I have learned that if you want to promote your music and artist brand effectively, the first step is to identify who your target audience is. For me, 70% of my fans are currently female. Not because I’m attractive, but because I’ve made my brand attractive to women by creating a safe place for them to have fun. Like the Cyndi Lauper song, girls do want to have fun and AV Super Sunshine tries to give them a place to do that.
Most of the images I share, as example, are of myself and my wife dressed in fun fashion doing crazy things. The captions are typically witty sayings or fun pun on words. My most successful song themes are relationship songs about being together, learning and sharing life lessons. If I instead posted shirtless photos of myself and sang songs that sounded like pickup lines, I would most likely repel women away in droves. One way to connect better with your fans is to simply take note of what works with them both musically and content-wise and expand on that.
For me, the music and lyrics are the most important ingredients. This is because to get media reporting commercial radio play, my songs need to compete with the world's best songwriters currently topping the global Adult Contemporary (AC), Pop and Rock genre charts. That’s no easy task. Creating rock songs that cross over into the Pop/AC format is hard enough. It’s my job to control the lyric, chord progressions, melody lines and vocal delivery. This is where I need to be on top of my game and deliver. These are my strengths, so I make sure I do the work and get it right for each song I record.
Music production is an area in which my skills are weak, so it’s here where I reach out for help. My music director, producer Michael Bradford, grew up grooving to the same songs, artists, and mixes that I grew up with and inspire my writing and performance style. We met in the recording studio and our relationship grew slowly, but has been built with trust and mutual interests. He’s a cat both myself and my wife can hang out with. We feel comfortable with Michael. This helps the flow of musical ideas and ultimately produces better mixes and tracks. Being like-minded and enjoying each other's company are important traits to consider when choosing a music director or producer.
Having built the foundation for the music and brand, my next step is where to promote effectively to reach my target audience. I believe that posting a new song on Facebook, Instagram and Spotify using hashtags is not going to do much when you’re still trying to build a following. Advertising your posts, including posts that point at your music, may get you likes and follows but doesn't always gets people to hear your music. Posting music videos will do better but you’re still losing the numbers game. Paying for Spotify promotions may get you spins, but many of these spins could be by robots.
Of all the things I have tried when promoting music, I have found that terrestrial global radio has yielded me the best results for getting new fans. I compete the best on the AC and Rock genre charts. AC radio primarily targets the 25 to 45 female age group, which is my best target demographic. Rock radio reaches their significant others, so when I tour they’ll also know my songs and want to come along. To get added to more station playlists, I pay attention to which songs get the most play and take note of what made that song successful with listeners when I record the next single. I also consistently drop a new single every three to four months to remain relevant and visible to the DJs.
For each single I send to radio, I also back it up with a music video. I do this because if a radio listeners want to hear my song again, they’ll usually search for a music video on Google. When you have an “official” YouTube music video posted, Google will create a professional search result with two separate sidebars, overviews, listen tabs and a list of other music videos people also searched for when they searched for your video. This gives me a good indication of how well the radio campaign is going and which artists I’m spinning with.
For instance, just now when I Google search my current single, AV Super Sunshine “A Wedding Song,” the top “people also searched for” results are Pink “Cover Me In Sunshine,” Weezer “All The Good Ones,” Ed Sheeran “After Glow,” Sia “Floating Through Space,” and Justin Bieber “Hold On.” I can confirm that these same artists are currently charting those songs alongside my song on the Global AC airplay charts. I can also see my daily video spin counts during my radio campaigns to judge effectiveness. When my current music video is getting 500 to 1,000 natural spins a day, it helps confirm that I’m getting the reported radio spins I see on my radio reports.
There are no real rules to effective music promotion: moreover, to be effective it’s most important to first identify your target audience. Once you do, it’s easier to find tactics and strategies that could work in introducing that target audience to you and your music. Always remember that it helps to have good songs and a relatable brand to promote. It is also wise to note that “good” is also subjective, so that’s why you need to know your target audience. To get started, try to promote your music and brand to the “right” target audience and see how they respond. Then see what strategies and tactics work the best for you, and then continue. Consistency is a key, but knowing your fans trumps all.
Check out the artist at avsupersunshine.com