Best Music Marketing Strategies

There is nothing more rewarding or frustrating in the modern music industry than marketing strategies.

The Weeknd parlayed effective digital marketing strategies into a long-term A-list career and made it look effortless. Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast went viral on TikTok for detailing her disappointment with her album release watch and the toll the digital marketing strategies took on her. In both cases, the artists promoted their work shrewdly and with passion.

This is the catch-22 of marketing strategies for music: they’re a vital foundation for taking musicians’ careers to the next level, even if they don’t guarantee success and are exhausting to execute.

Fear not: TuneCore is here to help you sift through which music marketing strategies are worth your time and energy and most likely to position you as an artist to watch.

Let’s get started.

Importance of Music Marketing

An old saying goes like this:" If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

This philosophical quandary applies to your music and its marketing. You can pour your proverbial blood, sweat, and tears into a song – but if there is no music business marketing behind its release, there's a chance no one will listen.

Take Creeper. The six-piece British horror punk band parlayed industry buzz into Reading and Leeds support slots in 2016 and wanted to move units of their unreleased debut album Eternity, In Your Arms. Their solution? The band deleted their social media and reported themselves missing. Weeks later, a website appeared linking the band's disappearance to an unsolved kidnapping case.

The fictitious “true crimes” whipped fans and unsuspecting internet sleuths into a frenzy and built to Eternity, In Your Arms official announcement. The album debuted at #1 on the British Rock and Metal album charts.

Smart music business marketing strategy took Creeper from being an up-and-coming band to a group that tops the charts and is co-headlining festivals in 2024.

Here’s a breakdown of what worked for them – and how it can work for you, too.

Understanding Your Target Audience

Creeper's spooky disappearing act mirrored their arena-ready punk music's dramatic and gothic tones. It's proof they understood their fan base.

The first step to effectively marketing your next release is better understanding yours.

Why do your listeners love your art? Is it because it’s brazenly theatrical or sincere? Is your secret weapon great melodic hooks filtered through a lo-fi presentation? Do fans flock to your Instagram Reels regardless of whether you’re dropping tracks?

These are the questions you should ask yourself before your next release and subsequent about of marketing. You can also try these exercises:

1.Imagine the A-list band you or your group should open for

  • Why would you appeal to their fans?
  • What does that artist’s marketing look like?
  • Can you emulate it on your own?

2.What three colors best describe the overall mood of your music?

  • Can they use them in your marketing?
  • Your website?
  • Your EPK press kit?

3.Find three examples of music marketing strategies you’ve responded to as a listener, not a creator.

How To Market Yourself as a Music Artist

DIY Website and Blog

Having an "artist" website can feel antiquated in the age of social media, but it's a vital marketing tool for any musician.

Your DIY website or blog is a hub where fans can see every facet of your musical and branded output. That means new songs, personal stories, and even merchandise.

Your EPK (which we'll discuss in a minute) will link to your website or blog. All your social media can (and should) link to your website or blog. And you have more options than ever when determining where to host your site.

Make sure to market your music with one.

Music Social Media Marketing

Once you’ve answered questions that help you hone in on overall music marketing strategies, it’s time to take those strategies to social media.

There are a ton of tactics to market a song on social media, specifically ones that have worked for established artists like Nikki Minaj and rising acts like Justine Skye. The key is leveraging each social media platform effectively.

  • On TikTok, take advantage of trending challenges and remixessped-up songs were a massive hit on TikTok in 2023; could you release a sped-up version of your next single to build anticipation for the in-tempo version?
  • Use “the grid layout” to your advantage on Instagram – Since every square tile on your Instagram home page represents one post, release countdowns and cover art reveal proof of effective online music marketing strategies.
  • Set the tone on BlueSky – the alternative to X is rapidly growing but still in its social media infancy. That makes it fertile ground to take big creative swings, stand out, and cultivate a smaller yet mighty audience.

The first step to utilizing social media for marketing is distributing your music to all the major platforms – and TuneCore can help you with that free of charge.

Streaming Platforms Promotion

Effectively promoting your music on social media is excellent, but shrewdly promoting it on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music is one of the best marketing strategies for music.

Uploading your songs is only the first step in the process. Some tools and resources can place you on playlists or use streaming service algorithms to introduce your music to new fans. Take Creator Music in YouTube Studio: it's a library of royalty-free songs on YouTube that content creators can utilize for any video they make. That's instantaneous exposure for an up-and-coming artist through legitimate means.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of illegitimate ways to boost your streaming numbers out there -- and they're becoming increasingly popular.

Streaming Fraud

Streaming fraud is a progressively popular topic of discussion in the music industry. Artists are starting to suffer the consequences of participating in it -- Spotify is taking punitive measures to combat participation in streaming farms, and more and more articles are coming out about how to identify and silence the bots generating bad actors' illegitimate income.

Marketing yourself correctly- with transparency and integrity- sets you up for a long-term career. Fraud doesn't. Utilizing the music marketing strategies in this guide can boost your career without damaging your credibility.

It's a win-win.

Music Blogging and PR

Bloggers may not yield the power they did at the peak of indie rock’s popularity, but they can still help you find a passionate fanbase.

One of the best ways to effectively reach bloggers and PR professionals is to group all your best music marketing ideas into an EPK, or “electronic press kit.” An EPK is the music industry standard for gathering digital materials in one centralized location. Every EPK should include:

An artist bio
Links to social media and streaming sites
Positive press reviews
Links to additional press (concert listings, placement on playlists, etc.)

Constructive press releases hinge on having an attention-grabbing headline, and any necessary information for music bloggers or PR professionals gets presented clearly. Ask yourself: why are you sending your EPK out now? That’s your headline. Run your EPK by friends or family before sending it to ensure the main takeaways are apparent, even to readers not in the industry.

Remember the exercises we suggested for understanding your target audience? Completing them can benefit your EPK immensely and help you stand out. The better you know your or your group’s appeal, the more quickly you can translate it into aesthetics.

The stronger your aesthetics, the more marketable you are.

For more advice about pitching yourself to blogs and PR reps, click here.

Email Marketing for Musicians

Compelling email marketing is one way to ensure you stay on top of your marketing game.

Engaging in digital newsletters is a tremendous way to rally clicks to your website or social media. Yes, they’re only going out to contacts you already have – but nothing stops your fans from forwarding your newsletter to friends or an industry contact who can help you down the line.

Check out Run The Jewels’ newsletter for an example of how to market rappers and how expert branding can improve content delivery, or Reply Alt by Dan Ozzi if you’re looking to craft a rock-music newsletter that’s more narrative.

Regardless of your chosen path, you’ll want to build segmented email lists and leverage email automation to ensure your content goes out opportunistically without fail.

Collaborations and Networking

TuneCore frequently covers the benefits of collaborating and networking with our artists – and one of the best mediums to do that is marketing.

There’s tremendous power to appear in another artist’s email blast or post. It creates an association between you and that artist in their listener’s minds, which can yield scores of new fans.

Conversely, think of other acts and artists who can show up in your marketing. If a band, comedian, or actor is your friend or follows you on social media, see if they’ll collaborate on a press release with you. It will make your email blast surprising and stand out from the pack. That’s effective marketing 101.

This philosophy applies to IRL collaborations as well. The Buffalo band Better Lovers recently teamed up with local roasters Over Winter Coffee to make a unique blend for their holiday shows. Even if their fans couldn’t purchase the coffee, the distinct graphics and team-up between disparate brands left a clear impression on social media.

Don’t worry if your reach is more limited than the groups listed above. Focus on strong, creative, collaborative efforts; the sky is the limit.

Conclusion

Marketing isn’t easy for everyone, and if you read to the end of this guide, it will be more accessible for you from here on out.

‌ TuneCore can help you make the most of your marketing output by getting your music onto social media and even help you sell your music online, track daily industry trends, or design cover art with our Breakout or Professional Artist plans.

No matter what you want to achieve through your music or marketing, the moment to fully realize it is now.