Want to cut to the chase? Here’s my quick list of some of the top music advertising agencies as of 2023:

  1. Dupree X
  2. Forbid Media
  3. Dropout Media
  4. simpl.
  5. Venture Music
  6. Omari MC
  7. YouGrow Promo
  8. Two Story Media

Want to skip to the part where I give a little bit of background on each agency? Click here to jump to that.

Want to make sure you’re asking the right questions before you pony up cash to an agency? That’s probably a good call. Keep reading.

If you’re still here, first things first…

Are you even looking for the right thing?

Before we go to far, I want to clarify a common mixup, because a lot of people use the words “marketing” and “advertising” interchangeably, as if the two terms are synonymous. They’re not.

Marketing is more general, and, consequently, I think it’s probably more confusing. There are a bunch of definitions of the concept floating around out there, but my favorite is this: Marketing is the act of putting a message in front of an audience.

Putting a message in front of an audience could mean creating organic social media content. It could mean spraying graffiti on the side of a high school. It could mean renting one of those wavy-arms guys. It could mean whispering in people’s ears at the grocery store. It could mean almost anything.

The point is, marketing is a super broad concept. I’ve got a post that goes into more detail on this and lists some companies that I think do music marketing pretty well – but for now, I’ll just say that if you’ve come to this post without a clear idea of what you actually want from your marketing, you should probably set some more granular goals before you go out and pay an agency.

Advertising, on the other hand, is a specific type of marketing. Again, there are a ton of definitions floating around out there, but practically, advertising means paying money to show a message to an audience.

In other words, advertising involves creating and promoting ads.

The takeaway from all of this: Music advertising agencies are companies that help to create and promote music-related ads.

That kind of begs the next question:

What types of ads work best for musicians?

Obviously, the answer to this depends on the context – the type of music being promoted, who the musician is, what the goals of the campaign are, etc. But here’s my two cents on what works.

First, the ad platforms that work best for musicians tend to be:

  1. Meta (Facebook and Instagram ads)
  2. Google Ads (YouTube and Google)
  3. TikTok

You can obviously pay to advertise on other media (i.e., newspapers, magazines, radio stations, billboards), but most often, the big three platforms above make the most sense. All of the ad agencies on this list focus on one or more of these three.

Second, the objectives that tend to be most valuable for musicians are:

  1. Growing a social account
  2. Driving streaming growth
  3. Building an email list
  4. Creating awareness for a tour
  5. Selling something (merch, a crowdfunding campaign, scented candles, etc.)

That’s in no way an exclusive list, but those are some of the most common reasons musicians choose to work with an ad agency.

So when should you work with an advertising agency?

I’ll just put this out there: For most musicians, working with an advertising agency does not make sense.

  • You definitely shouldn’t hire an advertising agency if you don’t have a clear goal you want to achieve through advertising. It’ll just be a waste of money.
  • You definitely shouldn’t hire an agency if you don’t have a defined marketing budget.
  • Relatedly, you probably shouldn’t hire an agency if you aren’t prepared to spend at least $1,000.
  • You probably shouldn’t hire an agency if you’ve never tried to run ads yourself. I know that a lot of artists want to hand this off because they don’t want to learn the technical stuff – but really, just giving it a shot will give you a much better idea of what you’re paying for, and potentially help you to avoid wasting money.
  • You probably shouldn’t hire an agency if you don’t have any ability to create content (photos, videos, written text, etc.). I’m not saying you need to be able to whip up professional music videos, but I am saying you need something to include in your ads, and the best case scenario is that you have a regularly updated portfolio of creative assets to use in your ads.

If you do have a clear objective, and you have a budget, and you’ve at least tried to run ads yourself, and you’re willing and ready to create content…

At that point, working with an agency can make sense.

With all of that said, if you’re still reading at this point and still thinking that you’re ready to browse through potential advertising partners, hey, I say go for it.

Let’s get into my list of top advertising agencies.

Two notes on this.

First, don’t read too much into the order of the list. I’m not necessarily saying one agency is better than another; at the risk of beating a dead horse, it’s really dependent on what you’re looking for.

Second, I only have personal experience related to five of these eight companies. I’ve got no personal ties to Dropout Media, simpl., or Venture Music – I’m just including them because I’ve heard good things about each.

Okay, here’s the list…

1. Dupree X

Quick overview

  • Run by Tom Dupree III
  • Common objectives include growing Spotify followers, listeners, streams
  • Focused primarily on Meta (Facebook and Instagram ads)
  • Selective with clients

My take

I first found Tom via his YouTube channel (which is great). We’ve connected since then, and I’ve come away impressed by both Tom’s hands-on experience in music advertising and the level of strategic thinking he brings to marketing in general.

Tom’s not a guy that will take your money and run some lame, loose campaign. He’s pretty selective with his clients – he’ll only run ads for you if he’s confident he can get you the results you want.

If you’re interested in applying, you can click here to check out Dupree X.

2. Forbid Media

Quick overview

  • Run by Andrew Southworth
  • Common objectives include growing Spotify followers, listeners, streams
  • Focused primarily on Meta (Facebook and Instagram ads)
  • Selective with clients, but runs a really impressive volume of campaigns at once

My take

Andrew is one of the go-to gurus in the indie music advertising space – he’s probably the person to listen to when it comes to setting up conversion campaigns for Spotify streams. As with Tom, I found Andrew on YouTube and afterward had the chance to connect with him personally. The guy is insanely productive; on top of running campaigns for clients, he takes upwards of 15 ad consulting calls each week.

Basically, he’s seen the inside of more Meta ads accounts than most people on this planet (probably including most Meta employees). The guy knows his stuff.

If you’re interested in working with Forbid Media, you can click here to check the agency out.

3. Dropout Media

Quick overview

  • Run by Matt Bacon
  • Not just focused on Spotify – they list a broad range of objectives on their service page
  • Meta and YouTube
  • Impressive list of past clients for a boutique agency

My take

Okay, I don’t know Matt (or anyone else) at Dropout Media personally, but a) he has absolutely incredible hair, b) his TikTok advice is solid, and c) I’ve had a few artists tell me that Dropout does really good work.

And also, he’s worked with Lucy Dacus, who I think is great.

Anyway, take my opinion with a grain of salt, but from what I can tell, these guys offer a pretty broad range of services. Rather than focusing on Spotify specifically, they note that they can help with anything from tour awareness to YouTube views. If you’re looking for a boutique advertising agency that’ll cater to specific needs, I’d say they’re worth looking into.

Click here to check out Dropout Media.

4. simpl.

Quick overview

  • Run by Anthony Pacheco
  • Primarily focused on streaming growth (but they do a lot more, too)
  • Most of their campaigns seem to use Meta or TikTok

My take

I don’t know Anthony or anyone at the company personally, but I’ve heard a few people speak favorably of their work, and, to be honest, I just kind of like their website. They have an impressive array of testimonials and case studies (and the colors are nice).

From what I understand, these guys are pretty selective with clients and tend to prefer longer-term partnerships rather than one-off campaigns for quick-hit objectives. I like that.

If you’re interested in checking out simpl., here’s the link.

5. Venture Music

Quick overview

  • Run by Chris Nardone (with a solid team)
  • They “run ads on virtually any digital platform”
  • More of a corporate vibe than the other companies on this list – geared toward bigger acts and labels

My take

I’ve actually heard mixed reviews on these guys; Venture has some strong opinion pieces on their blog that I’ve heard other marketers take issue with. But overall, it seems pretty clear that this company can provide very high-quality work.

Again, I don’t have personal experience with them, but it’s clear that they’ve worked with high-profile artists. It’s also clear that they give off more of a corporate vibe than virtually all of the other companies on this list – which means they’re probably better-suited toward working with big acts and labels than DIY indie artists.

If you’re looking for a higher-powered advertising partner, click here to check out Venture Music.

6. Omari MC

Quick overview

  • Run by Omari
  • I’ve called them the “Walmart” of indie music marketing because they offer pretty much everything – that’s not meant to be a knock
  • They focus on YouTube, Meta, and TikTok for very specific objectives (getting followers, streams, etc.)

My take

These guys do pretty much everything in the music marketing space; if you’re an indie artist, you’ve probably seen Omari pop up in an ad somewhere, maybe talking about his Spotify playlisting service (which is probably what they’re best known for).

As mentioned above, I kind of think of this company as the “Walmart” of music marketing for indie artists, and that’s not a knock – it’s just a testament to how pervasive these guys are and how many campaigns they offer. I’ve spoken with Omari several times, and he knows his stuff.

If you’re looking for a boutique agency that’ll customize a campaign to your needs, I’d probably recommend looking at another option on this list. But if you’re looking for a team that knows exactly how hit a specific objective, like Spotify streams or YouTube views, these guys are worth looking at.

Here’s the link to check out Omari MC.

7. YouGrow Promo

Quick overview

  • Run by a solid team
  • Best known for Spotify playlisting, but they also offer TikTok advertising

My take

I’ve run multiple campaigns with YouGrow, and they’ve always delivered on their promises. (You can read a review of my Spotify playlisting experience here, and a review of my experience with their TikTok campaign here.)

From an advertising perspective, their main service offering is focused toward TikTok profile growth. Basically, they’ll run a campaign on TikTok’s ad platform, showing your content to a bunch of potential followers in the hopes that some will engage.

To be honest, I have mixed feelings about that as an objective (I tend to think that followers on TikTok matter less than followers on other platforms), but hey, there’s no denying that the platform is huge right now.

You can click here to check out YouGrow Promo.

8. Two Story Media

Quick overview

  • Run by me (Jon Anderson but not the frontman for Yes)
  • Focused on Meta campaigns for Spotify growth
  • We’re pretty selective with clients

My take

Come on, are you really going to trust my take on my own advertising agency?


Okay, here it is: Two Story Media is a boutique advertising agency that my mom thinks belongs higher on this list. We started as a PR firm, but over the past few years, we’ve transitioned entirely into digital advertising services (because PR totally burned me out). The primary service we offer is Meta advertising for Spotify growth – pretty much in the same vein as what Forbid Media and Dupree X are doing.

I think we do a pretty good job, but again, I’m biased.

If you’re interested in checking us out, you can click here.

Final thoughts on music advertising

All right, that’s my list of the top music advertising agencies in 2023, complete with my two cents on whether or not it’s worth it.

Hopefully it’s helpful – and I also hope that, if working with an agency does make sense for you, you’re able to pick a partner that nails your goals. There’s a reason I’m in this space: I think advertising (and marketing, more general) matters because I think that music matters.

Get your music out there, and good luck.