Getting started in online music marketing means stepping into both the world of music and online marketing.
If your passion is music, or like me you are a professional musician, working in the office can feel like a prison. However, what if you were to do technically an ”office job” but from anywhere, and in the field you are passionate about.
As a self-made musician and music marketer, I have some tips to share on how to start online music marketing.
Basics of online music marketing
The music industry is special because the “product” it promotes is special for both you, me, and every listener, musician, audio freak, etc.
But, as with all industries that went online, the same general “rules’ apply that are dictated by the online marketing world. First of which is the different types of online or digital marketing that are valid to all industries.
To get started on online music marketing you should understand first the different parts of online music marketing are and where do you fit best. Think of it as choosing which instrument to play in a fine-tuned huge orchestra.
The 7 Types of Digital Marketing are the following
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Pay-per-Click (PPC)
- Social Media Marketing
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Mobile Marketing
- Marketing Analytics
You work as a music digital marketer will be in one or all of these different branches. The good news is that they are so intertwined with each other and common today that you might even be good at some of them without realizing it.
First steps in online music industry marketing
You don’t have to be or have either of my qualifications to getting started in online music marketing! As most probably you are, I’m self-taught in both fields.
Music and marketing share something huge in common – the songs or campaigns are made by creative people that don’t follow the standards that schools have set.
Music theory and marketing schools’ job is to explain how these people create songs and genius campaigns, they don’t make a great musician or marketer.
1- Create a general idea on digital marketing
Start by going into a more general approach to marketing first.
There are plenty of sources that can help you with that but the most important is your own experience online.
Like everyone, you spend lots of time online and have some favorite social pages, websites you visit. Look at them critically and think about what makes them great and the elements of each page.
Start noticing where they rank in google, read about that part, and for each element research all you can.
What you’ll end up noticing is that someone is responsible for the beautiful writings of the website and articles and someone else for the images/video, another one for the smooth website.
This phase can take up months just to create a general idea of what’s digital marketing all about.
2- Find your strong points
Whenever you want to start something new it’s always a good idea to look at what you’re doing at the moment.
In the case of digital marketing, you can use skills you already have and adapt them. Some of these skills are
- Design skills
- Video editing skills
- Content creation skills
- Writing skills
- Planning/Strategy skills
- Programming skills
All you see online is text and media (images and video) that are first well thought out according to a strategy, then created and published online on websites created by programmers. If you find that you are good at any of these then you have a good starting point.
Even the silliest sounding things can become your biggest leverage on earning income in the music industry. For example, if you can make great Tik Tok’s know that there are artists and labels out there hiring people to do just that.
If you are good at writing then you could easily become a content writer for a music online magazine or any type of music industry website.
Combine writing skills with some SEO research and then you can charge way more cause you offer interesting articles that will help websites rank higher on google.
If you are known to be a good planner and strategies in everyday life then you can translate that into digital marketing strategies for my artists and music brands. Think about how you would advise an artist on his looks, what he posts, how to promote his new album etc.
All the skills we mentioned can be adapted to one or more of the types of digital marketing listed in the previous section.
3- Use your musical background
To become great in the online music marketing world, you should first of all love music and be knowledgeable in some of its aspects.
If like me you are a musician, then you can easily work on creating content for guitar apps for social media, write articles for guitarist websites, and gear reviews. All of this is part of content creations/writing for websites and social media.
Understanding how music works and how musicians think can take you far in your career in online music marketing.
For example, when I’m writing a guitar review I know what a guitar player want’s to know about that guitar in particular. There’s no mystery to me of what the buyer is looking for and even what he might want to play with that particular piece of gear.
Knowing that it’s easier for me first of all to get jobs, that make some great work.
You don’t have to be a musician to make it big in the online music industry.
You might not be the best marketing manager for a music theory app or other very specific musician-oriented brands, but you can do other things.
What important is to always keep reading and researching your favorite music topics so that you remain constantly updated.
4- Practice the skills
If you are a beginner at the listed types of digital marketing it’s best to practice first then get your first client. There are 2 ways to do so
– Work for free for someone else
– Start your small personal project online
At first, I started posting guitar covers on Instagram and gradually got better at filming, editing, writing description, finding what to post and how to post it.
When I got my first music social media client I was super confident that I was doing a good job and had all the required skills needed.
My website is one of the first I ever did myself on WordPress. As a not programmer but with some experience in marketing I could do almost all the work myself with just some small technical help from my developer friends.
If you are good at something, people would want to learn more about it so a YouTube Channel, blog, social media page would be a great way to both promote yourself and learn in the meanwhile.
In guitar playing, you have to spend hours with your instrument and experiment with all the possible alternatives until you figure stuff out on your own – the same can be said for online music marketing too!
If you choose to work for free then start contacting all the musicians you know to help them out with their social channels, write to websites and tell them you want to write articles for free, and so on.
5- Specialize in one or more branches
Online music marketing has many different branches on which you can specialize. The most important thing is to choose with whom you want to work.
Do you want to work with artists?
If so you can become a very successful marketer specialized in branding artists &promoting music releases. You can work as a freelance but also for record labels.
Do you want to work with music or audio brands?
If you think you would be better making content or promoting products and services to musicians or audio freaks that that’s a great choice too. Like me, you could focus on the instruments market, online music websites, music and audio gear, etc.
6- Build your online presence
This will take some time too but when it happens it will reward you throughout all your career.
Just think about this –
How can you manage artists or brands online if you don’t have an impressive online presence yourself?
If you’re a musician then start with your social media as an artist. If you are not a musician start with your social media as a music marketer. Start your blog and/or YouTube Channel that will eventually brand you as an authority in the industry.
Don’t worry about getting stuff right, just start out and try your hands on the only brand you can fail without worries, your own!
7- Build your portfolio
Some of my portfolio work is published on my website and social media. It’s with the work that I have done for them that I present myself to new clients in a direct form (sending it to them) or indirectly (Them checking out my profiles).
It’s important to treat every client you are working for, free or paid, friend or not, as a potential new entry in your portfolio.
You can add your portfolio on your website, your social media, or any online marketplace and link all with solutions like linktree
Start your career in music marketing by building over what you already know and own. Digital marketing as a career is all about knowing one or some of the skills that are based on content writing, multimedia, marketing etc. You should then mix them up with knowledge of the industry, product, etc.
Find out what your strong points are and gradually specialize in one or more types of digital marketing. Keep a client-based approach and start doing for free or for yourself what you want to do for a very high price in the future.
Start while you are not ready, learn by doing and you’ll be ready when it’s needed!
My name is Altin – an Online Session Guitar Player devoted to the cause of serving the song through my playing and the music industry as a marketer and content writer.