For an independent artist, gaining exposure is everything. You’ll find recommendations to perfect your craft before seeking an audience, and to focus on dominating a hometown scene before trying to expand.
These are generally good tips; every artist has to climb the ladder, and it’s best to make sure you’re delivering a good sound that the people closest to you like before you overextend yourself. At a certain point however, if you’re truly trying to become a successful artist, you have to make a business out of it.
That doesn’t just mean getting more diligent about your songwriting, your practicing, and your performances. It also means becoming a full-time marketer and promoter of your own work.
For a lot of artists, these efforts don’t come naturally. But here’s one idea that can make the whole thing feel a little bit more manageable: often it’s creative or unorthodox marketing that’s most successful.
Keeping that in mind, I wanted to put forth a few creative marketing moves for indie artists to think about.
Show Your Process
One of the coolest things you can do for your fans – even if there aren’t that many of them yet – is show the process of how you write a song, or how you get ready for a show, etc. This site actually posted an article on why independent artists should learn video marketing a little while back, and this plays into that idea.
If you learn how and where to post a video, and you gain a little bit of experience with video editing, you can put together some awesome insider material and show your process to anyone interested.
This just adds some depth to your persona as an artist, and it gives people something to share with friends or on social media besides just another new song by an artist people don’t know yet.
In doing some research on additional creative marketing efforts for young and emerging artists, I came across an idea that not enough of us think of: that of giving out exclusives. This is a great way to give fans a reward for “liking” or “following” you on social media, which in turn makes you a more prominent artist in the eyes of strangers.
The more followers you have, the more seriously you’re taken, and hopefully there can be a snowball effect. Plus, there’s endless creativity to be enjoyed.
An exclusive could be just about anything: an autographed record, access to a new single or music video, handwritten lyrics, etc. It’s a nice way to expand your artistry and involve your best fans.
Collaborate With Other Creatives
One of the coolest things I’ve seen in music marketing of late actually involves the furthest thing from an indie artist. Guns N’ Roses, a classic rock group in the midst of a huge revival, helped kick off its resurgence by licensing its material to an online game developer.
It’s a slot game, but one that begins with an epic montage of the band’s most memorable moments and includes their music throughout. Now, an indie artist can’t follow suit exactly. But this is a cool reminder that creative can partner up for mutual benefit.
If you’re looking for fun new ways to get you music out there, consider doing local searches for game developers, other musicians, filmmakers, etc. See if there’s a way you can lend some of your music to a soundtrack of some kind for the sake of exposure with a new market.
They’re just a few ideas but taken together they can be the beginning of a full-fledged marketing effort. You may be surprised how much of a difference a little work in this area can make for your budding career.