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  • Writer's pictureIt's Indie

Getting yourself heard!

The music industry can be a very harsh place for musicians. There are literally hundreds of thousands of artists out there, trying to become the next big thing. Of course, a huge number of them will never make it, largely due to a number of factors - predominantly because there's no room in the music world for them. There are only a finite number of places available on a particular record label's roster, for example. And for you to be included in that list, you've got to be better than the rest.

Angry man
Another rejection letter? Makes me want to superglue my fingers to my head! - Picture by Genaro Servin

So how do you get to be on the radar of these big, faceless record labels? Well, for most, the answer is... you don't. Instead, aim for smaller, independent record labels. If you've got the talent, and they can see that, they will be a much better option.

But before you go mass emailing all those record labels (seriously, this is the worst thing you could do!) let us take you through a few things you need to do first.

We'd just like to point out at this stage that we don't receive any fee, commission etc from any of the companies we mention in this article and our suggestions are based purely on our own experiences and opinions.

1. Build up a fan base

This might seem like a strange place to start - after all, it's a fan base you are looking for in the first place, right? No matter how good you are, no record label will take you seriously if the only fans you have are your mum and Mr Boggins, the local shop keeper.

Social Media is the ideal place to start. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter seem like a great platform to demonstrate your talent. Invite all your family and friends to like and follow you.

Do us a favour though. Create a "Band Page" on Facebook, rather than a personal page. It makes it so much easier for people to find you. Also, if a record label comes a-knocking, they don't want to wade through pages of photos of your Nan's birthday and Candy Crush notifications.

Susan's goose following was going to do wonders for the Christmas Dinner trade

Create an interesting "About" page - tell the world about yourselves, what inspires you, the kind of music you play. Where can they hear your music? What is your latest release? What are you looking for? Ask yourself, if you were browsing an artists page, what would you like to know about them?

Got 1000 followers on Twitter? Get them to follow you on Facebook and Instagram and vice versa. Hey presto, 3000 followers!

2. Other Platforms

It doesn't stop there though. Most people have heard of Reverbnation, Soundcloud and Drooble. These are, for want of a better phrase, social media platforms for musicians.

Get yourself an account with Reverbnation and share some of your music. Do the same with Soundcloud and Drooble. And without a shadow of a doubt, you need to get yourself onto YouTube!

Social Media platforms. Not to be confused with platform shoes. I made that mistake. 8 times.

Follow a few people with similar musical tastes (after all, they need you as much as you need them) and put links to all your social media pages there and invite your new followers to follow you everywhere. Would you look at that, you've got another stream of music fans following you. These are all people who are lovers of music - your target audience.

Keeping up with all these platforms can be very time consuming and you might want to share the load with a colleague or family member. There's nothing to stop you sharing the exact same post on every platform.

Do keep an eye on your followers though. If you find that you're getting no traction on one platform but shedloads of followers on another, focus your efforts on the ones you're most popular on.

3. OK, so you probably knew all of that...

The music industry professionals that are looking to make you rich and successful will like you more when you have followers and so it is key that you do everything you can to get those follower numbers up. Join like-minded groups on Facebook, you will soon find that you have a lot in common with members.

The next task is to get your stuff in front of influencers. We're talking here about Promotion. This is where things can get expensive but we have a couple of tips to help keep the workload - and the cost - to a minimum.

You can take it upon yourself to email hundreds of bloggers, websites, e-zines etc. with details of your latest single release or news about forthcoming shows etc. This approach can be very time consuming and, to be honest, the recipients often prefer to hear from established contacts where they have built up w business relationship over the years. It might be far more efficient to enlist the help of a PR service, but for this, I'm sorry to say, you'll need to dip your hands in your pockets. But shop around, my friends! For example, Knight PR can send your news to over 650 of these influential contacts for a very reasonable £20.

For a more substantial PR campaign, you could go for a boutique style of PR campaign from a service such as Design a Gig. They can help you with services such as releasing a single or album, photo shoots, music videos, website design and much more.

Packages range in price and it's probably a good idea to have a chat with one of their team to let them know your requirements.

Be sure to do your homework before approaching a PR company. Do they promote your kind of music? Do they offer local, national or global promotion? Don't be afraid to ask questions. You want to make sure you are as much a good fit for them as they are for you.

4. Radio Airplay and Podcasts

There are countless independent radio stations and podcasts out there just waiting to hear from you. But the same rules apply as before - do your homework. Nothing annoys the recipients more than being sent music they would never play. For example, a country radio station is highly unlikely to play your thrash metal song. At best, you'll just have your track ignored. At worst, your name will be mud amongst the very people you are looking to for help. And trust me - these guys talk to each other!

Visit our Resources page for details of the radio stations featured below, and more besides!

5. A final word

The vast majority of people in the music industry are on your side. They want to help you succeed because, even though they won't say it out loud, they would love to be the ones who helped find the next big thing. Thankfully, there are not as many sharks in the music industry as you may have been led to believe.

When you approach anyone in the industry, please do it with respect. Introduce yourself, show how you've done your research and how you feel you would be a good fit for the service they have to offer. Yes you can be humorous but don't overdo it. Follow them on their social media pages. They'll appreciate the follow as much as you will. It goes a long way!

There's so much more we could tell you but let's save it for another day, hey?

Good luck, fellow musicians! I'm off to find me a multi-million pound record deal!


Have you stumbled upon a great contact within the music industry? Have you had success in getting your music on air? Why not share your findings with us and spread the word to all our readers? Are you a music industry contact who would like to appear on our website? Come and say hi, we're pretty nice guys really!

For a bunch of other resources, why not visit our Resources Page?

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