Music Marketing Roundup: 8 Must-Read Articles to Jumpstart Your Promotion

At least once a week, someone asks me on Twitter, “How do I promote my music?” The best answer I can muster in 140 characters or less is a link to Passive Promotion. After all, that’s the question I created the site to answer.

But things change quickly in this space, and what worked nearly eight years ago when I launched the site, no longer applies. One morning you wake up, and my article series on MySpace friend adders lacks immediacy. 😢

With that in mind, here are eight of the most currently useful articles on the site, with links to related reading. I’ll share a few bonus leads at the end for good measure.

The Definitive Album Release Checklist

The musician’s ultimate pre-release to-do list. All this stuff needs to be done before promotion begins! In fact, most of this is “do not pass go, do not collect $200” type of stuff that you should take care of ASAP, regardless of whether or not you have something ready to release.

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Promotion & Production Tips from my Wiselike AMA

Wiselike is a Q&A site often compared to Quora. The difference is, you aren’t just throwing questions out there for anybody to answer or ignore. With Wiselike, you direct your question to a specific person.

They’ve featured all types of people from grammy winners to nobel prize winners to CEOs and famous authors. Last Thursday, they featured little old me.

While many of the questions focused on Color Theory in particular, a good portion centered around promotion and production. I’ve compiled a sort of “best of” below. Just click on the “wslk.io” links to read my answers.

Alternately, you can see all the questions and answers, and ask your own, on my page.

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The Definitive Album Release Checklist

Your album is mixed and mastered, finally! You’ve got cover art and maybe even replication lined up. Now what?

This is the question I was hired to answer. Specifically, I was asked to create a to-do list for a band’s debut album. They were generous enough to allow me to share it with you.

Keep in mind that all this stuff comes before the actual promotion. We’re simply laying the groundwork here.

Register your .com domain

If yourbandname.com isn’t available, choose another band name. No joke! Owning your domain is HUGE.

Trademark your band name

I hired Gerben Law Firm, and the entire process was a breeze. Josh conducts a comprehensive search, which will turn up any competing marks.

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The Art of the Niche Music Video

I had the pleasure of working with Matthew Myers on the soon-to-be-released Just Dance Kids 3 video game. As I got to know him and his music, I was blown away by the response to his highly targeted YouTube videos. This recent comment from darksilver1200 sums it up perfectly:

“I feel sorry for all NON-otaku fans. They just don’t understand what it means to love anime and gaming with every fiber of your entire being and soul. I on the other hand, am a full blood otaku through and through. I love all anime, games, and others of this sort. LeetStreet boys, actually, if you listen to the lyrics of the song, have meaning deep down in the otaku heart.”

I’m a gamer and anime fan myself, yet half of the references are over my head! I asked Matt if he would be so kind as to explain how he pulls this stuff off, and the result is this guest post. -Brian.

Making music videos has changed my life. In 2007, I wrote a catchy song about my love of anime and video game fandom. I hired a freelance animator and the music video we created for “Yuri The Only One” was a runaway hit in 2008. It has since garnered over 1.5 million YouTube views, been played at festivals worldwide, enabled my band to headline events across North America as a musical guest, sold out of an album print run, and generated tens of thousands of digital sales.

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The Weekly Batch

Musicians are expected to be everywhere these days. We’re interacting on social networks, following up on blog comments, keeping our profiles on countless music sites up to date, and checking our stats and analytics with a variety of online tools. It’s enough to make a lifelong indie yearn for a label – one with a marketing department!

Most of these items don’t need to be addressed daily, but they do need to be performed on a regular basis. Tasks that have to be done on a given day, I schedule. Everything else is relegated to The Weekly Batch™ (note: not actually trademarked). I tackle the entire list as a single to-do item on Friday afternoons, when I find it hard to do much of anything else.

Here’s my latest iteration:

1. File Maintenance

  • Archive completed projects to my FTP server
  • Empty my downloads folder
  • Clean out my Dropbox

2. Mailing List

Export new email addresses from Bandcamp, Earbits, Jango (now called Radio Airplay), ReverbNation, and NoiseTrade, and import them to FanBridge.

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Social Media & Email Management for Musicians

Engaging with fans is fun and rewarding. It can also be an addictive time suck.

If you check your email, Facebook, and Twitter first thing in the morning, you’re doing it wrong!

Better to start your day creating something worth tweeting about. As a self-confessed productivity junkie, I’ve tried dozens of approaches. This one stuck.

What follows is a step-by-step guide to social media and email management, in the form of a daily routine. It assumes you are on Facebook and Twitter, but can easily be expanded to other networks. All tools mentioned are free unless stated otherwise.

best times to tweet

First we need to figure out when to post your content. Because the half-life of a tweet is so short, Twitter requires the most frequent updates. SocialBro determines your best time to tweet by analyzing when your followers are online and when you get the most retweets, with several glorious charts downloadable as a PDF.

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Next Steps to Music Licensing

I’m excited to bring you a follow-up to one of the most popular articles on this site, by friend and music licensing veteran Helen Austin. -Brian

My music career has advanced significantly in the two years since I first wrote about film and TV placement. As more and more licensing opportunities become available to indie artists, I’m often asked for advice. It’s nice to have an article to direct people to, but it’s long overdue for an update.

With that in mind, here are my new four steps to film and TV placement:

Step 1 : Expand the Groundwork

Your foundation will always be the music. I still write as much as I can, but sometimes get sidetracked into recording and producing. There’s no point in having stacks of manuscript paper and lyrics just sitting on my desk!

I participate in songwriting challenges like February Album Writing Month and The 50/90 Challenge. They force me to write on a regular schedule, and provide quality feedback. My last album and much of my next two albums (one regular, one for kids) have come out of this material.

Step 2 : Refine Your Team

I now write exclusively for pigFactory. This was a big step, and one I didn’t take lightly. I made the decision after a few years of really enjoying our relationship. It didn’t hurt that every time I mentioned them to anyone, I was told how great they are – including my lawyer who checked the contract. Just after signing on the dotted line, they got my song “Happy” on a huge European Nivea commercial, so it turned out to be a very good idea.

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