We once lived in a reality where a band or musical artist would have very slim chances of ever ‘making it’ or gaining true fans without being wealthy or without the help of a major label. Now, musicians are free to explore their sonic creativity and gain a following for little to no money at all. How is this possible? Keep reading to learn about several ways that you can grow your fanbase without selling your soul or breaking the bank.
Friends and Family
Those closest to you can often be the first stepping stone into gaining a faithful following. Many artists will overlook their loved ones when it comes to supporting their music from a false belief that they need to capture the attention of new ears to gain success, but this simply isn’t true. You never know the extent of someone’s reach, and if the goal is to gain real listeners, then why not start with the ones who already support you?
If you don’t have a strategy for consistently creating content surrounding your music, you need to rethink your music career. As an independent artist without a budget, you have no choice but to use social media to your advantage. Start by creating a list of ideas that you can turn into posts for various platforms. Then, take that list, distribute it across a calendar, and get busy creating content. It’s best not to miss a day with music content, but each strategy is different, so sit down and brainstorm what approach may be best for you as an artist.
But, social media isn’t all about you. You’ll need to find like-minded artists and individuals that can help you on your journey. Reach out to people who share similar ideas, people who inspire you, and people who may need a helping hand. This is one of the best ways to truly build your fanbase and grow into the artist you deserve to be!
Music blogs are an excellent platform to gain some diehard listeners. Because of their broad reach – similar to social media – music blogs can introduce your tunes to the world. It’s best to start with blogs that are as close to your genre or niche as possible to capture the people who will vibe with your music the most. Then, by the incredible power of word of mouth, they will tell their friends about your awesome music, and the snowball effect begins.
When reaching out to a blog, be sure to keep things short and sweet as writers and editors are often very busy. It’s best to include a short bio about yourself, why you think your music is a good fit for their blog and one or two links to your best tracks. Keeping your outreach concise will open the door to more people reading your message and will get you closer to being featured!
People are always searching for new music, and one of the ways they do so is by scouring curated playlists on sites like Spotify and Soundcloud. What better way to gain a new fan than by helping them get through their workout or drive home from work? One great way to start with Playlists is to sign up for Spotify for Artists if you haven’t already. Among other valuable tools, Spotify for Artists gives you the ability to submit your music for playlist consideration directly. Another way to explore this option is by reaching out to independent curators. It will take a bit of digging to find their information, but a few searches online can land you an email or social media profile for you to shoot your shot. Also, make sure to start small and stick within your genre. Country music fans don’t want a rap song popping up on their playlist.
YouTube, Twitch, TikTok, you name the platform, and you will find content creators who will need music to go along with what they’re doing. YouTubers need background music, Streamers need intro and outro tunes, and TikTokers need fresh jams to make dances. These are all opportunities for you to grow your following. In exchange for a link back to your page, you get to help people who genuinely need your music. You can even offer to make custom music if you have the time, but by being generous with your tunes in this way, people will discover you through their favorite content creators and (hopefully) fall in love with your music. Similar to blogs, you’ll want to keep your outreach short and value high when contacting content creators. Most already receive tons of offers each day, so you’ll want yours to be easily digestible.
Making Free Music
Making royalty-free tunes is an excellent way to get recognized. It’s hard to find quality music for free, so when someone comes across an artist that blows all of the other free tunes away, they are bound to keep coming back. Whether that person is an audio editor, hobbyist producer, or just an avid listener of free music, they now know your name, and when they see it again somewhere else, they will click play. There’s also the chance that your free song gets used on a major production. Creating free music allows you to show off your quality and style without giving away your real tunes.
Meetups and Groups
Last but not least on the list for promoting your music with zero budget is good ol’ fashioned get-togethers. Meeting people face to face sounds strange when the goal is for somebody to listen to your song, but if done correctly, it can gain you lifelong fans. When you meet somebody in person, there’s an instant connection. This connection makes people a lot more likely to be receptive to what you have to offer in the long run. So when you do go out to a bar, club, show, or festival with a plan of growing your fanbase, keep in mind that you should be building genuine relationships, as these are what will grow your music the most.