Online music marketing

How to use’s free tools to get more impact from your music marketing efforts.

The means for selling, sharing, and promoting music have moved entirely online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Out of necessity, and almost overnight, musicians have adopted live-streaming, digital advertising, and other forms of online community engagement and marketing.

Since 100% of your audience engagement has been forced online right now, I thought it’d be a good time to remind you that you have access to the same tools used by artists like Maroon 5, Tove Lo, and Oasis to market their music. And as a CD Baby client you get to use them for free! campaigns can be used to:

  • boost streams, follows, saves, and pre-saves on Spotify
  • grow your following on YouTube, Soundcloud, or Twitter
  • build your email list
  • and much more

We’ve covered the anatomy of effective campaigns before, and talked about using pre-saves to get on official Spotify playlists. But below you’ll find some ideas to help you get more impact out of the things you’re probably already doing online during these crazy days of “social distancing.”

Before we get to those specific ideas though, here are a few general tips for creating a successful campaign.

The keys to an effective online marketing campaign

  1. Start with a specific goal. Pick your primary objective. Boost Spotify follows? Grow your email list? You have to know WHAT you’re asking your fans to do (and WHY).
  2. Offer a reward they can’t resist. You’ll need to incentivize your fans to take an action on your behalf. Be realistic. Is the reward worth their time? Does it feel like an itch they NEED to scratch?
  3. Use the right visuals. Think about what kind of design or imagery you respond to online. Make sure the pics you use with your campaign set the right tone.
  4. Write concise copy they can’t ignore. You don’t get very much space for text in your campaigns. That’s on purpose. It forces you to boil your words down to the essentials.

What kind of rewards can you offer in the midst of “social distancing?”

Reveal the details of your next live stream

Got a big live-stream concert you’re promoting? Why not use the interest in that event to achieve another goal at the same time.

With a Social Unlock campaign on you can keep the details of your live-stream secret. Then when someone takes the desired action — such as following you on Spotify or streaming one of your songs for at least 30 seconds — you can “unlock” the secret for them, either by displaying a message or redirecting them to a page that reveals the time, date, and platform for your live-stream.

Send fans to an unlisted form where they can make requests for your next live stream

If you’re doing a lot of live streams, you probably don’t want to keep the details secret like in the idea above. But you can still use to get more out of your live streams.

For the dedicated fans who tune in often and make requests, you can direct them to a campaign that asks them to take an action before they can leave a request. Again, you’d use a Social Unlock campaign, set a goal (subscribe on YouTube, pre-save a song on Spotify, etc.), and then when a fan takes that action they’re sent to a Google form or contact page on your website that lists your repertoire of covers and originals, and gives them a field to make a request.

Unlock a special video message showing what you’re up to during these crazy days

You could shoot a quick, informal video greeting that talks about your new daily routines, your home studio setup, how you’re staying sane, or anything else. Post it to YouTube as an unlisted video, and then use the Social Unlock campaign-type on to redirect fans to that video once they’re taken the desired action.

Share demos or preview recordings you’re working on while stuck at home

The same idea as above, but instead of redirecting to an unlisted YouTube video, you’d send fans to a private Soundcloud player or page on your website.

Enter a contest to win pandemic-related merch items

That probably sounds weird or in poor taste, but I’ve seen some artists making pandemic merch that is perfect for their audience, and we all need a laugh these days, right? Create a “Social Unlock” campaign in, and then when a fan takes the desired action, their name will be added to a CSV file you can download at the end of the campaign in order to choose your winner (at random!!!)

You can use a service like Printful to manufacture and ship print-on-demand products while you’re stuck at home. You won’t make much money using print-on-demand solutions though, so if you know you’ll move the merch, it’s better to use a service like Merchly to order merch in larger volumes.

“Tour (Cancelled)” t-shirts? “Wash Your Hands” buttons? Whatever you can dream up. Just come up with a good design. Order one or two of the items through Printful, or a bunch if going through another merch manufacturer, and then offer them as a contest prize.

Don’t forget to use custom conversion cards to link to Patreon, Kickstarter, etc.

With so many cancelled gigs, a lot of musicians are leaning on crowdfunding right now to stay afloat.

Instead of linking fans directly to YouTube to watch videos, you can build a YouTube campaign page using to feature your videos distraction free! None of those annoying “recommended” videos off to the side. The entire spotlight is on YOUR content, and you can use “conversion cards” (little calls-to-action that appear while the video is playing) to get viewers to visit sites like Patreon where they can directly support your music.


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Share your campaign on social, email, ads, live-streams, and with us!

A good online marketing campaign is a little bit like a good song. Just because it’s good doesn’t mean anyone knows about it. You have to spread the word. So once you’ve got a compelling campaign built, be sure to alert your fans in all the usual places.

We’d love to see your campaigns in action too. Once you’ve launched the campaign, please drop a link in the comments below.