A creative wants their work to be seen and/or heard (most of the time) and most of them send their music to blogs, which (coming from a blogger) isn’t always best, especially if the creative doesn’t research the blogs that they send their work to. A creative should never spend money on putting their music on a blog. Peep this article from DJBooth about it. I wanted to share some of my favorite ways for music creatives to promote their music outside of blogs, especially in the digital age. Much of this involves research, but it’s a necessary and important thing to do in order to get your work out there. Read the five ways below:
Open mics are always the wave for beginners.
Everyone likes to get paid for what they do, but sometimes, free gigs can be essential, especially as a beginner. Being open and vulnerable to perform and share your craft and story is one of the best ways to gain fans and experience performing. I spent one year at the University of Maryland over a decade ago, and I’m still known amongst many of my Terp fam for my open mic performances. If you’re good, people will remember and check for you.
Submit your music to content creators on YouTube.
When I’m not on Twitter or Instagram, I’m on YouTube watching vlogs. Some of my favorite vloggers and content creators on the platform are always looking for new music to place in their videos and even use for opening credits. With vloggers and creatives that have over 100,000 subscribers and average over 10,000 views on their videos (like Casey Neistat, Jamie & Nikki, and The Daily Davidsons), YouTube can be an amazing platform for more people to hear your music. This is how I heard Algorythm Music (formerly known as The Stuyvesants) and Tom Misch (who is on Transcending Sound‘s spring 2016 playlist) for the first time. Sending your music to creatives on that platform is definitely the new and effective wave. This leads to the next suggestion:
Send your music to be featured on a web series.
Have you ever felt like your music would play perfectly behind a scene on TV or in a movie? Well, it doesn’t hurt to start off by being featured on a web series. The production companies Black&SexyTV and Issa Rae Productions introduced me to some amazing R&B artists to listen to, such as B.jamelle (who I featured on the site before) and Alex Isley. Some of my artist friends have also been featured on web series, like Asante Amin and Johnny Graham. Lots of times, artists are found by the show’s music directors (like Johnny Graham was for Black Boots), but it doesn’t hurt to send your music to them. There are other web series doing the same thing, so don’t limit yourself to those two. Research, put your best music out there and see what happens. If it’s great, someone will reach out.
Network with and collaborate with other (music) creatives.
It’s so easy to be introverted as a creative, but collaborative efforts with other folks that create amazing music can be an amazing opportunity to expand you and your collaborator’s fan bases together. But, don’t limit yourself to only music creatives. Most creatives in one art form like art from or create art in another, so the intersectionality is real. Consider working with and contributing music to the playlist of an art exhibit’s opening, a collaborative arts event, a movie, short film or documentary, or to any other arts-related event. Reach out to up and coming podcasters. Think outside the box with it.
Social media and music streaming platforms, especially SoundCloud, are necessary.
We’re in the digital age, so it’s necessary for a creative to have a digital footprint. According to an article published last year by The 405, the best places to find new music (outside of music websites) are on music streaming platforms, especially through playlists on those platforms, and social media networks. SoundCloud is the easiest place for anyone to post their music and for people to find music if you’re following the right people (which is why I make my season playlists on that platform) while placing your music on platforms like Spotify and Apple Music can take more time for various reasons. Streamlining your music to your social media account is the best way to share your work. If the music is great, then people will share it. Word of mouth, especially on social media is amazingly powerful, so don’t shy from it.
Please keep in mind that things may not happen quickly and that you should be strategic in any approach that you make. If you have any other suggestions, feel free to share them below or with me on Twitter at @amirahrashidah.