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The One Thing

What is the best way to promote your music, really?

Published 16 days ago • 4 min read

Music marketing is about so much more than playlisting vs. advertising.

And certainly about more than just creating content and getting streams.

It’s about connecting with others and creating a fulfilling path to earn our freedom and a life of meaning through art.

Too much emphasis is put on the mechanics of marketing, while not enough is put on why we do the things we do.

Why do we release music?

Why do we post content?

Why do we run ads?

Why wouldn’t we do those things?

Well, we’re going to attempt to answer all these questions and more by building the principles of music marketing from the ground up.

Foundation

Music is all about connection.

It is an emotion-first artform, a vessel to create relationships around work that ties us together through shared experiences.

Because connecting is the foundation, we want to promote our music in a way that allows us to simultaneously reach new people and nurture the relationships we already have.

This should inform every decision we make about where we put our energy.

For example, if a promotional opportunity doesn’t allow me the option to maintain the relationships I build through it (e.g. playlisting), I would argue it’s not an avenue worth pursuing.

Conversely, if I can promote my music via outlets that lead to the deepening of relationships (e.g. organic content, advertising, email), then those are likely options worth considering.

So rather than drawing a line in the sand that says playlisting is bad and ads are good, perhaps we should simply equip ourselves with a question, a lens through which we can judge all opportunities that come our way:

“Will this allow me to create and nurture relationships with my audience?”

Frequency

The bulk of marketing is simply reminding people we exist.

Reminding them about our latest release.

Reminding them to come to our show.

Reminding them there are options to support us should they choose to do so.

Unfortunately, many of us falsely equate “reminding” with “annoying”.

However, the two are not the same.

Not even close.

See, the algorithm is not a person.

It doesn’t get annoyed or overwhelmed, tired or burnt out, fed up or discontent.

It is a non-partisan mathematical equation whose sole purpose is to delight consumers with content they will enjoy, and it is very, very good at showing the right thing to the right person at the right time.

Insanely good at it, in fact.

Whether within the context of posting organically or paying to advertise, it is highly unlikely you’re going to annoy anyone with your work.

Barring running an ad campaign that is just so poorly set up that it only hits the same few people tirelessly over and over again, I’d say it’s nearly impossible.

The only true means of annoying your audience is via your mailing list, but if you’re doing your utmost to deliver something of value with every email and are taking a moderate approach to frequency, this, too, is unlikely.

The point is this: you have to share your work.

You have to share it a lot.

And you can’t worry about annoying people or “oversaturating the market”.

Honestly, it’s just not going to happen.

The market is the market.

It has always been oversaturated.

It will always be oversaturated.

The only one worried about posting too much, running too many ads, or releasing too much music is you.

Release music.

Tell people about it.

Funding

Music marketing effectiveness is, fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, downstream of funding.

And we fund our marketing efforts in two ways.

Time.

And money.

How you choose to promote your work is largely going to depend on which of these two resources you have more of.

In an ideal world, we would all have a bit of both.

But as you and I both know, that perfect balance is rarely found.

When we’re first getting started, most of us have more time than money.

As life goes on, the demands for our time increase, and we start looking for ways to use our money to earn some of that time back.

Both of these are valid.

The question you have to ask yourself is: which of these currencies can I most afford to use in my current season?

If it’s only time, you’re likely going to want to put a strong emphasis on releasing music more frequently and creating more organic content.

If it’s less time and more money, you might consider leaning more heavily into advertising to obtain the reach your time can’t afford you.

If it’s no time and plenty of money, you might even consider hiring an agency to work on your behalf.

And if you have no time and no money, well, your first order of business is to find one of the two.

It doesn’t matter which currency you choose, but you will have to choose.

Of course, if you can choose both, that’s the golden ticket.

Whenever you're ready, there are four ways I can help you:

  1. Read the Newsletter: Read previous issues of The One Thing to learn at your own pace and upgrade your marketing knowledge for free.
  2. Book a Consultation: Schedule a one-on-one call with me to improve your marketing across paid advertising, social media, and more.
  3. The Spotify Traffic Accelerator: Join the hundreds of artists who have successfully learned to automate their growth on Spotify using paid ads on Instagram.
  4. Become a DuPree X Artist: Hire our team to manage your marketing across streaming platforms and social media so you can focus on what matters most—making music.

The One Thing

Tom DuPree III

One high-leverage idea to scale your audience (and your business). Delivered every Tuesday.

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