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Music marketing handbook: a guide for indie record labels

Indie label promotion guide

Successful promotional campaigns drive traffic and sales for independent record labels. Whereas majors have big budgets, resources and time, a smaller record company faces challenges. We have analyzed our campaigns to give indie labels an easy guide to successful promotions of your products or services. Our guide will help you to promote your music.

Let’s start defining key elements of a good marketing campaign:

Brand awareness, social media presence, connection with Digital Selling Points (DSPs) and finding and using the right data.

The value of a brand: the Coca Cola example

Having a strong brand is of the utmost importance. Brands as Coca Cola, Apple or McDonalds all have one thing in common: their brand value is higher than the combined value of all their physical assets. What would be worse? Coca Cola losing all their warehouses overnight, or by some miracle all people in the world who know Coca Cola suddenly forget what Coca Cola is?

Let’s start by building a strong brand.

Here are a few tips:

  • Be consistent in brand image
  • Quality over quantity
  • Overwhelm your customer

Brand consistency

An easy one to guess, but so important. Make sure all online impressions of your label are consistent with your brand policy. Same font, images and tone of voice.

The importance of corporate identity

A good way to guarantee brand consistency is to create a corporate identity manual. Make sure all employees have a copy of this and make sure all moderators of your social media channels know how to follow the guidelines set out in the corporate identity manual.

Quality over quantity

Most important for any indie record label is a good A&R manager who understands the target group and has a talent for spotting and signing upcoming artists. Find out if there is an upcoming show of emerging talent nearby and watch them play live. A live show is a good way to see how the fan base interacts with the band and to find out what people love. Instead of playing countless demo’s in the office, live shows are a much better way to listen to music.

Here are a few tips:

  • Gather feedback on your releases. For example by creating a poll on your Facebook page
  • Plan releases at least 4 weeks in the future to ensure good promotional efforts
  • Use data to find out what triggers fans to listen to your music. Like Spotify analytics and Facebook analytics.

Creating a solid release schedule is a combination of good A&R, data collection and interpretation and planning ahead of time.

Social media platform

Online is the most important way for fans to discover new music. A strong social media marketing strategy should encompass the following:

  • Consistency (brands, photos and videos, tone of voice)
  • Timing: when messages should be posted to reach maximum visibility
  • Tagging, use of hashtags
  • Use of the Spotify & Apple Music shout-out guide
  • Creative material: stories, videos, backstage footage, user-generated content.

Connection with sales portals: how to get your music featured

Where majors all have their own dedicated channels to streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music or Amazon, an indie label has to find the right path to pitch music. Here are a few tips:

  • Spotify for artists: pitch your own music at least 1 week prior to release to ensure playlist features in Release Radar and Discover Weekly
  • The Kwettr Distribution deal includes promotions to Beatport
  • Timing is key: pitch at least three weeks in advance in case of a single and at least 4 weeks in case of an album release

What DSP’s like: a tour schedule, a biography and images of the band or artist.

Kwettr -  Indie-labels


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