- Band Management
- Home Recording
- Live Sound
- Best Instruments
- New Music & Video
Music streaming has changed the landscape of the music business greatly for consumers, labels, and for artists too. Obviously, for consumers it’s an amazing way to have the world’s music at their fingertips, in their pockets, accessible from basically anywhere in the world they may go. But, if your band doesn’t come up as recommended or playlisted, how do you stand out? This is especially true when bands are trying to push a new release rather than an established track already on the platform that has been gobbled up by the algorithm and regurgitated into those coveted playlists and “Play Next” spots.
The old way of releasing music used to provide a lead time of six months, mostly for printing and some for marketing, and then getting singles to radio, review copies to press outlets, and pushing pre-orders; but those days are gone, which is actually a good thing.
The new way of releasing music for many artists is by just finishing their tracks, mastering them (hopefully), then uploading to a distributor who can ensure those tracks are live within a day, sometimes even quicker than that. As cool as that sounds, your band is being thrown into the sea of 40 million tracks, and with the hundreds -or even thousands – of new releases that same week. A few years ago, Forbes estimated that number topped over 3,000 new albums per week being ingested into Spotify alone.
Another issue is that bands used to make a statement that the album was publicly available on a certain date. This worked in a world where fans could just go to their local record shop, big box store, or even pick up a physical copy at your show. That’s also changed. Some of your fans only use Spotify, some are on Apple Music, some are on Deezer, some only buy from Bandcamp, and so on.
So, how can you make your release stand out in a digital world, cater to different fans on different platforms, and generate a little magic before your music drops?
These are the challenges that Feature.fm – a music-marketing startup – is designed to address. The company has worked with many major labels and acts, but is free to try and their monthly subscriptions are priced affordably enough for independents, too.
It is free to join, and I’ll give you a link at the bottom of this article for a free 14 day trial of Marketing Pro.
Just like bit.ly, Smart Links is a function that gives you a way to organize and direct your fans to their favorite streaming service by using a customized link that connects to a landing page displaying multiple click-throughs.
Artists can create a Smart Link Standard Landing page for music you have already released, a Scheduled Release page for music that is not released yet triggered by a date of release, and Pre-Save Pre-Order page to be shared prior to your release.
All the major services have their own Pre-Save function, but Feature.fm makes it easy to create one page called the Ultimate Pre-Save which works for all of them. Again, this is so important to make sure you capture all of your existing fans on the platforms they already subscribe to.
Through Action Pages, you can combine Smart Links and the Pre-Save function within a landing page that goes even further. Entice your fans to pre-save, pre-add, follow, or take other cool actions directly in Apple Music or Spotify as they are logged in directly through the API.
You have the option to reward fans with exclusive content, contest entries, and more that gets unlocked after they click the action.
Here’s where is gets good — when your fans or strangers click Pre-Save, Save, or Follow Playlist, they will also follow your artist profile; so, you not only capture them for streams but also gain in the coveted followers count without spamming. If you want to go a little deeper into marketing, Feature.fm also allows you to gain insights into your audience with analytics such as Location, Age, Spotify Profiles, Follower Numbers and more.
These tools are great for any artist at any level, and can be accomplished with no money in most cases, and very little monthly fees for more robust data.
Feature.fm also has deeper marketing services like Ad Campaigns, but a word of caution. I am all for trying everything you can do to get in front of listeners, but the best way to do it is organically. If you pay for a music marketing ad campaign (through any company, including Feature.fm), start small with less than $100 for the campaign and measure it before you go any further. Depending on your genre and the release itself, it might be a good thing for your situation. Just don’t go spending 100s or 1000s of dollars and expect it to make you a hit; it rarely if ever does so.
Here is the link – give the free tools a try, and here’s to a happy release!
–Michael St. James is the founder and creative director of St. James Media, specializing in music licensing, publishing, production and artist development.