Tag Archive for: Promotion

Promotion rotating promo image

We often hear from artists inquiring about marketing and promotion services for their music project.  They want some guidance on the best way to spend their money.  Today I thought I would share some of the most common mistakes indie artists make for their marketing and promotion budgets.

First, I want to point out that these mistakes are shared equally amongst indie artists with small budgets and indie artists who have investors with big budgets.

It’s mind blowing.

You must be careful to separate the emotion from the event.

You must separate what you think is “cool” i.e. a promotional tactic that serves your ego from strategies that will be far more effective in exposing your artistic effort.Promotion Bang for your Buck n 2



More bang for your buck.


Marketing and Promotion is the act of influencing buying decisions.



This is where you expose your masterpiece to consumers with the intention of creating a deep enough relationship to inspire them to buy your music.

Promotion should be the largest part of the indie artist budget and yet it is the most overlooked.

The same promotion techniques that made you aware of your #1 most-favorite-album-of-all-time were equally effective in making you aware of your most hated piece of crap from the artist that you can’t believe even got a record deal.

Both of those records created cash flow.Promotion Business Strategy

Think about it.



By far the #1 promotion mistake I see indie artists make is nonexistent promotion.

  • If you’re doing a crowdfunding project you must add funds into the budget for promotion!
  • Back in the heyday of the record business, labels would spend $250,000 on the recording of an artist’s debut record and $750,000-$2,000,000 in promotion
  • That’s a promotion budget between 75% and 87.5% of the overall funds.
  • How do your recording vs promotion ratios look in your business plan?
  • Do you have a business plan?

The #2 biggest marketing and promotion mistake is spending money on ineffective strategies.


Limited Budgets and Radio PromotionIMG_1605Listen, there is nothing cooler that turning on your radio and hearing your song coming through your car speakers.


It’s better than sex.


While it’s quickly dissipating, terrestrial radio is still, far and away, the most effective way to promote music to a mass audience.

But how much money is required to make it effective?

Radio only works when you have a BIG budget.DSC_5393

The reasoning is the magic number 7.

There is a psychological tipping point where a consumer internalizes a song and their buying decision is influenced.

That number is 7.

It takes an average consumer 7 listens to your song to be compelled to purchase it.



Here’s the thing, it takes a TON of spins to ensure 7 listens.

You need enough money to ensure that each individual hears your song 7 times which means you need to afford medium to heavy rotation or you have wasted your money.

Let’s not forget that radio promotion is all about relationships as well.  You will need money for a radio tour so you can visit every station.



Market Size Matters

Sometimes we see artists try to work the whole country at one time.  If you have a decent budget but not a MASSIVE budget then why not focus on a local market?

If the song is good and you can afford solid, steady spins in 1 or 2 markets then your marketing budget is going to be far more effective in a smaller region than the whole country.

More people will be influenced to purchase your music in 1 or 2 markets with heavy spins than in every market with light spins.

And we’re trying to sell our music right?

If you don’t have a radio budget then your money is far more effective with online marketing and socialPromotion Social Media Logos media marketing.


Spending money to appear in an online magazine next to a famous artist makes you look famous and important.

Perception is reality.

Now if you add a free download attached to a squeeze page you are growing your customer list.

Spend money building a customer list and monetizing it.

If you don’t know how, then spend money learning how or paying someone to do it for you.

If you spending $20 per month and you don’t know what you’re doing you are wasting your money.

Every artist is unique so what is the best way to focus on your strengths and minimize the weaknesses?  If you don’t know this about yourself then you need to pay someone who does…think of it as an education.


Touring and Tour Promotion



One of the most valuable products you are promoting is your live show.

Spend money wisely on tour promotion.

Spend the budget on infrastructure that will allow you to capture the contact information from everyone that sees you play live. Always be building your fan base FIRST and THEN spend money on getting into new markets.

Trust me, getting your first big tour and going everywhere across the country once is not cost effective. That still stings just thinking about it. Ugh.

Start at home. If you can’t pack your local theater or least a decent sized club then your live show probably sucks.  Spend money finding out what needs to change.

If consumers perceive your show as an event they will come to see it

. darkedinburgh_ghostbus

Once you are packing a venue you are making money.

You have cash flow.

Then dominate a new market and so on.



Tour Busses Don’t Sell Records

Country artist Sam Hunt released “Leave the Night On” (destined to be #1) in mid-June this year.  This major label artist with major label money Promotion Sam Hunttoured in a van with a trailer from June through mid-October before they could financially justify the cost of leasing a tour bus.




Atco Records recording artist Dream Theater released “Images and Words” in 1992.  They had enough tour support for 6 weeks in a tour bus or 12-14 weeks in a van.  They begrudgingly chose the van at the behest of their tour manager.  The single broke in 10 weeks.  If they chose the bus, they wouldn’t have had the budget to support the single when it broke.

Promotion Dream Theater Images and Words




How are you spending your promotion budget?





Spend wisely and stay in tune people.


If you like this post, please SHARE it and/or LEAVE A COMMENT thank you!

[ois skin=”Bottom Post”]


Imagine Feature image

Imagine Every Artist just wanted to make art.

Imagine Every Artist started paying attention to effective content marketing and social media.

Imagine Every Artist stopped SELLING on social media and focused on building relationships.Imagine Lyric image

What if legacy and heritage artists monetized their million dollar brand names via direct-to-fan marketing?

What if legacy and heritage artists changed their business models to be subscribership/internet mail order businesses?

Imagine indie bands, singer/songwriters, and major label artists actually had a customer list like every other successful business on the planet. (How is this constantly overlooked?)

Imagine indie bands, singer/songwriters, and major label artists surveyed these customers to see what exactly they wanted and what they were willing to pay for like most other successful businesses.

Imagine Customer List image

Imagine Every Artist wanted to learn from a producer

What if every artist could be half as good at creating relationships on social media as Amanda Palmer?



Imagine Every Artist was interested in being better rather than famous.

What if every artist stopped making excuses for why they aren’t doing their art?

Imagine Every Artist lived for the journey and stopped focusing their emotions and self esteem on the time it took to get to some fleeting destination.

What if every artist could find a way to make a living being an artist? ($30k-$40k isn’t that difficult. What do you make right now?)

Imagine Every Artist stopped coveting other artists and started working on their own art?Chain

Imagine Every Artist knew the idea of being famous was a lot better than the reality.

What if every artist replaced the energy they spent on worrying, hating, coveting, pontificating, waxing nostalgic, brooding, complaining, and being narcissistic with real work/creativity?

Imagine Every Artist understood that their weak points need to be as cool as their strong points.

What if every artist could hear the difference between “art that is done” and “well done art”? (Yes, art can be objective)

What if every artist continually worked to create opportunities instead of waiting for opportunities to show up at their door?

Imagine Every Artist understood that commerce wasn’t a bad thing if it was done on the artist’s terms, done well, and done consistently.

Imagine Every Artist understood that to really be unique you need to be brave enough to be yourself. (Stop being derivative!)

What if every artist knew how to build a decent team?

Imagine Every Artist knew terrestrial radio was going to be 1000 times less effective tomorrow that it is today. (How would that change your approach?)

What if every artist used a company that offered text phone number capture technology to build their customer list during live shows because text messages have a 99% open rate?

Imagine Every Artist didn’t give away 90% of their revenue to tell their parents and friends that they have a record deal.

Imagine Every Artist understood how a squeeze page with the proper language could maximize the exposure of Imagine Don't Be Afraid imageevery public appearance including live shows, magazine interviews, podcast interviews, song placements, TV interviews, blog interviews, etc.

Imagine Every Artist wasn’t afraid to be afraid.

Imagine Every Artist expected relationships in the music industry to work like their personal relationships with quid pro quo and adding value.

What if every artist focused on making a living being and artist instead of being famous?


Imagine Console imageImagine Every Artist stopped making excuses and started recording.

Imagine Every Artist used Stage-It to reach out to their fans for the purposes of including them in the song selection for the upcoming release ala Bon Jovi’s Pizza Parlor Jury

What if every artist understood that it’s a numbers game and you have to constantly create opportunities through hard work rather than placing all their emotional “eggs” in one basket, for one deal, with one person, at one company?

Imagine Every Artist stopped being closed off to constructive criticism and opened their mind to constant improvement along their journey.

Imagine Every Artist wasn’t afraid to fail.

What if every artist understood it starts with the song and spending money on a better recording of an average song will render a better recording of an average song?

Imagine Every Artist stopped asking and started giving.

Imagine Every Artist knew they needed a team to get to the next level.

What if every artist knew they needed to shop for this team rather than shop for studio rates?

Imagine Every Artist stopped bad-mouthing successful artists.