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"Successful Marketing Ideas For Indie Music And Independent Musicians"

Updated on August 8, 2013
Designer: James Ranka
Designer: James Ranka

Music Marketing for Independent Musicians

In general, independent music marketing mimics those guidelines used in corporate marketing... but to thrive in the brutal indie music sales' world, more 'unusual' tactics are most likely needed.

Consider the Cost

Let's begin.
You've written, recorded, produced and manufactured a CD that, in your opinion, is killer! Your CD may very well be 'all that', and I know you've invested a ton of money on the right equipment making that CD a reality... but have you given thought as to how you will market the initial order of 500 CDs sitting on your studio shelf?

A Shocking Statistic

The average indie musician with a CD linked to an independent music retailer like CD Baby, sells 5 CDs PER YEAR! Not 500 - the number is 5. That means you are in a highly, almost can't-win war of indie marketing competition.

Don't give up now, though, because there IS hope if you begin to apply the 7 tips I'm about to provide.

Tip #1 Slow Down!

Listen closely.

Unless you have a direct pipeline to a miracle worker who happens to like you, know that independent music marketing works... but it takes time! You are planting music marketing seeds very much akin to growing a garden. Those cucumbers and tomatoes WILL grow, but they will be edible on THEIR time schedule, not yours.

How long will it take for the indie music marketing seeds to sprout and grow? That is a question I cannot answer. It depends on your willingness to work hard and sacrifice. I know it's tough, but that's the way this world turns.

While you wait, devour every website and book you can find that covers the subject of independent music marketing, and then go to...

Tip #2 - Branding

There is no way around this one. If you want an indie music career to pay the bills with a little left over every month, you must be known to listeners who would buy your CD, IF and only if they knew you and heard your music.

I could not hazard an accurate guess as to how many artists CD Baby stockpiles in their database, but you gotta know it's in the 10s of thousands.

How are you going to stand out with that many indies drinking at the trough? Use Tip #3.

Tip #3 - Go Where the People Dance

I came across the most incredible video that enhances this tip more than my words can say.
Watch it and see if it arouses some ideas for you.

"How I sold 15,000 CDs in 18 months"

Tip #4 - Meet David Hooper

David Hooper is the guru of independent music marketing. Through the years he has amassed a treasure trove of personally-written books, e-books, websites, and videos running over with information needed to market your music. Click on 'David Hooper' to view one of his websites. This man will inspire you with new ideas that work..

I'll be honest with you. As an indie music marketer and recording artist, MOST of the websites that claim to know everything there is to know about music marketing, are pure trash.

For example, I came across one of these "websites" recently. One of their pages discussed the importance of Internet presence. I labored through every page and nowhere was SEO (Search Engine Optimization), keyword/keyphrase research or discovering niches discussed. THIS PAGE WAS RANKED #7 IN GOOGLE! Unbelievable.

Be careful when you find a website professing to have all the answers... very few do and very few are worth reading.

Speaking of websites...

Tip #5 - You Need a Website

Not much to elaborate on here - it's simple; your website is a necessity.

The look of your website is so important. A Metal band is going to look much differently than a Smooth Jazz site. Just make sure the design is impeccable and easy to navigate.

If you don't understand how to find your niche beginning with a keyword search, please hire someone to do this for you. Why? Because if you write the copy and this important information is left out, your site will never become a hot item in cyberspace. It's actually worse than that... you will be ranked so low, you will never be found.

Tip #6 - Socializing

Facebook and Twitter are so important I include a link to both on ALL of my pages. Social networking is where you can really shine. This is where you gain fans and sell CDs and downloads. Once you have accounts at Facebook and Twitter - USE THEM! Write something every day. You don't need to be Shakespearean, just write short, interesting bits about you, your band and your friends.

If nothing else, try to use professional images... first appearances last forever so make yourself look hot and hunked (Photoshop is wonderful!)

Tip #7 - Decisions, Decisions

Contrary to popular belief, an independent music professional's life is hard. Most people do not know what takes place away from the stage where the real fun happens.

Music marketing is a grind and it can zap you in the beginning. The key to the door of success is to DO THINGS CORRECTLY! Skipping steps will slow your progress or stop it totally.

Most of your time will be consumed writing SEO copy for your web pages and emails. But so many other items demand what I term "grudge writing"... filling in forms for local directories, giving the search engines their necessary info, requesting backlinks, on and on. Independent music marketing IS a full-time gig.

Ask yourself: Do I want to spend 8 hours a day with music marketing or would my time be better served composing new music for new albums?

I'm one of the very few indie recording artists knowledgeable in indie music marketing and in composing/recording. In my opinion, you should hire a music marketing professional. Your success as a professional in independent music depends on making that right decision.



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