4 Ways To Engage With Fans in Digital Stores

You already know how to get your music into over 150 digital stores and streaming services worldwide – whether it’s a single, a brand new EP/full-length, or even just a cover song to surprise and delight your fans with.

And while it’s easy to get caught up with the desire to end up on Spotify playlist or get featured in the iTunes Store, independent artists often overlook some even easier ways to solidify their presence and interact with fans in some of these well-known streaming and download platforms.

Let’s take a look at a few simple ways you can engage fans and make your music easier to find when they come hunting:

spotify

1. Set Up a Spotify Verified Artist Account

Start building a community of fans who want to discover music through you – with a Spotify ‘verified artist account’ you can let your fans know when you’ve made a  playlist or share a new song. Your account will be linked to your discography pages, (making them easily searchable) and you’ll be creating a direct-to-fan channel within Spotify.

Once you’ve distributed your music to Spotify and signed up for your own account (avoid signing up with a Facebook profile), head over to this site to complete Spotify’s “Verification Form”. Be prepared to have a URL to a hosted 200×200 pixel profile image on the form. Click here to download a PDF of Spotify’s “Best Practices Guide”.

Next, add a playlist to your account (make sure to ‘right click’ on the playlist name to ‘Make Public’) – that way, you’re not launching an empty page.

Finally, share it with your fans! Copy and paste the playlists’ ‘http link’ and let your fans on Facebook and Twitter know you’re open for business.

2. Get Access to Spotify Fan Insights

Last November we reported on one of Spotify’s coolest roll-outs: Fan Insights. Now you can find out who your fans are, where they are in the world, how they listen, what their other musical preferences are and how they engage.

spotify fan insightsYou can still head over to Spotify’s Artist site and request access to the beta version of Fan Insights here.

 

Google Play

3. Set Up a Google Play Artist Page

If you’ve distributed your latest releases using TuneCore, it’s pretty likely that you’ve decided to include Google Play in the stores we send your music to. And why wouldn’t you? Google has risen to the ranks as one of the biggest household names in digital media, and Google Play serves as it’s platform for getting music, videos, apps and more in the hands of fans.

Selling your music, personalizing your store page and reaching users with your music on Google Play is easy! After you’ve made sure that your music has gone life on Google Play, head over to the Google Play Artist Hub.

Google Play Artist Hub

From there you can sign in with your Google account, find your artist name, and you’ll even be able to use a credit card (without being charged) to protect against “artist impersonation”.

apple music

4. Claim Your Profile on Apple Music Connect

By now, Apple Music has made enough headlines and become enough of a go-to platform for so many fans that as an indie artist, you want to make the most of it. Apple Connect is described as a ‘place where musicians give their fans a closer look a their work, their inspirations, and their world.

When you claim your profile on Connect, you can engage directly with your fans and share audio, photos and videos. Get started by visiting this site and signing in with your Apple ID.

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From there, you can search for your artist name or paste a link to your iTunes artist page and claim that profile.  Additionally, you’ll be asked for your Artist Management and Label contact information – keep in mind, TuneCore does not fulfill either of these, so if you’re lacking this information, just put in your own personal contact information twice and move on.


Now that you’ve stepped up your store game, head over to your social media profiles and break out that email list – it’s time to start sharing some links!

Building Your Team as You Build Your Career

[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Eugene Foley – founder and president of Foley Entertainment, a full service music industry consulting firm and licensed entertainment agency.]

As the career of an artist evolves, so will their support team.   In the early days of someone’s career in the music business, they often have to handle all aspects of their career without help from experienced professionals. For the artists who are fortunate to have success, eventually their team will grow. That will allow the artist to focus on writing, rehearsing and performing, while their support team handles the business, financial, legal and marketing aspects of their career.

Let’s take a look at the most common team members and at what stage of someone’s career do they generally come onboard.

Level One

– Publicist & Radio Promoter
– Entertainment Attorney

During ‘Level One’ of an emerging artist’s career, the main focus is on songwriting, recording, tightening up live performances, creating marketing materials, building a web site and social media pages, and increasing the size of their fan base. Once those things are addressed, artists usually start reaching out to clubs and other venues to begin securing live performance opportunities.

During this phase of a career, an entertainment attorney can help an artist get important legal matters in place, including, but not limited to, matters related to copyright and trademark, drafting an inter-band agreement, setting up a business entity and other tasks along those lines.

The next team members to join are often a publicist and a radio promoter.   You can have amazing songs and a fantastic live show, but consumers have to find out that you exist. An experienced and well-connected PR firm and college radio promotion company can secure a tremendous amount of favorable exposure for your music, videos and live performances. They will target newspapers, magazines, blogs, regional TV Talk shows, college and online radio stations and anywhere else that would be willing to give you coverage and exposure.

In these early days of someone’s career, little to no income is being generated and what little may come in from music and merchandise sales and gigs is often just reinvested right back into the project.   So the artist has to wear many hats at this stage of a career before attracting an experienced manager or a booking agent.

Traditionally, managers and booking agents work on commission-based compensation with managers generally earning 15% to 20% and booking agents 10%. So unless a good amount of money is coming in, or serious major label interest in on the table, most top-notch managers and agents will not express interest.

So the artist has to guide their career on a day-to-day basis and turn to the entertainment attorney or a top music industry consultant for advice whenever needed. Most ‘Level One’ artists also book their own gigs at clubs, small theaters, colleges and local festivals. For those who are successful, graduate up and evolve into a ‘Level Two’ artist, help is on the way.

Level Two

– Publicist & Radio Promoter
– Entertainment Attorney
– Personal Manager
– Booking Agent

By the time the artist reaches ‘Level Two’, their publicist and radio promoter will have the buzz and leverage high enough to start targeting bigger press, bigger radio stations and large market TV talk shows.   By now the social media followers should be a high number and it’s time for the artist to get on the radar of top managers and booking agencies.

Once those two team members are added, the artist will finally have full-time help with the day-to-day operations of their career and begin securing well-paying gigs at respected, popular venues. Opportunities to tour with headlining major label acts may even arise thanks to the booking agent’s contacts and connections.

Quite a few artists and groups reach ‘Level Two’ and build a very respectable, long-term career and make a nice living doing what they love. The best of the best climb the career ladder one more notch and reach ‘Level Three’.

Level Three

– Publicist & Radio Promoter
– Entertainment Attorney
– Personal Manager
– Business Manager & CPA
– Booking Agent
– Music Publisher
– Record Company

By the time an artist reaches ‘Level Three’, several new team members join the mix, including a business manager, CPA, music publisher and a record company.   At this point, many artists add a commercial radio promoter to the team, while keeping the college promoter who has been onboard since ‘Level One’.

By this stage in someone’s career, they are touring globally, performing at venues that have a capacity of 10,000+ and selling a great deal of, downloads/streams, merchandise, and CDs/vinyl. Income is also coming in from their music publisher and numerous licensing opportunities offered to ‘Level Three’ artists.

The personal manager, attorney, business manager and CPA all work closely together to guide the artist’s career and the booking agent keeps the well-paying live shows flowing in.   A record company would be helping the artist record and market new songs and helping with financial support, especially in areas of publicity, promotion, marketing, advertising and tour support.

The artist would continue to focus on the creative aspects of their career and all of the team members are working like a well-oiled machine driving the project to the top of the charts.

An industry with a similar climb is baseball.   A baseball player starts out in youth leagues and the better players keep climbing the ranks through high school, college and minor league baseball.   As their career rolls along, they’re securing better trainers, more experienced coaches and managers, they’re adding new professionals to their team, such as an agent, nutritionist, physician and sports psychologist – along with marketing and endorsement executives. As a baseball player’s career takes off and they reach the major leagues, their needs change and evolve and so does their support team.

It’s the same thing in the music business. If someone has a great deal of talent, works hard, builds the right team, formulates a smart game plan and everyone is steering the ship in the same direction, they have a real shot to climb from ‘Level One’ to ‘Level Three’ over a period of time. Good luck on your climb!


Eugene Foley represents artists, bands, songwriters, labels, managers, producers, engineers and other industry participants. Clients have earned nearly 40 Gold & Platinum Records & three GRAMMY® Awards. Foley is the author of the acclaimed educational book, “Artist Development – A Distinctive Guide To The Music Industry’s Lost Art.”   He’s a frequent music biz expert guest on television and radio and lectures extensively on topics including artist development, marketing, music publishing and intellectual property. Foley offers a free music & career evaluation to all unsigned artists, visit: www.FoleyEntertainment.com.

Early Music Marketing Tips For Indie Artists

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Janelle Rogers, the founder of  Green Light Go Publicity, a music PR firm which helps up-and-coming musicians reach their audience.]

 

You’ve probably heard all the standard things on how to promote your band. This may include ideas like ‘play more live shows’, ‘go on tour’, ‘post on social media’, ‘invite all your friends on Facebook’, ‘have a release show’, ‘get covered on blogs’, or ‘get radio airplay’. Some may even tell you to buy ‘likes’ or streams, (which I never advise).

Rather than tell you all the ideas you’ve heard ad nauseum, we’re going to move outside the proverbial box into areas that aren’t as obvious. Below are a few ideas to get you started.

1. Regularly Engage on Social Media with People You Admire

This is social media with a spin. You probably know by now to post your single release or upcoming show. But what if you don’t see any engagement with your following outside of a like or two from the same few fans?

If you’ve hit a plateau where you aren’t moving beyond your existing fan base, you should start looking at how you can begin expanding your following through less traditional means. How much are you engaging with the people you admire? This can be as simple as a local venue or band, or as big as your favorite blog, writer or national record label.

By posting insightful and supportive comments you have the opportunity to engage others who are interested in hearing what you’re about.  Engagement is a two-way street and if you are simply posting about your band without engaging with anyone else, you’ll only make it so far. By engaging with people you admire, you’ll have an opportunity to build a relationship with someone who wouldn’t normally be accessible to you.

2. Create a Spotify Playlist

A lot of bands come to us because they are interested in having us pitch curators for inclusion Spotify playlists. Curators are often looking at your social media engagement, band accomplishments, and how engaged you are on the Spotify platform.

If you’re lacking in any of these department, you can start by creating your own playlist to include your song as well as other bands you admire. The added benefit is that it gives you an opportunity to engage with those bands as mentioned above while showing your support for them.

3. Go to Live Shows in Your Market

The common advice is simply to ‘play more live shows.’ What if you’re struggling to be booked in the first place or you simply don’t have a following for a booker to consider you? In addition to playing live shows you should also look at how you can support the shows in the market.

This gives you the chance to get to know the booker person-to-person and also network with other bands while showing your support. If you want to be considered for shows, you need to look at how you can build the relationships to be asked when the opportunities come up.

4. Stay in Contact Once You’ve Built Relationships

Once you’ve begun building these relationships, the worst thing you can do is to let them go. You shouldn’t just build the relationship until you get what you want, whether it’s getting your song on a Spotify playlist, getting booked for a show, or being covered by a blog.

A great relationship isn’t built when you only come around when you want something. Create a schedule for yourself to stay in touch if you struggle with staying on top of relationships.


You may have noticed all four tips were based on community, giving back and networking. You may see success without one of these elements, but the chances of establishing ‘staying power’ are slim. If you really want to move forward and reach a larger audience, employ all four and see where it takes you.

Interview: 18th & Addison – Pop Punk Power Duo Discuss New Album, Label, & More

18th & Addison are two-piece pop-punk group based in Toms River, NJ. Made up of Kait DiBenedetto and Tom Kunzman (they play live with a drummer and bassist), the duo met after leading respective musical careers and combined their talents for writing punchy, emotional and energetic rock cuts during a time where the genre is undergoing a revival in the indie limelight.

Kait and Tom joined TuneCore for our first-ever TUneCore Live: Brooklyn event last August, and we got the chance to catch up with them to talk about their new album Makeshift Monster, (dropping tomorrow, July 15th), their beginnings as a group and what it takes to start and maintain your own label:

Coming from the pop and punk backgrounds, what kind of influences did you two share right out of the gate? How did you learn from each other in this regard?

Kait: Regardless of my pop background, I was still very much into punk, pop punk, and all that stuff as well, but I think the first band that initially brought the two of us together musically was Mest. We got together to record a cover of one of our favorite songs by them and realized really early on we worked well together and brought the best out in each other musically. Besides that, once Tom and I started hanging out more, he really got me more into The Clash, the Rolling Stones, The Replacements, Rancid. Just a bunch of stuff I always respected but never listened to too much and now I love it

Tom: When I was younger I was kinda stuck in my ways. I hated pop music for a long time. At this point though, I’ve grown to love and respect the production of pop music from the 80’s and 90’s that I ignored as a kid because all I cared about was Green Day, Blink-182 and whoever they listened to (laughs). I love punk rock more than anything, but I’ve learned, from writing with Kait that it’s okay to have the high energy and “f*ck you” attitude of punk rock with a good pop melody and beautiful harmonies that really get stuck in your head.

That’s pretty much all I was doing in my old band anyway just without realizing where it was all coming from. I guess I was just a really ignorant kid or something but now, I get the biggest kick out of writing the heaviest song ever (to me) and throwing in this poppy chorus with all these harmonies and soaring guitars and synths like we do on Makeshift Monster. There’s a song on there called ‘Knives’ that will make you wanna punch somebody then pick them up to sing along immediately after. It’s exciting.

Describe the initial collaborative process between the two of you. Was there instant songwriting chemistry?

Kait: There was definitely instant chemistry, at least in my opinion. When we really started taking 18th & Addison more serious and began the songwriting process together, we wrote separately more often than we do now, but we’d still bring the ideas of those songs to each other for the other to add onto.

Then it gradually turned into to us collaborating more on songs/ideas and writing more collectively which is why I think throughout the few years we’ve been a band, the songs have progressively gotten better. We learned each other’s strengths and weaknesses as songwriters and fed off of each other to each get better in different areas

Tom: Yeah, and we were writing A LOT. We could’ve put out a full length record right out the gate if we wanted to, but that wouldn’t have been a smart idea for a new and independent band in 2016 but the chemistry was there real early on. The writing process always changes, but over time, it’s gotten more and more collaborative which has proven to only make our music stronger which I think has made our live show even better and more fun as well.

How did you parlay your respective experiences in bands when it came to getting 18th & Addison off the ground? 

Kait: For me, I think the biggest thing I took from my past experiences is to wanting to be more involved. Right now I love being an independent band putting in the work and getting the pay off in the end. In the past, a lot of what I experienced were amazing opportunities but I didn’t have to put in as much work to get to the point where I was because I had a team of people doing it for me. Learning the in’s and outs of promotion and starting over from scratch is something I really took seriously from the start of this band and something I take a lot of pride in now considering we’re seeing a lot of our hard work pay off. It’s much more rewarding.

Tom: Pretty much the same for me. I got screwed over so many times. I was literally robbed by one of my drummers several times while on tour. I was literally left on my own the day of shows to play acoustically by myself which I had never done at that point in time. The list is endless! Anyway, I toughed it out because I felt stuck since I had a contract with a heavily involved investor who I was terrified to let down. Not that he would have sued me if the band broke up or anything, but because I had so much admiration and respect for him and his family for taking such a big chance on my band. I’m not one to ask for favors. Neither is Kait.

I’m thankful for those moments though nowadays and have no hard feelings because it really toughened me up. I took every idea that those guys ignored, or turned down for whatever dumb reason, and I put it all into 18th & Addison. Kait was feeling the same way and equally as excited to really grab the wolf by its ears and take it all on just the two of us and so far, so good! It’s liberating.

18thAddison6

What kind of tips can you offer to an indie artist who might be stepping away from a project to pursue another in terms of marketing and engaging new/old fans?

Kait: I think consistency is the key. A lot of people want the results right away or want to ride the coattails of old projects but don’t want to put the work that’s needed to start over. Social media is one of the best outlets to continue the communication between old fans, and a great way to connect with new ones so having a good online social presence goes a long way. But again, if you’re not consistent, it doesn’t matter.

Tom: Exactly. We’re definitely stuck in the age of instant gratification which Kait and I never subscribed to. Yes, let those fans of your last band know you’re doing something brand new, but don’t count on all of them follow along. Like Kait said, that consistency in 2016 is vital. My last band was terrible at that. We were so slow moving and we really hurt ourselves that way. It honestly killed the band and its drive, but 18th & Addison is a whole different animal!

Set goals for your new project that will catapult you to a new level, and do whatever it takes to achieve those goals. It might flop, it might not but that’s how you learn. Any band or creative endeavor is like a relationship. Plan for the future so you have something to look forward to and keep you in and if the passion and love is there, it’ll all work out.

Pop-punk has had a resurgence recently – I attributed some of it to former fans (like myself) finding a new value in the style and writing later in life.  What do you think?

Kait: Tom and I say this all the time but “pop-punk” never really went away. I think more recently bands of that genre are trying too hard to be too much like each other and it gets boring. A perfect example is putting on any pop-punk playlist on Spotify, it’s hard to identify any difference between some of the bands. No one has their own identity anymore and it’s nice when there’s a new band here and there that surprises you and gives you a little more faith in the genre again. But in my opinion, that’s few and far between these days

Tom: I’ve always paid attention to it so for me, it never went away. I also agree with Kait though. Sometimes, I can’t even tell it’s a different band with some of the newer ones in the “scene”. It’s like any genre though in my opinion. It goes through the motions and sometimes it’s popular, sometimes it’s not. One wave of it is great, the next isn’t so great, but I’d rather see young kids support a new, working band who can introduce them to older bands who started it all. As for the older crowd who grew up with it then stopped caring, I’m happy to see they’re starting to come back around as well even though it’s not this massive thing.

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You played one of our TuneCore Live events in Brooklyn last year and tore it up! What steps do you take to continually improve your live performances?

Tom: Thank you! We don’t really overthink the live show honestly. We just practice as much as we can and have a blast with our live band mates and try to think of things to add to the songs to get the crowds involved. Especially for people who have never seen or heard us before. We want everyone singing along and having fun. That’s why we started doing this as kids and that’s what I love to see a band do at shows. It’s just always a blast and we try to just be in the moment the whole time.

Kait: Yeah, we consistently practice even when we don’t have to just to stay fresh. We like to play out our actual set list all the way through at least three or four times just so we can work out all the kinks but in the same token, we make sure we still have fun with it. The energy of the crowd plays a HUGE role in the vibe of our live performance and it’s something we really feed off of so we make sure we get them involved as much as we can.

The first single off Makeshift Monster, “War”, deals with aging and the risk of losing your passion. Is this something you think a lot of independent artists go through?

Kait: I don’t think it’s something independent artists go through as much as I think it’s something literally EVERYONE goes through at one point or another. Sometimes you unintentionally lose sight of what’s important and you let what holds you back consume you and it doesn’t have to be that way. Whether it’s a passion you let go of, or anxiety holding you back in anyway, it’s something that we all experience and sometimes it’s nice to know you’re not the only one going through it.

Tom: Definitely. It’s something everyone goes through at all ages. I think that’s just life and I don’t know if it ever really changes. Everyone’s different. Times get tough whether we like it or not and some people run from their dreams in hopes for security because their parents raised them to think that they need to. The world we live in is tricky, but you can’t let ignorant people who have never truly followed a passion in their lives tell you how to live yours or what you need to be doing by a certain age.

That’s really where this new record is based. It’s a brutally honest album and ‘War’ is just the tip of the iceberg, but I overcame it because I love this shit and I know I can do it for the rest of my life so long as I’m not an idiot about it. Anyone can do it for any passion they have. Just need to commit yourself and enjoy the ride.  

What other themes and topics do you cover on the new album?

Kait: We definitely cover a lot of ground on this album. We write a lot about self-doubt, personal demons we’ve each had to deal with in our past, and also society and all the inhumanity that surrounds us. There’s a song on there that we wrote after we went through a hard time and our relationship was tested a little bit so there’s definitely a song for every emotion.

Tom: Definitely something for everyone and every emotion but it somehow became really cohesive at the same time. Unintentionally though. I think ‘Disaster by Design’ is the only real left turn on the record in terms of lyrical content, but it still fits the album. We were just being honest as usual, and this is what came out of the both of us because that’s what was going on in our lives at that time. We do try and write it in a way that people can take it and make it their own though.

What urged you to start your own label? What kind of partners – beyond TuneCore – have you found helpful in this venture?

Tom: Like I mentioned earlier, it was just the determination to be self-sufficient and not have to rely on anybody but ourselves. We know how we want to be perceived, we know how we want to promote our music, and we know where we want to go better than anybody else. Period.

You guys have been amazing in distributing our music digitally. We’ve loved working with you since the beginning. We get to pick our release dates, host pre-orders, decide how much we sell our music for so our fans can afford it easily and of course being added to the showcase was amazing! We had so much fun.

As for other partners, we hired a very hard working and extremely supportive manager/publicist who we’ve been with since we got the ball rolling in 2015 and put out our first release. He’s the man. There’s also our good friend and beyond driven videographer/photographer, Jarred Weskrna. His work is awesome and we just recently teamed up with a booking agency (Ashley Talent International) so we’re starting to work with them this summer! Then there’s obviously Skywire Studios where we recorded the album and our engineer, Charlie Berezansky also tracked drums for every song.

Kait: I couldn’t agree more. We like to be in control of what we do, what we write, the decisions we make regarding our music, how we present ourselves and everything else in between and these days, the only way to do that is to do it yourself.

We LOVE working hard knowing we got ourselves there. It’s also a great way to be involved in music outside of our own. We love collaborating and finding new music and figuring out new ways to make music that is refreshing so starting our own label is something we felt would help us do that long term. And all the people Tom mentioned are a HUGE part of why we’ve been able to be so successful thus far.

For an independent artist who might be interested in setting up their own label, what are some pitfalls to avoid or underrated advice you could’ve used?

Kait: I would avoid listening to people who try to put their two cents in who have no idea what they’re talking about. They THINK they do but they haven’t put in half the work to know or understand. Being able to identify the people who are really supportive and the people who say they are for the sake of getting something out of it is something you learn to be really cautious of. We’ve had our fair share of people doubt us or make comments about what we do but as far as we’re concerned, it only adds fuel to the fire for us to want to keep building this more and more.  

Tom: I agree. That’s a big part of it. The doubters are always people who have no f**king clue how much work and dedication goes into being your own boss. We never really felt like we’ve come across anything we couldn’t handle, to be honest. It just takes a lot of discipline which is tough for some musicians.

Just be smart and willing to learn as you grow. If you’re a member of a PRO, I suggest reading their newsletters daily and be up to date on the business side of things so you can really stay on top of the new ways to get the music heard. Also, always keep your music first. Without the music, the business doesn’t exist, so don’t forget what’s most important. Pitfalls and failures will happen but that’s what success consists of. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t run from them.

iTunes Holiday 2017 Delays & Closures – Plan Ahead!

You read that right, folks! We’re already approaching the holiday season, and once again we’re here to remind you that it’s imperative to be prepared if you’re planning on distributing music during November and December. Like many of us, our pals at iTunes and other digital store partners take time off during the holiday, resulting in potential delays.

See below for some guidelines that’ll ensure you have a successful release just in time for the holidays:

  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Friday, November 17th and Friday, December 1st you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, November 7th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Saturday, December 2nd and Friday, December 8th you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, November 14th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Saturday, December 9th and Friday, December 22nd you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, November 28th.
  • In order for content to become available in iTunes and other stores between Saturday, December 23rd and Sunday, January 7th you must upload and pay for distribution in TuneCore no later than Tuesday, December 12th.

In order to make sure that you don’t miss the release date for your song or album, plan ahead and distribute your new music as soon as you can to avoid getting caught in holiday closings/delays. The earlier you get your new music on iTunes and other stores, the more time your fans will have to buy it!

If you’re not ready to release that album just yet, we always recommend releasing a single early to garner some excitement!

Regardless of how your fans celebrate the holidays, give them the chance to use your music as a soundtrack – distribute your holiday music today!

6 Essential Tools for Indie Artists

By W. Tyler Allen

Being a DIY musician in today’s industry requires, work and hustle — but it’s possible. Straight up, it’s completely possible to become a successful independent artist in today’s digital landscape. How exciting is that?!

You can make it, but like any profession or task, you need tools. Throughout my career working with artists and management teams, I find that there’s a lot of tools out there that are simply overlooked, or just not known about.

Here are some items to add to your “tool kit” to ensure that you’re marketing and managing your work properly.

1. First, The Things You Already Have…

I find that often in the music industry, we are signed up for certain memberships or use certain programs, but we really aren’t using them to their fullest potential.

For instance, did you know that TuneCore offers publishing administration services, for a small one-time fee? With this service  they actively assist in the process of getting your work licensed in TV and film.  This is just one of many services that your distributor can provide for you. Do your research, as there is plenty more!

Similarly, is your music registered under a PRO (performing rights organization), such as BMI or ASCAP? It really should be. A PRO is how to ensure you’re getting actively compensated for your work.

But did you also know that PRO’s also have workshops, networking events and even pitch sessions? While some of these may require some travel, your PRO tends to do more than just look out for royalties. For instance, many PRO’s will have music supervisor sessions, where a supervisor listens to pitches and considers your music for placement in TV and film.

Your distributor may also offer conferences, speaking series, or even concerts. Look into these events — and see how they can benefit you.

Research the tools you’re already using and see how you can ensure you’re optimizing them.

2. Buffer and/or HooteSuite

I believe that artists should tweet and post in real-time. Scheduling too much of your content can come off as impersonal. However, you also want a consistent presence. So I do recommend looking into scheduling programs such as Buffer or HooteSuite.

These are especially useful for when you’re touring or busy recording — however, I find them the most useful for certain “pieces” of content. A good content mix, which I’ve discussed before, is about 70% branding, 20% personal posts and 10% sales posts.

A scheduling tool can take care of those occasional promo posts, or brand building posts — so you can focus on simply interacting with others, and using your social channels as you normally would.

Buffer and Hootesuite are two of the more popular platforms, however, there exists dozens of similar outlets. I prefer Buffer as it automatically posts during your customized “peak hours”. So you simply schedule, and it posts automatically during times that are the most active for your follower-base. This feature is also optional as you can schedule whenever you’d like.

I also dig Buffer as it automatically pulls photos from links, where as with HooteSuite you have to manually insert the link.

HooteSuite, on the other hand has integration with Instagram, and if you’re a manager or agency, you can manage multiple accounts for free — and an unlimited amount for only $10 a month.

Regardless of how you go about handling your social media, a scheduler is key to having a solid content mix. It allows you to consistently have a social media presence even when you’re on the road, touring — or maybe just not feeling up to it that day.

Although, remember that you need to schedule a mix of content — so, re-share your videos, but also throw up new music you like, or local events you want to check out. Be dynamic — but also, with a scheduling tool, you can also remain consistent.

3. Canva

I always recommend an artist hires a designer for any kind of complex design campaign. This might be an album cover, or a banner for a website. However, images go beyond that — artists need visual content on their social media channels. Images always do better than text posts — so, little things like “Coming Soon” graphics, simple show reminders, or even graphics with your lyrics on them can go a long way.

However, these aren’t really worth investing in a designer, especially when tools like Canva exist. Canva allows for simple graphics, and also gives templates that include dimensions for certain social outlets, as well as text tools. It doesn’t have great “photoshop”-level editing functions. But it does allow you to quickly edit a photo, as well as add in lines and other tools to really create some compelling and simple social media (or blog) graphics.

I highly recommend you check Canva out if you need a quick image boost on your social media.

4. Boomerang

Boomerang is one of my secret weapons. Boomerang allows Gmail users to schedule emails — while this might seem like a small feature, it’s actually huge for artists who want to pitch press, but don’t have access to a professional email tool. Sure, you can use MailChimp for this, but email inboxes register it as as a “marketing” program, so it goes to a “promo” or even a spam folder.

To use Boomerang, first, I activate up Gmails “canned response” feature. This allows you to quickly pull up pre-written text without having to go and copy/paste. That way you can tweak a pre-written pitch, quickly.

(Note: Always tweak your pitch, state the writer’s name, tell them how you found their info.. make ’em feel special. This is key.)

Then, you simply go to the Boomerang icon, that now appears in your email window, and schedule it! You can schedule a certain amount a week for free, or for a small fee you can schedule a larger amount. It’s certainly worth the cost.

I even have access to major PR databases and scheduling programs, but I still find myself using Boomerang for the scheduling aspect. I simply feel that it’s easier to tweak the pitches in Boomerang, and make them more personalized towards the writer. Rather than just launching them all out in bulk.

This is also good for artists with small media lists, or who just want to send pitches out to a few key people before a launch.

Bonus Tips: Searching for writer emails? Use outlets like ZoomInfo for press contacts — another good way? Google ’em. Seriously, try searching a writer’s name and you’ll be surprised with how often you find some form of contact info.

5. Google Drive

If you’ve worked for any agency, start-up, or company with a lot of moving parts — you may be familiar with project management programs such as Slack, Trello, and BaseCamp. These are all great tools, and I’ve used them with a few labels — however, they’re only really necessary for large teams with numerous projects.

So… if you have an in-house PR team, booking agent, a designer, an inventory specialist and a manager — then sure, use these programs! But if you’re reading this, you’re likely a team of less than 5 folks and having project management tools may be a bit overkill.

While I’ve used these tools with large management teams and indie labels, most of my clients work directly off of Google Drive. Google Drive is just like Dropbox, though since it’s cloud base — it’s a bit easier to navigate and edit documents in real-time. Here’s what I use in Google Drive:

  • Google Drive Folders

Obvious, but great for separating out photos, PR documents, tracks, and organizational documents.

  • Google Sheets

This is my go-to tool for weekly status updates. I have columns for “Task”, “Status”, “Next Steps” and “Responsibility”. Then we work with the team (managers and/or artists) to fill out each item.

I also use Google Sheets to keep up with media lists, budgeting, track what writers I’ve pitched, venue contacts and more.

  • Google Docs

Another obvious but good tool is the Google Doc. Google Docs allow for one document to be shared with your team for collaboration. So, this could be a marketing plan you’re working on with your manager, or it could be a social media content calendar.

It’s a great tool to create a document, and have a team give insight and feedback.

6. Good Ole’ Fashion Knowledge.

Hey! I know you wanted some hacks and quick tips, but I can’t stress this piece enough. Simply, educate yourselves.

One of the largest ways artists step towards failure is by trying to rush success. This might be going broke paying for sketchy promo deals, or maybe just giving up because they aren’t seeing results soon enough. However, the real success comes in understanding the industry. It goes into knowing what makes a good pitch, how to network, what makes a good social media presence.

You might say, well — I can have a PR team handle that. Yes! But… how are you going to know if they’re doing a good job? How do you know if your manager is doing their par? If you don’t understand what goes into these two arenas, you can’t gauge their productivity.

Recently, I started offering musicians my Artist Launch Kit which, instead of blindly pitching on the artist’s behalf, I give them all of the tools they need to pitch press and operate their brand. This includes a series of pitches, an EPK, a custom media list, as well as a marketing plan.

However, it goes beyond working directly with folks like me. TuneCore’s blog has become a great resource for artists, same with HypebotSonicbids, and more. There’s also some incredible social media influencers out there who talk about music marketing (without trying to sell you something too often.)

Read blogs, connect and network with folks in the industry, education is everything, especially as our industry continues to grow.


w tyler allenAs a music marketing strategist, Tyler Allen works with an extensive array of artists, labels, music tech, and music retail entities. Tyler began his music industry career with Sony Music Entertainment and RED Distribution, as well as the advertising industry. He is dedicated to giving veteran artists the tools to preserve their legacy, and new artists the tools to begin theirs (as well as everything in between). Learn more about Tyler Allen’s music consulting and background on his website here.