Written by J. Simpson
The music industry is in a weird state. Musicians and other creatives involved in and around the music industry are more empowered than any other point in history.
Even the most humble smartphone is infinitely more powerful than the gear Bob Marley or The Beatles used to make their earth-shattering albums.
A little bit of time and energy spent internet sleuthing could reveal contact info for industry influencers previously only available to the richest and most powerful PR professionals.
This reality can give an overly-sunny picture of the reality of today's music scene, though. For instance, the internet has more-or-less gutted the paid music journalism industry. Hardly anyone draws a paycheck for writing album or concert reviews, these days. The days of music magazines acting as A&R or tastemakers are long gone, for the most part.
This disparity can be a little bit brain-twisting.
We feel in our bones that we should be able to be our own PR agents, labels, and marketers. Can't we just post our songs to social media and social bookmark sites and become famous overnight?
And sure we hear stories of that happening - but let’s be real, for most people it really doesn’t work like that.
But lucky for you - there are some solutions and today, we're going to take a look at how to promote your music on Reddit.
Important note! Make sure to check out Part 1 of this article, as well, for exactly where to promote your music on Reddit. That’s right we lay out 15 specific subreddits and unique musical corners of the domain to promote your music! Now on to exactly - how to do that.
One of the misconceptions about digital music promotion is that it just doesn't work or that it's all snakeoil.
In some cases - that’s probably a legitimate perspective! In others, well - that's simply not so. Truth be told, the internet is a music promoter's best friend and the most powerful tool in musical history.
The truth that we must realize is that there are no hacks. There are no shortcuts - no presets or algorithms or even tools that you can buy to guarantee you success. Successfully promoting your music on the internet requires time, consistent effort, consistent quality, nurturing relationships and connections, knowledge and hey, a little bit of luck wouldn’t hurt.
Here's the point where you need to learn to split your brain and think on numerous levels. You've got to be yourself to be able to promote your music successfully. You've also got to think like a marketer, however, which means a systematic, consistent approach to your music promotion.
Here are some tips, and some science, to make sure that you're promoting your music properly on Reddit. Doing it wrong can make your promotional efforts do more harm than good.
As a reminder don’t forget to check out Pt 1 of our Reddit series where we share 15 music subreddits with lots of great insight on indie, bandcamp, beat makers, etc. corners of R!
Part of what we mean is - there's no one place where you can simply post your links, forget about them, and come back to millions of plays. Although that could technically be possible, you've got to be an active participant in musical communities on Reddit.
Without being a helpful part of the Reddit community, well, this is called Spam. Don't do it. The good news is that this is true of every network (and probably just a good rule for living.) When you're promoting your music on the internet, follow the campsite rule. Leave the community slightly better than when you found it. (And as a side note - this is a reminder to also suggest to- REPLY TO YOUR YOUTUBE COMMENTS! People are leaving you comments and starting a dialogue - and this is a prime opportunity to make new fans!)
On Reddit, as a good general rule of thumb to shoot for, follow the 80/20 ratio. Post or participate in 4 links from other people for every one of your own original creations.
This is one area where I feel like a lot of brands falter, especially those more used to traditional business. It comes across as self-important, self-obsessed, loud, and boastful. It's like the band that plays an opening slot at a show and then leaves. Don't be that band.
Posting other people's links and commenting on their posts achieves numerous other goals other than simply promoting your latest single.
It's a way to broadcast your tastes and demonstrate your knowledge.
You'll also increase your "brand awareness" and "name recognition" as people begin to recognize your name from participating in the community.
Even better, they'll likely have fond and warm feelings attached to that name as a result of your participating in the community.
Another good rule of thumb in regards to digital music promotion and dialoguing with the community - is to be authentic. Allow people to be attracted to you via your authentic voice!.
In other words - it’s important to have "a consistent digital brand," with a tone and a voice that reflects your musical project and you as a person.
I like to use the example of writing a blog.
Say you realize that vitamin supplements and smart drugs are big business these days and you want to cash in on the hype.
The trouble is you don't care a lick for nutrition and prefer McDonald's to kale smoothies. While you might be able to fake it for a while, you'll likely run out of steam and motivation to keep writing about something that you, ultimately, don't care about.
The same could be said for promoting your music and extending into the music itself.
In my opinion, you should never simply try to bandwagon hop on a genre. Look at all of the whatever "alternative rock" that followed in the wake of Nirvana. How many Marcy's Playground fans are out there today?
Marketing is both an art and a science, as I'm fond of saying. It needs to be artful if you hope to succeed. You've got to think like a scientist and a mathematician if you want to truly gauge your success, however.
This means removing as many variables as possible. Otherwise you'll never know if a post's success was merely a fluke. This is good practice, anyway, if you hope to truly take your music career to the heights.
Scheduling your posts is one way to see how your posts are really performing. There are all manner of tools for scheduling Reddit posts.
Scheduling your posts also gives you the opportunity to make sure your post gets the reception it deserves. Of course, every subreddit has its own rules and audience but, again, as a general rule of thumb, here are the best times to post to Reddit.
To check the activity of the subreddits where you hope to promote your music, there's this useful analytics tool from DelayForReddit, that gives you a detailed breakdown for every hour of the week.
Remember to think globally if you're trying to reach international audiences.
If you're hoping to grow your audience in Germany or London or Moscow, you'll need to schedule your posts for their time zone. Don't worry, you'll get used to thinking in multiple time zones before you know it!
It's like living in an old fashioned newsroom with all those clocks on the wall!
These tips and tricks give you everything you need to flourish on Reddit.
Even better, they can be extended to other networks such as social media for similar success.
You won't believe how much better your content can perform on Twitter or Instagram when powered with a little bit of math and science!
Finally, more than anything, focus on making good music. Music that you think is good, not the algorithms, not the tastemakers and trendsetters and influencers.
You never know what the next big thing might be. There's no use pandering. You should spend some time learning how to make your music look its absolute best to match the sonics, as well.
The good news is that once you learn how to present your music in an artful and tasteful way following the best practices and principles of marketing, there's little that can stop you! With hard work, persistent effort, and good taste, your career will thrive!
Benjamin Groff has been a music executive for over 25 years, including holding key creative positions at BMG and EMI. In 2006, Benjamin was hired to start the 1st U.S. operations of Kobalt Music and signed much of the key roster over 10 years. Benjamin is a #1 Best Selling Amazon author of the book “How Do I Get A Record Deal? Sign Yourself!” and has also created 2 highly rated Teachable courses, “Insider Secrets to Hit Songwriting” and “The DIY Release Blueprint: A 6 Week Plan to Properly Release Your Music.”
His past signings range from: Ryan Tedder, Grimes, The Lumineers, Jake Torrey, Peaches, Kelly Clarkson, Greg Kurstin, Tiesto, Savan Kotecha, OneRepublic, TOKiMONSTA, SOPHIE, Cut Copy, Adam Lambert, Ariel Rechtshaid and Big Freedia to name a few.
Currently, Benjamin owns and runs his own publishing company, Brill Building and record label / A&R resource, We Are: The Guard.