The music industry opened the doors wide for the indie artist when it went digital. It made it exponentially easier to record music, distribute music, and make money from music.
Still, the fact that success comes easier does not mean success is automatic. The truth is only about 0.000002 percent of musicians become “successful.” Breaking into the industry, building a following, and getting paid requires more than talent. Like any other brand, musical artists must strategically and relentlessly promote themselves.
Pitching music is one of the most effective ways to get it in front of more people. Landing a song in the right playlist or on the right show can quickly increase your exposure.
If you have ever seen an episode of Friends, then you know how it works. The Rembrandts are the band responsible for the song that plays behind the Friends opening. And if their music had not been on Friends, no one would know anything about the Rembrandts.
So other than the creators of Friends, to whom should you be pitching your music? Here are three great venues for pitching that can help you to build momentum for your music. But keep this in mind: before you pitch, polish. You need to have great, professionally polished music to showcase before you start looking for people who will play it. Pitching something that is poorly produced will do more harm than good. Once you have a high quality song to share, start pitching with one of these outlets.
You Should Be Pitching Your Music To Podcasts
Statistics show that as of March 2022 there were 2.4 million podcasts, with more than 62 million episodes. Each of those podcasts generally needs affordable music, especially for their intros and outs. In addition, podcasts often change their intros over time, so great music is not a one time need for podcasts.
Pitching to a podcast begins with finding one that would be a good fit for your style of music. If you are not a podcast listener, take some time to familiarize yourself with the platform. Notice the various ways that music is used in podcasts and listen for songs that match your style. When you zero in on a few, reach out to see if they are interested in using your music. If you are feeling adventurous, offer to write something unique for them.
While this may sound time consuming, keep in mind that 104 million people in the US listen to podcasts regularly. That is more than one-third of the population. 80 million of those people listen to a podcast weekly. Getting your music on a podcast has the potential to get your music in front of a lot of people. As a podcast listener, I can tell you it is not unusual for me to notice music on a podcast. If I really like it, I will track down the artist later and learn more. Usually it is as simple as clicking the link to their website in the show notes.
You Should Be Pitching Your Music To Local Venues
If you haven’t noticed, most local venues — including shops, offices, restaurants, and galleries, have music playing for their patrons. Often the music comes from Spotify or, with regional or nationwide chains, a feed curated by the business. However, there is always a chance that the venue would be willing to support a local artist. You won’t know until you pitch them.
Another way to get your music promoted in local venues is to pitch them on providing a free download card. You might have seen something like this in your local Starbucks at some point. In cities with a thriving local music scene, coffee shops often offer these. It is a great way for them to support the scene while giving their customers a perk.
Perhaps your local smoothie shop, bowling alley, or surf shop is already doing something like this. If so, ask how you can get involved. If not, offer to get one started. You can get 1,000 professionally printed business cards from an online source like Canva for about ten cents each. You might find a local shop that is even cheaper. Print some cards that include a QR code linking to a playlist that features you and other emerging artists. Then include the cards with your pitch. This helps the store see how easy it is for their patrons to get access to some great new music.
While local venues may not get you as much exposure as podcasts, it will help to build your local fanbase. Your live shows will most likely be attended by locals, so do your best to connect with them.
You Should Be Pitching Your Music To Social Media Video Platforms
Social media video platforms provide a great opportunity for promoting your music. Creators who post on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook need music throughout their videos, from intro to credits. The most popular influencers might be willing to pay a fortune to license well-known music. Most creators, however, are not. Offering your music at a reasonable price provides music that fits the budget and the mood.
Often video creators will settle for the stock music that is included with video editing software. Spend some time on any of the platforms and you will start to recognize it. It pops up again and again, mostly during the introduction. A good pitch would involve approaching one of those creators with the offer to “upgrade” their music with something original. Explain that it will help them to stand out from their competition and help you to get some exposure. Successfully pitch the idea to a well-followed creator and you can make some new fans.
Once you try these options, leverage what you have learned to reach out to even more potential markets. If you believe in your music, pitch it confidently and often. You should always be your own biggest fan.