by Alex Cosper (11/17/12)
The best way to promote independent music is on college or public radio. The audience may not be as big as commercial radio stations, but the listeners are more eager to hear new music. Learn what the coolest public stations are in America from KPFA in Berkeley to KCRW in Santa Monica. These are the places that look for interesting new sounds. Internet radio is a growing influence and is worth pursuing, keeping in mind that most internet stations have small audiences. If your music have something important to say, then public radio personnel will likely be interested.
The Do-It-Yourself style for promotion is don't be afraid to self-promote on social networks. Certain aggregate sites for musicians have proven to be effective sites to handle most of your business. Those sites include ReverbNation and Bandcamp. They both provide a variety of promotion tools to help indie artists get the word out about their music. They let you create widgets of your music for free. These free sites that allow for storing and selling your media. Sites that help promote your media are YouTube and social networks. Videos with interesting action or humor can go viral regardless of the music.
Send out press releases whenever you do something eventful, such as a big festival show, a CD release or an interview with a well known media source. There are PR services that will circulate your press release for free, but usually the ones that cost money and have been around are the ones that give better results. A lesser know technique is to send postcards to a lot of places that look for content. Have your press release on a postcard so that it's easy to read and doesn't get tossed right away in a huge stack.
Part of DIY promotion now for the indie artist is to understand search engine optimization (SEO). Websites can gain advantages over competitors by using SEO without overdoing it. Whenever people overdo SEO techniques the search engines change their algorithms. What the search engines really want, which is what surfers want, is an index that points them to quality content. The more you focus on quality content and finding keywords for niches with low competition, the better chances you'll have of search engines sending you new traffic. Web page titles and link exchanges are incredibly important. A web page title should be unique and contain relevant keywords. Links should only be done with sites with high credibility, or your site can be downgraded in the search engines.
Exposure is the key to being a successful indie artist. Getting mentioned by well known bloggers is important and for many indie artists is a major key. Getting reviewed in a local newspaper is also great exposure. Any type of television or radio exposure helps. Word of mouth is still considered one of the most powerful forms of promotion. Give away as many forms of media as you can: videos, print, CDs, mp3s and pictures. For many indie artists the payoff is selling CDs and merchandise at their shows. Some indie artists have packaged their music with other products such as video games.
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