By far the #1 promotion mistake I see indie artists make is nonexistent promotion.


The #2 biggest marketing and promotion
mistake is spending money on ineffective strategies. 

Limited Budgets and Radio Promotion

Listen, there is nothing cooler that turning on your radio and hearing your song coming through your car speakers. 

It’s better than sex. 

While it’s quickly dissipating, terrestrial radio is still, far and away, the most effective way to promote music to a mass audience. 

But how much money is required to make it effective?

Radio only works when you have a BIG budget. 

The reasoning is the magic number 7. 

There is a psychological tipping point where a consumer internalizes a song and their buying decision is influenced. 

That number is 7.

It takes an average consumer 7 listens to your song to be compelled to purchase it. 

Here’s the thing, takes a TON of spins to ensure 7 listens. 

You need enough money to ensure that each individual hears your song 7 times which means you need to afford
medium to heavy rotation or you have wasted your money. 

Let’s not forget that radio promotion is all about relationships as well. 
You will need money for a radio tour so you can visit every station. 

Market Size Matters 

Sometimes we see artists try to work the whole country at one time. 
If you have a decent budget but not a MASSIVE budget then why not focus on a local market? 

If the song is good and you can afford solid, steady spins in 1 or 2 markets then your
marketing budget is going to be far
more effective in a smaller region than the whole country. 

More people will be influenced to purchase your music in
1 or 2 markets with heavy spins than in every market with light spins. 

And we’re trying to sell our music right? 

If you don’t have a radio budget then your money is far more effective with online marketing and social media marketing. 

Spending money to appear in an online magazine next to a famous
artist makes you look famous and important. 

Perception is reality. 

Now if you add a free download attached to a squeeze page you are growing your customer list. 

Spend money building a customer list and monetizing it. 

If you don’t know how, then spend money learning how or paying someone to do it for you. 

If you spending $20 per month and you don’t know what you’re doing you are wasting your money. 

Every artist is unique so what is the best way to focus on your strengths and minimize the weaknesses?  If you don’t know this about yourself then you need to pay someone who does…think of it as an education. 

Touring and Tour Promotion 

One of the most valuable products you are promoting is your live show. 

Spend money wisely on tour promotion. 

Spend the budget on infrastructure that will allow you to capture the contact information from everyone that sees you play live. Always be building your fan base FIRST and THEN spend money on getting into new markets. 

Trust me, getting your first big tour and going everywhere across the country once is not cost effective. That still stings just thinking about it. Ugh. 

Start at home. If you can’t pack your local theater or least a decent sized club then your live show probably sucks.  Spend money finding out what needs to change. 

If consumers perceive your show as an event they will come to see it 

Once you are packing a venue you are making money. 

You have cash flow. 

Then dominate a new market and so on. 

Tour Busses Don’t Sell Records 

Country artist Sam Hunt released “Leave the Night On” (destined to be #1) in mid-June this year.  This major label artist with major label money toured in a van with a trailer from June through mid-October before they could financially justify the cost of leasing a tour bus. 

Atco Records recording artist Dream Theater released “Images and Words” in 1992.  They had enough tour support for 6 weeks in a tour bus or 12-14 weeks in a van.  They begrudgingly chose the van at the behest of their tour manager.  The single broke in 10 weeks.  If they chose the bus, they wouldn’t have had the budget to support the single when it broke. 

How are you spending your promotion budget? 

Spend wisely and stay in tune people. 

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