5 Biggest Marketing Mistakes Musicians Are Making Right Now

I see a lot of people making the same mistakes when it comes to online marketing right now and this week’s post is to help make sure you guys don’t fall for the same ones. 

For each common mistake, I’ve explained what the problem is and how to solve it using examples from my own experience. 

2020 has been a difficult year for a lot of us in the music and entertainment industry and it doesn’t look like anyone’s gonna be able to play live gigs or concerts again for a while. 

So optimizing your content and marketing online is absolutely essential for success right now and into the future.

Here are some of my tips to help you not get stuck with the same problems as everyone else. 

Let’s get started in 2021 with the right tools and knowledge to make it a much more better year than the last one:

  1. Not Collecting Email Addresses 

You may be thinking, do people still use emails? The answer is yes – and it can be more effective than social media – if you do it right. 

The issue with social media is that you are not in control of who will see the content that you share – you have no idea who gets it on their news feed – and there is no way for you to guarantee your followers will see it. 

Of course, there are always ways to optimize your content so more people will see it, but the reality is that on social media, only around 10% of your followers actually see your content.

For example, if you have a single you’re trying to promote with your 1 post on Instagram to your following of 1000 – only 100 will see the post – while only maybe 10 will go over and visit your profile… And maybe only 3 will click the link in your bio and actually check out your song.

Whereas if you have an email list of 1000 that have opted in to receive emails from you, then ALL 1000 will receive the email. 

Even if you only have an open rate of 30% (the amount of people that actually open your email). This is 300 people, and out of that, perhaps 10% click and check out your song. 

That makes 30 people, which is a lot more than the 3 from Instagram.

Of course, you have the advantage of showing a preview of the song through content on Instagram. But it is difficult to move the traffic over to another platform such as Spotify or Soundcloud. 

Usually the people who are on your email list have already hung out on your Instagram and perhaps are ready to take the next step into getting to know your brand a bit more. 

They are moving closer to making a transaction with your brand and they want to be a part of your community. 

So what is the best type of content to share via email as a musician? 

The biggest misunderstanding of email is that people only use it to sell and promote. That’s really why email has gotten such a bad reputation, because businesses have only really used it to sell, sell, sell!

You need to move over to value based marketing and actually provide content that shares value (this goes for any channel you use in your marketing) i.e. emails that aren’t just trying to sell you stuff. 

Now what can this be? 

It can be a personal note from you with your thoughts, a summary of what’s going on behind the scenes, thoughts on a specific subject, “exclusive content” basically. 

Think of this as your VIP club. Really start treating them differently than your social media followers, these people are your inner circle. 

And how do you start collecting emails? Well, this video will help you with this and get started with email marketing:

2. Only Utilising One Channel

This is kinda continuing on from the last subject of not owning your data. The internet is changing so fast, one platform is the next big thing today, and can be gone tomorrow. 

We had a bit of a scare as Trump declared war on Tik Tok (China) and had the goal of banning it in the US. 

Things like this can happen. I’m sure we all remember Vine’s peak and then Instagram just killing it by introducing the 15-second video in 2013… Remember MySpace? 

If you are only banking on 1 channel these days, you are running your business and marketing at high risk. 

If you had a large following on Vine or Myspace – that following was almost gone in a blink of an eye. It’s not like you can download your followers and plug them into a different channel. The platform owns the data, including your followers. 

Not only that – you are missing out on loads of traffic on other platforms and channels! 

Your fans and potential fans are hanging out in other places. Right now they are on Youtube, Twitter, Twitch, Reddit, loads of places! 

If you are present where they are present, you are also optimizing your chances of being seen and heard wherever you are.

I am present on many platforms and new people find me every week through different channels. I meet new professionals within the music industry through the content I share on LinkedIn and Music LinkUp; then I meet fellow readers and writers through the platform Medium. 

I share video lessons on YouTube where new musicians meet me every week and I share a lot of different content on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter so people can meet me there as well.

Another great platform to take advantage of as a musician is podcasts. 

If you think of the different formats and the amount of content that’s being shared; podcasts have a lot fewer content creators (as of now). 

Far more people write blogs and do Youtube videos than podcasts currently. If you do not want to have your own podcast then reach out to other shows and ask to be a guest on theirs.

Start trying to be visible everywhere where your audience hangs out. The most successful people share different content on different channels and use them all differently. 

For example, I use YouTube for my longer lessons, while over on Instagram I give shorter quick tips. Give people a reason to follow you everywhere. 

Remember how I broke down the numbers on your visibility where a small percentage of your followers see your content? Well, by spreading yourself on several platforms you are also increasing your visibility. 

How many different entrances are there for people to get into your brand and music?

If you have 2000 followers on Instagram, 300 on YouTube, 1000 on Facebook and 400 on Twitter; you are increasing the chances of more people seeing your content and brand… Also potentially converting more people into fans rather than just followers. 

3. Not Using Enough Video Content

This is where most platforms and channels are focusing their efforts. All of them are heavily investing in video content, whether it’s live streaming or pre-filmed. 

Using video to communicate and share is going to be the key to success, and I am not talking about that one cool music video you made that got tons of views on Youtube. I am talking about the consistent content you share every week on your channels.

In the last few years we have seen the introduction of so much different video content on Instagram alone;


2. Story

3. Live

4. Reels.

All of this is heavily focused on video. 

Whenever I start working with my clients or my students in my class I always start with this topic; moving over from only doing pictures to trying out video content; using video to express yourself; using video to share something. 

Find your format and experiment with it.

Those who are able to nail down videos will have a huge advantage on all platforms. Those who create video series that people can follow and binge-watch are creating a deeper connection with the viewer than just an image and caption.

The challenge for musicians is to find the format of video that is right for them. Doing vlogs and documenting your journey where you are front and center may not be the right format for you. 

Perhaps doing comedy clips on Reels or tutorials on IGTV is a better fit for your personality. But you will not find out which is the best method for you until you start testing and DOING.

This post will help you with your camera shyness because you are going to need it. You need to start getting used to the camera being in front of you and talking directly to it. 

Trust me it takes a little time to get used to, but when you do, you can really start getting creative with your videos.

If you are only just starting out with videos you need to invest time into learning how to use some editing tools so you can prepare your content for the channels. 

The easiest way to get started is with a tool like Veme.ly as this is a drag and drop social media editor with pre-made templates, etc.

However, when you start investing in camera equipment and you start doing lots more filming – you need to do some proper editing before you size for Instagram. You need to get to know the tools such as iMovie, Final Cut Pro, Adobe packages, etc.

If you do not wish to learn these skills, you can also simply hire someone from somewhere like Fiverr to help you with editing for a small amount of money. 

Either way at some point you will need to start editing your videos and adding effects etc. 

However, start with what you have right now and do not let equipment stop you.

If you were to look at my first videos, they were just raw clips with not much editing. I have come a long way since then, but my videos back then were just as valuable as they are now, they just look prettier now. 

If you think you need tons of equipment to get started you are wrong, by starting small with smaller concepts and then growing them you will find out through testing what equipment you need. 

Every week I film a 10-20 minute video for YouTube. I could of course optimize the video every week and spend hours on editing etc. However I know I have another video next week, so I can continue testing and improving as I go and make small changes and improvements each week rather than spending all my time and energy making the first video the best. 

There are so many other crucial factors to video production that come into place after your post as well. How does the audience react to it? By learning this while you go, you will gradually start finding some video formats that work for you and that your audience engages with. 

That’s why you cannot start bulk filming content when you start testing formats. The format can change EVERY week and you need to be prepared for this. Don’t think it’s just going to be that one video that is gonna make or break you, it’s a process that will happen over time. 

Stop worrying about finer details and trying to make it perfect and just start posting; the more you do the more you will get the hang of it. Until then TEST!!!

4. Not Creating A Community

The days of being a superstar surrounded by security, not having to speak to your audience are over. 

The Internet is a whole new ballgame and if you want to make it without the help of a huge record label or the push of someone else, you need to understand how to grow your presence online. 

The name of the game online (and of course offline) is to start creating a community around your brand and music.

What does this actually mean? 

Well, I want you to think of your online profiles as your rooms. If you go live on Twitch for example, who are the ones who are hanging out with you, and what are you guys talking about? What interests do they have other than liking your music obviously? What do you share in common with them? Usually, a fan is mostly just a reflection of your personality and identity.

The reason Deadmau5 was one of the first musicians to really conquer the internet is that Deadmau5 was also a gamer. This is one of the most loyal online communities there is. 

What Deadmau5 did was to attach his music to his identity. His audience, which of course, naturally consists of a lot of gamers – he uses gaming to connect with his audience and this is one way he has spread his music so well. 

His community is so strong and loyal that they follow everything he does, especially online. 

Because of his core and loyal following, he was also one of the first musicians to really build a proper online business with digital products around his music and brand. His membership platform is a VIP club where you can be a part of where you get access to exclusive content from him as well as engagement with him.

When you have a strong and loyal community; you can find several ways of monetizing this and creating products around it but it all starts with who is your community. 

I have said this before: mass marketing is over, you need to stop trying to cater to the radio and the masses. Finding your tribe and your niche is the way to break through the noise online. Gathering people who have the same values and interests as you is the best gateway to expanding your audience. 

This is also the reason why I decided to launch my membership – The Launch Club (coming soon) where I want to gather musicians who are currently launching music independently and need some help. 

The whole purpose of the club is to go in with music to launch and you will get the help from me and the resources you need to do so. Then I can gather a community of musicians and help them where they need it the most. But the key ingredient to any membership is the community. 

It’s also a way for me to launch A LOT of music to the world without being a musician. I want to help you! 

To start creating this community you need to: 

1. Create your rooms where your tribe are hanging out

2. Create content

3. Talk with them (engage).

The more niche and personal content you can share, the easier it will be for someone to connect. And when they do connect, you need to make sure they come back and interact with you, by engaging with them.

It’s a lot of work, and in the beginning you will feel like you are gathering just one fan at a time, unfortunately that is the reality of building a community. But if you keep working at it, it doesn’t take too long until you reach 100 fans and then 1000 fans, etc.

Having 1000 loyal fans who will check out your music and will engage in your content and buy your products are far more valuable than 100,000 followers on Instagram who barely even give you a comment on your post. 

Creating a community is the way to go! Find your tribe! 

If you want to learn more about how to create products around your music check this video out:

5. Not Enough Consistency 

Success doesn’t come from working occasionally, it comes from working consistently and the same goes for marketing. 

Your fame will not come from that one amazing single launch you did with that cool music video, it will come from the marketing activities you do EVERY week.

So each week you need to set aside time to create content for your channels and there are lots of ways to optimize this:

But you need to have a plan. You need to know what you are going to post every week and you need to commit to X amount of content pieces per channel. This goes for ANY channel. Consistency on Spotify is also one of the keys to growing your following there as well.

So when it comes to your socials, start by committing to the number of feed posts you want to do per week, then you need to be consistent in what you share as well. 

Every week you may want to share some content that can go viral. However, this type of content may not build a lot of trust and is typically just entertaining or inspirational rather than being personal. Therefore you also need to share some content that builds trust and is specifically made for your followers and the ones who engage in your content.

You will of course get less interactions and visibility sometimes for this type of content, because it’s a bit deeper than the viral content, which is typically a bit more vague and on the surface. 

The reason you need to create both shareable content as well as deeper, more specific content is that you need to have content that can cater to every step of where they are in your funnel.

Are they just getting to know your brand or have they been following you for a while? If they have been following you for a while you can give some deeper content that requires more time from the viewer. This is how you convert a follower into a fan. 

You also need to share some promotional content every week as you also need to use the channel and the engagement/traffic you get on one channel and move it over to the other channels you have – such as Spotify, your website, Youtube, etc. 

If you have a content plan to stick to on each channel, it will be much easier to create consistency in your posts.

How often should you post on each channel? 

Well, each channel favours consistency over frequency – so whatever you can stick to over a long period of time is the way to go. Use Creator Studio to schedule your content so you never have to post from your phone ever again. 

Then you also need to have consistency in your engagement and networking with your followers. 

The work you put in is what you get out and I see this ALL the time on my Instagram. Some weeks I really go in and network and talk with a lot of people on the platform, this will continue boosting my numbers that week and maybe continue over to the next week. However, if I stop engaging, it will die down.

You should also create a plan for the engagement; every day log in to the platform and:

1. Engage with your followers (DMs, reply to their comments, comment on their content),

2. Engage with strategic partners/collaborators/influencers (Networking on their pages and content).

You can also do activities such as Gary Vee $1.80 which I wrote more about here. 

The same goes for Live. Going Live on the channels is one of the most effective ways to grow, but to really optimize this you need to create a schedule. That’s the number 1 rule on Twitch which is becoming one of the biggest and best streaming platforms out there. You need to create a weekly schedule and STICK to it.

If you are using Instagram to go live, you need to then commit to how many times per week and stick to it. Start with something simple as just a short conversion with someone you have collaborated or are collaborating with. You will see that by going live consistently together with other people will help to continuously grow your reach and fanbase.

So when you plan your consistency in marketing, first make sure you plan out how often you will post and what the content should be, then you plan out the activities you are going to do to grow the account like going Live, Engaging, Networking etc.

Create a plan and stick to it; always learn as you go and change and make modifications based on what is and isn’t working. The success is in the process online, and to have a process you need consistency and for this you need a plan. 


1. Not Collecting Email Addresses 

2. Only Utilising One Channel 

3. Not Using Enough Video Content 

4. Not Creating A Community 

5. Not Enough Consistency

By making sure you’ve got these five essentials down and utilising all of the channels your audience are present on; you open up so many potential doors to connect with your fans.

Use them to create a community around your music and do it consistently. Communicating with video is the best way to optimise the real estate on most platforms nowadays.

While you’re at it, ensure you’re collecting the email addresses of those followers who’ll stick with you for some time. You own this data and it’s of much higher value than another number on your follower list. 

Rebecca Smart Bakken

Rebecca Smart Bakken

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About Me


Hi there! I’m Rebecca, a world citizen and digital marketing nomad.

Some of you may have also seen me on HGTV´s show “Beach Around the World”.

Over the years, I’ve made a name for myself in the tech/ startup industry by helping 250+ startups scale with growth hacking strategies.

Now I want to help musicians and artists to promote their music and engage better with fans on social media.

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