The Cost of Music Promotion in 2023: An In-Depth Look
Effectively promoting your music is essential for building a lasting career as an artist in today's crowded music industry. But how much does it actually cost to market your music in 2023? The costs can vary greatly depending on the strategies, tools and services you use.
Today’s your lucky day, as we'll be exploring the costs associated with DIY promotion. We look at free platforms, hiring a dedicated team, leveraging tools like the unhurd app, and investing in other promotional activities. We'll break down estimated costs so you don’t have to!
Promoting Your Music with Free Tools
While robust marketing requires investment, there are a number of free platforms and tools musicians can use to kickstart promoting themselves without spending money upfront.
Remember, before spending a penny, artists should always look to maximise their free promotion. Maximise your marketing through social media platforms, organic content creation and a host of free tools. Below is just a few examples of free tools and services.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are free to use and vital for engaging fans and reaching new audiences. Posting songs, music videos, BTS footage, live performances and more can help build followers and an engaged fanbase. This in turn drives streams and views. Building and then delivering a content strategy for each platform is an essential step in your marketing campaign.
Downsides of relying solely on organic social media are the difficulty of cutting through the noise and reaching new audiences. But consistency, utilising hashtags, tagging locations, and optimising for each platform's algorithms will give you a great chance. Test different types of content, find and hone in what works for you while feeling comfortable.
Keep an eye out for our next post focused on social media strategy, content and how to maximise organic growth!
Getting songs uploaded to streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and Amazon Music is easy to do through distribution services. Check out DistroKid, CD Baby, United Masters, Tunecore and Amuse.
Once your music is distributed, you can share streaming links online and start building listeners. Distribution is the essential first step for digital promotion.
Playlist Pitching to Spotify Editorials
One of the most effective ways to promote new music is to get songs placed on influential Spotify editorial playlists. I'm sure most will have listened to the likes of RapCaviar, Rock This, Pop Rising, New Music Friday, etc.
Spotify for Artists allows you to directly pitch upcoming unreleased songs for consideration by Spotify's playlist editors.
To submit a pitch:
- Log in to Spotify for Artists
- Go to the Upcoming section and select "Pitch from Next Release"
- Choose a song and fill out details like genre, mood and song tags
- Pitch at least 7 days before your single release date for the best results
Key notes about editorial playlist pitching:
- Provide as much detail as possible to showcase why your song fits a playlist
- Only one of your songs can be pitched at one time
- You may not get picked for the playlist you pitched, but editors may add your song to other suitable playlists
- Getting picked isn't guaranteed, but consistent pitching over time can help
Even if your song doesn't get picked, pitching ensures your release gets added to your followers' Release Radar playlists. You can also pin upcoming songs to your This Is playlist if eligible.
Reaching out directly to music bloggers, local press and relevant playlists on social media costs nothing but time. Doing the research to find the right contacts and crafting personalised pitch emails takes effort but can turn into huge wins
The key is making sure you're pitching opportunities that fit your music properly. Mass emailing press contacts won't be very effective as they receive hundreds of emails daily.
When your only focusing on free promotional tools, one of your main costs will be the effort required for content.
To give yourself the best chance for effective promotion, you need quality, engaging content. This can be in the form of videos, photos, graphics, blogs, newsletters, etc tailored to each platform.
Creating a content calendar and brainstorming creative ideas across different formats is essential. You can experiment with TikTok videos, Instagram Stories, YouTube behind-the-scenes footage and email newsletters to find what works.
If you need help with digital asset creation, you might look at freelancers, which starts to increase costs. But staying lean is possible. Check out free design and video editing tools like Canva and CapCut.
Hiring a Artist Marketing Team
DIY promotion using free tools and organic content is what every artist should look to use first. When you're in a position to invest more money, you can choose to invest in a pro marketing team. Working with a proven music team provides the expertise and industry connections needed for amplified exposure and fan growth.
Full-service music marketing teams typically charge either a flat rate for a specific campaign, or a monthly retainer that can range substantially depending on the level of artist. These can range from £500 all the way up to £10,000+ per month for well-known global established artists.
These teams handle a full spectrum of marketing functions.. For example, at unhurd, we handle campaign strategy & management, , creative strategy, social media strategy, digital ads, data analysis, wider audience & community building and more. Additionally we offer a number of promotional packages focussed on playlist pitching and press and blog campaigns. Costs can vary based on the type of campaign and the goals set.
It's always important to check and compare your options e.g. their experience, artist worked with, industry connections and marketing strategies to ensure it's the right fit!
Leveraging the unhurd App
In the early years of unhurd, we realised that there was a gap. There wasn't an offering between DIY promotion and working with professional music expert teams. This is why we decided to create the unhurd app! The app offers accessible music marketing tools, education and assistance at your fingertips - its your marketing team in your pocket!
The unhurd app offers some core promotional tools at reasonable prices:
- Playlist pitching - £6.99 per pitch
Pitch your new releases to our network of third-party playlist curators in one place. Our playlist algorithm identifies the right playlists for your music, allowing you to pitch to playlists in a few clicks.
- Social media ads via Meta and TikTok - £7.99 per ad
This makes it easier and faster to grow your audience effectively using paid ads. Our algorithm suggests the most relevant targeting for your music. The easy-to-use flow makes music marketing simple for artists while educating at the same time.
You also have access to your streaming and fan data, campaign management features, promotional tips and training resources. These aim to empower you to level up your marketing.
The unhurd app is free to use and open to all artists!. Lean into the self-serve tools for a low-cost boost to your campaign. The app experience also helps artists learn effective promotion strategies themselves, all with no long-term commitment.
Investing in Other Promotional Activities
In addition to the main channels outlined above, here are some other promotional activities musicians can invest in with their marketing budgets.
- Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Spotify ads can help drive streams and follows.
- Budgets are flexible and depend on daily caps. £100-£500 per campaign is reasonable.
- Be sure you have compelling creative assets for ads.
- Spotify for Artists provides free analytics plus paid promotional options.
- Spotify Marquee is from £100 for banner promotion. Audio/video takeovers cost from £250.
- Can help drive Spotify streams, but costs are high.
As you can see, there are numerous promotional options at various investment levels. Key is spending marketing budgets strategically and where your audience will respond best.
So how much does music promotion cost for me?
Promoting music requires real commitment, creativity and often some form of budget. But strategic approach utilising the right mix is needed to thrive. Consider the use of free tools, affordable services like unhurd, and investing in areas like radio, PR and advertising. These can generate real fan growth.
What's affordable or worthwhile for an artist at 1K monthly listeners is different than at 200K or 2M. Understand your current stage and goals, then implement campaigns consistently while allowing yourself to test different strategies, content, targeting etc.
The costs floating around when discussing properly promoting your music can seem daunting. But applying what you learn from this article with realistic expectations provides the best starting point to build your audience effectively.