Usually, I’d hear aspiring and emerging independent artists ask this very popular question. The question always revolves around promoting music without a budget. 

“How do I begin my music career with no money?”

“How do I promote my music with zero budget?”

“How do I promote my songs since I’m broke?”

Answering these questions directly is quite tough because supporting the idea that you can build a sustainable music career by depending on free or cheap options isn’t quite real. But if you go through a lot of my blog posts, you’ll realize that I’ve answered these questions via my previous blogs. This time, I’m deciding to put all the knowledge in one place to help you begin your journey and promote your music with zero budget. 

In this article, I’ll discuss how you can tackle different areas of music marketing as a new artist with zero budget. It’s important to know that marketing encompasses a lot more than just promoting your music to new fans, accessing data to make better decisions, and having products to sell them. Do not fret, as you’ll be getting top-notch details on how to promote your music with zero budget. 

Music Distribution 

Since you’re just beginning your journey in your music career, you can get away with uploading your music on free platforms like SoundCloud, YouTube, and AudioMack to help you promote your music with zero budget. How do you promote your music with zero budget if your potential fans can’t find your music on at least the free streaming platforms? Well, this is why you should upload your songs on these platforms at the inception of your career.

As you grow, you’ll need to move your music to digital service providers like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon music. If at this time you’re still an independent artist, you’ll need to go through a music aggregator like DistroKid or CD Baby. Although this may cost a token, you can get to access these platforms for as little as $20 per year. 

Website

Usually, people contemplate creating a music website because they feel it isn’t necessary but from my point of view; if you want to be seen as a professional independent artist, I’ll advise you to create a music website. Here are the main benefits of having your own personal website: 

  • It’ll be easy for you to set up an online shop to sell your music and merch directly to fans without a middleman taking their cut of your money.
  • Help you establish your own personal online space where you can control your story while owning the internet property. Remember that your social media accounts are on rented internet properties. Technically, you don’t own your followers and your profile. 
  • Help you create a landing page to drive traffic from your social media ads. 

To help you promote your music with zero budget, you’ll need to create your websites for free using platforms like Wix, Weebly, and WordPress. But if you’re looking on a long term basis, I’d advise that as you grow in your career you move from using these free platforms to using paid platforms or getting a web developer to help you build and design your music website due to some limitations you may face with the platforms.

But for a start, to promote your music with zero budget, you can design your music website using free platforms.

Target Audience 

You can’t market or promote your music with zero budget effectively without defining your target audience. What types of people will most likely become fans of your music and how can you reach them with zero budget? This is needed to help you build the foundation of your music career. 

There’s really no tool or service that you’ll necessarily need to help you figure this out, but more so a strategy or mindset. My best advice when it comes to this is to always niche down and build within a community. Here’s a blog I wrote on music niche marketing to help you determine your niche and target audience. 

Once you’ve determined your audience, you can go on with the next step which is to reach out to them. But this needs to happen when you have a budget for it because you’ll have to run Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube Ads. 

Email Marketing

Usually, a lot of musicians look down on email marketing because they don’t know what email marketing provides them. Email marketing allows you to have a one-on-one relationship with your fans hence, emailing fans is a more effective way of maintaining a direct relationship with them compared to social media platforms. To top this, you can promote your music with zero budget using this medium.

Using some email marketing platforms may be quite pricey, but Mailchimp is actually free. Although the features are limited, you can easily reach an email list of 2,000 email subscribers without paying a cent. That’s a high number if you ask me. 

You can also use ConvertKit for your email marketing. The difference between these platforms is that ConvertKit only allows you to build an email list of 1,000 subscribers which is quite lower than MailChimp. They are both excellent options to help you start your career and promote your music with zero budget. 

Content

Content is key when it comes to promoting yourself and your music whether you like it or not. This is usually the biggest challenge for music artists because it’s quite tough to create and put music out consistently. To promote your music with zero budget, you need to at least consistently post content like photos, and videos. 

You definitely need to post high-quality photos to use on your social media posts, websites, electronic press kit, online profiles, cover art, etc. To get a high-quality photo these days is quite easy with a smartphone as long as you have the right lighting. And if you know a photographer that may help you with your photos for free, or cut you a cheap deal, you can opt-in for that.

When it comes to effectively marketing your music, the most important type of content is video because this will be shared all over social media. And you don’t really need to pour all your money into creating a high production video because some moving picture with your music will do.

There are tons of video content ideas you can use to promote your music with zero budget, for instance, green screens can help you create different sceneries for your background, lyric videos can help you overlay lyrics of your song on a fixed background, live performance videos can help you showcase yourself performing live to your fans, and music visualizers can help your fans visualize your music around your cover art. 

With these content, you can easily promote your music with zero budget.

Playlisting

To promote your music with zero budget, you can use one of the best free Playlisting opportunities available for upcoming artists. The opportunity is to submit your song to be considered on Spotify’s editorial playlists and Amazon music’s curated playlists. Getting on any of these playlists doesn’t assure you of becoming the next global star, but it’ll give you a nice boost of momentum and help your music get easily discovered. 

It’s not easy to get a playlist placement but it’s worth a shot since it’s something that’s free. 

Another free tool you can use is playlister by Distrokid. This tool allows you to get contact information from Spotify playlisters based on any keyword or genre you provide. Spotify doesn’t really provide information on Spotify playlisters hence it may be a little tough to pitch your songs hence, Playlister makes this process easier.

Make sure to use this tool to get your songs on playlists and promote your music with zero budget.

Music Blogs

Another way you can promote your music with zero budget is to pitch your songs to independent music blogs. It’s an awesome starting point if you don’t have the budget and video content to use in your Facebook, youtube, and Instagram ads. Just make sure your expectations aren’t high because music blogs do not have the same influence they used to before social media dominated online attention. 

A popular free tool to help you not only pitch to music blogs but also playlists and influencers is SubmitHub. You may not achieve your result with the free submission hence I’ll advise you to go for the paid deal to help you get your songs to premium blogs.  

I’ve also helped you put together top African blogs to which you can pitch your music. Access the list here

Graphics

One important factor that preaches professionalism when you market your music and build your brand as a musician is your visual component.  You really don’t need to be able to afford a good graphics designer or access paid software like adobe photoshop. There are free alternatives you can use that will help you create your desired visual content for your music brand and help you promote your music with zero budget.

If you’re low on budget, you can use Canva. Canva is a free, user-friendly app that helps you create a wide variety of graphics from templates. This way, you can go on to get your branding right with great visual content. 

Analytics and Insights

To help you effectively promote your music with zero budget, having good data helps you with making better music promotion strategies. As a musician, you have free access to a lot of this information via various platforms you’re likely on already. You can get data about your social media posts, the type of people who engage your content, your fan’s demographics, your best performing song, etc with these analytics platforms:

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