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5 Online Marketing Tips for Indie Record Labels

In today’s market, it has become exceedingly difficult to get picked up by a major label if you are virtually unknown as an artist or band. For this reason, so many newcomers to the music scene record their own music and then put it on their own labels, otherwise referred to as ‘indie labels.’ In other words, an indie label is not dependent on any of the four big labels which are Universal, BMI, Sony BMG, and WMG. 

Anyone in the music business can tell you just how hard it is to get heard by the scouts from these labels and even harder yet to get a sit-down meeting even if those scouts love what they hear. Do you have a sound you just know will hit it big if you can get heard on a larger scale? If so, you might be ready to start your own indie label and with the help of these online marketing tips, you might be off to a stellar start.

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1. Branding Is Everything

Long before even looking at what online marketing strategies might work for you, you need to brand your label. It really is all in a name so let the name of your indie label be your brand. Sometimes it’s in relation to the genre of music you intend to release on that label and other times it has something to do with your sound, something fans can relate to. Just remember, unless you intend to keep your indie label reserved for just your own music, it should be something other artists or bands would be comfortable recording under.

Online Marketing Tips

2. Make Sure the Name Is Available

Once you have chosen a name for your label, it is important to ensure that name is available and can be copyrighted. This needs to be done prior to marketing your label online for a few really good reasons. First, you don’t want to get slapped with a huge lawsuit if the name is filed under someone else’s copyright. Make sure the name is free and clear and then you can begin marketing your indie label.

3. Research Is Critical

If you want to learn how to start a record label, you’ll need to do your research. You might want to start with recording studios you can hire by the hour with all the equipment you’ll need to produce your own records under your own label. Check out Pirate’s article entitled how to start a record label online. The blog also offers tips on producing your own records. Remember, this is where you’ll also find all the studio equipment you’ll need like you would find at the major labels. So, begin with researching where to produce your music even before beginning your marketing campaign.

Learn from the mistakes of others who have gone before you. There are just some things that work and other things that may be a royal waste of time. Learning where to market your label might be a place to start. Social media can be a good starting point because there you will be able to upload snippets of sound visitors can sample. However, don’t make the mistake of uploading entire songs to YouTube because there will be no reason for anyone to buy your music if they can get it free of charge on social media. This is something you will learn to manage as you gain experience.

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4. Social Media Is King for Musicians

In the world of online marketing, it has long been said that content is king. However, when it comes to marketing a label, a band, or an artist, content may not have the same power as social media. This is because of the very nature of music. It needs to be heard and social media provides just the right outlet for that. Whether it’s YouTube, the second largest social media platform, or Facebook, sound bites are what your audience is looking for and this is where they’ll find them.

5. Seek Out Brand Ambassadors

One of the biggest marketing tools you can have as a budding musician on a new indie label would be a brand ambassador. These are people with a huge following that can influence the market by endorsing your label or your band’s sound. Sometimes also referred to as market influencers, this is where you will gain the most exposure quite easily. 

One market influencer promotes your label and then their followers do the same. It will go through many layers of endorsement but before you know it, you will have literally tens of thousands of people introduced to your brand/label as well as any groups or artists you have signed under that label. Once you have market influencers, you can almost always step back and let them make your label a household word!

Where to Go from There

It might seem as though the only thing you need to do online is rooted in social media but that isn’t exactly the case. Social media is definitely the place to promote record labels and artists but getting visitors to social sites will also rely heavily on digital marketing tips. Build an organic marketing strategy pointing to your brand ambassadors and your social media presence. Yes, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and other online marketing strategies can and will be employed, but the focus should be on marketing strategies that lead them to samplings of your sound. 

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Use whatever you can to highlight your band just as you would for promoting concerts or live gigs, but your strategy should focus on promoting your indie label. It just might be that what you started as a way to get your band heard might lead to running a new label that artists are happy to record under. There is nothing to say that indie labels can’t hit the big time just as there is nothing to say that a virtually unknown band can’t rise to stellar fame. It happens every day and today it just might be your turn to see your name in lights.

Written by Marie Foster

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