Music video

How to make people want to listen to your music [Video]

There are a million songs written on just about every subject imaginable, so why should anyone care about your music?

by James Shotwell of Haulix

Music is all about who you know. If you don’t know anyone, like most people at first, you better be good at building relationships and selling yourself. It doesn’t matter if you’re showcasing music or your talent as a professional, no one will care unless you give them a reason to pay attention. You don’t know how? Carefree. I can help.

There are countless ways to get noticed in 2022, but most would agree that playlists are the primary way people discover new music. Whether it’s through algorithmic picks like those curated by Spotify or an influencer’s trusted taste, placement on the right playlist can change any artist’s career overnight.

But there is a problem. Everyone wants to be on reading lists, which means curators are inundated with requests for inclusion. Big name talent often has little or no trouble being heard, but what about regular musicians? How can emerging talent stand out from the overwhelming competition?

Your story is unique, but you have to know how to sell your story for tastemakers to understand this.

Every day, in offices and remote workspaces around the world, playlist curators and industry gatekeepers sift through countless artists’ songs in hopes that they’ll give them one of the very limited spaces available on editorial playlists. Some likemakers who specialize in mood-themed playlists may hear over a hundred or more tracks with a similar theme or story in a single day.

If you want to be the ONE song that stands out from the competition, you need to master two factors:

  1. The song must be GOOD. Obviously.
  2. You have to sell the heck out of this song.

The first part is up to you. As for the second part:

The only thing that separates your story of wanting to leave home and all the other dreamers is how you sell it to someone else.

Start by breaking down your song into the simplest possible description.

“My song is about growing up in a small town and waiting to escape.”

Great! We have a relevant perspective that millions, if not billions, can easily recognize.

The only problem is, everyone has a song about wanting to leave their hometown.

If you want to attract playlist curators, trend setters, or anyone else, you need to be more specific.

Let’s start with the “why” of it all. WHY do you want to leave your hometown?

“My song is about growing up in a small town and waiting to escape because I have big dreams.”

It’s better. You’ve narrowed the target audience slightly, but you’ve also gotten closer to your true market.

Let’s add another detail, maybe explore WHAT made us want to leave our hometown. Was it our family, the community or something more existential? It could be all three!

“My song is about growing up in a conservative small town and how no one, not even my family members, can understand your ambitions for a life outside the village limits.”

The importance of your song and your perspective on life increases exponentially with every detail we add to our story. Those same details attract entertainment gatekeepers and inspire countless passive listeners to seek out your music more.

With a little effort, our song about growing up in a small town and waiting to escape can be sold as an epic tale of wanderlust and misadventure inspired by unfortunate but relatable circumstances.

“My song is about growing up in a conservative small town and how no one, not even my family members, can understand your ambitions for a life outside the village limits. It’s about taking advantage of the opportunities that arise. offer to you and explore them. Sometimes we will fail, but that’s okay because failure is part of the journey. What’s most important, to me, is that we try in the first place.

A few things to keep in mind when building your selling power:

  1. You are already a storyteller. Your music proves it. Don’t let the lack of music make you lose confidence. The story you tell is yours (or the one you made up). No one can sell it better than you.
  2. Storytelling is a skill that you keep developing. It will take time to build good pitches, but it’s worth it.
  3. As you refine your story, always look for new angles to promote your single. Perhaps the song elicits a very specific feeling or reaction from the listener. If so, there’s probably a playlist for that.
  4. Not all stories are created equal, and neither is the recipient. You may need to develop multiple pitches for a single song to maximize its reach.

Reading list is the way of the future. Taking time out of your schedule now to develop and hone your pitching skills will speed up the promotion process down the line. Good luck, and if you have any questions, email [email protected] for advice.

James Shotwell is Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a known speaker for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His signatures include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.