As an independent musician, you probably all know it, if you do not, it’s best to come up with it. Marketing and marketing your music online is the way to go today. Even big signed artists go this route, some big players even go so far as to release a new album only in digital download format. 

In a fairly detailed telephone conversation with a good friend and colleague who is president of a fairly large independent record company, he reports that digital music sales or digital music downloads have now reached 50% of all music sold. This means that soon there may not even be a need for a physical product. Needless to say, it will definitely increase the budget for independent artists who do not have to spend on CD pressing and production. Not to mention how much easier it will make your music distribution initiatives.

So, long story short, where am I going with this? What I’m saying is that you should spend most of your time, energy and money marketing your music and project online. You should search for music advertising on the Internet in a larger proportion than traditional print advertising. After all, look at all the paper newspapers and magazines that go out of business today or transfer all of their publications to a strict online version. Yep, we should realize that; If you are not on the internet bandwagon yet to promote and promote your music, you should get there quickly. Keeping in touch with your fans in as many ways as you can is the way to go today. Do not make them come to you, reach out to them.

To summarize briefly, here are some of the methods you should use as an independent artist to promote your music and music career, and stay in touch with your fans in today’s digital age.

Pair social relationships online

You should set up a presence for yourself or you band on as many social networking sites as you can. You probably have a myspace site, which we all know is important, but today it’s just not enough. You should keep your fans and potential fans informed at all times by using social sites like Twitter, Facebook, iLike, Squidoo, iMeens, Reverbnation, and there are many more. Socializing in music forums specific to your music genre is another thing you should do a lot of. Setting up meetings and greetings via these Internet portals is also fast becoming a new way to stay interactive with your fans.

Official band or artist website and blog

Your official band or artist website is also important. It should be as professionally designed as possible and be in line with your artist image. This is your home online and should be updated and kept up to date constantly. It should have a news page, a press page and an audio page that should be kept fresh with new news, press clippings and musicYou should also have some interactive functionality on your homepage so that fans can get involved, post comments and interact with you. A blog is another great way to keep your fans informed, provided you keep it fresh and up to date as well. With a blog, fans can subscribe via RSS feed, and everything you post will be delivered immediately to their desktop. Very powerful.

Online press kit and publicity

An online press kit, also known as an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) is a promotional tool that any artist or band should have, even if you have a printed or digital press kit. The online EPK allows you to quickly send out band information and music samples to venues, labels, agents and even fans for the purpose of promoting music.

Widgets – A great one

Widgets, as I write this article, are a relatively new form of online music promotion, but if used properly, they are an extremely powerful method of viral internet marketing. Essentially, a widget is a digital screenshot of your profile and can contain streaming or downloadable music, movies, commercials, etc. It also allows you to collect fans’ email addresses. The widget code should be placed on every single web page from the official, to as many social sites, including your myspace page as possible. The great thing about widgets is that they allow fans to actually download the widget from your site and place the code on their own site, thus spreading the word to thousands of new fans. You can get your widgets for free just by signing up for an account at a place like reverbnation.com. Are you beginning to understand the importance of viral music marketing?

Digital mailing list

I should not need to mention it, but unfortunately most new artists in the early stages of development I guess still do not get it. That is, the crucial importance of a digital email registration module on all websites. Gathering the email address of fans and potential fans and storing it in a distribution database is crucial. What you can do with that email list is amazing. Announce all show details; thus bringing out more fans, posting a new news or publicity announcement, broadcasting a contest and announcing new CD releases; thus more record sales. A digital email list is something no artist, whether independent or large, should be without.

Advertising on genre-specific web portals

Another good online idea, if it fits your budget, is to consider banner advertising on music portals that are within your music genre. You can announce a new release, a tour or a new deal of some kind. Some music portals get many thousands of visitors a month, and this can definitely increase your exposure. However, make sure the banner is professionally designed and animated if possible. Some of the genre-specific music portals I’m talking about will only require twenty to thirty dollars a month to advertise your brand. As I mentioned, if you have available money in your budget, it certainly can not hurt.

Search engine marketing, drive traffic to all your sites

Needless to say, you can have the most professionally designed, amazing and functional websites on the web, but if no one visits them they are not very good, are they? So you want to spend some time and effort exploring search engine optimization. Find out all the techniques search engine savvy technologies use to rank high in all search engines and especially in music related results. Search engine optimization, done right, is not easy if you do not know much about it. Again, if you have a few extra bucks in your budget, you may want to consider hiring a search engine optimization expert. Getting your band found in the search engines can be a great boost to your awareness.

Digital distribution

Distributing your music online is key. As I mentioned in the first or second paragraph of this article, digital downloads now account for 50% of all worldwide music sales. It will very soon completely surpass physical CD sales, never to turn around again. You should make your music available for digital download on as many digital distribution portals as possible. Some of these include iTunes, Napster, Rhapsody, and there are plenty more. When making the product available online for digital download, be sure to include a profile on each portal. Also find out how they report sales statistics. You want to make sure that you get the right credit for sales in the industry such as on audio scanning and audio exchange for your downloadable sales.

These are just 8 tips and suggestions for marketing your music online. There are many other methods as well. The way to get exposure for your music on the Internet is exploding with new strategies every day. Be sure to keep up with this and use all possible techniques at your disposal for a greater chance of success in music. Good luck!

Ken Cavalier is a music business consultant, artist manager, speaker and author. He is considered an expert in online music marketing and viral internet music marketing. His focus is to advance the career of his independent musician and artist. Ken is also the founder of Allure Media Entertainment, an artist management and consulting firm in Philadelphia, PA that manages the music careers of signed and unsigned artists, and Allure Media Entertainment, a music marketing and online advertising company.

As a voting member of The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (The Grammy Association) and other distinguished music industry organizations, Ken has authored many informative guides on music promotion and music marketing. His widely popular Music Business Tip Sheet “The Unstoppable Indie” is published and distributed monthly to thousands of independent artists and bands. Ken is available for independent artist consultations (First consultation Free) on an hourly basis or on a short term management-consulting basis and he also provides music publicity and copywriting services.