Music Marketing Is Not Evil

A musician friend of mine recently wrote on his Facebook wall “if there is anything that’s cringeworthy… it’s self promo” and then went on to invite friends to Like his newly created Facebook musician page.

I don’t think he is alone. Probably quite a few of us kinda know there’s nothing wrong with promoting ourselves and our projects, but still somehow cringe at the idea.

As far as music marketing goes, it’s probably not surprising people feel like this, because the publicity efforts of some musicians are relentless… endless Facebook invites to endless small gigs, lots of talk about themselves.

So how can a musician market themselves and their music without it feeling sleazy? I think there are two parts to the answer. One is to know why you are promoting yourself and feel good about that, and the other is to do it the right way.

The right way

More and more indie musicians these days are using internet marketing techniques to sell their original music. The core of internet marketing is to market by email, and these musicians have fans on their email list who really appreciate their music – and they sell to them.

But it’s not as simple as gathering email addresses at gigs and sending out newsletters to these people. That’s part of it, but it’s much more than that.

To learn about internet marketing for musicians I suggest you check out one or both of these guys: John Oszajca and Greg Rollett.

This method bypasses the big record labels and radio stations. You have your own fans who love you and buy from you, and no-one else really has to even know about you! You are not trying to take over the world, or anything.

Facebook can be part of the picture, if you build up a relationship with your fans there, but it’s not the main thing.

If you do the internet marketing right you are only marketing to people who either already like you or are predisposed to – they might be actively looking to discover music like yours, for example. You are fulfilling a need, so it doesn’t feel yucksville.

Why you are promoting yourself

When you share your creativity with others you are sharing your love with them. You can feel it. You get into a zone that is expansive. It’s easier to feel in a performance, but if people hear your albums you are still sharing.

Promoting your recordings, and culture (with writing, art and merch), are ways to share your love. Why hold back? Just do it “the right way” and it won’t feel cringeworthy.

What do you think? Comments are welcome!

Cheers – Robin

About Robin

Robin is a web and marketing consultant and an occasional sound engineer.


  1. Oh Robin,
    I truly needed to read this today – I am just stuck marketing my new Wise Ears business – I do not sing anymore…how will I ever get email addresses, no one in signing up and I still can not get my phone system to work…It feels overwhelming, but I suppose I have to start writing on a buzzilian blogs again…and since I have dropped so low on bikingarchitect do it for that blog too…It is so time consuming…but word of mouth is the best…Whew…here we go

  2. The trick is to remind yourself that you are only in it for the people that resonate with your music. Every time you promote your music you are fishing for a new person or people who care. The rest don’t matter to your mission.

  3. I so agree with sharing your love, Robin! You hit it right on the head for me with that.

    We are so lucky in Austin to have so many venues to play at each night, we can share so much here.

    Me — I’m hoping Taxi (the middlemen in California) and maybe getting lucky in a song contest will help me out.

    So I keep writing, writing, and writing. And loving! All about doing what one loves.

    Going to check out those two guys you link. Excited about what I shall read from John and Greg.


  4. Thank you Robin,
    I think too that sharing is the key.
    sharing your knowledge/wisdom with people who want to open up their minds
    sharing your love with people who want to receive it
    sharing your music with people who want to listen to it

    The pursuit in reaching out and trying to connect shouldn’t turn into something dreadful and frustrating.
    Quiet often it is fear that is holding us back
    I guess at the end of the day you just have to trust that if you have something to share and if it’s honest and real then you will find like minded ones who’ll appreciate what you have to give.
    keep reaching out……..


  5. Hi Patricia – I reckon as long as you are feeling enthusiastic about something you will find a way. Good luck.

    Hi Seamus – yes there’s a saying “there’s a lid for every pot”, about finding a mate. I reckon it can be applied to finding fans of your music, as well.

    Hi Jannie – you are indeed lucky to be in Austin – if you check out the internet marketing techniques for musicians you may well be quite interested to take it further.

    Hi Damen – good to hear from you – yep, find the people who will appreciate your work seems to be the key.

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