How to Promote Your Music on a Budget (3 Essential Strategies)

It never stops.

Frequently, I read conversations online and receive emails from people that essentially say this:

“You need a lot of money to get your music heard.”

Not only are artists saying this, but label executives and managers are also claiming that you need money to really promote your music properly.

But is it true? Not necessarily.

Yes—money does help. Major labels can push releases into the ears of millions of people. They can do this because they have capital. But there’s another side to it:

You don’t need a lot of money to get your music heard… in fact, you might not need any money at all.

Warning: this is not for everyone

Getting your music heard on a budget is possible. But here’s the thing:

  1. Getting your music heard means you need to actually produce good music. If you’re new to production, come back to this article later. Master the fundamentals then focus on your craft.
  2. Getting your music heard takes EFFORT. Real effort and time. If you’re looking for a shortcut… a silver bullet approach… then you’ll be disappointed.
  3. Getting your music heard means you need to learn new skills, strategies, tactics. You’re not just an artist, you’re a marketer too.

You tracking with me?

This isn’t easy, but if you do the work, you’ll see results. Especially if you use the right tactics and strategies.

In this article, I’ll share 3 tips for promoting your music on a budget.

If you want more 7 more tips on how to get your music heard on a budget, download our free eBook: Producer Marketing: 10 Tips to Promote Your Music on a Budget.

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Tip 1: Develop Creative Consistency

One of the most common mistakes I see artists make is this:

They release a song. It does well. Maybe they’ve put a lot of effort into promoting it. Maybe it gets a taste of that viral goodness…

But a month later? Nothing. The life cycle of the song has ended…

And guess what? The artist hasn’t finished anything else. There’s no follow-up release. Everyone loses interest, including people who could have become fans if they hadn’t got tired of waiting for the next release.

Understand?

You need to release music consistently.

Aim for one release per month if you can. Not only will this increase the total amount of plays you get over all your tracks, it will also help you grow your audience and gain super fans.

Here’s what writer Jeff Goins says about this principle:

“I was so frustrated from trying to make it as a writer and quitting every time it got hard…So I made a life-changing decision. I would write every day and publish it on my blog for two years straight…

And it worked.

After my first year of blogging, I had written over 400 articles (one each day for my blog and another 50-60 guest posts for other websites). For the first six months of doing this, my blog had only 70 readers. After a year, however, I had over 10,000.”

Take action:

How often are you currently finishing and releasing music? If you’re not able to finish a song once every month or so, then you may have a workflow or general commitment issue. Here are 3 resources to check out:

  • Song Finishing Checklist. This will help you finish all those projects of yours that are 80-90% finished (you know, the ones you’re scared of opening again because they haunt you).
  • Turning Pro (Book). Steven Pressfield writes being an artist in a way that pierces the reader’s soul. This book will help you think seriously about your craft. It will inspire you to not rely on being inspired, but rather to do the work even when it’s tough.
  • Workflow Foundations. Our comprehensive course for turning ideas into full songs. You’ll learn tactics and tips for working through each stage of the production process (idea generation, arrangement, mixing and more). Use code: ‘WF20’ for 20% off the course.

Once you’ve checked out these resources, commit yourself to a schedule.

Set a goal to finish and release one track every two weeks, or one track every month. Just make it consistent. Stick to it.

Tip 2: Have a plan for your release

I’d finish a song after hours of focused work. It’s not easy finishing a song.

So I was just happy to finish it, and I wanted everyone to hear the result of my hard work (you know exactly what I’m talking about).

I’d mash together cheap artwork for the song (or just find a photo), give it a name, then upload it to Soundcloud. Then, of course, I enacted my song promotion strategy, which consisted of posting on Facebook once and messaging a bunch of high school friends.

It didn’t work.

Here’s the thing: when you want your release to do well, you need to be patient.

You need to wait before releasing and ask yourself: “What can I do to increase the chance of this song being heard by as many people as possible?”

Instead of carelessly uploading your songs and hoping for the best, create a plan.

For example:

  • Week 1: 3 weeks before release—finalize the master, get artwork designed, reach out to blog and YouTube channels.
  • Week 2: Follow up with blogs/YouTube channels, plan out social media campaign, finalize release details.
  • Week 3: Start posting teasers and pre-release content on social media.
  • Week 4 (release): Update graphics across social media, send out release to promotional outlets and blogs, start ad campaign.

Your plan doesn’t need to be super complex. Experiment with it. Refine it. But please put one in place.

Take action:

Design your own song release plan. Start with just the basics so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

If you want a pre-made self-release plan to work from, you can download a FREE 4-week song release PDF plan here (includes bonus Social Media Release Checklist)

Download free bonus resources for this article

Bonus Tip: Schedule out time to work on your song promotion the same way you’d schedule out time to work on music. It is important, and if it’s not in your calendar, you won’t do it.

Tip 3: Build and leverage your network

If you don’t have a network yet, read this article…

How to Build Your Network as an Artist

…because you can’t thrive in this industry without one.

Face it: when it comes to getting your music heard, what’s more effective?

Cold emailing 20 blogs, labels, YouTube channels and socia media influencers who don’t even know you…

Or asking friends for a favor?

It’s the latter. Every time.

So start forming relationships with people who can help promote your music…

  • Mutual friends who have a large following on their personal or artist Facebook page
  • Owners of blogs and YouTube promotional channels
  • Owners or A&Rs at labels
  • Other people who have big networks

Note: it’s much easier to ask someone for a favour if you’ve already added value to their lives. I explain how to do this in the article linked above.

Take action:

  1. Figure out who in your current network could help promote your music. Do something for them first, so they don’t feel taken advantage of.
  2. Grow your network. Strengthen it. Connect with more people.

Again, if you want help in doing this, we’ve published a comprehensive 4,000 word article with specific tactics and strategies on how to build your network as an artist. Read it here.

Don’t give up

Look…

You can get your music heard.

If it sounds decent, you plan out your releases, and you remain consistent, you can get your music heard.

But you may be disappointed. It might not “take off” like you expect, straight away. You may have to wait longer than you think.

But don’t give up. It will come. The plays will roll in slowly, but consistently. Your successive releases will start to do better… they’ll start to be shared more. You’ll see results.

Want more strategies and tactics for getting your music heard on a budget? Check out our free eBook on the 10 Steps to Promote Your Music on a Budget. Click here to download it.

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What’s the next step you need to take to get your music heard? Share in the comments section below…