Written by J. Simpson
Technology is a double-edged sword for musicians.
Theoretically speaking, the ability to cultivate thousands of followers on your own networks and high-quality promotional materials makes the old music industry model obsolete.
Sadly, technological innovations can't contend with basic facts, like there only being 24 hours in a day and we all have to eat.
So while, theoretically, you could record and launch a single to your Soundcloud or social media account, create a viral buzz and get discovered by music journalists and bloggers. The reality is likely a far different story.
The fact of the matter is that it is possible to promote your own music digitally.
(And on that note you definitely owe it to yourself to check out the “Release Blueprint” Teachable course, created by Benjamin Groff. This course gives you Benjamin’s own DIY label plan and how he releases new artists. Learn exactly what to do when - and how - starting with 6 weeks before your release - get it here!
It's just hard to do (and no doubt, you have to be great). Which is why digital forums like Reddit are such gold (if used properly) for anyone looking to boost their digital content.
Now, that being said, promoting your music on Reddit is an artform in and of itself.
Here are some useful Subreddits for promoting your music on Reddit to help you get started.
With nearly 2 million subscribers, /r/IndieHeads is the place for anyone obsessed with indie rock (and it's many derivatives).
As one of the most well-trafficked websites, /r/IndieHeads also regularly features AMAs (ask me anything) with some of the biggest names in indie music.
It's also a go-to for music news, fresh albums and singles, and just all-around musical banter. IndieHeads is sort of like having nearly 2 million friends to sit around and dish about good music with.
With that being said, IndieHeads is not the most optimal for promoting your own music (don’t worry - we’re going to get to that in a second!). Promotion here can be done but they're fairly diligent about that self-promotion stuff, as they have to be to keep one of the internet's busiest music sites up and running.
It is possible to promote your music on IndieHeads with an [original] tag. Or, even better, get one of your fans to post your new releases.
Those rules will apply to them, as well, but it's easier when it's not you posting your own music.
Somewhat obviously, but /r/PopHeads is to pop music as IndieHeads is to indie.
Just like IndieHeads, PopHeads also covers every flavor and shade of pop music, from the latest Top 40 releases to more obscure indie pop, and all points in-between.
As with /r/IndieHeads, PopHeads isn't really a place for you to promote your own music.
Due to the nature of how it's set up, /r/PopHeads is mostly geared towards established acts. It IS possible to post your music there but you need to be an established member of the community. You can also try and get your fans to post there if you think it'll appeal to the PopHeads crowd.
With over 300,000 subscribers who are very passionate about music, /r/PopHeads should at least be on your radar.
It's also one of the leading sources for breaking up-to-the-second music news and discussion!
With that foundation in mind, let’s dive into how you can actually promote your music on Reddit!
Not the most obvious choice for music promotion, but there are Discord servers for nearly everything. There are numerous Discord servers listed on DiscordAdvertising for promoting your music.
There's The Beatmaking Nation for aspiring hip-hop producers, for instance.
Then there's ListenToThis, which is an active community of indie musicians who just hang out and play each other their tunes.
Neither community is huge, which is actually to your benefit. It's much easier to brew a storm in a teacup, so to speak.
Bandcamp is one of the best and most powerful tools in an indie musician's toolbox.
And while you can share your Bandcamp releases to specialized subreddits, as well, /r/Bandcamp is a place specifically for Bandcamp releases, though. It's also a place to share tips and tricks while commiserating with fellow indie musicians.
The motherlode. /r/ListenToThis is one of - if not the - most active and heavily trafficked areas for music on Reddit.
With over 16 million active subscribers (!!!) there are often hundreds if not thousands of Redditors online at any given time, even during off hours.
This means your submission can sometimes get hundreds if not thousands of upvotes in the blink of an eye! Imagine getting 10,000 - 15,000 plays on your single in a couple of hours!
ListenToThis tends to veer towards established acts, though, so keep that in mind. They do a weekly 'melting pot' for self-promotion, however. Considering what a fertile ground of active music lovers it is, ListenToThis should definitely be on your promotional radar!
Don't let the name fool you, /r/indie is not just a place for Arcade Fire clones.
Instead, /r/indie is what indie actually stands for, genuinely independent music. It's a bit smaller, with only 200,000 subscribers, but they're also some of the more friendly and welcoming musc communities on Reddit, actively encouraging people to post their own music!
Plenty of careers get started with covers at this point. Instagram to YouTube to Spotify Single to self-released stardom is a completely valid, acceptable career trajectory for many these days.
/r/CoverSongs is a nice, relatively low-stakes subreddit to gain some traction early on in your music career.
It's also a way to get some attention with relatively little gear if you're tech-limited in any way.
All you need is a camera and some sort of way to make a racket. You don't need to worry about mixing or mastering like you will with an official single or release.
There are subreddits for specific types of covers, also. /r/PianoCovers seems fairly well-trafficked with over 10,000 subscribers. They encourage everything from Beethoven to anime theme songs, so they seem like a fairly friendly and welcoming bunch.
There's also /r/ICoveredASong, which is similar to /r/CoverSongs but with just a few less subscribers.
Similar to /r/coversongs, /r/AcousticOriginals is another good sub for acoustic musicians.
It's relatively quiet, with around 7000 subscribers, but also relatively friendly. Smaller is often better anyway, especially if you're still developing a following!
Here's another one for the singer/songwriters and aspiring ghostwriters.
/r/Songwriting is another surprisingly healthy subreddit geared towards the art and craft of writing a song.
They've also got weekly feedback threads to help you refine and elevate your craft as well as lots of high-level discussion around writing music.
They also sometimes dissect popular songs.
There are nearly endless possibilities for a musical career.
Being a Pop Star or indie musician isn't the end of it by a long shot.. If you're a songwriter or write instrumental music in some capacity, /r/Composer is a surprisingly healthy and robust community with around 36,000 subscribers, many of whom will give you feedback or advice on your compositions.
/r/Composer is worth a look for the resources in the sidebar alone.
If you're looking to take your songwriting or composition to the next level, you should spend some time browsing this sub!
Electronic music producers are a techy bunch. If you've spent any time in the DAW it should come as little surprise to find out that /r/EDMProduction is the principal place for promoting your electronic music on Reddit.
With over 465,000 subscribers, that sub has the potential to truly make an electronic career.
The trick of it is to not simply post your single or remix or DJ set. /r/EDMProduction are serious about spam or self-promotion.
You need to actually engage and participate in the community. Start threads. Reply to others.
There are also regular challenges and competitions where you can get some recognition for your project.
/r/EDMProduction has daily feedback threads and collaboration requests, as well. It's well worth it to add EDMProduction to your regular rotation.
Self-promotion is tricky business on any network and in any medium. It's got to be handled just right as a mis-step can do more harm than good. That's why communities where you're encouraged to share your work are such a blessing.
/r/ThisIsOurMusic is one of the best and most established subreddit for promoting your own music with over 76,000 subscribers.
Seeing as how the community is made up of other musicians, people tend to be helpful and encouraging, giving all manner of constructive tips and feedback. Just make sure to give as much as you receive. (plus a little bit more!)
Electronic music producers tend to be fairly helpful, approachable sorts.
Electronic music is a bit easier to break into for newbies and lesser-known names as well, as it's less focused on the individual as Pop music and its derivatives.
This means that Reddit is a valuable tool for up-and-coming producers as it's easier to get started and start building your fanbase.
/r/FutureBeatProducers for modern beat-driven music. While Future Beats is a genre in-and-of-itself, don't let the name deter you. It's more of a community for electronic music with more of an experimental bent.
Think PC Music or the late, lamented Sophie.
FutureBeatProducers also has daily feedback threads and a thread for recently-released singles. With nearly 25,000 subscribers, you should definitely put FutureBeatProducers on your radar if you're making cutting-edge electronic music.
Although most of the attention goes to who's in front of the mic, what goes on behind-the-scenes is just as, if not more, important.
Would N.W.A. or Snoop Dogg have been anywhere near as important without Dr. Dre, for example?
And while hip-hop may not seem as technical as futuristic-sounding genres like psytrance or drum 'n bass, it really is.
/r/MakingHipHop is another subreddit dedicated to more technical pursuits. It might not seem to flash at first glance, unless you're the type that gets really excited to talk about sidechain compression, but the amount of knowledge and wisdom collected on /r/MakingHipHop is truly jaw-dropping.
Once you realize how sidechain compression can set your beats on fire and leave your imitators choking on your exhaust, you'll be proselytizing too.
/r/MakingHipHop is another very healthy and well-trafficked sub, with over 185,000 subscribers. hey've got regular feedback threads, as well. If you're involved in making hip-hop from the studio side, you need to add /r/makinghiphop to your sub list. .
In many ways, the history of indie music is the history of home recording.
As powerful, high-quality recording gear and technology has become cheaper and more widely available, the number of musicians who never see the inside of a professional recording studio climbs up and up and up.
This means you don't always have the luxury of an outside opinion.
You can't call on the collective wisdom and experience of professionals, either, whose literal job is to listen to music all day, every day. This can leave you shouting into the void, so to speak, and grasping at straws as to how to improve your music or grow your music career.
Subs like /r/MusicCritique are handy for this reason. It's a chance to get some actual feedback, which can be very hard to come by when you're first starting out.
Of course, there's no telling who these people are or what their experience with music is, meaning they're essentially sharing their opinion.
Still, any feedback is good feedback.
If you want more tailored advice from music industry professionals, that's where networks like Fluence come into play. In fact you can get Benjamin Groff’s opinion on your song - right here!
That should be enough to get you started.
Remember to Reddit responsibly!
Don't just spam your links and disappear. It's a community, after all. For best results, dive in and get involved!
The golden rule is the following...
Give more than you take and it can potentially yield a rich seam of potential new fans.
Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll tell you exactly how to navigate Reddit, post responsibly, bring value and overall show proper Reddit etiquette!
As we mentioned, this is an artform in itself!