211+ Places to Market Your Music Online

In case you didn’t already know, there are many places to market your music online.

Some are obvious, like SoundCloud, Bandcamp, or ReverbNation.

Others are less obvious, mostly because musicians may not think of them as being viable marketing channels. They are, nevertheless, being used by marketers in a variety of different niches, and could prove useful to musicians and industry people. What can I say; I like to think outside the box. Sites like Ezine Articles, Medium, or InfoBarrel might fall under this category.

For lack of a better way of saying it, it’s not about what you use so much as how you use it. Or, said another way, it’s not about the tool; it’s whether you use it for good or for evil.

I will say this, however; practicality is a whole other matter. If you’re a one-man or one-woman show, it’s unrealistic to try to take advantage of every site mentioned below. Moreover, you won’t necessarily need to or want to.

Just so you know – as much as possible, I’ve tried only to include sites on this list that are low cost or free to use.

In no particular order, here are 211+ places to market your music online.

Article Submission Sites

These are sites where you can submit (unique) articles and backlink to your own website or blog. If you have expertise in specific areas, or if you just like to write a lot, these sites and communities could provide opportunities for exposure. Just so you know, I would strongly advise against gaming the system and spamming, because it will ultimately hurt you.

Blogs

Although the best place to have a blog is your own website, if you have a lot of extra time on your hands to write, you could also take advantage of one or all of these platforms to pull new visitors to your site. There could be some SEO benefits to this too, but let’s not geek out too much. As with article submission sites, I would strongly advise against gaming the system and spamming, because it will ultimately hurt you.

  • WordPress.com
  • Blogger
  • Medium
  • Svbtle
  • LiveJournal
  • Postach.io
  • Pen.io
  • BlogJob
  • Blog comments (yes, commenting on other people’s blogs can still help with marketing; plus, your prospects are virtually limitless)
  • A music reviewer’s blog (there are plenty out there, and the only limitation to getting your music reviewed is the reviewer’s taste)
  • A media publication’s blog (you could be interviewed or featured)

Classifieds

Your ability to market your music through musician-specific classifieds sites is a little suspect, but from the perspective that everything you do to promote your music is marketing, it isn’t too much of a stretch. Even if you’re just looking to join a band, there’s still a selling process involved, because you have to convince the other members that you’re the right fit for the gig.

Moreover, it’s entirely possible that some event planners or venue owners might visit one of these sites to scope out eligible acts.

Collaboration

Music (and artist) collaboration sites are a unique breed, and they tend to come in a variety of different sizes and shapes. I don’t have a lot of experience with these types of sites, so I couldn’t tell you how much value they have in terms of music promotion, but what I can say is that they seem like a lot of fun.

Crowdfunding

Many musicians have had some success funding their projects on crowdfunding sites. When you begin a campaign, you must summon every bit of marketing power you can. This can help you reach more people and make new fans in the process. Crowdfunding is the culmination of many different marketing activities.

Distributors, Online Retailers & Streaming Sites

Technically, these could all be separate categories. The problem is that the lines tend to be a little blurry. Consider CD Baby, which is both an online store as well as a distributor, or Apple, which has the iTunes app as well as the Apple Music streaming platform. You get the idea.

It should also be noted that you generally have to go through a distributor to get your music up on most online retailers and streaming sites that are on this list (like Spotify, Rhapsody, eMusic, and others). Sites like Gumroad and Sellfy, on the other hand, can be used independently.

Email Marketing

I’m sure we’d be here all day if we started talking about every email marketing platform that was out there. I think most of us can agree that building a mailing list is crucial, and in order to do that legally and efficiently, you’re going to want to use one of the following list-building and campaign management tools.

By the way, although most email marketing platforms allow you to collect emails and send out campaigns for free, there will likely come a time when you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan to take advantage of additional features.

Forums

If I started listing off all of the forums that are out there… I’m not sure this blog post would ever be published. Suffice it to say, there are many forums you can join, interact with other musicians, or even join up with forums where people are discussing topics you know your fans generally like.

Music Licensing & Placements

Licensing and placement opportunities are more abundant now than ever thanks to the sheer variety and volume of media that’s out there; TV shows, commercials, movies, video games, podcasts, and more.

These are just some of the sites that you can use to find placement opportunities.

Live Streaming

There are a lot of musicians (like Daria Musk) that have made successful use of live streaming to promote their music and build their careers.

Podcasting

There are some musicians out there that are using podcasts to market themselves, but I would argue that there are still relatively few. Don’t get me wrong; podcasting takes a lot of time and effort; I should know. However, since most people tend to access podcasts through iTunes, it could very well be a gateway drug to more sales. It’s a theory more than a fact, but one that’s based in some semblance of reality (Apple already has its users payment info on file, remember?).

Anyway, there are a lot of sites and tools out there that you can submit your podcast to and get more exposure for it.

Press Releases

There are a ton of press release syndication and distribution sites out there. What you see here are some of the best free ones. These are great places to share your latest news and get it seen by media people might choose to cover your story. The exact process for writing press releases won’t be covered here, but it is something worth learning.

Revenue Sharing Sites

I’ve talked a little bit about revenue sharing sites before. These are somewhat similar to blogs and article submission sites, with the difference being that you can earn some money from your articles, and in the case of RedGage, you can submit other forms of content like photos too.

Earlier, I advised against spamming and gaming the system with blogs and article submission sites. This goes double for revenue sharing sites. Moreover, if you even so much as do something contrary to their policies and terms of service, you might risk having your earning privileges being revoked (I’ve had this happen), or worse; you could be banned.

If you want to take advantage of these sites, write unique, value-adding articles that add to the communities.

Social Media & Blog Syndication

Social media sites are often mistaken for sales platforms. I guess they are to some extent, and it’s not wrong to think of them that way, but it’s probably more useful to see them as connection tools. They’re called social networks for a reason. They’re made for socializing.

On this list, you’ll find social networks, social bookmarking sites, as well as places you can go to submit your blog content.

Touring & Live Performance

Sites you can use to promote your shows.

Video Sharing

Video is a powerful medium for marketing music. From music videos and acoustic performances to vlogs and rig rundowns, there are a variety of different ways to engage with your fans using video. Odd are you already know about YouTube, but are you building your presence elsewhere? It might be worth extending your reach to other video sites using a convenient tool like OneLoad.

Websites

Website marketing is really the foundation of online marketing, and if you don’t already have a website set up, that’s the best place to start. If you build your online strategy around your website, you will have an easier time keeping your marketing efforts in-line with your overall goals.

  • Your website (you do have one, don’t you?)
  • Satellite/sister sites (no one said you only had to have one website)
  • Your friend’s website (what kind of strategic partnerships you strike up are entirely up to you; for example, you could ask a friend to place your banner on their website)
  • Bandzoogle (probably the best place on the web for musicians to be building their websites; hosting isn’t free, but it isn’t expensive either)
  • Weebly (a service you can use to build a website, and even a blog; they have multiple plans, including a free option)

Final Thoughts

Would you have thought of all of these sites as potential marketing channels for your music? Maybe not, but I’m sure there are others you can think of. Please leave a note in the comments letting me know what I missed; it will help everyone that finds this list!

Is Search Engine Optimization a Musician’s Worst Enemy?

Is Search Engine Optimization a Musician’s Worst Enemy?

In May, I had the chance to interview Dave Cool from Bandzoogle. He mentioned that search engine optimization (or SEO) is a topic that seems to be coming up altogether too often among musicians.

In response to his comment, I mentioned that I wrote a post called Does Search Engine Optimization Really Matter? In it, I concluded that musicians should be more focused on their creative work than SEO. If you’re a businessperson (or a musician entrepreneur), then it’s something you absolutely need to be aware of, but it doesn’t mean you need to dedicate your life to it.

Musicians should focus more on their creativity than their SEO. Click To Tweet

And trust me when I say that there are professionals who dedicate their life to it.

Dave and I are essentially on the same page here. SEO might be something to look into when you’re getting your website set up, or if you’re planning on blogging to promote your music. Other than that, a set and forget approach is probably the best way to handle it.

What You Need to Know About SEO

In 2011, I published a post called Thing 13: SEO – My top 10 Tips (no longer in existence). These tips actually come from Andrew Dubber, the author of The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online, but because I felt every musician should read it, I did a little bit of a recap on every chapter a few years back.

Anyway, while the aforementioned eBook has been around for quite a while, the tips within are still just as relevant today as they were back then.

So let’s examine these 10 tips from a modern-day perspective.

  1. Dubber’s first tip was to take advantage of meta tags. Google has actually been saying that keywords inside meta tags do not factor into web rankings for a long time. However, the three components Dubber mentioned were: titles, descriptions, and keywords. Even if keywords don’t matter, titles and descriptions still do. Crafting effective headlines (containing relevant keywords) should be a part of your strategy, especially if you plan on blogging.
  2. Dubber’s second point was that Google pays attention to bolded text, italicized text, bullet points, and HTML header tags. This still appears to be true, but in general, formatting should be used to draw attention to important points, and to split up your content into relevant sections.
  3. Number three – link to similar sites. When you do this, Google has an easier time understanding what your site is about. I can’t confirm or deny the effectiveness of this tactic, but it makes good logical sense.
  4. The next tip is to create a sitemap for your website. This is a page where your visitors can get an at-a-glance look at the various sections and pages on your site. This helps with navigation, and it’s also good for SEO purposes. Sitemaps are still very relevant in Google’s eyes today.
  5. Tip number five is to get inbound links. It seems like this is getting talked about more than ever, so it’s obviously important. The tricky part is in getting those links. You can initiate backlinking campaigns to increase your link count, but musicians shouldn’t be focused on that. A better approach is to build relationships with your fans and industry people. If there’s a reason to talk about you on their blog or website, they will link to you.
  6. Dubber’s sixth tip is to create content. Considering the growing fixation on content marketing, I don’t think I have to say much about this. In general, the more words you have on your website, the better it is for search. This doesn’t mean you should artificially inflate your word count (you’ll get penalized), but it does mean that having a lot of content can make you more discoverable in search.
  7. Dubber’s seventh tip is to choose your keywords well. He says this isn’t so much about using paid tools to discover keywords that you can rank for, but rather a matter of anticipating what your visitors are likely to be looking for. Easier said than done in, but the general sentiment remains true.
  8. Tip number eight is to keep your website updated. This is still very important, because Google tends to give more juice to sites that are regularly updated. Having a blog can really help with this.
  9. Dubber’s ninth tip is to use Flash and scripts in moderation. Again, you can see how this could affect both your visitor experience and search rankings. These components basically do nothing for your SEO.
  10. Dubber’s final tip is to hold onto your domain name. The longer your site has been around, the more Google tends to trust it.

The only tips that are less relevant or in some ways inconsistent with today’s SEO best practices are tip one and three. Even then, they’re not completely void of value.

If there’s anything to add, it would be that there is a growing user base of mobile device users. As such, your website needs to be mobile-friendly.

At the end of the day, I would encourage you not to spend too much time studying or worrying about any of these things. If you’re going to put any effort into SEO, do it when you’re first getting your website or blog ready. Understand what it means to write SEO-friendly blog posts.

Rest assured, if you don’t have the right resources, if you don’t have a team of people working on SEO initiatives around the clock, if you can’t afford to hire an SEO company, you can’t do it all on your own. Even I have only been able to increase my search traffic by small amounts through dedicated, consistent effort.

Final Thoughts

Is Search Engine Optimization a musician’s worst enemy? Well, only if you make it so.

When it comes right down to it, you only need to know a few things. If you have a unique band name, ranking for that name should be pretty straightforward.

You can’t dedicate eight hours per day to your SEO, so don’t. Rather, create strategic partnerships and continue to focus on your marketing. SEO can be a small part of your marketing plan, but you’re going to have a much easier time getting results with live performances, social media, radio, and other great tools.