How to Get Your Music Heard in the Right Places

2020-03-06 Essay


by Alec Plowman

What’s the secret to getting your music out there?

Plenty of people will tell you it all comes down to hustling. You’ve got to be plugging at all hours of the day, making sure that as many people as possible know about what you’re doing in the hope that you get passed on to someone relevant.

Here’s the thing, though. When you’re trying to make it in music, hustling is essential. But, hustling indiscriminately is a waste of time and energy.

Case in point. A couple of weeks ago, I was walking down the high street when I noticed someone stopping passers-by to tell them about his album. He had business cards, he had CDs for sale and he was furiously promoting his latest release to anyone who would listen.

I didn’t pick up the CD that he tried to hard sell me, but I did go and check out this guy’s website. Turns out he was a Grime artist from London. His sound was underground, his lyrics were explicit and his would-be audience is a niche. Yet here was this guy, in a busy shopping district, trying to hustle his music to Joe Public. This was at 11-o’-clock on a Tuesday morning, by the way, which meant that most of the people he was interacting with were old-age-pensioners.

Needless to say, this guy didn’t sell a single CD. It wasn’t because his music was bad. It was because he was selling it in the wrong place to a demographic that wasn’t interested in his style. I’m sure this guy thought he was putting the hours in. What he was actually doing, though, was wasting time.

So what’s the moral of the story?

Don’t just hustle hard. Hustle smart.

And if you want to know how to hustle smart, here are three places you can start.

Target YOUR audience

Ask yourself “who listens to my kind of music?” Then ask yourself “where are they hanging out?” Those are the sorts of places you should be hustling, because they’re the places you’ll find the most receptive audience.

Target the right influencers

When it comes to getting your music heard by a wider audience, journalists, bloggers, radio presenters and podcasters are essential contacts. Create a list of people relevant to your sphere of music, draft up a press release and get them your stuff. Be polite and courteous, but persistent, and you’ll start to see some results.

Think outside of the box

What are other platforms for your music? Advertising? Short films? Television? Think about the spaces that other artists you admire have been featured in and think about the best ways to target them.

Don’t get me wrong: getting your music heard isn’t easy. But, if you think before you hustle, you’ll maximize your efforts and get the best results.