This is a complete of tools that every independent artist, both big and small, should be using
You should be utilizing content creation tools for your music on a daily basis. For a lot of you, content creation is at the forefront of your brand (making music, videos, etc) having the right tools can go a long way
- Adobe Creative Suite – I use software from Adobe creative suite every day. Adobe’s applications can help you with anything from video editing to making album art.
- Fivver – If you don’t want to create your own brand media I would highly recommend using Fivver. Fivver is a network of freelancers that you can hire to help you with most aspects of your business. We primarily use it for digital media purposes but as independent musicians and producers, you can hire session musicians, mixing and mastery services, and much more.
- Canva – if you are looking for free options canva is the move. Canva lets you design anything from YouTube to album art, we personally use it weekly, if you aren’t already using it, get on it.
- Unsplash – royalty-free stock images that can use commercially
- Soundiiz – if you manage playlists this one will help you a lot, it lets you remove tracks and add tracks very quickly to your lists.
- Viddyoze – easy to make animations for your videos
In order to be effective on social media focus on creating focused content in your niche meant for your ideal listener. Not only will creating on these platforms help you reach new fans, you can also use these platforms to help monetize your brand through merch and music sales.
- Tik Tok – This one is a bit obvious but the organic reach you can get without a following makes Tik Tok an ideal platform to create on. If you are not already making content, start today.
- Instagram – While the organic reach is limited Instagram provides a place to show the fans snapshots of your personal life. While I wouldn’t recommend producing content at the same scale as Tik Tok or YouTube, I would highly recommend connecting with artists, influencers, and brands over Instagram DM’s and start building personal relationships. Collaboration is key y’all.
- Reddit – This is an amazing platform to connect and share content with niche communities. We have found many producers we have worked with through the lofi hip-hop subreddit and have gotten playlist placements and built relationships all on this platform. I would highly recommend start connecting and engaging in subreddits related to your niche/genre of music.
Connecting With Your Fans
Staying connected with your fans is extremely important, streaming platforms alone can not help you do this. Social media isn’t always a sure bet as your content is not always shown to all your followers. Here are some tools that can put you back in control and help you reach your fans on your terms.
- Email lists – growing an email list can help you reach your fans in a more personal way. I would highly recommend growing an email list for a few reasons; you’re in control, free direct traffic that snowballs over time, you can use it to help sell merch and tickets, among many other uses. I personally use GetResponse as it is extremely user friendly and has tons of awesome features, plus they offer a 30-day free trial
- SMS Lists – very similar to email lists but in my opinion are more personal and allow communication channels between you and your fans. I personally use SlickText which is very budget-friendly and has tons of custom options to help fit your needs.
- Hypeddit – Smart link software that lets you build promotional pages for your music. We primarily use the smart link feature to track conversions for Facebook ads.
- Chartmetric – this is a great tool that offers you deep insight into Spotify analytics as well as other platforms. You can use this tool to help spot fake playlists, find artists in your niche, and much more.
- Google Trends – this is a vital tool to help you figure out trending search terms and topics. This can help you with seo and naming your songs in a way that gets organic reach just from search results on platforms like Youtube and Spotify.
- Facebook Ads Library – Lookup other artist’s Facebook ads and find out what is working and get ideas for your own ads.
- Email Lists and SMS lists – see the section on connecting with your fans
- Facebook Business Manager – Run ads on Instagram and Facebook, this is a huge part of our marketing strategy and it can be very effective in promoting your music.
- Google Ads – Another great ad platform, a little more difficult to use over FB ads but if you are trying to promote your music on YouTube, this is the move.
- Submithub – excellent submission tool to submit music to blogs, youtube channels, playlist curators, and influencers
- Bandcamp – sell merch and music directly to fans who are looking to support new artists
- Distrokid – Distribute your music to digital stores, there are several distributors out there but we use distrokid and would highly recommend it to everyone
- Shopify – Use to build online stores for your merch, digital products, and more for your audience
- Patreon – Lets your fans support you through monthly donations in exchange for digital goods, premium content, and more
- Ko-fi – Similar to Patreon, lets your fans donate to you
- BMI – collect performance royalties for your music
- Submithub – if you have an audience, blog or playlist and don’t mind sharing other’s music you can sign up to be curator on Submithub and get paid to review/listen to music
- Print on demand – If you are looking to release merch in the quickest way possible I would recommend a print-on-demand service like printify which will print and fulfill products as you sell them.
- Qrates – Crowdsource and sell your music on vinyl. They handle fulfillment. We recently used Qrates to launch this project
I will update this list over time to stay up to date and provide the latest tools for you and your music business.