Why Artists Need a Mailing List and How to Grow it

Find out how to manage and grow a mailing list to enhance your artist career…



Today's artists and bands have multiple marketing tools at their fingertips to help grow and boost their musical careers. 

From selling merch and capturing emails at live gigs to social media campaigns and direct marketing initiatives, there are plenty of opportunities to promote and market music regardless at what stage you are at. 

Studying ICMP's Music Marketing degrees can give you a thorough grounding in industry best practices and create exciting opportunities with different kinds of brands, products and services.  

In this blog, we'll explore why artists need to compile email lists, the platforms to use when doing so and some essential pieces of advice on how to grow them… 

Why should artists compile a mailing list? 


Many bands and artists may feel that social media was once the best way of growing a fanbase online. 

But in 2024, compiling a mailing list is a more effective way of building an engaged following. 

Many social media channels have appeared over the years. From the days of MySpace to Facebook, Instagram, now TikTok and Telegram, there are myriad platforms to explore. 

But artists on social media are at the mercy of the algorithm when it comes to how many eyes actually see their content. 

Of course, you can invest in paid social media marketing to ensure your content is more visible - but this can sometimes be a costly and resource-heavy endeavour.

Instead, compiling a mailing list can give you direct, uninhibited access to your audience.

As an artist, a mailing list gives you control of when and what content you share with them. This is data you own rather than relying on a third-party platform to dictate what content reaches your audience."

What Email Service Providers can artists use?  

There are plenty of Email Service Providers (ESPs) available for bands and music industry professionals to utilise. 

When you're choosing your ESP, you should take a look at the list of features, whether they offer a free plan or trial, and whether you can work your way around the interface. Do some research and compare different platforms before deciding on one that best suits your needs.

Here are some of the most popular out there…

  • Brevo (fka - SendinBlue) | Free, super easy to use, scalable and EU-based. 
  • SendGrid | Feature-rich, easy to use and free, plus it integrates well with WordPress, which many start-ups/new artists use.
  • MailChimp | This is the most well-known, easy to use and free to start with though it can become restrictive quite quickly.
  • HubSpot | Offers a free plan with a strong CRM and very scalable. Although it can become expensive, it's become the industry standard.

What content to share


In theory, there's no limit to the type of content you can share with your list. 

But if you want to grow your audience, any content that is posted needs to be relevant, aligned with your brand and useful to whoever you’re sharing it with. If they find it useful, then chances are they will share it to help expand your content's reach. 

Some ideas on what you can post include: 

Promotion around any forthcoming live dates, new music or video releases.

If you're working on new material, then share some updates but don't give too much away. Instead, tease any unfinished or new material with studio shots or video snippets of rehearsals.

Have you been interviewed for a blog or website? Or perhaps been featured in a review or on a podcast? This is all fantastic to include in a newsletter.

If your act has been away writing new material, then tell the story of how the experience has been going. Fans love to find out more about what happens behind the scenes and a newsletter is a brilliant way to give them an insight into what life is like as a musician or performer.

A great way of encouraging people to sign up to your email list is to offer them exclusive content through your newsletter. This can take the form of signed EPs, merchandise, even guest list spaces for live events." 

Are you about to hit the road for some live gigs? Then offer your mailing list early access to tickets. Doing so before offering them to the general public is a great way of making your subscriber-base feel loved and wanted. 

Still struggling for inspiration? Then sign up to the mailing lists of similar or favourite artists, then review how they approach this side of their marketing. As with all content marketing, there's no one-size fits all approach to be adopted - but it's certainly worth experimenting with different ideas to see what works for you and your music.

How to grow your list


There are different tactics bands and artists can employ to grow a mailing list. From making your content call-to-actions prominent and enticing to utilising analytics to review what works and what doesn’t, there are plenty of ways to enhance your audience…

Showcase email sign up call to action on your website

Collecting email addresses from your website or social media pages will be a great way of building and growing a mailing list. 

Many of the main ESPs will have an easy way to integrate an option for people to sign up from these channels. This should ensure you have easy access to necessary web forms, the verification process and confirmation email for anyone new who subscribes. 

If anyone makes a purchase on your website - whether this be new music or any merch - then your ESP should be able to smoothly integrate the email addresses of any customers into your mailing list too. 

Gather email addresses from fans at live gigs

Making connections in real life at gigs or industry events such as festivals is a fantastic way of expanding your network. 

Gathering the email addresses of any fans or contacts is an essential way forward if you want to stay in touch with them and keep them engaged in your musical career. 

It sounds simple but if you are doing a live gig at a grassroots venue, then make sure you have a pen and paper or tablet device ready to note down anyone's email address. If you have an incentive to sweeten the deal - perhaps a sticker or badge of your band - then even better in motivating people to sign up. 

Make sure your newsletter is mobile-friendly

This is something that hopefully your ESP should ensure works but you need to double check that your newsletter is easily readable on a mobile device. 

The majority of viewers will usually rely on their mobiles to view email content - and if it's unreadable when it arrives in an inbox due to content or wording being in the wrong order or format, then you're wasting your time in sharing. 

Post on your social media channels

Your social media channels should work in tandem with your email marketing so remember to post regularly on them urging anyone who views your posts to register their details and sign up for email updates. 

You can use your Instagram or Facebook feeds as a conduit for enhancing your email list. 

You could tease them by letting them know that fans on the mailing list will be the first to hear about an upcoming event, tour or any other exclusive content. Offering your would-be fans something in exchange for an email address is always an effective way of sweetening and hopefully sealing the deal. 

Use other forms of content to attract attention

Creating blogs, podcasts or other forms of engaging content can be an effective way of offering value to your audience. 

There are a couple of bonuses to producing this. Not only will it help position you in a wider conversation as an expert or thought leader, it will get fans regularly visiting your website. 

Every piece of content represents an opportunity to prompt readers to register to join your email list. Remember to include a call to action in every piece of content with a link to your registration landing page or opt-in form. 

Offer something in exchange for an email address

We've already touched on this but you're more likely to get more people signing up to your mailing list if you give your fans a reward for registering. 

Many musicians choose to exchange an email address for a song, something unreleased or a different version of a particular track.

Other potential ideas could be an unreleased song, an acoustic version, a video lesson or tutorial, behind-the-scenes images from a recent show or stems to a track for any would-be-remixers out there. 

Make sure your email content is useful, informative and offers value 

How many of us are signed up to brands or businesses for their mailing list? And how useful is this content? 

You want your audience to enjoy the kind of content that you provide rather than unsubscribing. While you don't want to encourage fans to unsubscribe, you shouldn't make it too difficult for them to do this - it can leave a bad impression on a fan who might end up returning at some point in the future. 

Include an exit pop up on your website

An exit intent pop up is an email opt in form that will appear if someone on your site moves their cursor to exit the page. 

Your pop up should offer your site visitor something of value. So a simple pop up may have a headline saying" "Want to access exclusive news, content and music? Signup to my email list". 

Your ESP should be able to allow you to embed one in your site across various pages. 

Use analytics to review what works and what doesn't

When you begin utilising your ESP to set up your list, you will have access to different analytics and data. This will usually include the open rate, any click-throughs to different links and more. 

Remember to review how each newsletter performs and look out for any trends, in terms of the best content or the most appropriate time to send. Utilising this resource should hopefully help you determine the best ways to keep growing your list every time you send a mail-out.

Don't forget GDPR

Essentially this is a paragraph noting that everyone on your mailing list needs to have provided their consent to be included on it - you need to be able to prove what they signed up for and when, and that their consent was freely given - not implied.

This is a requirement of GDPR, and it impacts anyone, brand or business that interacts with users in the UK, EU and beyond - so generally every global-focused brand or business needs to adhere to the legislation.

Many ESPs factor this in as a feature, and it definitely should be on your list of requirements when looking for a good one.

Deep dive into the evolving world of music marketing

Our CIM accredited Music Marketing degree, that sits within our School of Music Business,  will help you gain a richly detailed understanding of digital marketing fundamentals and specialisms. You'll become a master of online content — someone who knows how to reach and influence people through multiple digital platforms.

To completely immerse yourself in your creative career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email enquiries@icmp.ac.uk or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

Music Marketing
by ICMP staff writer
February 7, 2024
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