Should You Pay Music Promotion Companies?
Hey guys, welcome to Blue Buzz Music again. So today I wanted to cover whether music promotion companies are a thing. Who doesn’t want to get heard, right?
And here they are, the music promotion services all over the internet, which can make you the next big shot for a few hundred bucks.
You probably know where I am going with this. Even though they seem like a gateway to success, most of the time they are not.
And don’t get me wrong, there are legit services out there, I am sure.
Most of them, however, are scams.
Actually, I shouldn’t be calling them scams. They don’t just take your money and go. That’s not how things are done these days.
Let’s say you are all focused on music and don’t know much about marketing and promotion.
You are told these promotion services manage your Instagram and Spotify, for example. And they sure do. They buy some subscribers and likes, maybe pay for some Spotify plays.
If you are not aware of such things and the fact that they exist, you may think your account is blowing up. Suddenly you get thousands of people “engaging” with your content.
You are happier than ever.
If it’s a monthly subscription kind of company, you will keep seeing small improvements which are just a fraction of a price you paid.
Once you stop paying them, you are pretty much done.
You know what, let’s kind of divide this post into a few sections, so it’s not as plain and boring.
1) Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter Music Promotion.
These are three social media platforms that musicians in the industry use. I am sure there are a bunch of peeps who use Pinterest, Tumblr, and such services just as much, but these are the three main ones.
So let’s say a promotion company or a so-called “Label” claims they will manage your social media. This is usually the most base service you are going to get.
And as I said before, this is not a scam.
Nobody steals from you. They do indeed manage your social media accounts.
There are tons of automation tools for social media. You get automated follows, likes, comments, unfollows, retweets, and a lot more (Jarvee is a good example of an all-in-one social media automation tool).
It takes some time to get the hang of it, but then it’s easy and smooth.
I have to admit there are tons of them on the market, and it takes the time to find the one that works for you.
There are also limits on how many people you can follow, like, etc. depending on how old/popular/engaging your account is.
I don’t know what the number is, and no one does. If someone tells you they have figured this out, he/she is probably selling you something.
To be safe, you start small and keep increasing the numbers every week or so.
What is scraping? Well, it’s kind of a process when you use a tool (a scraper, duh) to get a list of accounts based on specific criteria in bulk.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say you make EDM music and look for EDM fans. You go to Major Laser’s profile and go to his followers’ list. It’s over 3.5 millions as of now.
You don’t need to scrape all of them. It will take you forever to follow or even like every single person on the list. Moreover, some of the accounts are fake, and others are dead.
Therefore, you need to use the filter.
If you are a small producer, might as well filter out anyone with 10k+ followers, as they probably won’t follow you back.
Then filter out people who follow 5k+ or even 2k+ accounts, as they won’t ever see your post so that you won’t get any engagement whatsoever. If they only follow ten people, they probably won’t follow you.
Filter them out.
You probably want the accounts you follow to have more than ten followers also, as those are mostly bots/dead accounts.
And none of these numbers are written in stone. I used my common sense when typing these numbers down. They are definitely different for everyone.
They will also change all the time, as your account grows.
Some services will do scraping automatically, and they are the easiest to use for the beginners. Others will allow you to tweak the settings and filters a lot more but are more complicated. It’s all about how much time you have to spare.
The services start at around $10 and go up in price as more accounts are added.
SMM (Social Media Marketing) Panels
These are services that can jack your numbers up. Let’s call it “Fake it till you make it.”
They offer a lot of services for pretty much any social media out there. In this section, we are talking about Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook in particular.
You can buy likes, shares, retweets, followers, and pretty much anything on these websites. They can be used to kick-start your new account, so it looks more appealing and legit to people, but be careful. First, it’s against the ToS of all social media platforms. Not like they investigate each spike in every account’s activity, but still.
Try to make it look natural.
You should also realize that all the engagement you buy is rarely the real engagement, no matter what the description of the service says.
There is a chance you can go viral when buying thousands of likes, but more often than not, you won’t.
You can’t trick the algorithm, but you can trick people. Not necessarily the most honest/fair method, but it’s being used by more people than you can imagine.
You’ve probably heard Kim K and Justin Bieber losing few millions of followers after the last major IG update. It wasn’t them who bought the followers, but their social media managers and promoters.
If the world famous people use them, why can’t you? Exactly, you can!
Just a little example for you.
Don’t go crazy with all the likes and follows. I know a guy who was at like 1k and the next week he is at 20k.
I look at his subscribers, and they all look fake. You can tell once you’ve been doing this for a while. I messaged him, and he said he went viral.
At 20k subscribers, he also had around 70k views on the snippets of his music videos and 50k likes on his photos. No matter who features you, even the biggest IG accounts, you won’t get this type of engagement.
I’ve been looking into the music marketing industry for a while, so I know it’s a tricky industry to be in.
It’s impossible to argue with someone over the internet. And most people will believe he went viral indeed. He can technically sell shoutouts to newbies now and bank on the fact they are so innocent and trusting.
Not a good or fair thing to do, but that’s how some people roll. So be aware, ok?
Alright, I took my time here. Just a critical thing to know.
2) Youtube Music Promotion
Promoting your music with YouTube is another thing you may get offered. Let’s say you have a track recorded, mixed, and mastered.
Maybe it’s your first track, and you don’t have any music distribution services set up yet.
The obvious choice is YouTube.
And this music promotion company you looked up on Google claims to make your music video/lyric video to go viral. Or something similar, you know?
Can you trust them?
Well, it depends.
The first warning sign will be for them to have a set fee. It means they don’t even want to listen to your track or look at your music/lyrics video and see if it’s worth promoting.
In this case, they will probably just send views and likes your way from an above mentioned social media panel.
Some of them will stick, some of them won’t. Don’t be surprised when you find out that 90% of your views/likes have disappeared after a couple of months.
These kind of services are usually relatively cheap and don’t require any work from you. All they need is a link usually.
If you think you can monetize your videos this way, you are mistaking. If you have a partnership with YouTube and your monetization enabled on the video, you have to be careful.
You can jack up the views, and no one will care too much, but if these are monetizable videos, you can get in trouble.
People pay a lot of money to advertise on Youtube and Youtube has to take a lot of precautions.
As a result of going with a budget music promotion company, you can get both your AdSense and Youtube accounts banned.
Be cautious and careful, that’s all I am trying to say.
3) Playlist Placement
Ok, this one is a little complicated.
Look, there are hundreds if not thousands of playlist that can make your song popular. Not viral, but popular.
I know DJ Akademiks, Adam 22, and Gary Vee have very popular playlists where they add young artists’ tracks daily or weekly. These playlists are curated by a legit team and are marketed quite well.
If you get on one of those, you will get a few listens and mentions on social media.
I wouldn’t be surprised if in a lot of cases you will have to pay a decent fee to get on a big curated playlist like that.
Back when I released my first track, I remember myself searching for playlists to get a placement on. Some will want me to pay even to be considered to get on one. Others would have so-called “curator” who will listen to the track and suggest how to improve it and make it better.
This is a classic money-making scheme. You pay $10+ to hear that you need to mix your percussions with your melody better. I mean it took him a few minutes to conclude that.
And a lot of the times the advice you get is vaguer than anything.
Hundreds of young artists submit their music for a small fee, and you have to point out something that you personally dislike in the song. A dream job, isn’t it?
This kind of services is not something you should look into, because they make money by just telling you how to improve your track. The music taste is subjective, and you can’t call it good or bad just based on your taste.
Therefore, it’s a waste of money in my opinion.
The third type of playlists is what I call fake playlists. You get a guy who messages you on IG about a playlist placement. And it’s only $70-$300. Wow, that’s your chance to become the next Drake, isn’t it?
Well, there are a few things to consider.
First, you look at the songs on the playlist. I got an offer from a guy, and he just had top 40 songs in his playlist. No other aspiring musicians whatsoever.
And the playlist has around 5k followers. Why would you follow a playlist with just top 40 songs if you hear them on the radio all the time anyway?
Then I looked into that, and apparently, you can buy Spotify playlist followers for reasonably cheap.
So can I call it a scam? Well, I would’ve gotten the placement on the playlist, so technically I can’t.
Will it increase my ratings/stats/engagement?
Definitely not. Even back in the days, with no Internet, there were sketchy peeps. Now it’s easier than ever to scam honest and trusting. Stay safe, my fellows!
4) Big Music Blogs
Look, getting featured on TMZ or WorldStar can change your music career. However, there is also a chance it won’t do a thing.
I happen to follow them on both IG and Twitter, and they post A LOT. And by a lot I mean they can tweet over 100 tweets a day, for example. If you think appearing in one of them will change your life, you are mistaking.
It would be cool and all, but the ROI will likely be negative.
Some services on the Internet offer article placements on Forbes, BuzzFeed, Medium, and so many more big-name websites.
It can give you some exposure, but the prices can go up to $2000+. Therefore, you have to be kind of smart.
Even if you are ready to spend a lot to get famous, you have to be smart. And some of the services are not very legit either.
Let me give you an example.
We all know Forbes. It also has a lot of subdomains with a lot less traffic and exposure, but they are still considered to be a part of Forbes.
When you pay to be featured there, you may just appear on a small Forbes subdomain no one has ever heard of. And then all you can do is put a little banner on your website that you’ve been featured on Forbes.
Kind of sad, you know. So be proactive and do your research before paying!
Conclusion: Should You Pay To Music Promotion Companies?
Okay, I feel like this post wasn’t entirely about music promotion companies. It’s more of “Why pay triple or more for a service if you can do it yourself?” That’s kind of what I tried to explain.
The four types of the most famous promotions do work, but there are a lot of people who won’t sell what you are looking for. As I said before, they likely won’t scam you, but boost your stats for a period of time.
These days everyone focuses on numbers, and we tend to overanalyze things.
And we all want the result fast, right?
Well, no one is going to make you Kanye West famous, even for $100k. I mean they can sure try, but it’s not going to be an easy task for either them or you.
Just kind of keep going slowly and learn things as you go. Try one promotion method and see if it works. If it doesn’t, just move on, don’t waste more time.
At this point, you have to test quite a few things before you find what works for you.
Ok, let me give you an example.
If you like people and you are not self-conscious and stuff, you can do more live streaming on IG and add a lot more vlog kind of stories.
If you are more of an introvert, you are likely to post your music a lot more. You can also write bigger posts.
Okay, please tell me it wasn’t a poor example! I did my best!
Anyways, this is everything for today. Do a little research for yourselves, and start promoting! If you haven’t put together your music studio just yet, go check out my guide on how to build a home studio on a budget.