounds like a bit of an artistic buzz-kill, but hear me out.
You do not have to rewrite the book every single time you make a promotional move. Others have done some of the heavy lifting for you, and those people, most likely, let some other people do the heavy lifting for them as well. The real trick is to know who you are, and what you are selling. What works for a country artist might not work especially well for a metal one, and it is imperative that you find your niche, so that you can find “your people”.
The best teachers are not the stadium-selling industry big-wig musicians either, trust me, when you get to the level of U2, Linkin Park, Rihanna, Jay-Z, and the likes, your marketing and promotional tactics are large-budget and in the hands of many people.
For you, my inspired independent musicians, you should look to musicians that are further up the road than you, and see what they are doing to get a few steps ahead. These musicians will be easier to reach, and if you can approach them in a sincere way, I am sure they would not have a problem with offering you a few helpful ideas.
If you are not up for the challenge of building a bridge between you and another artist, then why not creep their page, and see where they have been playing, and what types of posts have been gaining attention. Find out if people have been funding them through Patreon, or if their Merchandise is getting pre-order hits, and if they have any current paid advertising that is working out for them. None of these things is a secret to anyone, and no one can fault you for trying some of these ideas for yourself.
Time can be unnecessarily wasted when you focus on trying to find “new ways” all the time.
For any of this to work out in the intended way, it is crucial that you pay attention to those who play in your genre, because those are your people, and those are the people that you will want to start talking about your music, and sharing it.
With pinpoint focus and an open-mind, you can grab some promotional ideas from others and apply them successfully to your own music.
7. LACK OF PATIENCE
Everyone wants to see instant results in everything that they do, but you won’t. It is best that you look yourself in the mirror and say, “I am in this for the long-haul, and everything worth doing takes more time than I want it to”. After you connect with that idea, and I mean truly connect with it, to your very core; only after you make peace with this idea of patience, should you consider exactly what to do next, and then start the real journey to promoting your amazing music to the people.
Empire Music Promotions (www.empiremusicpromotions.com) offers ‘Guaranteed” result based campaigns aimed at helping you build your own musical empire. Submit your music today!
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