Nice. You have an album release ready to be heard. Though there are a million ways to get your songs heard, only a few of them can be covered in this post. You already know about many free ways to get promo. Those include telling your friends/fans, sending an announcement to your mailing list, and sharing the new tunes on social networks.
- Blasting your new album in a private message or mention to everyone who follows you on Twitter or likes your page on Facebook is bad for business. Please don't do it.
- It's likely that you'll see so-called promoters who will take your money with little or no return. Beware anyone you don't already have a connection with who sends you an email or social media message that promises you some form of promotion. There's probably a reason that it seems too good to be true. Vet any promoters by checking out their credentials. Do a web search for them. This is where networking with other music acts can be of great benefit. Has the same promoter been cold-calling all the bands with recent releases?
- I've never seen authentic engagement nor revenue from a FaceBook ad or boost. Oh yes, I've seen all the people who say it's a great, cheap way to advertise. So far, I haven't found any small business who can point to customers who can be traced directly to these ads.
One of the few promo submission services that actually worked for me was SubmitHub. Like any service, you'll still need to do some research on which channels to choose. You will need to be prepared to
- pay for premium points (points are how you submit a song) and
- have your song be rejected by some of the blogs/DJs.
Another service that I've had good luck with is Fluence. I've happily reviewed and promoted people using this network. When I connect with reviewers there, I look for people with a large, engaged network or other influence. In my pitch, I ask for both the review and the promotion. Many reviewers have very reasonable rates.
As you probably know, you will need to use a distributor to get your album placed on all the major streaming and download channels. I have been very happy with DistroKid. For an annual fee (currently less than $50), you can upload as many releases as you like. They include all the major channels (iTunes/Apple Music, Google Play, Deezer, Spotify, and Tidal), plus several of the smaller streaming services. For an additional fee, you can also include Shazam and YouTube contentID monitoring. (DistroKid actually uses Audiam for the contentID service.) Keep in mind that your song will now be affiliated with your distributor, so your own ads will be removed from your videos.
Once you've uploaded the album, I recommend that you bookmark the links on all the major services. That way, you can share it on your website, social networks, newsletters, and so on. Obviously, you'll want to encourage your fans to add your songs to their public playlists and share your songs with their friends.
Mostly Free Promo
- Terrestrial radio still works!
- Research local stations. Call the ones that play local acts.
- Look for stations with a broad reach (internet streams, etc.). Linkedin seems to be the social network where it's easiest to find DJs and other terrestrial radio folk. Connect with them first on a social basis and then mention your new album.
- Use your story and the stories of your songs to connect with fans. Be creative.
- Promote your songs with video.
- Besides the obvious lyric video or theatrical video, what other creative options can you imagine?
- Try a teaser video that just has a snippet of the song.
- Create behind the scenes videos of you in the recording studio or playing the new songs in your backyard.
- Another great option is live videos of the songs or even between-song-banter that tells part of the story of the song or an anecdote from your band history.
I'd enjoy hearing your other ideas in the comments here!