Garrett Breeze

Selling Sheet Music Podcast, Ep. 5: 100 Ways to Market, Advertise, and Promote Sheet Music

NUMBER ONE. Create a webpage that will serve as the main hub for all your music. This is important for a couple of reasons. The most obvious is if everything is under one link, it’s easier to share, but also with all of your titles in one place, you have an easier time setting up Google analytics and getting some more data on who is visiting and when they’re visiting.  And so you can use that data to help plan your marketing and your advertising in the future. If you’re selling original compositions, you want to sell those directly through your website. That way you don’t have to split profits with anyone and you get all the customer data that goes with it. But even if you’re selling arrangements, you still want to create a product page for that on your website, and then link to arrange me or music notes or wherever the title’s available. That way you still get looped into some of those analytics. And again, you have all your music in one place it’s really easy to share.

NUMBER TWO is to make a thorough product page for each title you’re selling. Think of it like the homepage for your product. So you want to have the product description. You want to have all, all the information about the piece that’s necessary for the customer to decide if they want to buy it. But you also want to include a thorough description of the background of the piece and what was your inspiration and maybe some performance tips to go with it. Um, you know, this is a longer, more in depth. Look at a piece that might not make sense on a traditional product page, but since it’s your own website, um, and it’s, you know, the main source for that piece, um, giving people more background is gonna help them be more connected to the piece. And it’s going to give search engines more to crawl through and, um, tag to your piece. The other thing you wanna make sure is that all of the recordings and videos that you have of that piece are embedded in the page that way. Um, it really truly is the source of all information about this piece. It might also even make sense to list recent performances of that piece.  Um, so people can get a sense for how it’s traveled and how it’s been used.

NUMBER THREE is to research the key words for your niche to optimize product descriptions and SEO. Um, this isn’t a glamorous one, certainly, but you wanna make sure that you are aware of the search terms that people are gonna use to find your piece, and you want to make sure that you’re using those, um, in your website and in your product descriptions.

NUMBER FOUR is to share your music or start a conversation on Reddit. I’ve started to see some articles and commentary lately about how Reddit is actually climbing in importance relative to Google search results, because, um, you know, people are on there having genuine conversations and talking about things. And so that gives you a lot of information in a place that’s easy to find. So you can start a new thread, or maybe you can see what’s already on there. Maybe there’s already one for piano music and you happen to write piano music and you can drop in and suggest some things and be part of that conversation.

NUMBER FIVE is to search for blogs or networking sites that are specific to your field. I’ll give you an example. I write a lot of choral music and ACDA has a great blog that they’ve created called choral.net. And they have a form where you can submit announcements and events and other things, and they shoot it out to their email list every day. And so that’s a great way to get information in front of people.

NUMBER SIX is to set up an email newsletter. This is a great way to stay in contact with people that have purchased your music in the past or connections you’ve made. And, um, we could probably do a whole episode of the podcast on this at some point, but there’s lots of information out there online. You can sign up with a service like MailChimp. You can collect email addresses through your website and you can send out, you know, weekly or monthly updates as you have new music available or new events that you want people to know about.

NUMBER SEVEN is to set up your LinkedIn page. Now that maybe doesn’t sound like a particularly useful thing, especially for those of us that are self-employed musicians. But if you go on Google right now and search my name, the number five result is my LinkedIn profile. Even though I haven’t looked at that thing in almost a year, it’s ranking higher than my Facebook page, where I’m posting things almost every day, certainly every week. And so that just gives you an idea of how having your information on certain sites can still be valuable to you, even if it’s not necessarily music related

NUMBER EIGHT if you can claim your artist profiles on streaming platforms and IMDB, if you have released recordings of music as an independent artist and they’re on streaming platforms right now, there is probably a way for you to get access to your artist pages on Spotify, on apple music, on Amazon music. I use distro kid to get my recordings out there. And distro kid has a whole, uh, FAQ page about how to do that. But again, my Spotify artist page shows up a lot higher than my sheet music pages. Uh, even though I don’t have as many recordings just because Spotify is such a massive thing. And Google ranks that as being extremely valuable, um, same thing goes with IMDB. If you’ve ever worked on a film or a TV show or a video game, and you’ve gotten credited before, uh, you should be able to get an IMDB page. And again, that’s gonna show up on that first page of Google results, even if you’re maybe not necessarily doing things currently in that field. So it’s a way of establishing credibility because when people search you, they’re gonna see your name pop up on these well-established well-respected sites, but it’s also a way for you to, um, claim your online presence and control your online presence a little more, even if you’re not posting sheet music to those sites, you can still keep your bio page up to date. And it’s just a way to make sure that when people do find you on one of those platforms, the information they’re getting is current and up to date,

NUMBER NINE work towards getting a Google knowledge panel. Now you have to be a little more established for this to happen, but the Google knowledge panels, that little box that shows up, um, on the side with suggested ideas of content and for a lot of artists, especially if you’re signed to a label or if you’ve got music released, um, in sort of traditional print, um, publishing, you know, you might have enough content out there to satisfy Google’s algorithms where it automatically gives you, um, a knowledge panel. And so if you do have that, um, that’s something where you can claim it. You can verify that you are you, and then you can again, make sure that the, the links that Google is showing are the most accurate and the most up to date, um, as they can be

NUMBER 10 is to take advantage of URL Shorteners like Bitly to make sure that your links look clean when you share them. Um, it’s kind of off putting to people if you share links and it’s like, garrettbreeze.com/store/product/christmas/you know, the title of the song. But with Bitly, you can shorten that down to, you know, just a string of letters and numbers. And it it’s a lot more concise, especially when you’re sharing it in an email or social media. I know a lot of people, they just see a long, uh, webpage. And even if they know you and trust you, it might make them feel a little bit uneasy about clicking on it.

NUMBER 11 you can pin your content on Pinterest. You can share links to specific songs, or you can pin your content along with other people’s content and curate, um, a collection of things. And for certain genres of music, um, you know, your audience is probably on Pinterest. So that’s something to look into.

NUMBER 12 keep your email signature up to date with announcements and links to music. That’s a great way to keep awareness up. And that’s a great way to get links in front of people without being obnoxious and overbearing. So right now, if you get an email from me, you get my name, contact info links to social media sites. You get a link to this podcast and you get a link to an album of Christmas music. I just put out, it’s almost like a billboard, right? It’s space, that’s there that you’re gonna be using anyway. And so why not put a reminder that you exist and that you write sheet music on there. And even if the content of the email is not about that, maybe someone sees it.

NUMBER 13 is to write a blog on your webpage about a related topic that brings in additional traffic. So if you’re writing piano music, you could start a blog about, you know, how to teach little kids, piano, or how to tune pianos or something related to pianos. That way you’re bringing in additional traffic to the website of people that would also be potentially interested in your music. It’s a more organic way of doing it. You know, people don’t like being spammed at constantly, but they might be searching for an answer to a question, come across your website and then look at the music you have available. This is something we touch on a little bit in the second episode of this podcast. So go back and check that out. It’s the interview with Jacob ting on websites and SEO. And there’s some interesting things in there that I think will be helpful.

NUMBER 14 is to write articles for blogs and publications in your niche. So depending on what you’re doing, there may be forums or magazines or popular blogs that are focused on a specific topic. And you can take advantage of the traffic going to those websites to promote yourself. And typically there’s a little bit of cross-promotion going on with a lot of these things, right? You know, if you write for me, I’ll write for you and we’ll help each other. That kind of a thing.

NUMBER 15 is to start a podcast or be a guest on a podcast that’s related to the kind of music you’re writing that’s case in point, what I’m doing right now. I write a lot of choir music, and I know that choral directors often arrange for their own groups. So I’m giving them the information about how to get their music out there. And they’re gonna listen to this podcast and go, gee, I wanna check out Garrett’s music and buy all of it.

NUMBER 16 write an ebook that you can share as a download in exchange for emails or subscribers. That’s something that I do as well. If you go to Garrett breeze.com, I’ve got an ebook that’s called teaching arranging in the choral classroom. So choir directors can put in their email, download that, use it in their classrooms to teach arranging. Then a really great way to start conversations with people. I’m sure you can probably tell from all the ads that you get online, but educational material is really popular. Online. A lot of people are searching for how to do things online. And so if there’s a way you can contribute to that, it’s a great way to build up a following and connect with people naturally, rather than just sort of constantly spamming them by my stuff, by my stuff, by my stuff.

NUMBER 17 create an online lesson course teaching about something related to your niche. This is similar, but a different format, maybe instead of a PDF download, it’s a series of videos behind a paywall, or maybe it’s something you share through a Dropbox link, or maybe it’s a series of webpages. They click through the format, depends on how you wanna teach and what you’re teaching, but that’s just another way to get your content out there.

NUMBER 18, host a webinar or an online class about something you’re passionate about. The reasons for doing this are similar to the last two, but the advantages you get that face to face, um, communication with somebody, you get to know them better. You get to connect with them rather than simply just giving them a download or a link.

NUMBER 19, you can write articles on LinkedIn. Maybe you don’t want to go to the bother of setting up a website or committing to posting regularly on a blog, but occasionally you can write an article for LinkedIn and you have a decent chance of getting traffic, because again, the site is so popular and you can include links to that in your social media profiles and that sort of thing.

NUMBER 20, you can create score preview videos where listeners can hear the recording and follow along in the score. These are really popular on YouTube. A lot of the major publishers do it as a way for people to preview the music without having to hassle with downloads and watermarks and all that sort of stuff, which is a conversation for a different day.

NUMBER 21, you can make a tutorial video demonstrating how to play part of a song that you wrote.

NUMBER 22, turn the camera around, film a video of yourself, talking about the piece, giving the background, how you wrote it, some tips for performing it. This can be a really neat thing, especially if your music is being written for educational purposes or being performed by school ensembles, because it can give you a chance to educate more about the music and it can give students a chance to learn more about you and connect with the composer.

NUMBER 23, you can film a video, performing your music or somebody else performing your music.

NUMBER 24, you can use stock footage to create music, videos, or lyric videos for a song that you’ve written.

NUMBER 25. You can take all of these full length videos that we’ve been talking about and chop them up into smaller segments that you can share as tos, reels or shorts. It’s an easy way to get more content. And it’s an easy way to use the same material on multiple platforms.

NUMBER 26, you can create a promo video to tease an upcoming release. You can kind of follow that movie trailer format and, and, and maybe reveal a date that something’s going to be happening or give hints as to what it is to build excitement. Most of the time, it’s going to be easier to share a playlist of multiple songs than a bunch of individual links.

NUMBER 27 is to turn your demo reel into a video. Most composers have something called a demo reel. They used to be CDs. Now they’re playlists, or maybe they’re single audio files that contain examples of a variety of music that they can use to show a potential client, the range of their abilities. That same format works really well for advertising sheet music, especially if you’re consistent in publishing for a specific instrument or style. It’s also a great ad for short attention spans. Think of it this way. If you only had 30 seconds to convince somebody to buy your music, what would you show them? Figure out whatever that is, splice it together, and then put that audio file to video and upload it to YouTube, Facebook and all these other video platforms.

NUMBER 28, organize your videos into playlists, according to product category, instrumentation, genre, or other factors that make sense. It’s a convenient way to share multiple songs. And there’s lots of creative ways that you can combine your videos with other people’s videos and collaborate with people and just reach them in a different way.

NUMBER 29, take advantage of live streaming. You can do this on Twitch. You can do this on Facebook, on YouTube. There’s lots of different ways to get out there. And there’s lots of different ways you can use it. If you’ve got a following, you could use live streaming as a way to talk to people. In real time, you could show the behind the scenes of how you write music or how you perform music. Maybe you’re at a rehearsal and you wanna post a live video just to give an update on how things are going. There’s lots of different ways that you can take advantage of live streaming. And if you’re strategic about it, you can also connect it to sheet music.

NUMBER 30 is to create a music visualizer video. They’re a little bit easier to make than a music video, because it pretty much stays on the same image, but then there’s stuff pixelating and moving around it. That still makes it a little more interesting to watch.

NUMBER 31 is to make a YouTube reading session for those of you that don’t know, uh, a lot of music, educator conferences have these things called reading sessions, where the presenters have selected a number of recommended songs, and they bring samples of the music with them, and everybody sits there and sings it together. So if you’re at a choral director’s convention, you’ve got, you know, 30, 40 choir directors sitting in the audience. They each get a packet of scores and they take an hour and they just sing through all of these pieces of music. And that’s a really common way for people to decide on rep that they’re going to perform during the year. You can follow a similar format on YouTube, where you could make an hour long video where you’re presenting. I don’t know, 10 different pieces. You’re introducing the piece. You’re talking about it. Then you’re playing and recording. You’re introducing a piece. You’re talking about it. You’re playing and recording.

NUMBER 32 is to host a video contest. So there’s a couple of different ways you could do this, but the basic premise is you get your followers to record videos of them, performing your music and sharing it to social media. You can have prizes, you can make a playlist with all the submitted videos. Um, you can get everybody to share the videos that they made, and that just spreads awareness about your music.

NUMBER 33 is to use cards and end screens on YouTube. Those are the little boxes that pop up and say, click here to buy this song or check out this playlist of other music.  And that’s a way to steer listeners in a particular direction.

NUMBER 34, create social media pages for your publishing company. You wanna make sure they’re business pages that gives you additional analytics and tools that you can use to keep track of engagement. You wanna make sure that the branding is consistent among the different platforms, and you wanna make sure that if possible you’re using the same name. So for example, my handle that I use for my social media platforms is breeze tunes. You can go to youtube.com/breezetunes, instagram.com/breezetunes, facebook.com/breezetunes. And that always gets you to me.

NUMBER 35, make sure every webpage and social media account that you have links to each other. I made this a separate item on the list because it’s a lot of work. Each platform’s a little different. You have to go through the profile settings and fill in all your information. But the principle is you just wanna make sure that all the information is there so that when people want to find out more about you and about your music, it’s easy for them to get that information.

NUMBER 36, you can create Facebook groups for your music. I’ll be honest. I had about given up on Facebook until a couple years ago. I discovered how much was going on in groups. There’s groups for church musicians, groups for piano, musicians, groups for music educators and the content that’s getting posted. There is much better than what I was seeing on just my regular timeline. So depending on what you do, it may make sense for you to have a Facebook group that you invite followers into. And that can be a place where you’re a little more spammy, I suppose, because you know, everybody’s interested in music, but it’s also a little bit easier of a place to have a conversation. So if you’re specialty is writing saxophone music, you could create a group for saxophone players and you can talk about all sorts of things, but it helps narrow the focus and really any way that you can build a community around what you’re doing as a musician is a good thing.

NUMBER 37, you can create header and banner graphics that announce a new project. You can change your profile images, your head, or images to some kind of graphic that announces the date of a new release or a new arrangement that you’ve done. Um, you can make those really easily on canvas. Um, I talk about that in episode three of the podcast, um, it’s a webpage where you can make an image resize, it use templates, um, use custom layouts. It’s a really easy way to just get images and content for social media. And it’s just a different way to post about things on Facebook, right? Rather than doing that, hi everyone, please check out this link. Um, you, you know, anytime you update something about your page that automatically spits out a notification on the people’s feeds. And so it’s just a different way of getting that message across

NUMBER 38 is the most obvious one, but you can share links to your music on social media, you write a new piece, you put it on your website, you share the link for people to buy.

NUMBER 39 is to share a picture of your music printed out and artfully displayed. This is more of an Instagram thing probably, but I don’t know you clean your desk. You lay out your sheet music, you know, maybe it’s about Christmas. And so you’ve got the elf on the shelf and you’ve got some missile toe and or some Christmas lights, which you make it look appealing.

NUMBER 40 is to set up a shop on Facebook and Instagram. If you have an official business page, this is something you can do to sell products. And you can actually link to MusicNotes to JW pepper, to Sheetmusicplus, to your personal website, wherever you want people to go, you can link to that through Facebook. And it’s just another way of providing the option to people. It also helps with the Facebook algorithm because they’re more likely to promote a Facebook store than they are some external link. And so you can tag the product that’s in the Facebook store, in your post. And Facebook sees that and they like that.

NUMBER 41 is to create an image or a graphic for each piece that you publish. It’s basically posting a link to new music, but there’s a picture with it.

NUMBER 42, you can create memes related to your music. This is one way to get more followers to your page, because if you come up with something clever enough, maybe people share it and then they like it. And then they like your page. Or you can invite them to like your page

NUMBER 43. You can have a giveaway for new followers on social media, or you can have a post. And everybody who likes the post gets entered into a drawing to win a free t-shirt or whatever it happens to be

NUMBER 44. When sharing arrangements of popular songs, you can tag the original artist and post about it, whether or not the artist responds to your post, who knows, but it’s another way of engaging people.

NUMBER 45, share an image of your workspace. This is kind of that office of the day, hashtag that you see people like getting a glimpse behind the curtain, and it might be interesting for them to see how you do what you do.

NUMBER 46, you can live tweet a performance or behind the scenes moment. This is something that really only works on Twitter, but you can sort of post regular updates of something as it’s happening. Maybe you’re getting ready to go on stage at a concert, or maybe you’re finishing up a piece and you can kind of give the play by play of what’s happening as that’s going on.

NUMBER 47, share the social media post of anyone performing your music. This is self-explanatory, but if such and such an orchestra is going to perform one of your compositions and they share a post about it, you share that post it’s mutually beneficial because you are getting exposed to their audience and they’re getting exposed to your audience.

NUMBER 48 is to use a service like link tree that lets you fit multiple links easily into social media bios. This is especially useful on Instagram, where there’s not as much space in that bio to put, put links so you can put one link and then when they click on it, it brings up a bunch of stuff, whatever you want, really, but it can be your YouTube channel. It can be a specific product on sheet music, plus it can be your personal website. It can be your Twitter page. It can be all sorts of different things.

NUMBER 49, jump on viral music trends as they happen. Maybe it’s a song on TikTok, or maybe it’s a show on Netflix that uses a song that blows up. If you can get an arrangement out quickly, you can take advantage of all the buzz going on, you know, back in the pandemic. When everybody got into C shanties, if I had been smart enough to publish a couple of C shanties, I would’ve made a ton of money, but I wasn’t that smart. And you know, this is one of the main true advantages that self-publishers have over, um, traditional print outlets, because there’s a much shorter turnaround time to get anything done. I could decide tomorrow, I’m going to arrange a song and have it online. By the end of the day, with a traditional print music publisher, it’s gonna take them 3, 6, 9 months to get music out there. And by the time they do that viral trend is likely to have passed.

NUMBER 50, share links to music and Facebook groups. We talked before about why you should create your own groups, but take a look at what groups are out there. And if there’s one that makes sense, or if there’s one that’s for a specific audience that you’re trying to reach, see what the kind of content that’s being posted there. And more likely than not, there’s gonna be a couple of groups where you can share your music. A lot of them will have rules. Like maybe self-promotion is okay, but only once a week or once a month. So you just kind of have to scope things out. First,

NUMBER 51, respond to requests for recommendations in Facebook groups. There are a lot of groups where people will get on and ask for ideas. I’m in a bunch of choral director groups and people are getting on there all the time, asking for certain things. Maybe they need a concert opener, or maybe they need a piece for a veteran’s day concert. And if you have something that fits what they’re looking for, then you can jump in and comment and share your music. And it’s not spammy. You’re actually helping someone.

NUMBER 52, ask questions and start conversations. I know that’s kind of vague. I know that’s kind of general, but it’s important to remember that social media is not about just shouting into the void. You want to start conversations with people. You want to learn things about people. Your business word of the day is engagement. When you have more people commenting and liking your post, the little algorithm robots will see that and be more likely to share it with other people. So that’s going to increase your reach as well.

NUMBER 53, hold a live Q & A. You can do this on Twitter. You can do it in a Facebook group, but you can just say, you know, Hey everybody, tomorrow, I’m gonna be here from 12 to one. You can ask me anything and you can make yourself available to have conversations with people in real time.

NUMBER 54, look for ways to use hashtags. This is gonna be more important on Instagram probably than other platforms, but most of them use hashtags in one way or another. You can create your own hashtags and ask your fans to use them. But you can also look at what’s trending and try to jump in on the conversation. Popular artists will be trending a lot of the time. So if Lizzo is in the news and Lizzo is trending and she’s got a hashtag and you’ve got an arrangement of Lizzo, you can jump in on that conversation. It’s also a way to categorize your posts so that when people are searching, it’s more likely to pop up. That’s the thing on Instagram, where you see a post and then there’s that.dot dot. And then there’s like 30 different hashtags. There’s probably a lot more to dig into there, but I’m really not an expert. When it comes to hashtags. I just know you’re supposed to do it.

NUMBER 55, create photo albums to share on Facebook or Instagram. This could be a collection of behind the scenes images. It could be a collection of pictures from a concert, or it could be that infographic style of posting. This is something you see in content marketing as well. Like the first episode of this podcast was the eight ways to start a self-publishing business. And so what I did is I made a post on Facebook that was a photo album and it had eight pictures. And each one of those pictures was one of the steps in the eight ways they can click on the post and then scroll through all eight images so that you don’t have to post eight times to get those eight pieces of content in front of people.

NUMBER 56, you can share music that’s related to holidays, TV shows, movies, or other timely events. That’s pretty self-explanatory, but with sheet music, you wanna make sure that you’re also keeping in the back of your mind when people are gonna buy music. So it’s great to share holiday music in December, but more likely than not anyone that’s performing that December bought the music in August. So you have to kind of keep two different schedules in mind. The schedule of when people are interested in music and the schedule of when people are actually gonna buy the music,

NUMBER 57, write a post, describing your inspiration for writing a piece. So you can talk a little bit about where your ideas came from and you can share an image that goes with it, or you can share a video or a recording that goes with it.

NUMBER 58, create engaging social media stories on Facebook and Instagram stories are basically a second newsfeed. And a lot of people prefer that to the regular newsfeed. So if you ignore the stories, part of the platform, you’re gonna be missing out on a certain segment of your audience. Now they’re a little bit different from regular posts. In some ways it’s kind of hard to figure out because it sits there at the top of your page, but then after a while it disappears forever. But, um, you can string together different images. You can put text on top of it. You can add music, you can do a lot of different things in the sort of built in story editor that comes with Facebook and Instagram. So again, that’s just a way to reach a different set of people.

NUMBER 59, create inspirational posts that relate to your music. It could be a quote you really like, or it could be a short story about something that happened, but just something heartfelt and genuine that makes people feel good. If you go back to episode two of this podcast, we talk about how people get on social media to be educated, entertained, or inspired. So you wanna make sure that you’re creating content that fits one of those three categories. And that leads us perfectly into

NUMBER 60, which is to make educational posts that relate to your music. This can be very literal in the sense that you’re trying to teach something to the people on Facebook, reading your timeline, but you can also take it as your sales pitch to educators. If you buy this piece, here is what you can teach. You could also tease the sort of broader educational aspect for audiences. You know, if you’re, if you’re composing music about a certain social issue or that incorporates a certain text, you could create a post about that aspect of it as well. It’s a different way to get people interested and to engage with people.

NUMBER 61, share news from your industry. This could be you sharing posts from other social media sites. This could be you sharing articles or videos or news stories. It’s just a reminder that social media doesn’t have to be all about you. And I think it’s worth pointing out that even if you’re not writing the content, if you’re regularly posting things that are helpful and informative, then that builds up your reputation, or at least the reputation of your social media page as a place where people can go and get useful information.

NUMBER 62 is to share music related jokes. If nothing else, it might make some people laugh.

NUMBER 63, pay for advertising on social media. This is gonna work better for some types of music than others, but there’s a lot of tools to target ads or to boost specific posts and try to reach a certain population. I think it’s an idea worth trying, but I think you need to go into it with a goal and a budget and some way of evaluating whether or not it’s working.

NUMBER 64 is to get verified. If you can. Verification is that little check mark next to your name that proves that you’re the real you and not some fake imposter account. This is really different from platform to platform. You have to prove you’re important. You know, you have to have a big following this isn’t super high on the list of priorities, but if you’re somebody that’s established enough where you can get it, then go for it. Okay. Shifting away from social media now into more sort of traditional marketing methods,

NUMBER 65 mail postcards advertising your music. If you’ve got a specific enough audience that you’re going for, you know, church, choir directors, high school band directors, private music, schools, music, retailers, that sort of thing. Those are all businesses with publicly available addresses that you can use to send them a letter or send them a postcard. Obviously direct mail is not gonna be the most effective form of advertising, but maybe in today’s world where everything is totally digital, that’s enough to make you stand out. What I’d suggest doing is having some sort of QR code or private link on there that you can keep track of. So maybe there’s a coupon code. That’s only on the postcard that way, when people buy music on your website and use it, you know, they came from that card or if they clicked on a link, you know, that the only people who had that link were the people who got postcards. And then you have some sort of way of evaluating whether or not that was worth doing.

NUMBER 66 is to pay for Google ads to boost your products and search results. You don’t wanna run the risk of throwing a bunch of money at something that’s not working. So make sure you go into it with a goal and a budget, and you have some sort of way of deciding whether or not it’s worth the bother.

NUMBER 67 is to advertise in concert programs, trade magazines, or other publications. So there are a lot of organizations out there that are adjacent to musicians or connected to musicians or serving musicians. You’ve got companies that sell technology. You’ve got music ed organizations that are working with teachers. You’ve got concerts that are going to be attended by a lot of musicians. So you have opportunities there to buy advertising in a more traditional, uh, model. Again, same with the mailings. You wanna have some sort of QR code or coupon code or something that you can track specific to that ad. It’s an imperfect science of course, but you know, if you have a code in there and you see that three people use it, you don’t know how many people really looked at the ad, but you at least know that those three people saw it and did a thing.

NUMBER 68 is to ask for referrals. The music business is all about who you know, and we all know musicians who know other musicians who know other musicians, and you’re a lot more likely to connect with somebody. If you have a mutual friend who can make that happen,

NUMBER 69 is to submit your music for state organizational lists. Every state does this a little bit differently, but for the most part, every state is gonna have some sort of music ed organization that provides a list of suggested repertoire. So if you can get one of your pieces on that list, you’ve got a great chance of music educators in that state taking a listen to your piece. You’ve also got specific festivals or contests that might require participants to perform one or two of the pieces from that list. So again, it’s another great way of encouraging sales and you should do everything you can to get your music onto. One of those lists.

NUMBER 70 is to put your music on sale. You can do this with a coupon code that automatically lowers the price, or you can go in manually and change the price of specific items. You could tie your sale to a holiday like black Friday, where you know, other people are gonna do the same thing, or you can invent your own sale.

NUMBER 71 is to rent a booth at music conventions. You can set up a table, put up a big sign and just talk to people as they come through the exhibition hall.

NUMBER 72 is applied to present at music conferences, especially over the summer. There are organizations for music, technology, music, business, music, education that hold annual conferences and put out calls for proposals, for speakers and presentations. If you’ve got a topic or an idea of something you could speak about, especially if that’s something related to the sheet music you’re trying to sell, this is a great opportunity to travel, to meet new people and to be held up as an expert in your field. Even more important than the presentation itself is probably the conversations you’ll have with people before and after you speak, it’s a no brainer.

NUMBER 73, attend local networking events. You should be aware of things going on in your local community, concerts, conferences, parties, formal get togethers hosted by organizations, that sort of thing. Again, the music industry is all about who you know, and don’t forget about the opportunities available in your local communities, because you’re so focused on your online presence and your social media marketing,

NUMBER 74, create merch for your publishing company that you can sell or give away. It’s a way to establish your brand. It’s a way to connect with fans, and it’s a way to leave reminders with people.

NUMBER 75, use the sheet music itself as advertising space. Make sure your website’s on there. Make sure your contact info is on there. And if you have other music that’s related to what you’re selling, make sure to indicate that in some way, whether it’s an alternate version of the piece or just a different title from the same series,

NUMBER 76, have a business card or something else physical to give people in person when you meet them. You know, business cards I think are sort of out of date, but you see a lot of cool modern takes on it. And there’s lots of interesting ways that people are doing to leave reminders with you when they meet you, especially at conferences and more formal events. So what I do is I bring a flash drive of my music. I went on Amazon and bought, you know, a hundred pack of blank, flash drives. And I put a sticker on one side with my website and I filled it up with some examples of music. And that way, when I meet people, I have something to give them that is useful to them. Cuz it’s a flash drive. They can take it and use it for their own stuff, but it also reminds them I exist. And it also gives them the chance to get to know me better musically

NUMBER 77, volunteer to help a local arts organization that can be a community choir, a community theater, a school ensemble. Maybe somebody needs an accompanist and you play piano, but just get involved in music that’s happening in your community. Because again, you’re going to meet musicians who, even if they’re not your target audience, they’re going to know people who are

NUMBER 78, make a custom QR code that people can scan, which takes them directly to your catalog. There’s a bunch of different ways to do this online. You can save them as graphics to share on social media or you can print physical cards with that code on them. So again, when you meet someone in person, you can connect right away. You can share your information. You can share your music. Sometimes connecting with people is less about convincing them to listen to you and more about making it easy for them to listen to you.

NUMBER 79 is to set up a composer residency with a school or church ensemble. This is something I think that happens more on the university level, where you have funding to bring in scholars and experts and visiting professors and that sort of thing. But it can really be as in depth, as you want in the professional world, that can mean that a composer is going to write a piece for the ensemble and then appear at the concert and maybe go to a couple of rehearsals to get it ready. But just forming that partnership with organizations is something that can go a long way.

NUMBER 80, get involved with performances of your music. If you can attend performances in person, maybe you can get involved in other ways, too, at a dress rehearsal or playing the piano or guest conducting. But if nothing else, you’re getting to meet the musicians that are performing your work and you’re helping the audience connect a face to the music.

NUMBER 81 is to start a consortium. That’s when you have multiple organizations getting together and splitting the cost of a commission. So rather than one choir coming to me and saying, we’re going to spend $5,000 to have you write this piece for us. You could get five different choirs coming together and saying, we’re each gonna spend 1000 to have you commission this piece. And the great thing about it is not only does it create opportunities for organizations with smaller budgets, um, it also guarantees multiple performances of a new work right off the bat, which can sometimes be challenging for new and unknown pieces of music.

NUMBER 82 is to host your own concert or event or recital or festival, but create opportunities on your own to get your music performed.

NUMBER 83, record your music and release it on streaming services. What better way to promote your music than to create more music? There’s a number of services you can use like distro kid or CD baby that lets you upload recordings and get it onto multiple streaming platforms. All at the same time, having good recordings is one of the best things you can do to sell more copies of your music and having it on multiple streaming platforms is just going to increase the visibility and the reach of those titles.

NUMBER 84, have other people arrange your music. You could reach out to specific individuals or have a contest where you invite fans to arrange a particular song and publish it. This can get a little tricky of course, because as the composer, you’re entitled to royalties of any arrangements created by somebody else, but licensing your music is yet another revenue stream.

NUMBER 85. If you’re a performing artist, includes sheet music as part of your merch, have it available for fans to buy at concerts and online

NUMBER 86, use commissions and premiers to promote new music. A commission is when somebody pays you to write a new piece of music specifically for them. And a premier is when that piece of music is performed publicly. For the first time, both of these events give you lots of content that you can share on social media, promote on your website and spread through word of mouth,

NUMBER 87, arrange other people’s music. Maybe you’re friends with a songwriter or an artist who’s not interested in creating sheet music themselves, but they’d let you do it. And then they’d promote it along with you. And so not only are you reaching your fan base, but you’re also reaching theirs as well.

NUMBER 88 co-write with other composers and arrangers. Yes, that means you’re going to have to split royalties. But when it comes to creating music, one plus one does not equal two, one plus one is more like six. When you prioritize the things that each of you are good at, you find that you’re able to create music more efficiently. Not only that, but your reach is wider as two composers than it is, is one because you have different fan bases.

NUMBER 89, use a fundraising platform like GoFundMe to raise money for a special recording project or piece of music. These sorts of campaigns can provide a lot of buzz for a project and they give you an opportunity to reward backers and creative ways.

NUMBER 90 is to write a song for a cause. Maybe there’s an organization you want to support, or maybe there’s a special event. You wanna raise money for. Maybe there’s a topic you just feel really strongly about. This is basically the composer equivalent of a benefit concert. You might not be able to hold a concert or a recital to raise awareness for something, but you could write a song. Now you have to be careful about this because if it feels like you’re just using the topic to promote yourself, then it’s gonna come across as fake and people aren’t going to respond well to it. But if there’s something you’re genuinely passionate about and feel inspired to write music for, then it’s a great way to reach people on a different level and actually do some good in the world at the same time. All right, we’re in the home stretch. Now these last 10 ideas are all about creating additional products that you can use to promote your sheet music.

NUMBER 91, create lesson plans or homework assignments that go with your songs. That way you get an additional sale.

NUMBER 92 offer private lessons and use your sheet music. As the course material, you can do this in person or online.

NUMBER 93, publishes many variations of a song as possible. If you’re writing choral music, publish it in multiple voicings. If you’re writing solo, instrumental music, publish it in all the different transpositions. It has a compounding effect because all of a sudden one product turns into five or 10. And all of a sudden you have a greater chance of reaching people.

NUMBER 94, sell accompaniment tracks, let’s say for example, you’ve written a piece for solo flute and piano. You could create an accompaniment track that makes it easy for that flutist to rehearse at home or perform on a recital without having to get an accompanist. Or you can expand that track and add additional instrumentation and make it really fun to play along with these kinds of tracks can also make it possible for a lot of school ensembles to perform your music.  And again, it’s an additional sale on top of the sheet music that they’ve already bought.

NUMBER 95, sell part learning tracks. These are a different type of audio track because it’s not something meant to be performed with, but it’s something that students can use at home in rehearsal.

NUMBER 96, publish each song on as many platforms as possible. I’m kind of burying the lead here a little bit, because this is the most important thing you can do to increase your sales. Think of it as a reward for sitting through the whole episode. But basically if you write an original song or composition, you own the copyright, you control where that song goes. So you can sell it anywhere and everywhere you want. And if you’ve created multiple versions of that piece or alternate versions of that piece, that’s when you really begin to see the exponential effect. So let’s say for example, I write a piece for SATB choir, but I also have SSA, TTB, two part voicings, right? That’s four different versions of the piece. And then if I sell that on four different websites, now I have 16 versions of the piece out there. That’s 16 chances for somebody to find my music and search results. And so I’m more likely to make a sale because of it.

NUMBER 97, start a Patreon or other subscriber community. This generally means that you’re going to have to create additional subscriber, only content, but they’re also gonna be spending more money on you. So it’s worth it in the end.

NUMBER 98, create collections of your most popular music. You can sell it as bundles. You can create books, you can, um, do all sorts of things to market and package your music in different ways.

Again, to increase the number of products you have for sale and to reach different audiences.

NUMBER 99, create easy, medium and hard versions of your music. Again, this creates multiple products that increases your chances. People are gonna find your music, but it also gives them more options because difficulty level is one of the most important factors people consider when evaluating whether or not to buy a piece. And so having those options increases the likelihood that your customer finds what they’re looking for.

NUMBER 100, create a concert program that connects multiple pieces from your catalog. A great example of this is a holiday program. You could write narration that transition from one piece to the next seamlessly and encourage performers to use multiple pieces on their concert.

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Garrett Breeze

COMPOSER, ARRANGER

Garrett Breeze is a composer, arranger, and orchestrator whose credits include film, television, video games, Broadway stars, major classical artists, and many of the top school music programs in the U.S.

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