Written by Omari
This article is not meant to slam any particular music distribution service in any way, but it IS intended to wake music artists up to a gripping reality.
The music distribution service you choose is NOT what’s going to ultimately cause you to be successful. In fact, it has very little to do with it.
Whether you use Distrokid, Tunecore, CD Baby, Amuse, United Masters, BeatStars, Ditto, AWAL, Landr, Spinnup, SoundCloud, INGrooves, or any other.
At the end of the day, your music distribution service is not going to cause you to win.
Yes, you should weigh the pros and cons of each platform prior to selecting a distributor, but every music artist that actually wants to succeed at earning a living through their art needs a whole lot more tactical skills than saving $50/yr with one distributor vs. another.
I know this doesn’t sound ‘fun’, but the number one thing you need to help you win in music is *drum roll please*... Strategy.
Yup. That’s right. Strategy.
Most music artists cannot strategize their way out of a paper bag (yet).
How do we know this? Being one of the top rated and used music promotion agencies online, we’ve consulted with over 12,000 artists. You want to know how many of those artists had a fully optimized marketing plan when we first talked to them?
Sure, some of them had millions of streams on Spotify or YouTube. Some of them had verification checks on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Some of them may have even been earning a living with their music career.
But the question was, “How many of them had a FULLY optimized strategy?”
Most artists spend too much time focusing on the wrong things.
How much does this music distributor cost? How many streams on Spotify do I want to gain this year?
While you should spend some time focusing on these, you need to realize the order of priorities for building a sustainable music business.
These principles actually not only apply to music, but to being a successful entrepreneur across many industries. One key to building wealth or a lasting career in the music business is ownership.
Think about it. If you want to become wealthy usually you have to have full or part ownership of assets. That can be real estate, stock, or a business. The more control you have over the assets, usually the wealthier you become.
The same concept is true with your music career strategy. Spend more time on things that bring the best return on investment. We’ll lay out some steps below you can follow.
Your music marketing budget can be limited as an indie artist, so you need to be sure it’s allocated to the things that are going to help you win. Every artist that wants to optimize their music career earnings needs to implement these as soon as possible.
You need QUALITY music. This should go without saying, but your music is the centerpiece of your brand. If your music is off-key, unmixed, unmastered, and unprofessional, then no one will take your website and products seriously.
You need products and services (THAT YOU CONTROL THE PRICING OF) to sell to prospective customers. When you control the price, you tend to not worry as much about what streaming royalties Spotify or Apple Music is paying. They become a smaller focus to your overall music marketing game plan.
You need to own an OPTIMIZED website. This is top priority! Not just any old website either. You need a website with full ecommerce, funnel, sales and email copy, and design. What we found is most artists don’t have a website at all. Some artists have a bad looking website. Some artists have a nice looking website. Virtually no artists have a fully optimized, marketing-based website.
You need WELL-ROUNDED marketing. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Spread out your marketing spend over several platforms and track your earnings like a hawk to know which ads & promotions to spend more on. We recommend the following marketing budget breakdown:
40% of your marketing budget to IG & Facebook Ads. A good chunk of this should be traffic directed at your website so that you can sell products & services to earn your money back. With our website management service, we even help you come up with these products & services and implement them into your music business.
20-30% of your marketing budget to YouTube/Google. Again, a good bit of these ads should be directed towards your website.
20% of marketing budget to Spotify Playlisting. When people see your Spotify profile perception can become reality. If it looks like a ghost town there, they may perceive the music differently. Vanity or not, the more buzz something already has the more likely people are to gravitate towards it. This will have indirect return on investment when combined with the two steps above.
The remaining budget towards testing on Apple Music, TikTok, or other platforms. You ALWAYS want to be innovative in marketing. Businesses that innovate get the reward of not only surviving, but thriving even when their competition starts to fall.
5. You need to have CONSISTENCY. It’s not just enough to spend the money. The money needs to be spent on the RIGHT creatives with the RIGHT headlines going to the RIGHT website pages set at the RIGHT prices. Most of the time, you usually have to repeat this process to get someone to support your music career with their hard earned dollars.
At no point in this article did we say you needed 10,000,000 streams per year to be successful. In fact, we help more artists on Spotify than just about anybody, but we know that’s not where your entire budget should go.
You don’t need to be signed to a label. You don’t need to be put on a million playlists. You don’t need to have a huge budget.
If you’ll stay consistent with the 5 pillars, you’ll be on your way to full-time status.
Again, the reason we’re so in-tune with this is because we’ve run THOUSANDS of campaigns for artists, not just talk about them. Which means we have the experience (not the opinion) of what is going on.
Find our services to help you achieve the 5 pillars below:
When your song is ready to go, it's time to start promoting it to potential fans! Omari has the best organic promotion services money can buy. With packages for SoundCloud, Spotify, Instagram, and YouTube, we will get your music the traffic and attention it deserves! Click below for more information.
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