No one will become your fan without hearing your music. When it comes to promoting your music, the number one thing you should focus on is getting as many people as possible to hear it!
Exposure is the key to getting fans and the best way to promote a song is to play it to people.
Many artists get caught up in the trap of focusing too much on royalties and getting paid way before they should. Of course artists should be compensated for their music, but at what point is it time to make a profit? And at what point is your focus on revenue clouding your ability to effectively promote and market yourself?
Below are some points to focus on when you are an up and coming artist trying to build up your fan base and exposure.
Just like any business, musicians need to focus on customer acquisition. This comes with a cost. Businesses spend tons of money on acquiring new customers in hopes that the lifetime value of the customer will far exceed the cost of acquiring them.
What does this mean for your music? The cost of getting your music to as many people as possible becomes your customer acquisition cost. Playing your music in places that you don't earn revenue will only increase your popularity in the places that you do earn revenue. It's a cost of doing business. Think of it as a free trial. Popular songs will be successful and return a profit for the artist. Just have a little faith.
Don't limit the access to your music for anyone. Make it as freely available as possible. Music is an extremely unique type of value that reaches people's emotions. The more airplay you get, the more you will connect with new fans.
If you're music is being uploaded and shared, be happy that so many people want to hear your music. Allow your fans to use your music and don't focus so much on protecting all of the copyright claims. If more and more people are hearing your music, there will be more people who ultimately pay for it.
Let your current fans acquire new ones
Ever had a great meal at a great restaurant and had to tell your friend to go there? Have you ever seen a great movie that you've recommended? Music has the same snowball factor.
If people truly love your music, they will help acquire new fans for you! Your current fans will share your music with their friends and allow the snowball effect to take over.
There's a concept in business that if you give your most loyal customers (fans) great service and a great product, they will bring new customers in for you.
What about when you're a superstar?
Now let's say you make it huge. You have millions of fans and are making millions of dollars. At this point, you are in a position that don't have to give music away for free. If you don't want anyone to hear your music without paying, you can pull a Taylor Swift and remove your music from Spotify. You can take down every video that uses your music without your expressed written consent.
HOWEVER, is this the right route to take considering how emotional music is? You have a connection with your fans. Always remember how you got there. You need your fans to be successful and needed to people to listen to your music when you had to give it away for free. If you are big enough and making millions of dollars in this position, just remember how you got there.