How to Promote Yourself

MA Songwriting alumna Joy Doherty gives us her advice on staying creative and the best ways to promote yourself...


From teaching to working as songwriters for hire, ICMP alumni explore myriad careers after they have left our classrooms. 

ICMP's What's Next? Podcast, hosted by Jordan Olukanmi, Graduate Outcomes Assistant and Masters in Songwriting alumnus, aims to explore these student journeys once they have finished their studies. 

In the first episode, Masters in Songwriting alumnus Thiago Jorge discussed his industry moves while Caroline Ramos, a Masters in Performance alumna, talked about the best ways to stay creative. 

Our latest episode features MA Songwriting alumna Joy Doherty discussing her career as a music teacher and the best ways to promote yourself.

Here are some essential insights taken from and inspired by the conversation. You can also find out more about career opportunities facilitated by ICMP's Careers and Industry Hub

You need to grow a fanbase, communicate with your followers and put out content."

Firstly, it is important to establish that making great music needs to be your primary focus. If your track, EP, or album is not well-written, tight instrumentally and professionally produced, you could fall at the first hurdle. 

Artists have more opportunities than ever before to launch their own career without the backing of the major labels or a big budget. 

In our digital age, a musician often takes on many roles, including creating a marketing strategy for their music. With the huge amount of music being released regularly, determining whether your music will connect with an audience or not may depend on how it is marketed.  

However, promoting your music does not need to involve huge teams of people and cost your whole wage - with a solid social media presence and the right approach you can market your music to draw the right audience and hopefully begin to make money from your music.  

Let us look at different methods to help promote your music.  

Build a social media presence

Social media platforms and trends change constantly.

But they are great spaces for musicians to market their music to fans, and make new fans, through channels they enjoy. Focus on the social media sites where you like engaging and create a strategy to make the most of your efforts there.

Rather than utilising every available social media channel, just choose a few that you enjoy, and create content that aligns with your music, message, and personality in a format that's suitable for each platform. 

Your artist website and EPK

Your artist website is the place you will want to drive traffic to, to draw an audience in and build a meaningful base of supporters.

With your own music website, you can create connections through deeper dives into your music, photos, video content and much more.

You can also use your website to market your music with an Electronic Press Kit (EPK).

When creating a kit, add your musician bio, press links, social and streaming sites, music reviews and more, so professionals and fans alike can easily spread the word about your music."

An artist EPK is a must-have if you are looking to go further with marketing your music, whether that is getting airplay or booking a tour. 

Playlists are pivotal

Playlists across Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer and other platforms reach hundreds of millions of listeners across the globe. Getting your track into a popular playlist can help you rack up thousands of streams.

That is not only great awareness but also generates some royalty earnings too.

While getting your music placed on curated playlists is great for awareness and credibility, being placed on algorithmic playlists like Discover Weekly can make a substantial difference to your stream count. It is worth exploring all possibilities. 

Teamwork makes the dream work

There are benefits to surrounding yourself with a team of like-minded people.

If you have a team of well-connected individuals who are passionate about your music all working in your interest, it is likely that your chances of success will increase."

You will need to find professionals to help give you the edge in the competitive music market.

Whether that is a PR person, a radio plugger or promoter/booker - it can be great to collaborate with others and enhance the opportunities for you and your music.

Find your audience and your niche

Where you market your music and who you market it to can make all the difference to the direction of your musical journey. Finding, knowing, and exploiting your musical niche is key to your promotional campaign.

Niches are not always defined by genre. If your music has more widespread appeal, start locally. People want to see an artist from their area succeed. Take advantage of this mentality and grow your fanbase close to home before expanding nationally or even globally. 

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

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by ICMP staff writer
December 14, 2023
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