Music Marketing

Resources about music marketing


For frontline artists to have successful careers they need to find an audience for their music. Various business partners across the music industry will help with this fanbase building process.

There are various tools and platforms used by the music industry to drive streams, sell tickets and to grow each artist’s fanbase.

Early on in an artist’s career, gigging and collaborations can be key to finding an audience. Live activity will obviously become a revenue stream for an artist in the longer term, but initially gigs and shows are as much about fanbase building as making money. Collaborating with other music-makers and creators – both live and online – is another way for an artist to get their music in front of new audiences and potential future fans.

Then there are the artist’s various digital channels – including social media, direct-to-fan platforms, a website and an email list.

When artists reach new audiences via live activity and collaborations, it’s important that potential future fans can immediately connect with the artist via their digital channels of choice. The artist can then use those channels to promote tracks and shows, and sell products and experiences, directly to the fans. And also use the initial online audience – and various digital marketing and advertising tools – to further grow the fanbase.

Many of the other key tools in the music marketing toolkit relate to influencing people who in turn have influence over potential new fans.

This includes the music media – like music magazines, websites and blogs, and music radio, TV and podcasts – as well as people who curate playlists on the streaming services. In addition to that, there are the influencers with audiences on social and user-generated content platforms, and the people who programme and play music in clubs and other public spaces.

Most artists begin the fanbase building process before they are formally working with the music industry during the DIY Phase. At this stage the most important marketing tools are gigs, collaborations and digital channels.

As an artist’s career starts to gain momentum, different business partners come on board who will help with the marketing and fanbase building process. Sometimes this is actually about B2B marketing, raising the profile of the artist within the music industry. But the artist’s manager will also get involved in fanbase building, while a distributor might help market releases and a promoter will play a key role in publicising shows.

A key marketing partner, though, is the record label. Traditionally labels take the lead on marketing each new release, providing budget, contacts and expertise. They may have an in-house team to run each marketing campaign – or they might hire the services of specialist marketing agencies – or sometimes it’s a combination of the two. The label’s aim is to drive sales and streams of the record, but in doing so it also grows the fanbase.

It is often by having a label on board that artists can employ all the different tools in the music marketing toolkit at the same time, maximising exposure.

At the core of most modern music marketing campaigns is digital marketing – and digital marketing is really a data-driven discipline.

Digital marketing often involves creating and pushing out promotional content through different social media and direct-to-fan channels, using digital advertising tools and influencers to expand the reach of the content.

Getting that right involves doing some activity, crunching all the resulting data, asking if it worked, and when it didn’t trying something different next time. And you keep doing that until the data shows success.

This means it is vital that every artist – and their management team – understands what fan data plays a role in this process, and that they have access to that data and are legally allowed to utilise it (always remember that fan data is heavily regulated through data protection law).

Labels also have an important role to play here too. Artists can crunch their own fan data, but labels have access to fan data across their roster and catalogue. This means a label can use what it learned from the last campaign on the next campaign, reducing the trial and error element of getting digital marketing right, and therefore hopefully fast-tracking the process.

You will find coverage of all the key developments in and announcements from the music marketing world in the Marketing & PR section of CMU.


This CMU:DIY Guide on Building A Fanbase looks at how early-career artists go about kick-starting the fanbase building process, and the key marketing tools, tactics and channels they employ.

The CMU:DIY Guide Music Data Explained looks at all the kinds of fan data that can help an artist build a fanbase and grow their own artist business.


The Digital Dollar Fan Data Guide from CMU Insights and the UK’s Music Managers Forum runs through all the key kinds of fan data, and explains how to use that data to build a successful artist business.