October 19, 2020

Promoting your music in South Africa

promoting your music in south africa

You can make the “best” music possible and regard yourself as a talented artist. But if your music doesn’t reach the right audience, all your recordings and talent will go to waste. Promoting your music is probably the most important thing! I know that I’m not saying anything new here and I’m sure most of you have heard this a million times by now but it bears repeating.

Promoting your music should be your number priority and you have to focus on this chore as if your life depends on it. Before we carry on I just want to state that there are a numerous ways to market your music. But I decided to write and explain this from a South African music industry context. So I’ll mention terms and organizations which you might not be familiar with (that’s if you are non-south African).

However the music industry is structured and operates in a similar fashion irrespective of the country so most of you will relate somehow.

So without wasting any time let’s get into it.

Register with Collection Societies

Before you proceed any further and putting out your music in the public domain, make sure that you register all your material.

By material I’m referring to every song that you have recorded. Say you have two songs recorded and you’re thinking of promoting them online, put that on hold and register with collection societies first (It will save you from a lot of trouble).

In South Africa, all artists should register (highly recommended) their works with SAMRO, CAPASSO and SAMPRA in order to get paid.

I will not explain how these collection societies function on this article since I have covered those topics before.

If you want to know more I would suggest you read the following:

Hire a Radio Plugger

Some Independent artists (and very small labels) prefer to do everything themselves, which is understandable. Because in most cases finances are an issue and marketing doesn’t come cheap.

But promoting your music doesn’t have to be expensive. For example when you hire the services of a Music Plugger or PR Company, you can part with 2000 ZAR per month (Depending on the size of the company).

They will handle most your marketing efforts which includes submitting your music to radio stations (locally and abroad), digital marketing, and photo shoots just to mention a few.

Some of you might say “2000 ZAR is a lot of money”. But it’s not because you are basically buying time while you focus on what you do best – recording and performances.

If you try to “save money” and do it yourself, it will cost time and money which may hinder your progress and affect the quality of music that produce because you would be learning through trial and error.

Get a Distributor

Getting a digital distribution deal in 2020 is much easier than landing a traditional deal for physical format.

You should only look for a distribution when you have a product that is ready to be released to the buying public.

Music distributors are in the business of selling music for a commission. So that means you have to work on building a fan base immediately or followers to market to.

Digital music sales (downloads and streams) don’t pay much until your popularity as an artist increases.

But as an Independent artist if your music is on a Spotify or Apple Music for example it will give you credibility. Your popularity will only increase based on the song and marketing efforts (get a music plugger and don’t rely on inviting your Facebook friends to your fan page).   

Submit your Music to Blogs

Promoting your music on blogs is also one of the most effective ways of reaching the right audience as well as translating that reach into followers and sales.

In South Africa there’s plenty of music blogs which allow Independent artists to submit their music and profile for a feature.

Most of these blogs attract thousands of visitors per day which can work in your favor especially if you are promoting a new single.

For example Slikouronlife website allows aspiring Hip Hop artists to create a profile and upload their music files free of charge.

You can also approach the following Music Blogs for a possible feature:

  • Texx And the City
  • El Broide
  • SA Music News
  • Underground Press
  • SA Music Mag

All the mentioned blogs above cater to different markets. For example, if your genre if Hip hop it wouldn’t make sense to approach Underground Press because their market Rock and Heavy Metal.

Conclusion

When it comes to promoting your music, you shouldn’t do this blindly because you can end up losing both time and money. Of course there is no formula and no guarantee that your strategy will work. But if you can target the right people and keep driving your message across consistently you will increase the probabilities of success.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog post, if you have any thoughts, and opinions please comment below (I will respond).

Thank you for reading