• Philip Marsden

The 3 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Promoting Music

As an industry professional, I get to observe a lot of release campaigns every single day. Most are creative and exciting, but a lot of artists are making some easy to avoid mistakes that could be preventing the music they’ve poured their heart and soul into from being heard. In this post, I’ll outline the three most common mistakes indie artists make when promoting their music and tell you how to avoid them, getting your next release the attention it deserves.


1. Spammy posts and copy + paste DMs

There is nothing more uninspiring than a picture of some cover art with a caption that says “My new song is out today, go and listen to it.” The only thing less likely to make me want to listen to somebody’s music is a blatant cut and paste DM.

Whenever you’re putting up a promotional post, think about what story you can tell with it. Maybe something interesting happened during the production process? What is the song about? Where were you when you wrote it? From there, shine the light back onto the reader. Ask them about their thoughts or experiences and spark a conversation in the comments.

Next time you want to send a DM, think about how you can have an actual conversation with the recipient, what you can learn from them and how you can add value to their day? For somebody to become a fan of your music, they need to feel some sort of connection with you and your message. Only once they have this, will they want to take the time to listen to your new music and support you. Read these two examples and be the judge of who’s music you’re more likely to take a listen to today…

Example 1 (text DM) - “My new single ‘Spammy McSpamface’ is out now on all major platforms! Please stream it and share it on your story!”

Example 2 (a video message) - “Hey Philip, just wanted to say thank you for following me and for liking my videos, I really appreciate it. I noticed you’re a guitarist too! Love that Fender you’ve been posting pictures of, what model is it? If you ever want to chat about music or nerd about guitar stuff just drop me a message!”

Sending a personal video message like this costs no money, takes very little time out of your day and is a million times more likely to turn somebody into a fan than a cut and paste DM. There’s just one catch - it has to be genuine. If you’re only doing it on the basis that they might share your song, it won’t work, it won’t feel rewarding and you won’t be motivated to do it. Go out there and be sociable on your social media, you might enjoy it!


2. Not creating any video content for your release

If you’re promoting your music on social media, you’re relying on visuals. A screenshot of your cover art isn’t enough, you need some kind of video content to really grab people's attention when they’re scrolling through their feed. If you don’t have any, you’re wasting the huge opportunities that social media and the modern world present. 74% of professional marketers say video has a better return on investment than static imagery. Plus, it's a much more effective way to tell your story, spread your message and show people what you’re all about. Although it would be nice, this doesn’t have to be a high budget, professionally produced music video. You could hire a creative on Fiverr to make you an eye catching lyric video or animation, film your own live performance videos, post behind the scenes clips or even just get in front of the camera and tell your audience the story behind your song. Make sure your next release strategy is filled with creative video content!


3. Neglecting the power of momentum

The final music promotion mistake that I see all too often is artists neglecting the power of momentum. By this I mean they’ll put a post up on release day, maybe submit to a few playlists and blogs and then hope for the best. This is not the way to do it. Research suggests that people need to hear your message seven times before they take action on it . This is called the Rule of 7. This means you need to keep the momentum going for as long as possible with every release and doing so requires some planning. Map out as much valuable, eye catching content as you can around the release, spend a bit of time submitting to blogs and playlists every single day and take 10 minutes out of your evening to engage with followers, fans, industry professionals and other musicians on social media. Little and often is the key here - you need to be playing the long game in everything you do. Need some help with planning content? Here are 18 post ideas you can use!


If you can avoid these three mistakes next time you release a song, you'll already be winning! If you'd like to read more about a healthy marketing mindset for musicians check out this post.


Looking to grow your fanbase on Spotify? Download my free guide - 7 Steps to Getting Playlisted and Maximising Your Music on Spotify here.