The Next Steps in the Music Business

In part one of this little two-parter we discussed ways to attract fans with the help of our first couple of finished songs, all with regards to a subsequent album release. This time we move another step further and look at building media and distribution contacts as well as generating buzz. 

The best music won’t get you anywhere as long as noone can hear it. Sounds like a no-brainer. But getting the word out through as many channels as possible is essential if you want to successfully release an album in your specific market niche. While social media is a good start it is not the be-all-end-all thing. In fact it makes only for a fraction of your actual reach. There really is a world outside of such networks where you can reach new fans and pull them over as described in our first part.

Building Media Contacts
Having a long list of contacts to stylistically relevant music websites, blogs, magazines and (online) radios is indispensable so you can distribute the news about an album release as far and wide – but always targeted – as possible.

The more personal your contacts are, the easier it will be to get an album review or even an interview with them. That’s why I strongly recommend that you not just collect addresses but actually contact journalists and bloggers personally to check whether they are interested in featuring you and your music. Then add them to your list and keep the contact up.

Once more this is when having a few finished songs handy pays off as you have something to show your potential contacts and prove your credibility.

What kind of contacts – and how many?
Big mainstream media and even the leading publications in your market niche rarely really care about unsigned musicians. However, beyond that is a world of numerous websites, blogs, radio shows and even magazines that specialize in certain music genres and are happy to feature artists from the underground.

The number of contacts you will need to make a strong impact varies depending on your genre. Some styles simply have larger communities than others. Since fans of certain music styles are scattered all over the world I recommend sampling media outlets worldwide. 50 contacts are a good way to start, professional promoters usually sample from 100 to 200 contacts – the most important ones physically.

Distribution Contacts
Your music wants to be sold. Besides the usual outlets such as your own web store, Amazon and iTunes there are a number of specialized mailorder shops that handle physical sales and occasionally wholesaling. Unsigned bands welcome.

Such shops are favored places for die-hard fans to search for new artists and music while on top they make it possible for fans to place orders within their home country and thus save on postage. The fact that die-hard fans prefer CDs and vinyl over digital downloads is no longer a secret.

Sampling the media, your presence in relevant outlets and getting your fans fired up are key elements of a successful album release. You will reach new potential buyers and create excitement among them and your existing fans, whom you will finally delight with a great album.

I would like to stress that it is absolutely important to keep all the parts of your campaign in perfect sync: media, radio, social media and your newsletter all have to work towards the day of your release. That day should be the time when your new album receives the biggest, concentrated attention.

There are many ways to market a new record. This is one of them, which has proven successful for both record labels and independent artists.

Here’s to your success – Julian Angel

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About MusicBizMadness

Julian Angel is a chart-noted songwriter and film musician with Hollywood credits. He has successfully released six (physical) records by himself. MusicBiz Madness started as a business conference in Germany and keeps sharing hands-on advice for musicians and people in the music industry.
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