Holiday music promo tips20% of industry-wide music sales take place in the last six weeks of the year.

30% of music sales on CD Baby happen during that same period.

And yet most independent musicians let the holiday season slip by without doing a few simple things that could make a big difference in their own music sales.

I get it; there’s a lot going on — and really, all you want to do is rest up and get ready for the new year.

But if you’re looking to amp your download, CD, vinyl, merch, and  ticket sales before the end of 2013, here’s a list of easy promo tips for the holiday season.

A Quick music promotion checklist for the holidays

1. Email your fanbase

It seems simple enough, but often gets overlooked: EMAIL, the most effective online marketing tool. Gently remind your fans about your music, where it’s available for purchase, and why it’d make a great gift. If you’re worried about seeming “sales-y,”  you can include this info as part of a larger email announcing shows, new videos, albums, special holiday singles, etc.

To learn how to create an email newsletter that will drive more engagement and boost sales this holiday season, check out “5 tips for sending better holiday emails.”

2. Record a holiday single

It might sound like a hokey idea, but hey, the Beatles put out holiday singles almost every Christmas and it certainly didn’t hurt their career. Record your favorite holiday song and, for just $12.95, upload it to CD Baby for worldwide distribution.

You could also make it an exclusive track on your website; give it away; create holiday-themed Spotify or YouTube playlists which feature your track; or email the song as a special offer to people who purchase your albums. Fans will get a kick out of it and they’ll be reminded of your music in general, thus planting the seed for gifting your albums.

Before you record and release a holiday song, check out which tunes are in the public domain and which songs are still copyrighted. Download our FREE guide, “Christmas Songs in the Public Domain (and those that aren’t).

3. Create videos for YouTube

You don’t have to be Bing Crosby or Aimee Mann to make compelling Holiday videos. With affordable camcorder and iPhone technology you can easily create a video for your holiday song, refresh your regular video content with some updated material, or film a quick holiday greeting. Link viewers directly to your CD Baby artist page.

4. Change out those tired old links

If you’ve been using the same graphic hyperlink images forever, maybe it’s time to enliven your websites and social media profiles with a new look. Check out CD Baby’s MusicStore on Facebook and Music Store Widget.

You could even enlist your design-oriented friends to help you make some holiday-themed images for your links, or to upload as the banner image for your MusicStore on Facebook.

Also, make sure all of the links you’ve got out there on the internet are still active.

5. Stock up so your customers don’t have their holiday gifts waiting on backorder

Make sure you have enough stock of CDs, T-shirts, download cards, etc. to meet demand. Don’t be scrambling last minute to fill orders that people are going to want in-hand before the holiday season. Just need a few discs printed up? Check out CD Baby’s short run duplication service.

6. Download cards make great gifts

They’re small, light, and come customized with your album art — perfect for stocking stuffers! Also, there are a number of promotional uses for download cards. You could do a Twitter contest and use them as prizes to generate excitement for your music around the holiday season. Give them to particularly awesome fans. Or bundle them with your regular CDs so the buyer can share your music with someone new. Click HERE to purchase download cards of your music.

7. Book your holiday shows early

Don’t get left out in the cold. There are plenty of high-paying holiday events that need live music. Holiday parties, tree lighting ceremonies, church services, library events, etc. Find an existing event that needs music, or book your own holiday show.

Or just play a regular, non-holiday show. December is a very slow month for music journalists and they tend to have less interesting news to cover, so it is also the perfect month to book a big CD release show and get some press coverage during their downtime.

8. Leverage social networks

Social networks are the perfect place to get people talking about your music. Make sure your fans know they can purchase your music right there on Facebook using CD Baby’s MusicStore on Facebook. Share some of your own personal picks for the season and recommend music by other bands you love. Stir a little excitement with a giveaway contest. Encourage fan involvement. Remember, social networks are most effective when you converse with your followers, so don’t just shout at them like a desperate street vendor.

9. Offer a “buy one, get one free” deal

Use CD Baby’s quantity discount to encourage fans to buy two discs for the price of one. Then they’ll have a gift for someone on their list, too. If they’re remotely interested in purchasing your music in the first place, this bargain could close the deal.

10. Run a limited-time holiday sale

Announce to your email list and social networking friends that from now through the holidays you’ll be selling your CDs and vinyl on CD Baby for a reduced cost. Then, after the holidays, just go back into your account and raise the price again.


Check out more tips in CD Baby’s Holiday Planning Guide.

How do you boost your music sales during the holidays? Let us know in the comments section below.

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[Snowflake note image from Shutterstock.]