Before the internet era, marketing your music was a really difficult task if you didn’t know where to start and what to do. Most of the time you were able to get your music heard because you were using word of mouth to get the message out, but today it’s completely different. The internet has changed everything when it comes to marketing, yet most producers and artists still don’t market themselves correctly.

Early Marketing

I used to make many mixtapes back when I first started DJ’ing in the 90’s, and most of the time it was just for my friends. What was interesting was that my friends would often make copies of the tapes I gave them, in order to pass it onto their friends. This is how I was able to get my name out there even though it was way before the internet became this huge beast that we now have today.

The fact that I was able to build up my name somewhat was good, but far from satisfying. I knew that I had to step my game up but I really didn’t know how. The only thing I could think of at the time was to contact the Hip Hop writer for a local urban newspaper that I would read each week. In it, he would write articles and reviews of lots of Hip Hop albums but I never saw him review mixtapes. It was worth a shot, so I wrote a letter and mailed it off with a copy of my tape. I crossed my fingers and waited for the next few issues of the newspaper to come out, and……. nothing.

I tried but I didn’t fail. The problem was that the writer just didn’t bother with mixtapes. But I had no other way to get my mixtape reviewed or even known by anyone, so my next step was to give it away. I went to a local record store and asked them to give a copy of my tape to each person that buys any kind of Hip Hop vinyl, and they did. I didn’t make any money from that tape, but at least I got my name out there.

Social Media Mistakes

What I see on social media is nothing special. The point I’m trying to make by mentioning my mixtapes from the 90’s, is that I was trying all sorts of different ways of getting my tapes heard, and getting my name out there, all the while trying to build up my “brand”. When I’m on either Facebook (I don’t actually go on there anymore), and Twitter it’s the same thing every single time. “Go to my site and check out my beats”, and “Buy one beat now, get 1 free” – is saddening.

Now I know that most of you think you’re doing the right thing, and I’m sure many of you have been successful in landing sales from those kinds of posts on social media, however, I would suggest that you stop. If it’s working for you, then by all means continue, but I still don’t recommend it. If those posts are not working for you, it’s time to change it up.

Here are some things that I see wrong with a lot of social media posts:
Too many posts about their beats.
Too many posts about selling.
Not enough posts about the artist themselves.
Not enough posts about your brand.
Making beats and posting links to them or to your website on social media is not the solution. You can spend all day and night posting links to your beats and mentioning how hot and sick they are, but that’s not marketing. Do you know what that is? SPAM.

I’m on Twitter and I see posts from all of the people that I follow, and a lot of them are producers, beatmakers, and Hip Hop artists. I strongly believe that instead of posting constantly about your beats, you need to focus more on YOU.

Here is an example:

If you post 10 posts a day on Twitter, how many of them are just you trying to sell your beats? I would suggest that it be about 2. The rest should be split between you and your brand, and posts about music itself.

Let’s say that you’re a Hip Hop producer and you read an interesting article about how vinyl sales have increased in the past year. Post that on your timeline. The reason why is that it’s not just about you and your music, but you have to come across as being relevant to your genre. The people that are following you don’t want to just see you post about how your beats are for sale, instead they’re following you because the find you and your music interesting. So keep them interested, otherwise they will unfollow you.

Today’s Marketing

Most of the music today, whether it be Rap or Pop, is very subpar compared to music from the days of old. However, music sales are insanely huge today for various reasons, one of them being marketing. How many times have you seen a music video or heard a song that you didn’t like and thought it sucked, but yet it gets millions of views on YouTube and millions of sales? Marketing.

Why do you think Beyonce is so popular? It’s not that her music is amazing (far from it), it’s because of marketing, a.k.a. hype. That’s it.

To gain fans and sales, you should be trying to market yourself a certain way, similar to how someone like Beyonce does. This is why I always recommend that you focus more on your brand rather than just your music. Your brand is your music and you, that’s it. So when you’re posting on any of these social sites, always remember to post about you and not just your music.

Pete Rock is on Twitter, and a lot of times he posts regular stuff like about a football game he’s watching, or a pair of sneakers he just bought. It’s different for him because he’s Pete Rock and everyone knows him, but for you, don’t do that. If you’re an up and coming artist and I’m following you on Twitter, I don’t care about what you think of that touchdown, or about that picture you posted of the new Air Jordans you just bought – I want to see posts about you and your music.

Stay away from what others are doing and post the complete opposite. Instead of telling people you have beats for sale, or trying to get them to check out your website, try to just keep them interested.

Some examples of posting:
Post a picture of you in your studio with an interesting or funny caption.
Post a link to something interesting (music related).
Tell people that you just finished a new track and then post a link to it (along with a link to your website where you’re selling beats).
The whole point is that you just don’t want to come across as a salesman and you don’t want your followers to get annoyed and leave. Draw them in and keep them there, but whatever you do, don’t be a spammer!