It's time to reconsider your approach to music promotion

To find new fans in the digital age, artists must think different

What more could an artist want than seeing others take-in and enjoy their work? Dive deep into any great work of art and you will discover a remarkable combination of determination, confidence, talent, and above all else - risk. It is a given that any landmark piece will be full of creative risks. What may not be immediately apparent are the personal and professional risks the artist took as well.

This is especially true in the music industry. Anyone embarking on a career as a musician will immediately discover that the bare minimum for achieving success is simply putting their absolute best out there. It is no coincidence that many successful artists of today favor their earlier work. Even then, after creating your “Reasonable Doubt” or “The Dark Side of the Moon”, you as an artist still have to deal with the other big factor in whether you will make it or not – luck.

Hip hop icon Jay-Z's personal ranking of his albums from best to worst. His favorite, "Reasonable Doubt", is both his first and lowest selling album.

So many choices...

How many relatively unknown bands can you think of that put out music you just couldn’t stop listening to? Once in a while they might turn into superstars and you can brag that you heard them before anyone else. But sadly most of the time you will be hard-pressed to convince your friends to finish listening to even one song. This is the challenge that every new musician faces – how do I find the fans that dig my music? When not in a studio or on a stage, you will find that the most dedicated musicians are working to turn luck in their favor through promotion.

Understanding social media

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other forms of social media are excellent tools for a musician. However, there is a very common misconception that these platforms will automatically get you discovered. Unless you are as lucky as Justin Bieber, simply posting your song and asking all of your followers to share it will not work. Thousands of songs are tweeted every second, and it is not realistic to expect that enough people will simply take the time to not only click your link but actually listen to the music long enough to become a fan.

There may be hope just yet

Artists need to rethink their approach to online promotion and see that the most efficient use of these platforms is to first and foremost connect with their fan base, not build it. This brings up the all-important question: how does an artist get that initial spark to build a fan base in the first place?

What do you think is the best way to promote music virally in the digital age? Let us know in the comments section!