I make and compose music that isn’t very popular. How do I get more exposure while still making the music I love?
I’m no expert at all on this subject but have you defined your goals? What exactly do you want? Does it have to be millions of dollars and super star status? You say you want exposure, but what does that mean? Are you just considering a music career; that could be teaching music to little kids somewhere, or it could be writing movie soundtracks, or do you want to be in a band, or is it something else?
Most likely collaboration will be part of the success formula, are you networking and reaching out to others who might want to work with you or help you achieve whatever your goals are?
You are asking this question on a site that focuses mostly on audio engineering and songwriting, have you looked for other sources of information on this topic?
If you just want your music heard and make some small change in the process, it is hard but possible. Making a living off it, requires a lot of luck and a bit of capital. Gaining organic exposure without spending capital is hard and takes time but definitely possible. Buckle up for the long haul and hope for some good luck. Getting exposure on streaming sites organically is pretty brutal. The simplest thing you can do is make engaging content.
I am no expert in it but I did gain a decent following when I tried back then, without spending a dime on advertising. Got a few millions views and around 60k followers across platforms. Sold a few thousand albums (hard and soft copies) but times changed and my energy is now spoken for…
anyway, best thing you can do is stay relevant and keep making content. I will list some bare minimum basics
Make sure you are found.
For example start with a catchy and memorable name, and learn some keyword organization.
Like for instance, if you type “lovely flute” in google, one of my videos will pull up with very high relevance. Make sure your content is paired with relevant keywords. In my case “Lovely Flute” is a common term searched and it so also happens to be the name of the song. Titles and keywords like that usually gain higher relevance. This works for cover content and original content.
In this case, the video gained a decent 20k+ views organically without doing anything else.
Over time you accumulate more and more listeners with more and more engaging content. If this content was released a few years ago it would get millions of hits, but today’s algorithms make it a slow and hard process to be discovered, but still rewarding overall.
Find communities relevant to your genre and the kind of work you do, and simply interact.
Finally, don’t give up and keep making stuff. If you have the money, no harm in using it if you are serious about it. Keep sending demos to your favorite producers, take part in composing and mixing contests and hope to be noticed in some way.
For you, I would recommend the annual screenshot contest, organized by ISC, you can send all your crazy themes there and be patient. To find listeners, share your content in relevant places and don’t spam. For you it would be fans of game themes, soundtrack, epic soundtrack and the likes. Make some cool content on popular games, shows etc and then mix it in with your original work.
Thanks for such a detailed response @FluteCafe! I’ll try all of these things.
@ingolee, my goals are just to have my music heard. Not necessarily a fanbase or something, but just like a few thousand followers here, some there, etc. Some way to get my music heard by people. What I want to make my career is being a producer for a band, or doing sound design and sound engineering gigs.
On this site @Emma and @FluteCafe as far as I know have about that many followers. I know that they use SoundCloud, YouTube and perhaps BandCamp as well. I don’t know if they use FaceBook or that type of media. FluteCafe has very generously shared her approach with you, I think that SoundCloud takes a somewhat different strategy, I think you have to engage with other users in order to get a following but I’m not sure.
IRD is a good site for you then, we have a number or professional sound people and also a number of talented amateurs as well and they are all helpful.
Yeah I use facebook, its a better platform than Youtube right now when it comes to revenues and organic growth. Facebook still uses older algorithms and is easier to predict. You can monetize your videos on facebook now as well but you need to have atleast 10k followers.
Some great advice from Ingo and Michelle… obscure music requires a degree of serendipity and effort.
Soundcloud relies largely on reciprocity… you have to support others in order to generate plays and re-posts, but it has really changed over the years and is harder to ‘work’ these days.
By defining music as ‘obscure’ it seems as though you are also restricting any potential audience.
If you want people to listen, you have to find them wherever they may be lurking. I have a cavalier attitude to an audience. While it’s nice to be heard, I also don’t care a great deal and make music primarily for my own satisfaction. I find that to be a healthy driver but can see that it doesn’t work for others.
I see what you mean. I’ve been thinking about having a Bandcamp account for a while now.
Yeah, I know it. I had a meme song remix on my spotify a while ago and it was my only source of listeners. I had 14.5k streams monthly and 1,400 monthly listeners. Once I got rid of it though, I dropped to about 12 monthly listeners within a week. Kinda sad about that one.
If you are not on Instagram with your music name, then I would get on there. It is a very fast way to get people to notice you. If you follow other musicians, you will see them now posting and interacting. Tony Anderson is now trying to gain some more followers and is using IG a lot, especially doing video and live chat to answer questions about his music. I would follow Tony https://www.instagram.com/ptonypterodactyl/ and others like him who are using IG to gain traction.
I am a resident bandcamp advocate! I love the place. I host all my music there, listen to 200+ new artists every week and almost solely buy my music from there. Two points coming from that:
- Bandcamp is a platform still largely geared towards being a storefront for artists to then push out to fans and less of a place for people to just happen to discover you (despite what i said above).
- that said, there are people like me who actively search, use their wonderful fan system and may come across your music by accident.
It’s a no brainer to have it on there given it is free, has wonderful customer support and they support artists (you get approx 85% of any payment, which are flexibly set by the artist!).
I’d be happy to share more tips and info on BC if you need it.
Ok! Thanks for the help.
My main suggestion is to not consider your music as obscure. Unique might be a better outlook on how to approach promoting it. The job of a musician/composer has changed. You need to become a promoter full time once you’ve produced your product and put it out there wherever you can. Any publicity is good publicity. Getting a foothold in a number of places is good, since they change their approach frequently too.
Let’s face it, all of our music is obscure in that it hasn’t been heard until we put it out there. We can improve our chances with some self promotion, but any success is hard fought.
And now it would be great to hear some of your music!
Clubhouse is a very efficient way to make new connections too. And you can talk directly to A&R people and play your music to industry executives and get feedback. I would highly recommend anyone who wants to grow their network to check it out.
I am a moderator on Clubhouse for the Blue Collar Music Network group. You’re welcome to join our weekly discussions there as well. At the moment we have 2 weekly meet ups and the upcoming topics are listed on our Facebook group here.
Lol. Here ya go:
My two best tracks so far.
Yay thanks, I look forward to checking them out
I’m listening to Epiphany now (albeit through crappy inbuilt laptop speakers) just to get a feel of what you are doing. I will listen on my studio system later on.
Thus far, I wouldn’t say it is “obscure” as such. In fact, I really enjoyed it and it has many elements that I listen to or create myself on regular basis. Perhaps it is merely obscure because you have not had many ears listen to it yet…
I’d love to be able to offer you advice but to be honest, I am in the exact same boat.
There a raft of things you can do, but with limited budget and time, it can be difficult to sustain. Off the top of my head, here are things you can do:
- Make good music first and foremost. Everything else is secondary and redundant without it.
- Social media presence
- Cross promote likeminded/similar styled artists
- Connect with Spotify playlist makers who are popular with similar styles
- Make videos
- Get friends to help (Eg, get a small group of loyal friends/followers and create a VIP facebook group. You can then get honest feedback and also ask them to help promote without that guilt that follows as they choose to be part of the group)
Me and my band do most of the above but it’s really hard even with four of us (two of us do most of it) to keep it up.
Hope that helps.
Thanks alot for this. I’m already doing some of these things, and i should probably start doing the rest of them haha.
Great comments from Dan, yeah I would not describe this as obscure at all… enjoyed the sense of tension and release in Epiphany but listening to The Battle again now for the second time
and really enjoying how it develops, builds and grows… some great moments in there, carrying me right along.
Marketing is the key, identifying your audience and diving right on in… hah, personally I can’t bear self promotion but it does seem to be a vital skill if you wish to be heard more.
Really cool music - enjoyed listening thanks!
I’m so glad people actually like it haha. It relieves me a lot to know that it’s not me making bad music, it’s just that I haven’t taken any steps toward marketing in any ways and branding myself.