As artists, most of us don't like the idea of having to "sell ourselves." Most people I talk to feel pretty icky about it. I am, by no means, a manager. However, after a few years of working & discussing with my artist friends, it's clear that one of the hardest struggles is getting people to listen to our music. This applies to all levels. It's why Harry Styles has a manager, publicist, assistant, etc.
With that in mind, I've provided the below list to help anyone trying to release something out into the world. If we're really honest about our desire to make a living doing this creative stuff, we've got to embrace all parts of it. Even the promotional/selling parts.
Sounds easy, difficult to execute. Lots of details go into playing out. Who's in the band, do we sound good, what gear do we need, how will we get there? More importantly, how will we afford to travel, eat, and sleep? It can be intimidating. But, touring is how artists make their money in the modern world. And it's how you meet people who will support your music and buy your merch. So rehearse the hell out of the material and book shows. How do you do that? Well, contacting your community is a good place to start. Your close friends and family will want to help, so tell them your goals and ask them if they know who can help you. There's loads of info on this elsewhere online, so do some searching.
Woo, this is a tough one for most people (myself included). Posting about stuff when we're excited and have a fresh photo from the stu' is easy. Planning what we're going to release and when is another level. Be consistent. If it's just once every two weeks, that's fine. As long as the stuff on your page is always tied into your passions.
For example, when I say: "Billie Eilish" what are one or two word phrases that come to mind? Style. Bright Colors. Sad. The Office. Controversy. Bedroom Recording. Part of the reason we can name these things so quickly is because they are a part of Billie Eilish's passion points. The parts of her outward expression that stand out (good and bad). If what we're posting about is related to what we're passionate about and it's reasonably engaging, there will be people who align with that. And finding people who align with stuff you're about is a great thing. If this feels like too much, start simple, post something once a month and just have it be something that interests you.
Similar to the above point. It's a good idea to think about how the songs will be consumed. It's no small feat, but also simple enough to set up a CDBaby/Distrokid/etc. account and pay the fees to get something on Spotify now. It's hard to get people to listen to it. So, it's important to organize some additional content leading up to and in the days/weeks following your big release. When a movie star goes on late-night television with one of the Jimmy's, it's not just to do funny games. They've got a new movie to promote and we may not quite be at that level, but we could reach out to some specific people in our community to get them interested. Ask them if they are willing to promote the work or give you an opportunity to do it yourself. Get creative here. The more whacky the idea the more likely it will stick in people's memories.
Chiwetel Ejiofor said: "Art is the act of self-expression done in front of other people," and while incredibly fulfilling, it can be incredibly draining. We mustn't give too much of ourselves in the name of "art".
By this I mean, we must take care of our mental and physical health. I'm not going to tell you how to do that nor am I qualified because this is YOUR life. And you get to spend it however you'd like. But I think, if possible, we should enjoy this process while it's happening because we don't get to live it again.