I've been asked to do several “expert advice” articles in the past few months. This time around nothing immediately jumped out of my brain. After contemplating what I could bring to the table at this moment in my career, it came to me. I’m presently launching a new single called “Frankenstein,” and since the internet is already full of great expert advice, I thought I’d write an article sharing the best 5 tips I could find and how we can apply them. For this I’m going to assume you’ve already created some sort of a marketing plan, chosen your distributors, registered your work, updated your press kit, and created artwork for your CD and press.
1. The first tip is: get your song into distribution. This is important. I use a European distributor for digital content and a Chicago-based distributor for physical content and merchandise. Through my distributors, I can confirm that my new song “Frankenstein” has been delivered to Amazon, Deezer, iTunes, KKBox, MediaNet, Napster (Rhapsody), Pandora, Spotify, Tidal, TikTok, and YouTube Music. Since I always personally check each of these sites for my release, I know that my distributors are doing their job.
2.Second, contact the media. This tip calls for the artist to create a list of media contacts and asks the artist to send a downloadable song link along with your one-sentence pitch and your one-page flyer to this list. I service the Indie press through an Indie PR outlet out of Seattle that’s very well connected and relatively inexpensive. I supply them with an MP3, a one-paragraph writeup explaining my song, a one-paragraph bio, song lyrics, a jpg image of the CD single art, and several PR photos. When I have had a really good song and extra budget, I am very fortunate to be able to hire a top PR firm out of New York City. The firm’s owner is very well connected and has established relationships with just about every major entertainment outlet you might ever want to reach.
This tip also suggests to include local music critics, morning news stations, local newspapers, and local radio stations (college and commercial). I’ve tried this in the past. I personally have made several visits to all of the radio stations within a 75 mile radius of my home who play independent music and to all of the music critics in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. I brought T-shirts, my latest discs and swag. On one trip, I included handmade art with a swag bag of Halloween candy. With the local and regional newspapers, I emailed each with song links as well as with our national and global music charts.
What I found is that the newspapers wanted to run articles only if I was playing an event they could promote in their area, the music critics wanted access to a live show for review, and the radio stations would lend support if I was, again, playing in the area. I’m blessed to network with top promoters and musicians who have extensive experience and currently work with some of the biggest artists and labels in the world. I have the luxury to be able to call them for advice based on their first-hand knowledge. When they give advice, I try to follow it.
They tell me to stay focused on the bigger picture of gaining the fanbase first to fill theaters in the radio markets I’m building. They warn me not to be tempted to join in on the local music scene, as ultimately it will only waste my time and dilute my efforts to become a recognized recording artist. Instead, they tell me I should be writing and practicing. Because of this, I no longer service these local outlets. I have, however, saved these contacts for when I can give them a worthwhile local performance.
3. The third tip is to go worldwide with radio. I agree with this. Building relationships with DJs outside the U.S. can build new markets for touring. Promoting with a global radio promoter is a great way to achieve this. I use a company out of Jacksonville, Florida that always does an excellent job of introducing my music to DJ’s worldwide. To illustrate how game-changing it can be to use a radio promoter, my current single “Frankenstein” has been fortunate enough to get airplay support from BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio Berkshire, BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Cornwall, BBC Radio London, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Radio Shropshire, and BBC Radio Ulster. Love from these stations by themselves could be enough support to launch a successful tour of the U.K. Global radio promotion is fairly inexpensive and it’s something worth trying.
4. The fourth tip is to create a music video. Even if it’s just a lyric video, having it will direct Google and YouTube searches for your song to your YouTube channel. To me, this is gold. Getting fans to watch your videos is hard enough. It only makes sense to have a visible and available music video for fans to easily find when they search for your song after hearing it on the radio. If it’s well received, you can get a lot of new and loyal fans this way. I’ve been able to accumulate over 1 million YouTube channel views this way and it’s also been helping all of my older music videos to continually rack up more and more views.
5. The fifth and final tip is to create a social media campaign. I usually do several tweets about my release, as well as retweeting any tweet where I’m tagged. The tagged tweets are usually from radio playlists that my song was featured on. I also tweet any online review I get. I post the video on YouTube and Facebook and then share it with my mailing list and fans. I currently don’t spend much time on my Instagram, but I do post an embedded YouTube link of my music video on my website and keep it updated with an image of any major music chart I’ve made. “Frankenstein” is currently #14 on the DRT Global Rock Airplay Charts. It’s great to show the world that I can chart with big label artists in major music markets around the globe.
Which brings me to the most important bonus tip which is to always be thankful. I am super-thankful for the continued success of AV Super Sunshine. Regardless of success or failure I always thank everyone who helped or lent support. The music industry is a person-oriented business. DJs only play Indie artists who they know and like. First, they have to know who you are and trust that you’re not going to disappear and change your artist name with the next music trend.
With tens of thousands of new songs being serviced to radio every week, any opportunity to get in front of these influential career makers is a blessing in itself. So be extra thankful to everybody. Being known in the music world as polite, respectful, and thankful will enhance your chances of being introduced to others and liked by many individuals in the music industry.
AV SUPER SUNSHINE is an international recording artist who is best known for his songs “The Wedding Song”(#4 DRT Global AC Airplay), “Baby Goodbye” (#5 DRT Global AC Airplay), and “Together” (#6 on DRT Global Rock Airplay). Check out avsupersunshine.com.