“Getting discovered” these days is no longer about getting a record label’s attention. It’s about getting fans’ attention. Music lovers are the “customers,” so to speak. They’re the ones who are streaming your music, sharing your newest song, and buying tickets to your shows. Us artists need to be trying to connect with fans, not labels.
So with that in mind, below are some places where fans can discover your music. I’m sure there are many ways to connect with fans, but these are the places that I’ve had success with (even in small amounts with my small audience).
In September 2022, I committed to posting short-form content on a regular basis. And the growth I’ve seen has been so cool to see. Yeah, I’m not great at making content and I still have a small following, but it’s on an upward trend.
As a listener, I’ve discovered tons of indie artists on TikTok. So it makes sense that people find me through my content. As long as each video features one of my songs, whether a live performance or by using the official recording, then every video is a chance to gain even one new fan.
If you want to get into TikTok, check out this post for an intro.
Most of my Instagram Reels get 200-300 views, so not very impressive. However, as I write this, one of my Reels has 68,000 views and climbing. I’ve gotten 300+ new followers from that Reel alone. My streaming numbers have jumped up. I get messages from people saying they like my music.
My point is, all you need is one piece of content to pop off and it can change the trajectory of your music career. I’m not an expert marketer, I’m an indie musician out here grinding like you. But it seems like if you post consistently, it’s more likely one of your videos will pop off to some extent.
Here’s how you can get started on Instagram Reels.
Short-form content is driving the music industry right now. Will it always be like that? Who knows, probably not. But right now, YouTube Shorts, Instagram Reels, and TikTok are the places to post about your music.
Ever since I started posting Shorts, I’ve grown my subscribership and connected with music lovers who had never heard of me before. Am I blowing up on Shorts? No way, I’m barely doing that well. But even if one new person finds me, that’s a win.
Here’s how you can get started on YouTube Shorts.
Melo Music is an app that’s like a social media feed for undiscovered indie music. As a listener, you choose your preferred genres, then your feed is tailored to you based on your choices. Each post is a short clip of the song along with the artwork. And artists can connect their profiles to their music on streaming sites and their Instagram so fans can become full-on listeners and fans.
I was an early adapter to this app, and it’s been great for my music. People who never heard of me have found me on the app. And it’s a place I’ve discovered other indie artists, so I know it’s a good place for others to find me.
In 2022, I had a total of 12.1k streams. In the past 28 days, I’ve gotten that same amount of streams. I say that to show you growth is happening for me, and getting on Spotify playlists was a big part of the reason.
Playlists that are carefully curated and followed by real listeners are powerful. Yes, many people listen passively to playlists, but if a song catches their ear, they’ll stop and check out the artists (that’s what I do anyway).
Also, getting on playlists helps trigger the Spotify algorithm. It tells Spotify, “Hey people are adding this song to playlists, you should show it to more listeners through Radio, Discover Weekly, and other algorithmic playlists.”
I’ve had the most success with SubmitHub, but here are some other ways to get on Spotify playlists.
Do a concert with an artist that makes similar music to you and has a similar size following. Your fans will get to hear about a new artist, and the other artist’s fans will discover you. It’s cross-promotion. And it’s also way more fun than doing a show by yourself.
I put together a house show recently and asked another artist to open for me. Not only did she play a good set, but she also brought people who hadn’t heard of me before. I was able to connect with more people through my music.
You can try to do this at a venue, but you’ll experience fewer barriers to entry if you host your own house show. Host the show at your house or the other artist’s house, then both of you promote it on social media and tell your friends to come through.
Got any other places you’ve had success sharing your music? Don’t gatekeep. Tell us in the comments.