If an artist came to you wanting to be featured in some capacity, and they had 90 likes on their Facebook page (with no engagement on their posts), two Instagram followers, and 10 monthly listeners on Spotify, what would you do?
I’m not saying artists in this position don’t get featured.
But come on, you’ve got to think about things from the curator’s perspective too, don’t you think?
Collect, organize, and present testimonials on your website. Have these ready at your fingertips in perpetuity.
Establish your social networks. Most musicians bite off more than they can chew. It’s worth registering all your accounts, but as much as possible focus on building one at a time.
Grow your email list. For the foreseeable future, email is still going to be a huge part of your life. Ditto for your fans. Embrace it. Grow your list. It gives you more leverage as an artist in every regard.
As result, our music got featured on CCM Magazine and all three artists involved were interviewed on The Antidote (syndicated to nearly 60 FM radio stations).
Henceforth, I shall be known as an artist that’s been featured on CCM Magazine and The Antidote (both of which are kind of a big deal in the Christian music space).
Do you see how this works?
Before any of that happened, I was just David Andrew Wiebe. Now I’ve got some street cred!
Do you think that might give me a credibility boost? Would it give me a little bit of momentum I can carry into the future? Do you think it would help with my playlisting efforts?
I would suspect so. And, as author and marketing guru Dan Kennedy says, this is the type of credibility I can leverage for years and decades to come.
By the way, the PR campaign also led to several placements in playlists.
I can’t reveal exactly how much we paid for this campaign, but let’s just say it was worth every cent.
And that’s the thing. Artists assume it will cost them an arm and a leg to get any kind of publicity, when the reality is it’s all about relationship, relationship, relationship (also see next point on connecting rather than pitching).
Find an angle for your release, save up for a PR campaign, and interview multiple publicists until you’ve found the right one. Then, when you feel you’ve found the right one, negotiate on price.
That’s worth summarizing.
David Andrew Wiebe’s Simple PR Success Method:
Find an angle for your release
Save up for a PR campaign
Interview multiple publicists until you’ve found the right one (you’re in charge!)
Negotiate on price (only suckers pay in full)
If you’ve got a unique product, something that stands out from the crowd, then you’ve got an angle. And that angle (and story) will be of huge help to your publicist. Trust.
✅ Stop Pitching & Start Connecting to Get on More Spotify Playlists
You’ve got to think that, at this point, everyone and their dog is pitching to playlist curators.
Because that’s what all the blogs are telling us to do. And the hysteria over Spotify is near constant.
Well, here’s a new spin on an old trick.
(👉 By the way, if you want to learn how to pitch just like everyone else is doing, you can refer to this article.)
When you’re thinking about getting a job, what’s one of the first things you do?
So, why in the world are you doing all the pitching yourself? If you’ve got a fan base that’s crazy about you and your music, why wouldn’t you tap into their over-the-top enthusiasm?
Sure, you’re still going to need to put in some legwork. Consider carefully who’s up to the task. You’ll want to find a sharp person, preferably someone who’s well-spoken and knows a little bit about making cold calls and buttering up a prospect (know any car salesmen?).
And even if you don’t know anyone, you could get to know more people, right? You could ask for referrals from your fans, couldn’t you?
Once they understand why being on a Spotify playlist matters to you, and the difference it would make for you, they’ll be far more likely to help you. We assume people know these things, but most of the time they don’t!
A third-party recommendation, if done right, is the most powerful endorsement you can get.
Getting on Spotify playlists isn’t exactly easy. But not impossible.
What’s important to recognize is there are variables you can control. You can build your online presence. You can release more music. And you can grow your fan base.
Beyond that, stop thinking of it as an algorithmic, machine-driven game. Instead, connect with people authentically. Find out where they like to hang out. Talk with them. Make friends with them. At the appropriate time, make an ask.
It might seem scary. It might even seem like the wrong way around. But building relationship is bound to get you further faster in your music career than just making good art.
Music Entrepreneur HQ covers essential marketing, mindset, and monetization topics every musician must be aware of.
Ditto Music always has plenty of great advice for unsigned artists looking to build a profitable and successful music career.
DIY Musician Blog covers everything you could ever want to know about doing it yourself and making it happen as an independent artist.
Ditto Music gives you expansive reach and allows you release as much music you want for one, low annual fee.
CD Baby is O.G. music distribution and they are still among the best. For a flat fee (per release), your music will basically remain on mainstream music streaming sites and online stores perpetually. Releasing under many artist or band names is easier with CD Baby than just about anyone else.
DistroKid offers the same advantages as Ditto Music and is even more focused on distribution than many other companies that are constantly expanding their offerings.
The New Music Industry Blueprint Podcast gives you direct access to the former manager of Taylor Swift, Rick Barker. The show features great interviews, cutting-edge social media strategies, and mindset dumps you’ll find paradigm-shifting.
DIY Musician Podcast is a long-running podcast covering news, interviews, and the music business through the lens of the leading music distributor.
SiteGround is my recommended solution for 80% of users, because of how fast, reliable, and easy it is to use. You can install WordPress on your hosted domains without so much as a click of a mouse.
WordPress is still the best tool to build your central online hub on. But I do recommend the self-hosted solution, as that gives you more control than WordPress.com (also see the Web Hosting section).
Bandzoogle is an incredible alternative to WordPress, though it won’t give you as much control. If you want a simple solution that just works, though, Bandzoogle is killer.
Elegant Themes is the best provider of premium, customizable themes including one of my favorites – Divi Theme. Trust me, Divi Theme is incredibly easy to use, especially compared to the alternatives.
10XPro is my absolute favorite funnel builder (and it’s so much more than that!). It’s possible you haven’t heard of it yet, as it’s new compared to ClickFunnels. But I think it’s got considerably more to offer.
Music Industry Resources, Final Thoughts
To get to where you want to go in your music career, chances are you’re going to need to grow.
You will need to work on your craft and become a great musician.
(Use it in your description and elsewhere as you see fit.)
Secondarily, consider what other links you want to prioritize. I’d argue the most important thing for you to do is to get people on your email list.
So, perhaps the second or third link in your description could lead to your landing page, opt-in offer, or insane giveaway.
But always remember – YouTube wants to keep people on their platform. The best thing you can do is urge people to subscribe to you and watch your other videos.
✅ Use Emojis in Your Titles, Descriptions, etc. to Boost Your YouTube Marketing
Emojis are kind of an unfair advantage.
Not sure if you’re a Mailchimp user, but if you are, you’ve probably seen them recommend the use of emojis in the email subject line:
Turns out what works for emails works for social media, and that goes for YouTube too.
I’ve got a ton of content on my channel, and I’ve been tweaking some of my titles and descriptions as time allows. Here’s an example of a description featuring plenty of emojis:
Fun and cute, isn’t it?
By the way, you don’t need to do it how I’ve done it – you can pick and choose which emojis you want to use, and if you see something someone else is doing (and it’s working), model it! Always model what’s already working!
Obviously, it takes a little bit of effort to do. But if you want to dominate YouTube, you’ve got to focus and put in the effort (more on this later). I’m passing on this advice to give you a fighting chance.
By the way…
On a PC, you can open your emoji picker by pressing and holding the Windows button with a period (.) or semicolon (;).
On a Mac, you can open your character viewer by pressing Control + Command + Space.
If this doesn’t work, you may not be using an up to date OS. All good – you can still take advantage of a tool like Get Emoji to copy and paste your favorite icons.
Shout out to entrepreneur Noah Kagan for sharing this tip in a video of his own.
✅ Collaborate Strategically
Has it ever occurred to you that you and your subscribers might have some things in common? If nothing else, you’d probably have some common interests, right?
Well, it turns out you can view who has subscribed to you. But that in and of itself might seem flaccid.
Just stay with me because there is a point to this.
Go to YouTube Studio and on the dashboard, you should be able to see your subscribers on the right-hand side:
You can also click to “SEE ALL”, which is awesome.
Why do I say that?
Because these are the people you should consider collaborating with.
Now, you’ll still want to pick and choose who to work with. But if you see someone that’s got about the same number as subscribers as you do (or maybe more), you could offer to make a video that would help them in exchange for a video that would help you.
You’ve probably heard a lot about “collaborating strategically” to this point, but you may not have heard of approaching it this way, so I thought you might appreciate it.
Here’s another shout out to Noah Kagan for sharing this tip on his YouTube channel.
✅ Publish Every Day (Focus!)
Conventional wisdom says publish weekly. Spend time creating great content. Edit. Quality over quantity.
Sure, that works for those with established channels. It doesn’t work so hot for new channels.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets impatient with these kinds of things. I want my following, and I want it now!
So, if you want to zag while others are zigging, I will challenge you to try publishing every day.
If you’ve got a brand-new channel, commit to publishing every day for a full year.
If your channel has been kicking around a while, and you’ve got a bit of traction, then try it for 100 consecutive days.
I know I’m asking for an insane amount of work on your part, but if you’re genuinely focused on YouTube (and not on a million other things), you should be able to take this on.
Know it or not, I’ve been publishing blog posts every day since the end of July (and I plan to do this for a full year). That’s my focus right now, and I intend to dominate this medium before I worry about any others.
Screw Facebook, Twitter, Tiktok, or otherwise. Blogging is my thing and I will make it work for me.
And that’s another key point – if you want to be good at anything, focus on it. If you’ve chosen YouTube as your channel, then commit to your success on that channel before you bother with anything else!
If you apply the above tips, you will grow your YouTube channel. It’s practically guaranteed.
I don’t want to promise anything I can’t deliver, which is why I say “practically”, but you’ve hit the motherlode of tips here, so if you put them into action and stay consistent, you should see results.
Have fun with your YouTube marketing efforts because everything just works better when you’re having fun!
Is there anything else I should have covered here?
Leave a comment and let me know!
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
The Music Entrepreneur Code is my latest best-selling book, and it’s available here as well as on Amazon.
This question recently came my way (thanks for sending it over – please send more!).
And though I’ve answered it before, the nature of the question is slightly different, so I thought I would tackle it anew.
What is Vevo & Why Would You Want to Join?
Vevo is a popular video hosting service and it was established by the big three (Universal, Sony, and Warner). They host both signed and emerging independent content, so that’s good news for anyone with a music video they want to share and promote.
Vevo’s content is hosted on Vevo’s native platform, as well as on YouTube.
Further, they supposedly have the highest payout of any video hosting site out there, although based on my research one view is about the same as one stream on Spotify.
The Best Way to Get Your Music Video on Vevo
If you want to get your music videos on Vevo, you’ve got to utilize an official partner. Although there are no guarantees your content will be accepted (sadly), this is the only want to go about it.
I’ll tell you who I prefer, as well as why I prefer them.
I believe the best partner to go through is Ditto Music.
I say that because I hold Ditto Music in high regard. Their products – like Record Label in a Box – have repeatedly impressed me, and I even promote them regularly. I also have a personal relationship with some of the people at Ditto.
I’m sure all the other partners, like Vydia, Free Vevo, Symphonic Distribution, View Maniac, and others are fine. But I don’t know much about them, and in some cases, haven’t even heard of them.
I was working five jobs and living with the worst roommate imaginable.
I was quickly falling behind on mortgage payments, and my back was up against the wall. There were no options.
I didn’t begin 2011 thinking I’d be getting myself into this kind of trouble.
When I wasn’t working, I was generally driving between my various workplaces or sleeping. There wasn’t a whole lot of time for anything extracurricular or fun. I went to the singer-songwriter open mic nights on Tuesdays and had the occasional rehearsal or gig. Aside from that, I was busy working.
My home was the only thing on my mind. I tried desperately to find a way to afford it.
My best friend called me up and asked me if I wanted in on his graphic design business.
He would design. I would code. His friend would help with illustration.
Since I had experience building websites for many years already, I thought this arrangement could work. So, I was in and I was excited.
My friend told me people often asked him to design things for them. So, I figured we would be busy with client work right off the bat.
The three of us declared partnership and set up a business bank account. We promptly got to work on our website, personal portfolios, and business cards.
Shortly thereafter, our illustrator friend decided business wasn’t for him. But my best friend and I kept on, and we even moved into a house to set up an office, home studio, and rehearsal space for our band.
I soon found out my friend didn’t have as many leads as he thought he did. Our business, on average, served about four clients per year. The business always showed a modest profit at the end of the year, but it wasn’t a runaway success.
So, at best, we had a side hustle on our hands. It wasn’t enough to support either of us.
I had a gig as a guitar teacher. My best friend dragged his feet when it came to finding work and didn’t do much except play video games for a few months. Eventually, he started teaching the drums, and found some work as an A/V tech.
We continued to expand our home studio and our musical footprint with it. Like our graphic design business, the home studio was never a runaway success. But we had a lot of fun with it and ended up rehearsing, performing, and recording with a mix of artists and bands. We even got into podcasting in “the early days”.
If there’s anything we did well, anything that still stands out to me, it’s that we engaged in what many would consider content marketing today. I recall we used to put a lot of time and energy into publishing monthly, until my partner decided that we weren’t a publisher and that we were wasting our time by putting so much time and effort into publishing.
If only we knew what was to come…
I got an email letting me know about an upcoming conference call.
I wasn’t sure what would be discussed on the call, but I did know it was long overdue, because the annual shareholder meeting didn’t happen and wasn’t even brought up.
I got onto the call, expecting an update regarding what was happening with the company. Instead, I was told nobody had any interest in pumping any more money into the business.
It was unfortunate. Tragic even. But I was long passed the point of hoping against all hope. I was busy working on other projects and had fully embraced writing in a variety of capacities, whether it was articles, books, content marketing, ghostwriting, or otherwise.
It was difficult to accept. In the early stages of the business, I believed 100% in the model and the potential it had to benefit all involved. At some point, I lost interest. It had been in development for many years, and I felt we had missed a window of opportunity.
That sentiment was reflected in the conference call as well.
But that didn’t matter anymore, because we would be closing our doors.
$60,000 down the drain.
One day, I got a phone call from the bank and they informed me that I could refinance my home. I hadn’t ever heard of such a thing. But I went ahead with it. It solved my immediate financial problems and even put some fun money back in my pocket.
I was confident that things were moving in the right direction.
Early in the year, I was stretched to my limits. At one point, I even broke down.
But finally, I was emerging from the tunnel. I quit the jobs I hated and went on vacation. First, I spent a week away from Calgary. Then, I went on a mini tour with my band.
I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to do moving forward. I just knew that I was in business now, and I figured I had done my time and had paid the price for all the success I was about to enjoy.
I ended up selling my house only a year later.
A business isn’t what I was looking for. But I was desperate. And I was open to answers that weren’t on my radar.
The answers came rapidly, and typically in the form of inspiring books and training audios.
And that’s when I came to embrace business. Because I could see possibilities I had never seen before. Possibilities to become financially independent, support causes I cared about, and impact people all over the world.
I joined two network marketing companies. And although I never created financial independence in those, I did fulfill on a couple of goals – I learned the ins and outs of business, and I got out of my comfort zone. At one point, I was prospecting and having conversations with five strangers per day. Much of the time, this was an exercise in problem solving, going into environments I had never gone into before.
I also started to see the connection between music and business. I sincerely believed that, if I had had business training going into music, that I would have been able to bypass a lot of struggle. This led to the creation of multiple businesses, including Music Entrepreneur HQ.
Most of all, I got into business because I got into personal development.
If you want to grow as you never have before, get into business.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
The Music Entrepreneur Code is my latest best-selling book, and it’s available here as well as on Amazon.