How Indie Artists Should Start Marketing Their Music


I revamped my email welcome series like a month ago.

(It was past time. Trust me.)

Now, whenever a new subscriber downloads one of my checklists / starts one of my mini-courses / falls victim to another one of my scams to steal their email address, they get an intro email that asks a simple question…

“What is the biggest question you have about marketing your music / building a fanbase?”

I’ve gotten a bunch of responses to this email. Most have been really good questions; some have been straight-up weird (no I can’t introduce you to Prince, because a) I never knew him and b) I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but he’s dead).

But probably the most common question that I get is some variation of this:

“Where do I even start?”

Or… “There’s so much to do. What should I focus on?”

Relatable questions, right? Fortunately, there’s one simple answer…

Start with Pinterest.

…I’m just kidding.

(I’ve been making that joke for like four years now and I still think it’s funny.)

Nah, usually I’ll give a pretty tactical answer – start by clarifying your objectives, then focus on the tools that make the most sense to reach them.

For instance, Instagram and Tik Tok work for building new audiences; Spotify growth can be done through Facebook ads or playlist pitching; email works for engaging your audience, etc. etc.

(I’ve detailed out the standard system I recommend in my book, for what it’s worth.)

But, today, I want to offer another angle toward answering this question, because I think it’s important.

Here’s the truth: The platforms you choose to work on do matter.

But your perseverance matters more.

I mean, TikTok and Instagram are probably the best places to reach new ears right now. But if you only post once a month, you won’t reach anyone.

Spotify is definitely the best streaming platform in the world. But if you only release one song this year, you’re probably not going to get many streams.

Patreon can absolutely be awesome. But if you never post, you won’t get patrons.

Perseverance > platforms. If you can commit to consistently doing something for a year, you will almost definitely see value from that thing.

Honestly, that’s probably even true if you decide to use Pinterest.

I was talking to my friend Joel last week, and he told me that he’s had a few folks ask for his advice on release strategies.

It’s understandable that people are asking. Joel’s a full-time artist. His biggest songs have millions of streams and he has 350k monthly listeners on Spotify. Clearly, he knows what works, right?

Here’s what he says works:

“Make music you believe in for 10 years.”

That’s it.

For the past decade, he’s released music. He’s played shows. He’s reached out individually to playlist curators. He’s posted social content. He’s built real relationships.

Now, when he puts a song out, the song is virtually guaranteed to get tens of thousands of streams – no matter what he does. (He still does the things, though, to keep the momentum rolling.)

And Joel’s far from unique. Virtually every successful creator I know has followed a similar trajectory. Basically, they picked a direction, they followed it for a long time, and they didn’t give up.

One more time…

Perseverance > platforms.

I hope that’s encouraging to you this week, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything you could do. I waffle all the time, too – I’ve been considering a YouTube channel / a podcast / a more active TikTok presence for like two years, and in all of that time I’ve done barely anything for Two Story on any of those platforms.

But I have written consistently for about five years now, in this newsletter and on Two Story Melody.

And here’s what’s happened:

For a year, I wrote for an audience of my mom. Now, thousands of people read this random blog every week.

Stick with it.

Your artistry is a snowball. Sure, it’s easier to roll in some directions than in others – but if you keep pushing in any direction, eventually, you’ll see growth. Don’t let the question of what to focus on be a barrier from taking action.

There’s a lot you can do. But whatever you pick and persevere with – that’s the best place to start.


Song Release Checklist (21 Steps)

Here’s what to do when you put out music… and exactly when to do it.


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