You have a song on Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, etc. How will your potential music fans find you? This is a constant question all artists and labels face. What’s the best way to promote? Should you hire a company? Should you do it yourself? Is it worth it? The best way to figure this out for yourself is to read and study what others have done, see what has worked for them, and try it yourself. In my last post, I mentioned Brian at Passive Promotion, who is constantly trying out different ways to promote music. I love his blog, and after reading, I figured I try out a few different promotional strategies to see how if they would work for me. The goal of this experiment was to increase Spotify following and plays, and overall awareness.
I released a pop song called, “Something New For You” on Monday, November 2nd. Below are the types of promotional activities I took, the results, and my takeaways:
Create dynamic lyric video, Post on YouTube, and Run Google Ads campaign to increase views and encourage subscribers. (I ran a skippable ads, the one that shows prior to watching other videos.)
Results: 10,707 total impressions. 36 clicks. 1,196video views. 2 new YouTube subscribers. $33.09 spent (This campaign is still running) – I was not planning on running ads for my lyric video, put Google has a promotional offer of receiving $100 in ad credit after spending $50, so I wanted to give this a shot.
Takeaway: Google has the most specific targeting options available. This one is interesting because I was pleased with my “view rate” (about 11% of the people who saw my ad actually watched the video). And though I’ve only gained two subscribers, I feel as though if I consistently do new videos, and back it with an ad, over time, the consistency and awareness will encourage more subscribers. However, I may not have tried this out without the $100 promotional offer that Google was offering. So if you get the same offer, I say go for it if you have an intention of doing more videos like the one you have in the ad.
Run a Spotify campaign via Toneden.io to increase Spotify and Plays
Why I Tried This: Brian at Passive Promotion posted his results using ToneDen in this post from June 2020. I was encouraged by his results and wanted to try it myself. ToneDen creates a Facebook ad, and targets audiences you choose, based on similar artists you choose.
Results: I ran my campaign for 5 days (Monday Nov 2nd through Friday Nov 6th). I spent a total of $21.70, the ad received 68,656 impressions, and received 143 clicks. I did not gain one new follower. It’s important to note that upon click, one would be taken to my Spotify artist profile, not directly to the song. ToneDen recommends the click going to artist profile instead of the song, as they’ve seen this work best.
Takeaway: In one word, discouraging. ToneDen has resources and guides you can look through to optimize results, but after running this brief growth campaign, I’m not willing to spend more with them. I’d rather run my own Facebook ad (which had proven successful in growing Facebook likes in the past). I don’t really have a following on Spotify yet, so maybe the small number of plays and followers discouraged listeners. But if the purpose of these campaigns is to grow followers, that really shouldn’t matter. Who knows.
Run an Interactive Ad via Show.Co – Where banner ad is placed on major music websites and potential fans can click and hear the song without leaving the page.
Results: 19,359 total impressions. 5 Clicks. $13.94 spent.
Takeaway: Don’t waste your money. This is the newest offering from Show.Co, but it needs to be refined more before I’d consider this again. The interactive ad is shown on all types of music and entertainment sites (you don’t get to choose), such as worldstarhiphop.com, last.fm, livemixtapes.com, to orlandoweekly.com. For me, the targeting is not specific enough. For example, Something New For You is a pop song, not a hip-hop song. So worldstarhiphop.com is not really my audience. It seems it’s only worth spending money as an independent musician if you can reach those specifically looking for what you do…enter the direct Facebook ad (below)
Run a 15-second video Facebook ad (containing pieces of past music videos, lyric video, and playing the chorus of the song)
Results: Results: 16,529 total impressions. 406 Unique Clicks. $11.94 spent.
Takeaway: Definitely the best results. Tons of clicks! But no real conversions of people going to listen to the song (Reviewed data in my Spotify for Artists). What gives? It seems the ad is compelling enough to get an initial click, but not a complete follow through to listen to the song on Spotify. Facebook ads have worked for me in the past, in increasing page likes, and Facebook video views (for videos posted natively to Facebook). I decided to see if it would work in getting Spotify listeners who like pop music over to a landing page where they could click my song to listen on Spotify, and then I tried the Spotify link directly to the song. I'm disappointed that not many are going to Spotify to actually listen to the song. It's important to note that I targeted those "Interested" in Spotify. This does not necessarily mean that one is a paying Spotify customer. Some may be free accounts, and I if one has the free account, you can't listen to Spotify songs on demand.
So what’s the solution? What’s the overall takeaway?
By far I would say running your own Facebook ad is currently the best way to get an initial engagement. But how to get people to fully listen to your song…that question still remains. Notice, I did not hire a playlist promotional company, or spend time reaching out to playlist curators yet. After research, I felt that was not the best thing for me at this time. I did want to try these other avenues first, so I could see if any were worth adding to my arsenal of promotional activities.
As mentioned above, it's actually very important in the grand view of things that free Spotify accounts can't listen to songs on demand because this may be why Spotify playlists are so popular. If most all Spotify users can't listen to songs on demand, but can and do listen to playlists, perhaps that is the next round of experimentation. What's kept me from ongoing playlist promotion in the past has been a negative experience (not enough bang for my buck), and the fact that it does get expensive if using a reputable playlist promotional company.
In all, the biggest thing to take away from this is…try something! Use my experience, use experience from others, and try something you think will work best for you. Don’t spend a ton of money and be sure to do your research beforehand. Set aside $40 to $50 to start and try something. See what works for you, and then you will have a better idea of where to focus your time, money, and effort as it relates to promoting your music. And where not to.
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