• Philip Marsden

Why Your Music Isn't Being Discovered

So you’ve just released a new song and you’re promoting the hell out of it on social media with eye catching visuals, awesome music videos and interesting behind the scenes footage, all while asking people to hit that link in your bio and have a listen, but when you check your metrics for the release, you still feel like it’s just not reaching as many listeners as you’d like, despite all of the hard graft you’ve been putting in. What’s going wrong? My bet is that you’re making the same mistake I see countless artists making with their marketing strategies. The good thing is, it’s super easy to explain and resolve!

Here’s the issue in one sentence… People don’t go on Instagram to discover new music. Simple as that! So what can you do to make your music more discoverable? Let’s dive deeper…


The Problem

In this day and age, when we want to generate awareness for something, the first thing we think of is social media. For a lot of people, marketing is simply putting a product out, shouting about it on Instagram and hoping lots of people buy it there and then. This can work, but in a lot of industries, it’s just not the most effective way to generate awareness or get people to take the next step in their journey with you. I think that music is one of those. For independent artists, social media is absolutely essential for nurturing your audience, keeping them entertained and turning them into super fans, but it’s not the best way for people to make that first discovery of your music. I don’t know about you, but when I think “I’d like to listen to something new today”, my first thought isn’t to search for #unsignedartist on Instagram.


So where should I be grabbing people’s attention instead?

If you want to be discovered, you need to be present where people are discovering new music. For me, this includes four main places:

  • Spotify

  • YouTube

  • Blogs

  • Radio

(There’s way more, but these are the big ones for me)

You should focus your energy on being found in these places and bring those listeners over to your social media to join the party once they already know and like what you’re doing. To put it really simply, get discovered on Spotify, entertain on social media afterwards.


How can I get discovered in these places?

There are a few ways each platform can be used to generate awareness for you and each could probably be its own blog post, but I’ll quickly outline them.

The most important is Spotify. Here, you need to be pushing for playlist spots every single day. This is still the number one place to be found by listeners who love the sort of music you’re making! Once you land a few decent playlist spots, you’ll probably begin to be pushed along by Spotify’s algorithm, which will put you in people’s Discover Weekly playlists and will recommend your tracks on user’s playlist recommendations. Personally, I discover a ton of new music through Spotify playlists and from what the algorithm pushes to me! YouTube is also fantastic for discoverability. Of course, you can upload your own content like music videos, lyric videos, behind the scenes footage etc. But also, you can try to get your music played in videos from popular vloggers who’s audience may enjoy it, you can submit to music review channels specific to your genre and you can submit to compilation/playlist style videos by creators like Mahogany. I love indie-folk music and this is exactly how I discover a lot of the artists I listen to in that space!

Music blogs are an obvious one - personally I’m not that into them, but you can bet that the readers of them are super into the particular genre/style that it caters for. If you’re not getting your music in front of these avid listeners, you’re missing out big time. They’re also great for building a presence on Google, which is important if people like gig promoters, radio curators and really anybody in the industry is trying to find out more about you and wants to see some social proof.

And finally, radio. If I hear a song I love on the radio, I’m normally on Shazam trying to find out who it is in an instant. If you’re UK based, you should be pushing all of your tracks to BBC Introducing and more genre specific radio stations, it’s a no brainer. I’ve lost count of the amount of artists I’ve discovered through late night Radio shows on a drive home.


In conclusion...

So to conclude, if you’re doing your best to promote your music on social media and point people to Spotify/YouTube etc, but it’s just not going anywhere, maybe your attention is in the wrong place. Try flipping your strategy around and focus on the places where your music can be discovered more easily. Then, send listeners from there over to your social media where they can be regularly entertained by your content and kept in the loop, ready for when your next song drops.


Releasing new music soon? Download my free guide - 7 Steps to Getting Playlisted and Maximising Your Music on Spotify.