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How To Promote Your Music For Free (No Budget, No Worries!)

By Matthew Vultaggio

July 12, 2022

If you’re looking for how you can promote your music free, I’ve looked up and experimented with the best ways that you can do this to get as many Spotify streams or attention to your tunes as possible.

The best way to promote your music for free is by building an audience on social media or pitching your songs to playlist curators and music channels on YouTube and Soundcloud.

In addition to this, if you are focused on increasing your Spotify streams and monthly listeners, there are specific Spotify algorithmic playlists that you can focus on to push out your music to more potential fans for free.

In this guide, we’ll focus on the best ways you can promote your music for free (and not all of them), so you know where you should focus your music promotion efforts.

What It Takes To Promote Your Music For Free

The first thing you should understand is that proper and effective music promotion will cost you either time or money, while the absolute most effective music promotion will take both.

When it comes to free music promotion, there are 2 tactics that I’ve found to be effective:

  1. Consistently posting social media content over time
  2. Consistently pitching singles to the Spotify editors or playlist curators over time

Notice anything in common between these 2 types of music promotion?

Free music promotion takes consistency over time for results to begin to show.

When looking at ways to promote your music for free, you need to really come to terms with the fact that you will be in it for the long haul and it will take most artists several months before enough momentum is built up to start seeing amazing results.

Remember to focus on the process (and not the results) – keep increasing the amount of failed social media content or manual outreach you output each week and you will start to notice real and exciting improvements over time.

Let’s take a look at these free music promotion tactics in more detail to see the best way you should go about this.

How To Promote Your Music On Social Media For Free

Even though I mostly focus on paid forms of music promotion (like Facebook Ads for musicians), I still consistently post to my social media platforms of choice.

…why is that you ask?

Getting lots of Spotify streams are definitely great, but I believe that the ultimate goal is to actually have a fanbase that wants support you and your music regardless of the platform.

And I’ve personally found that…

The best way to build a fanbase on social media that wants to support you and your art is to consistently release new content by combining a recurring content strategy with a content calendar.

The key here is to freely give away valuable content on a consistent basis so that you can build individual fan-to-artist relationships that are critical to having a real and supportive fanbase.

The more you commit to showing up with valuable content, the more chances you have to catch the attention of new fans as well as deepen your connection with the fans you already have.

To learn more about how you can build a fanbase on social media with a recurring content strategy and content calendar, check out my full guide called How To Build A Fanbase On Social Media. 🙂

How To Save Time When Using Social Media Music Promotion

As I’ve mentioned earlier, there is no getting around the fact that it will be very time-consuming if you want to promote your music for free in any way, and this definitely is true when it comes to social media.

…so what is the way around this then?

At first, I would recommend focusing on experimenting with a select few different types of content so that you can find out the perfect balance between what you enjoy making and what your audience enjoys seeing.

You’ll be able to tell this after a few weeks by comparing how you feel about creating specific content pieces with how many views, likes, and comments that a type of content piece gets.

After you know what content works you can:

  1. Batch your content in advance
  2. Schedule your posts in advance

By using batching and scheduling, you can dedicate time to creating all the content you need and then automate when it goes out by using scheduling.

To learn more about experimenting, scheduling, and batching for social media, check out my guide on Social Media For Musicians That HATE Posting To Social Media. 🙂

Before moving on to how you can promote your music for free with playlists, let’s take a closer look at the different social media platforms you may want to begin to focus on.

The Best Social Media Platforms For Musicians & Music Artists

I’ve researched and experimented with several different social media platforms and here is what I’ve found to be the most useful for musicians and artists:

The best social media platforms for musicians are Youtube for evergreen content & SEO, TikTok for virality & organic reach, Instagram for developing fan relationships, Facebook for its advertising platform, and Twitter for networking and communicating.

Each social media platform has its pros and cons, as well as is useful for achieving different results, however, it is important to remember that:

Properly using 1 social media platform and consistently publishing content to that platform is a lot of work, so I’d recommend starting with 1 of these and not experimenting with others until you feel ready.

To learn more about each platform so you can decide where you should start (or expand) your efforts with social media, check out my guide on The Best Social Media Platforms For Musicians. 🙂

YouTube For Musicians: Start, Promote & Grow Your Channel

YouTube is an amazing opportunity for musicians due to the fact that you can really build a connection with your audience and content on YouTube doesn’t disappear completely a day or 2 after posting.

If you have a decent camera on your phone and some free video editing software on your computer, you have everything you need to start promoting yourself on YouTube for free.

Musicians that want to grow on YouTube must consistently post videos that viewers are searching for (1 or 2 times per week) and focus on giving value to their audience through entertainment, education, or a combination of both.

In order to properly start and grow a YouTube channel as a musician, you should follow these 3 steps:

  1. Understand what it takes to grow a YouTube channel as a musician
  2. Decide what content to post on YouTube
  3. Build a fanbase on Youtube with a recurring content strategy & content calendar

To learn more about how to build an audience for your art on this social media platform, check out my full guide on YouTube For Musicians. 🙂

TikTok For Musicians: From 0 To Your 1st Viral Moment

When it comes to “going viral” and getting potentially millions of new potential fans and listeners for free, it’s really hard to beat TikTok.

TikTok’s algorithm is currently very generous with how much it will push out content from any TikTok creator (regardless of follower counts) which means you can easily build momentum over time if you commit to being consistent.

Knowing the rules of TikTok will allow you to develop a strategy to grow a decent following AND promote your music for free (all you need is time, energy, and a smartphone).

To learn more about how to promote your music for free with this social media platform, check out my full guide on TikTok For Musicians. 🙂

How To Promote Your Music On Instagram

Although Instagram is no longer as effective for “going viral”, it is still a fantastic social media platform for developing the artist-to-fan relationship, networking, and building a supportive fanbase.

The best way to promote your music on Instagram is by creating a recurring content strategy that balances value posts with promotional posts and then using a content calendar to map out and stay accountable to your strategy.

Just like with other social media platforms, it’s important that you create a strategy and content schedule that you can actually follow consistently without killing yourself in the process.

To learn more about how you can promote your music for free using Instagram, check out my full guide called How To Promote Your Music On Instagram. 🙂

How To Get Your Music On Spotify Playlists For Free

When it comes to getting your music on Spotify playlists for free, there are 2 main types of playlists that you will find useful:

  1. Spotify’s algorithm playlists (ie: Release Radar, Radio, etc)
  2. Third-party “curated” playlists

Although most artists seem to be really interested in getting on third-part playlists, I’ve personally found Spotify’s algorithm playlists to be insanely powerful and arguably even more useful than Spotify’s editorial playlists.

Regardless of your preference, it’s possible to promote your music for free using both so let’s take a closer look at these types of playlists:

Spotify’s Algorithm Playlists

Spotify’s algorithmic playlists are custom playlists that are automatically generated by Spotify’s algorithm and are personalized for each user based on their listening habits.

In particular, the “Release Radar” playlist is useful since anyone who follows your Spotify profile will have your new music will automatically put on this playlist as long as you pitch the song within a week of release in the Spotify For Artists dashboard.

On top of this, if your song has a good engagement rate, Spotify may start suggesting your song in the Release Radar playlists of Spotify users who don’t follow or listen to you but have similar listening habits as your followers.

To learn more about this playlist, how the Spotify algorithm works, and what you can do to manipulate it to get more streams, check out my article on the Spotify Algorithm Hack.

…but what about beyond the initial release of your music?

Another interesting algorithmic playlist is Spotify Radio which is a series of Spotify algorithmic playlists that can be based on any artist, album, playlist, or song on Spotify.

Spotify Radio is insanely powerful and can really boost your stream counts, however, the power of this playlist seems to be in having a large back catalog of music since there seem to be no hard and fast rules as to how songs get added to this playlist.

In short: the more music you have that is released and is actually being streamed and engaged with, the more opportunities you have to see a large increase in Spotify streams from this algorithmic playlist.

Third-Party “Curated” Spotify Playlists

Curated playlists are Spotify playlists that are created by people that have created their playlist to try to grow it as large as possible and most likely to make money off of it.

It is possible to get your music on these playlists by directly reaching out to the playlist curator, paying for a tool like SubmitHub or PlaylistPush, or paying for a company to get your music on these types of playlists for you.

In order to get on these types of playlists for free, you will need to take the time to research suitable playlists, hunt down their contact information, and then manually reach out to them to try to get your music added.

Although it is possible to grow your streams with these playlists, the quality of each playlist will vary and you will likely see very low engagement rates as well as a significant drop-off in streams as soon as your song is removed (especially if you are paying money to be added OR even considered).

With that said, there are several more Spotify playlists available to you and learning exactly how these different playlists work and how you can get your music on them is really key to finding success on Spotify as an artist.

If you want to learn more about all of these to make sure you know everything you need to know about all of these different powerful playlists, check out my article called EVERY Type Of Spotify Playlist Promotion Explained & Ranked! 🙂

How To Get Free Promotion From Music Channels On YouTube & SoundCloud

In addition to pitching your songs to playlist curators, it is also possible to get free promotion by pitching your music to music channels on YouTube and Soundcloud.

There are several channels on YouTube and SoundCloud for all different kinds of genres and styles that have the sole purpose of posting new music on a very consistent basis.

Here’s an example of one of my own songs being added to a music channel:

From my experience, I’ve found this type of promotion to be really cool since there tend to be a lot of positive comments and listeners may actually move over to your Spotify and other social media accounts.

The strategy of getting your music on these channels is extremely similar to the process of getting your music on Spotify playlists.

To get free promotion from music channels on YouTube and SoundCloud you must:

  1. Take the time to research and create a database of relevant music channels
  2. Hunt down the contact information for the owner of the channel
  3. Manually reach out to them to try to get your music added

Also, similar to Spotify playlists, you will find that at first you may be met with a lot of rejections or channel curators that are only interested in adding your music in exchange for money.

However, with persistence and consistency, it is possible to build up a “profile” as an artist which will result in more and more music channels wanting to add your music to their channels for free (particularly if you offer them a premiere or exclusive drop).

Some of my favorite music marketing tools

Thank you for reading this article, my friend, and I hope you found it helpful as you build your own successful career in music. 🙂

Here is a list of my favorite and most recommended tools and resources that I’ve personally used to get my music streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify as an artist.

Any of the paid services or tools listed here are most likely affiliate links, so if you do decide to use any of them, I’ll earn a small commission.

But in all honesty, these are the exact tools that I personally use, love, and recommend to anyone – including my own friends and family.

Music Distribution

To get your music on Spotify on all the other streaming services, I use DistroKid because you get unlimited song uploads for a low annual price.

If you want to learn more about DistroKid and music distribution, check out the in-depth DistroKid review that I’ve put together.

Or, if you want to get started with DistroKid right now, you can save on your first year with the DistroKid discount.

Facebook Ads For Spotify Success

Although Facebook Ads can be a real pain to get working properly, there is no denying that they are incredible for growing Spotify streams and getting your music in front of real fans.

This is why I’ve put together a completely free course that you can check out called Facebook Ads For Musicians’ Spotify Streams. 🙂

Music Publishing Royalties Collection

For collecting all of the publishing, mechanical, and live performance royalties owed to me whenever my music gets streamed or played, my go-to is Songtrust.

Songtrust is a publishing administration company which means that in addition to collecting all of those royalties for me, they do it on a global level.

To learn if Songtrust is right for you, I’d recommend checking out this article on Songtrust vs BMI.

And if you want to get started with Songtrust right now, I’d recommend learning about the Songtrust discount code so that you can get the best price. 🙂

Website & Smart Links

I’m personally not a big fan of the link-in-bio and smart links for music pages like ToneDen and Hyppeddit.

Instead, I prefer having a full-blown WordPress website that allows me to have a full website in addition to unlimited music links.

For getting started with this, I really like Bluehost because it is the cheapest and a theme called Thrive Themes because it is the most flexible and easiest to use.

I’ve actually created a free Smart Links Course that you can take to learn how to get set up and start getting more streams with custom smart links (I’ve even included the templates I am using!).

Want more tools and resources for your music career?

If you’d like to see even more of my favorite marketing tools and resources for musicians and music artists, I’ve created an even larger list on this page: Best Marketing Tools & Resources For Musicians (& Music Artists).

P.S. There are even some free tools and resources included on that page as well! 🙂

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