Self-Market Your Music in 2023

In the modern era, the only differences between being a signed artist and an independent artist are 3 aspects:

  • Recording and studio support
  • Electronic distribution of the music
  • Shooting music videos

The most crucial element missing is actually promoting the artists. Some labels support artists with promotion, and others refer them to a specialised promotion agency that can also organise tv and radio interviews.

As an artist, you would want to get booked regularly for shows, which is a challenging goal to reach. Don’t miss the post I published about What to Do to Get Booked Regularly as an Artist to guide you with a few simple steps.

Today we will look at some of the steps you can take to promote yourself as an artist and grow your audience.

1. Setting Yourself Up

After you already have some content that you would like to release, even if it’s only one song recorded professionally, go over to the distribution website called Distrokid, and create an account. (no affiliate connection)

It costs you 22,99$ per year for the cheapest version, but I would recommend going for the Musician Plus option which is currently 39,99$ per year.

The service you get for this is quite amazing:

  • They distribute your music to ALL the online platforms
  • They sort out the royalties with your cover songs
  • They share royalties with songwriters or between band members
  • You have a transparent overview of where your plays come from
  • Etc.

Go and check it out. This is the first step in getting your music out in the world.

The price per stream is not extremely high, at about 1$ per 1000 plays. All regions have different prices for their plays across various platforms.

By the way, if you are in a band, there are a few elements to take note of so that the internal structures of your band are built in a solid base. I wrote an article about Why Most Bands Fail, which you can find here, and I also add the solutions to the mentioned factors.

2. Run Ads to Get Plays

Now you will already get paid for your music. Our next challenge would be setting some promotional strategies in place.

Be open to spending some money. The thing is that when you spend money on ads, the ads are being presented to people who are likely to be fans.

Instream Ads On YouTube

We are so used to having ads on YouTube for various products, but nothing stops you from displaying an original high-quality clip with your music.

A song that will reach people beyond your control is exactly how we would like your promotional campaign to run.

You will soon see your clicks or plays rise and pay off the costs you paid for your ads.

This post was written and posted by De Wet from on 07.05.2023. The content was stolen from me if this blog post is seen anywhere else.

People already have a screen in front of them. We just need to send your music to their eyes. (Photo credit: Canva)

Running Instagram Story Ads

Don’t forget that the most bored people on the planet are the ones watching Instagram stories. They are basically waiting to be entertained by you.

Run a paid campaign so that your reach will be organic. That mainly means that your ad is being sent to the people who have liked and viewed other artists with the same genre.

This is a win-win for all parties.

3. Perform More Regularly

When I got signed, the agreement was to perform 8 gigs per month. For an original band, this was not possible because nobody knows you that well yet.

Mostly, labels sign fans, not bands. We were thrown into the deep end. They liked our music because it was original and had extreme potential.

We then started to play any gig we can get, just for promotion. The label supported us a lot by offering us promotional gigs and fan interactions to enhance the promotional strategies.

It might be that you will play for free for a long time. That’s alright. Just make sure that you pick the gigs where you will be heard.

I have a free Zero-to-Hero guide to help you reach the paid gigs that you deserve. Take a look at it here. Perhaps there are a few hidden tips that might work for you!

4. Shoot a Music Video

As a musician, you should invest in your YouTube channel. Not everyone has Spotify, but everyone can use YouTube for free. Especially with the “Shorts” feature that got newly introduced.

This is an opportunity not to miss out on. You have ads running for you and now it can also be linked to your music video and YouTube content.

You will start getting paid at 100k plays, but it’s crucial to get the ball rolling and start building an income stream from here.

Some modern labels would rather cash in on the YouTube content than interfere with live performance money. Everyone has their own opinion about this.

After you have a video, go back to step 2 and repeat your promotion strategy with a new-look, professional video.

I know that shooting a music video can be expensive, but if you can find the right people, then you can be in for a cheaper run.

Look out for:

  • Videography students in need of experience
  • Open spaces or empty buildings as a venue
  • Editors willing to do the job for their promotion

As a band, we shot 2 of our music videos by using our fanbase as a resource to get all the equipment, actors/models, and editing done for a very low price.

5. Collaborate With Another Artist

This is a highly underrated strategy because we want to be original and independent.

The hard truth is that we need each other to succeed.

Our success does not only lay in our hands, but in those that supports us throughout our journey to the top.

De Wet Kruger

Networking and being open is the key right here.

Try to find about 5 artists that you know personally and wouldn’t mind writing and performing music together. It can be a solo vocalist or another band’s frontman, or someone playing a special type of instrument.

Ask them if they would like to write, record and perform a song together.

The advantages are endless:

  • Many new people are being exposed to your voice
  • More content to promote
  • The networking process continues
  • New performance and concert opportunities await

I have even collaborated with a radio presenter in the past. He was a friend of one of our band members and we used him as our introducer at our gigs.

He was always eager to be in front of an audience since it was exposure for him as well, even when we performed Battle of the Bands.

If you are considering playing in music competitions or Battle of the Bands, I wrote an article where I summarised the pros and cons for you to decide if this would help your cause. You can find Music Competition Participation: The Pros and Cons here.

6. Radio and Podcast Interviews

Many radio stations are keen to host new musicians with quality music from their region. Reach out to them and offer yourself for an interview.

You can also get in contact with podcast hosts to present yourself and get the experience of talking and promoting yourself.

Once you have an interview, go ahead and read my article about how you can prepare yourself for a radio interview. There are a few tricks and examples that you can surely benefit from.

I hope that this article will help you progress your music career to the next level!

Rock on!

De Wet

The dream started during a school tour at the age of 15 years old. One that might take a long time to reach. De Wet was 16 years old when he got his first bass guitar as a gift from his dad. The guitar was found, hidden under boxes. As if it was waiting for its owner to come by and pick him up. He practiced every day to improve and to teach his fingers to dance to the music. After finishing high school, he played in various bands where he collected valuable experience, before being signed by a record label as an upcoming band. He reached success at age 22 when he released two albums with his band, which also included televised music videos for publicity. By age 24, he co-started management, artist promotion, and booking agency for successful and upcoming musical acts.

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