playlist scams! social media heists! how to hype your music in 2023—without breaking the bank

January, 17 2023

If you’re an independent artist today, you have more opportunities than ever to promote your music, generate streams, and sell your tracks. From Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook, to free social media and various paid opportunities, if you apply due diligence and a little planning, you can market and generate sales of your music online. Given the number of options, opportunities, and even potential scams, it can be challenging to know where to place your focus and what steps to take.

In this post, we’ll look at some marketing options for you and review where you should direct your most effective efforts for maximum results.

how to get on DSP playlists

Getting your music on Digital Service Provider's (DSP) playlists can help to attract attention to your music, add credibility to your brand, and generate new fans. The DSP playlist slots are very competitive, as they are a destination goal for artists to have their music showcased and streamed. 
 Platforms like Spotify and Apple Music offer literally millions of tracks. Spotify users spend 50% of their time listening to playlists that they create, but that are algorithmically generated or curated by influencers. But here’s the thing--there are several workarounds to help you get featured.

  • engage with your audience: Audience engagement across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is critical to DSP creators and curators. Your social engagement is a reflection of your fandom. Social traction is not only relevant, it is one of the most important metrics used by influencers and important playlisters. 
  • get p.r./press for your album/single:  Any reviews, interviews, and blog writeups of your music can help your cause.   They raise awareness of your artistry and give you more online presence. This can help drive traffic to your streaming and social media profiles, boost your searchability rating with extra metadata, and generate some adds on your fans’ personal playlists too.
  • work the algorithm: Algorithmic playlists are auto-generated based on items like listening history, most-shared music, and trends. Spotify's algorithm also notes every time people save your music to their queue, library, or playlist, and also accounts for the number of followers you have.

These are just a few ways to work around those built-in DSP algorithms and increase your chances of landing on playlists.

transcend pay-to-play on social media

Social media is still free. It always has been and probably always will be. That being said, social media's business model is based on advertising, and 80% of the time people spend on the internet is on social media. Today, with their focus on ad dollars, Facebook and Instagram are making it harder to grow an audience organically on social media. 

While a well-planned pay-to-play strategy might help get your music to the right ears, there are still ways you can grow your social media following using some ingenuity, creativity, consistency, and determination. It's important to direct traffic from any and all social media to your music, whether it's to your website, YouTube channel, or Instagram page. Start with a solid strategy, keep your brand consistent, find the social platforms that work for you (not all platforms work for every artist), be authentic, and connect with your fans.

Free social media can help you build brand awareness, drive sales, and drive traffic. But the problem is: social media platforms want you to pay to reach your target audience. It is getting more challenging to reach your audience but even more difficult to get them to engage. This is where paid advertising might help.

create an advertising plan on a rea sonable budget

To help super-charge your existing marketing efforts, a well-placed, well-designed, and well-allocated ad spend can boost your sales, increase traffic, and drive engagement. And if you're going to pay for advertising, don't just run a “boosted post” or various ads without a strategy.

Ask yourself: “What is my motivation?”  “What are my goals and objectives for running these ads?” “Am I trying to generate fan engagement, sales, website traffic, or the highest number of streams?”

Your goals will impact how your images/video, ad copy, calls to action, and campaign type can all work together seamlessly.

Once you've solidified your plan, you need to consider where to place your advertising. Every social platform is a little different. The good news is that when you choose to promote your music on social media, the process isn't that complicated. That said, getting the desired results requires unique and creative strategies for each platform. Each one offers you a cost-effective way to reach your target audience, and each requires a slightly different approach. 

A reasonable budget for an individual release is $500 - $1000 spent across several platforms. For example, the average cost for Facebook ads is $7.19 per 1000 impressions, Instagram ads are $7.91, and YouTube ads are $9.68. Tailoring your message and targeting your audience can help you to reach your goals. Spend your ad dollars on the social sites your typical listener frequents, whether it's Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube.

social media success stories

Success on social media has translated into a huge success for many artists. From Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber's success on YouTube to Calvin Harris, one of the highest-paid DJs in the world---social media has had a hand in generating their fan attraction and huge popularity. But those artists may be obvious. What about some newer artists who are climbing to the top?  Rapper ArrDee is blowing up on social media and his rise has been remarkably fast. His breakout hit Cheeky Bars blew up on both YouTube and TikTok, and as a result, his career has flourished.

Today, social media is continuing to break new artists, gaining them huge numbers of streams, follows, and likes. For many artists, their social media interaction begins organically and is supplemented by well-thought-out and strategically placed ad spending. 

the bottom line...

It’s no longer a choice. Musicians and bands must devote more time to promoting their music on social media. Our world is heavily influenced by social media and that won’t change anytime soon. Building your music career is exactly like building a business or brand online. Whether you're a band, or a solo artist, take advantage of these social media platforms. View them as your resources. Invest in your career with some well-placed ad spends and you can maximize your exposure to reap the rewards of this well-connected and highly engaged era.