As an artist, sometimes it can feel that if you don’t have money, then you don’t have any opportunities to get your music out there – this isn’t true. In this digital age, there are so many music marketing techniques that anyone can do, on absolutely no budget, offering every artist a fair chance of success.
To run Facebook ads, hire a music PR company or pay a videographer, costs money and we know that not everyone has that money, so here are our top tips for promoting your music on zero budget.
The internet has opened up endless possibilities for musicians to start pitching to blogs. Getting online coverage can increase the overall hype around a release but also help with your image, plus it doesn’t cost a penny if you’re doing it solo.
You need to first write the press release. The press release is the make or break as to whether you’re going to get online coverage or not. Writing your press release is pretty similar to writing your band biography but this time around you need to make it more focused around this specific production, whether that be an EP, single or video release.
Everything needs to be compelled into this one document, so the easiest starting point is to note down some key factors such as who you are, what makes you stand out, what genre your music is, when you’re releasing, what you’re releasing and who influences you. A good exercise to do while writing the press release is replacing another artist name with yours and if it still is fitting for them, then you have made it personalised or different enough.
The first paragraph of the press release should be the most engaging and should tell the reader what you’re releasing, when you’re releasing and what sort of sound they should expect if they chose to listen to it. The first line should be something catchy, that has that stand out point and will make the journalist want to continue reading.
Examples of things that may make you stand out are…
- Who you’ve supported
- Who you’ve worked with
- Any previous coverage
- Anything different!
On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the actual body of the email, showing the headline needs to be super catchy to actually get the email opened. We always suggest writing the headline last as you’ve gotten into the flow, you know what angle you’re going in at and you’ve worked out the key points. Make it powerful, using an active voice rather than passive.
Now you’ve got the press release, you can start pitching to blogs. To email these journalists, you simply copy and paste the press release into the body of the email and then above, you need to write the main pitch. The pitch itself needs to be personal, not a general copy and paste that you’re sending to every journalist you want coverage with. The pitch needs to be a shortened version of the press release, getting to the point, stating what you’re looking for from the journalist but most importantly it needs to have a way to stream the music – we always suggest a SoundCloud link.
This process can be extremely time consuming but it’s completely free, can result in some fantastic features which will in turn engage new fans and also boost your overall image and acts as a springboard to further promotion.
Radio plugging is another effective way of promoting your music and can be done even if you have no money, by pitching yourself.
You simply get the pitch and the press release that you have been sending to journalists and you adapt it so it’s fitting to send to producers, presenters and DJs at radio stations.
The main things you’ll need to change are…
- If you’ve been pitching an EP/album, you’ll have to choose one single to plug
- What you’re looking to achieve will change to a play, session or interview
- You’ll also need to send them a download link as well as streaming link (WeTransfer, DropBox, Google Drive)
Below is another video going into more depth of how to plug your track to radio:
Another method to promote your music with no budget is YouTube plugging. YouTubers are constantly looking for non-copyrighted music and as a musician, you can provide them that. The results are immediate as you know that if your track is used in a video, it’s guaranteed to be listened to by the YouTuber’s X number of subscribers. This is easy, free promotion as you didn’t have to create this audience, it is already there and dedicated to watching the content.
To start plugging to YouTubers, you firstly needed to think about where your track would be fitting. Explore the YouTube community, looking into what sort of YouTubers use what style of music. For example, a pop artist may find that they’re more fitting for travel vlogs, but a hip-hop artist is more fitting for fashion videos. Explore YouTube to find which YouTubers use similar music to yours and then focus on that style of YouTuber.
Once you’ve found a YouTuber, go on their ‘About’ section and you’ll find their email. Drop them an email offering your track free of charge and non-copyrighted, so you don’t collect the YouTube Content ID royalties. All you should ask for in return, is that your track is linked in the description.
YouTube plugging seems to be extremely underrated right now, so make sure you jump on it before everyone else, as it means you’ll have a closer relationship with these YouTubers and they’ll always choose to feature your music.
This method is a modern-day promotional technique that is a style of influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is always thought of as being expensive and only fitting for corporate marketing but in this case, it’s completely free and ideal for musicians, benefiting both the YouTuber and the artist.
Our final tip for promoting music on zero budget, is creating content. This is so simple, free and can also be the quickest method to growing your brand as an artist. Many seem to think that creating content when you’re a musician is just posting an Instagram now and then or sharing a review you received on Facebook, but that is not what will get your music out there. The content you create to promote your music, doesn’t actually have to be based around your latest or upcoming release, it just needs to be content that becomes in demand.
Anything that gets a relationship between you and your fans means that you’ll be in demand and by the time you release a track, that’ll be in demand also. This content is entirely free to create as nearly everyone has a phone nowadays, meaning you can create pictures, videos and podcasts all from your phone. Any form of content is the chance of growing your fanbase overnight.
If you’re looking to take your content a step further and want that professional edge to it, you can look at hiring a videographer or photographer. This can cost absolutely nothing, if you choose to work with someone that you benefit as much as they benefit you. There are photographers and videographers that have no content to create right now, usually these people are still in school or have just finished their university course. These content creators want to start filming and taking photos, but they have no-one to work with and that’s when you step in. As an artist, you can offer them the chance to film your tour, take pictures of your studio time or simply follow you round with a camera to document your journey. As long as you’re giving back to these people, giving them credit for their work, then you’re both benefitting.
You don’t need to be a perfectionist, you just need to have a constant flow of content on all platforms. The more content you’re putting out, the more you’re giving yourself an opportunity to grow. Each video, each tweet, each podcast is a new audience that you can be reaching out to and a new audience that can be a listener to your music.
It’s pretty clear from this that you do not need money to promote your music. This technology era offers emerging artists a better chance than ever of marketing their music, with so many different platforms and outlets to pitch their music to. As long as you’re dedicating the time to it, promoting your music can easily be done on zero budget.