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How to Promote a Music Release with Little or No Budget

Music costs money, and by the time you’ve written and recorded a release you’re proud of, you may look up to discover that you have little to no money left to promote your new release.

Oh no!

Don’t worry – it’s not as catastrophic a situation as it might seem. There are still plenty of ways to get your music out there without breaking the bank.

Here are some tips on how to promote your music even if you’re a little short on cash.

First, Distribute Your Music

Distribution is easy and inexpensive. If you want to get more listens, earn more sales and gain more exposure for your music, you must distribute your music.

Looking for a service to use? Well it just so happens that you’re looking at one.

But if you’re a little low on cash, it’s not the end of the world. You can still utilize services like Bandcamp, Nimbit, Sellfy and Gumroad to upload and sell your music for free (they do take a cut of your sales though). Go ahead, use all of them if you want to.

There’s just one thing you need to keep in mind with distribution – you should get your music out to as many channels as possible, especially if you want a chance at appealing to international audiences.

First, Distribute Your MusicClick To Tweet

Connect with Your Audience

Hopefully by now you’ve built up a bit of an email list and social media following. If not, that should be your main priority. Do that before worrying about how to promote your music online.

But if you’ve got a bit of a following (it’s okay if it’s small), do the following.

Send a newsletter out to your email list letting them know about your new release. People on your email list are clearly interested in what you’re doing and what you have to offer. They should be among your best buyers. Send out several custom messages letting them know about the release. Respond to any questions that come your way.

Similarly, reach out to your audience on Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Don’t just post once. Don’t just say “buy our album.” Get creative. Build a strategy and show up consistently on these platforms, and do it for at least for a month.

Reach Out to Reviewers

This will probably mean uploading your music to SoundCloud since a lot of reviewers like to embed links on their blog.

I know there are musicians out there that are kind of precious about their recorded material and don’t want to give people free access to it. I can appreciate that.

But if you don’t have much of a budget, and you don’t have a big fan base, you need all the help you can get. So put your music on SoundCloud or wherever else you need to so that you can start getting some reviews.

Be courteous and respectful when communicating with music bloggers and reviewers. They will probably ask you to contact them in a certain way, upload your music to a certain place, and request relevant information related to you or your band. Give them what they ask for. Don’t be weird about it.

Make an Announcement Video

There are many different ways to utilize YouTube as a promotional platform. But if you don’t have money, lyric and music videos might be out of the question. If you have the technical knowhow to do those, great, but otherwise you’re just going to have to work with what you’ve got.

But it’s a misnomer that you need awesome production value for people to want to watch your videos. It helps, but it certainly isn’t everything.

Be entertaining. Inject humor into your video. Briefly introduce yourself, talk about what your music or song is about, and get people interested in it.

Then re-purpose the video like crazy. Use it in an email campaign. Post it to social media. Send it to friends and family members. Just remember to personalize your message. People will ignore you if you don’t appeal to their ego somehow.

Build a Landing Page

Create a simple landing page on your website that talks about your new release. Share the story of its creation. Talk about each of the tracks and what inspired you to write them.

The more specific and niche you are, the better. For example, your new single or album might be about ice skating. Great. Now when people search for “music for ice skating”, they’re going to find your release.

But even if you don’t make “niche music”, the value of a landing page lies in the fact that it tells the story of your release. It gives your fans and potential fans the opportunity to learn more about you and what went into the music.

It’s basically a sales page, and its main goal should be to sell your music. But don’t use pressure tactics – they don’t work when it comes to selling music.

Once set up, promote your landing page like crazy.

Additional Tips

Here are several more things you can do to promote your release with little to no budget:

  • Write a blog post or a series of posts about your new release, talking about different aspects of it: writing, recording, gear, etc.
  • Issue and submit a press release to Press Exposure or Mi2n. It’s free.
  • Run a contest. Give away your new release for free to a limited number of people.
  • Make podcast appearances. There are a lot more people out there with podcasts these days. Find people in your locality that would be happy to have you on their show or to use your music.
  • Start interacting on forums where your fans like to hang out. Remember to include a link to your website in your signature.
  • Use live streaming apps and services to host online concerts.
  • Build strategic partnerships with other artists, bands, individuals, entrepreneurs, and businesses. Agree to promote each other’s products.
Build strategic partnerships with other artists, bands, individuals, entrepreneurs, and businessesClick To Tweet

Final Thoughts

Nothing works 100% of the time for everyone. I believe the key to promotion is to create an organized process that you can follow for every single release you put out (you know, like an album release formula).

As you continue to show up with new music, you should experience some success. Stay steady, and don’t get discouraged. Be willing to work at it. Nothing worthwhile comes without a fight.

Author Bio:

David Andrew Wiebe is the founder of The Music Entrepreneur, and author of The New Music Industry. He is also active onstage and in the studio with bands like Adrenalize and Long Jon Lev. His new solo album is slated for release later this year.

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