Whilst helping musicians release their music through coaching, consultancy and through the SMART Launch Club, I see one common problem that everyone faces… and that is the struggle to keep the momentum moving once a track has been released.
So – you have made it to release day. You have worked so hard to get to this point. Your song has been placed on a few playlists, gotten some press and release week is over (so your motivation and momentum).
You have been living and breathing this song for weeks, if not months, and at this point you promote it hard on the week of the launch – but then you expect it to just sell itself.
This is a common problem startups face, especially tech companies that are started by an engineer. They are so focused on the product that when it’s time to sell, they feel the product is so good it should sell itself.
You have invested time and money in the song itself – and you have maybe also invested in a music video – only to see a few hundred streams and views.
It can be quite discouraging. Then what musicians typically do after being disillusioned in this way is they go back and focus on the next song. They keep repeating this circle of releasing music, the music not performing as well as they’d hoped, and then trying again with a new song.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t immediately start preparing for the next release right after a launch! You should start work on the next release as you need consistency in your launches.
However, if you do not work on actively promoting and growing the song every single week AFTER the launch, you will not see the numbers and recognition your music release deserves.
Create A Mini-Funnel For Your Music Release
So I have already covered what a fan funnel is previously here. This is basically the journey the fan takes from when they discover you to when they become a fan – make transactions with your brand – then eventually become superfans.
However, it is also important to know that each individual song also has its own funnel.
When you present something NEW to either: a warm audience (your followers) or a cold audience (strangers). It takes a few interactions with your brand before they may check out the song.
This is a proven method with TikTok, where the repetitiveness of the platform increases awareness of songs being used by creators. Which also eventually results in streams and songs trending that havent been trending for years.
So we know people need a few interactions with the song in order to really invest in listening to it.
You may have die hard fans that will check the song out right away, but the majority of your followers need some convincing. Especially if we want them to connect with the song & put it on their playlist, share it with their friends, and use it in their social media content.
Musicians expect that it’s enough to just create one or two of these interactions. That may be enough when you are communicating through email. However, when it comes to social media, you need to create a lot more momentum.
So let’s go through the steps:
You need to make people aware of your music release. This can start before with a pre-launch campaign, or some content preview and behind the scenes footage you can share.
You need to make your “warm” audience (the ones who already know you and your brand) aware of the song. This will take some interactions as people will not necessarily pay attention if you only post once.
You also need to use the single as a reason to reach a new audience, make them aware of you and your song.
A cold audience will need more interactions to get to the conversion step (the end goal of the funnel) than a warm audience.
This is where you need to continue sharing some content around the song.
This could be:
- Behind the scenes clips from the music video shoot;
- The story behind the song;
- An interview about the song;
- Content creators that have created Reels or TikToks using the song;
- A performance video;
The more momentum you can create here the better, and you need to share content that is not just promoting the song, but is giving some more value.
A performance video is: selling the song but also giving additional value by sharing the song in a new format. This is the way you can keep “selling” your song without it getting too promotional.
This is called value based marketing.
The reason TIkTok is such a great channel, is that content creators are creating the interactions for you.
The repetition will then eventually result in the transaction phase. However, in this case it may not be a transaction, but an action that’s being made which might lead them to the last step of the funnel.
This is where people go and invest time into listening to your music release. They may even put it on their playlist.
Congratulations, you’ve now made a fan.
The warmer fans, like your superfans, are more likely to jump straight to the transaction step. However, most of your followers and strangers getting to know your brand need some more interactions before they get there.
How Do You Create Momentum?
Getting press and written reviews of your music release is valuable for two reasons.
The first is that you are reaching a new audience through the news outlet/blog/medium; since their audience are readers, you will connect deeper with them as you will most likely share a lot of information about you personally and the song itself.
If they read this, they are most likely travelling nicely down the funnel to becoming a fan.
Another reason why press is great for you, is for your existing fans and followers. By getting others to write about you and your song and sharing this in your channels; you are creating more content and someone else is talking about you and your song, NOT just you.
Many times when we share the press we get on our artist social media channels; we will then see a spike in Spotify and numbers; as the ones who will read will then be “sold” and want to go and check out the music release.
I am talking specifically about TikTok and Reels here where viral audio is the focus.
I have written about using short format videos to promote your music release here.
A lot of people get overwhelmed with TikTok and how to get content creators to create something using your song. The most successful ones here are the ones who create a content theme that is attached to the song.
The easiest way to achieve this is to do a dance. We’ve seen this many times already. But musicians are getting more creative with the way they’re making their music releases go viral.
For example, let’s say you release a hip hop track called “Stack ‘em up” which is about making bundles of cash; You could then challenge users of TikTok to stack up as many things as they can in under 30 seconds, and place a stack of cash (or just a single note) on the top. I present to you ‘the stack em up challenge’.
People are stuck at home, they’ve got nothing to do and they want to create content while having fun… Get creative here!
When you have something specific to “pitch” to these content creators, you make it easier for them to create content and be creative around your song.
The way you should start is to begin the trend yourself – and then you have to get some strategic content creators to continue the trend to your song.
By getting 2-3 content creators every week to do this, you will then start seeing other content creators wanting to create content to that song as well, as they have seen the content and are intrigued.
The key to success here is consistency and getting over that initial phase where you have to get to know the content creators personally, one-by-one.
Some musicians also pay influencers to do the content. I recommend this ONLY when you know their fanbase is strong. If the fanbase is strong, it could result in content creators jumping on the trend and your song going viral.
This is a great way to put your song in front of a specific audience.
The genius thing with playlists is that people are already invested in listening; and the curators often have a very strong following.
Playlist placement can result in a huge increase of streaming numbers. You are essentially placing it in front of your potential audience right when they are looking for something new.
Playlist placement often puts you in front of a cold audience who may not have heard of you before, so it is important to know that although they have listened to your song, they are not fans yet.
However, this is a quick route to your artist page on Spotify; – they can easily check out more of your music releases and info (make sure that profile is fully complete y’all!).
Another reason why playlist placement is great is that it also gives you content to share on your channels.
When you get a new placement, share a story thanking the playlist curators.
Not only are you building relationships with some key distributors out there, you are showing your followers and fans your song is getting recognition.
So you are giving them another reason to check out your song. Remember we are creating interactions.
Since organic reach is continuously declining on social media, you should invest in some ads.
Most people focus ads on finding a big, cold audience. However, it can also be a great strategy to target your followers, and your existing fans to make sure they get the interactions they need to check out your song.
You should set up two different ads.
One which is to your current followers, email list, and people who have interacted with your brand. These are the ones who are already in your funnel.
You should also create one ad to attract strangers. I would first focus on people in your funnel as advertising is cheaper to direct towards these people.
I have covered how you should target your ads here.
When it comes to content I would first create some vertical short form videos, this is the best format to create awareness.
Since you most likely need 7-14 interactions for someone to really invest in your song and check it out – this format is effective as story ads are played with sound on.
You can then create a longer ad targeting those who have viewed the first, and have been exposed to the song already. This is how you can make sure that people slowly move through your funnel with ads and retargeting.
You are then creating the repetition and you are giving more valuable information to the ones who have engaged.
If you want more help with your ads join me inside the Smart Launch Club, where I can personally help you with your ads for your single launch.
Last month one of our members became top 10 in his genre on the Beatport charts using my methods!
Keep putting the work in
Just because you have done lots of work in the lead up to your single launch, the song has now been released, and is available on all the streaming sites… that doesn’t mean the work around this track is finished yet.
You need to keep the momentum going, but not get disillusioned if your track doesn’t start racking up streams immediately.
Use the methods above and you can keep that ball rolling and create hype and awareness around your track that will snowball. THEN you can start working on the next release.