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, but 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, which will lead to more press, more streams and more overall growth.
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.
HOW TO PITCH TO BLOGS
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.
HOW TO GUARANTEE ONLINE COVERAGE
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. Securing radio play will mean collecting royalties and having a higher chance of being discovered by new fans, both of which leads to growth in your music career.
HOW TO PITCH TO RADIO
You simply get the pitch and the press release that you have been sending to journalists (as explained above) 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
- The track may need to be edited if it’s over 4 minutes and has swearing (make it radio friendly)
- 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
HOW TO SECURE NATIONAL RADIO PLAYS
Everything above explains how to get radio play but before even thinking about approaching the larger stations, you need to create a portfolio of plays for the release. Start with your regional radio stations and then look into genre specific stations. Both of these areas are easier to secure plays on, give you a radio portfolio and will show you how well the track is getting picked up.
Once you’ve received plays on both regional and genre specific radio stations, you will be able to pitch to national radio stations. Make sure you’re pitching to the right producer/presenter who covers your genre as if you’re a rock artist approaching a pop show, you’ll end up frustrating the station to a point where they won’t want to play you at all!
Another method to promote your music with no budget is YouTube sync. YouTubers are constantly looking for non-copyrighted music and as a musician, you can provide them with 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 and the audience is already there, dedicated to watching the content.
HOW TO PITCH TO YOUTUBERS
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 music royalty-free 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 of sync 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 and captures someone’s attention.
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.
HOW TO HAVE CONTENT TO SHARE DAILY
Being a musician means that your time is split between the music, your family and friends and most probably a full-time or part-time job. Therefore, content creation probably isn’t at the top of your to do list, but it really should be. In this digital era, the content an artist creates becomes their branding, so if you’re not posting daily, you’ll lose your audience’s attention and the attention is where the money is for an artist.
To be creating content daily, you can use a tip called Long-Form to Short Form, which is ideal for musicians as long-form content is simple to shoot. Long-form content is basically anything that you could post on YouTube that is longer than 1 minute, for example your live set or you recording in the studio. This sort of content can easily be created as you can simply set up a camera or your phone and leave it recording. Long-form content is perfect for YouTube where people enter the platform with the aim to engage in long-form content and sit and watch something. However, people don’t enter Instagram or Twitter with much of a purpose but to scroll, so you need to be creating short-form content for those.
To be creating short-form content, you need to be editing down the long-form, finding the most engaging parts, which would be interesting for someone on a platform such as Instagram. For example, you could upload your live set to YouTube and then edit out a part where you’re speaking to the audience about the meaning behind a track. From here, you subtitle it and add a caption which would engage someone scrolling and you’ve got short-form content from your longer video. This content strategy is super simply to put into action but only if you’re filming as much as possible.
It’s pretty clear from this blog post 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, resulting in more streams, more fans and more of an income to be able to invest back into the music.