Releasing a good song is one thing and promoting that song beyond friends in your Whatsapp group and those in around your workplace most often becomes a problem, you release a good song but definitely a few or none want to listen to it. Your hard work goes unappreciated, well calm down; let us look for a medicine to kill these bacteria that has been trying to eat your talent. I know you may have searched on the internet, got various answers which probably didn’t help you, it’s true those articles were written not basing on the situation in Uganda where most of internet users are on Zero Facebook and less than 1% of music lovers are willing to buy a song on Amazon, Ebay or Itunes at $0.99.
In this article, I wrote it with a mind in my head that the one reading this is either new in Music Industry or has been existing and struggling with promoting his “good” music but all in vain or is an established musician who wants to push his/her music to a higher level. Musicians who already established may also find the article helpful especially in promotion of new songs and Albums. This article is only for that musician who wants to promote his/her music to the highest level. If you are contented with where you are, I request you to stop reading. But if you want your music to be pushed higher, the let's go.
1. Producing Quality Music. The first step towards promoting your music is having good music. There is no way you will ever convince someone to like nagging songs. You don’t need to first sing like Mariah Carey or John Legend, but at least, make sure there is sense in what you are singing. You can look for good song writers and good producers. After producing a song, take it for a review to your friend, manager, promoter or any other who can be frank to you and tell you where you went wrong. This is done before the final audio/video is ousted for the public. Ignore the business legend that “a good thing sells itself” with now a bigger competition on the market, even the best brand/product needs promotion. So if you feel that you have completed No.1 let’s move on to number 2.
2. Contact the biggest music play stations in the region. In Uganda, the biggest music play stations are Radio stations. Then the Music Libraries in the urban centers follow, followed by TV Stations and then followed by the local bars. Look for the radio stations in area, try to give them your new song requesting for the airplay. They may require some small money to add your song in their disks, give it to them! Now you can use other means like requesting your own songs via social media, SMS and telling friends to call in the request hours.
Sometimes they may reject your song as a low quality song, do not feel discouraged instead you can ask the responsible personnel where you went wrong, if they are friendly, they will even guide you and you make a re-do or you don’t repeat similar mistakes in your next music project. The same procedure should be used when approaching TV stations.
3. Live Performances. With the current technology, people easily release music; it is played everywhere, goes viral when the singer is still sitting in his house. Let this not be your case. You need to build audience and support, go out on concerts, make performances in clubs and bars, you can even do this freely at the start, and all you need is promoting your new music and getting audience. Ugandans are attached to musicians more after they have seen them live. Do audio and video premiering all this will help people knowing you more.
4. Getting in Touch with Famous DJs. Who is currently the most famous DJ in Uganda? DJ Shiru, Roger, B2K, Hearts or Aludah? How about Silk Stuart? These are the people that you need more. They always release non-stop mixes, which sell like hot cakes in the country, they play music in big clubs almost every weekend. These can help include your song in a 1 hour nonstop or play your music amidst the dancing crowd in a club. I have given a small list, it’s your duty to do research and find out who are the best DJs in your region? Giftology, Frayo, Ashrumatic pro, Dj Alberto 43 are doing a great job in the Western Region, what about where you are!
5. Signing with a promoter. There are people whose job is doing music promotions. They do not only do it as a job to pay them but as a hobby. Have you seen those accounts on Facebook with the words “Promota”, “Selecta” etc, those are the ones that am talking about. They will help you is in taking music to music libraries, clubs, bars, radio stations, TV Stations etc. Remember you may be a talented singer but lacking a promotional skill, well let those who do have that skill do it for you after all you both benefit.
6. Doing Collaborations with other musicians. This is one of the fast ways to get to the music market. Doing collabos with the already established musicians. This may seem so difficult, some are proud, can hardly give in to a junk ass, but some are friendly, all you need to do is trying to establish a friendship before they know your real target. Creating friendship is the number one thing. You can equally do collabos with fellow rising musicians. Every musician has a circle of friends and fans even doing collabos with rising musicians will extend you to their circles and will help you increase the audience of your fan base, who knew Radio, Weasel and Omulangira Suna before Nakudata? Very few, but the collabo introduced them to the Ugandan music scene and since then they have been on the face of the music industry.
7. Doing remixes and re-dos with other musicians. Have you ever felt a need to have your song remixed by a big artist? Well ask yourself who knew Diamond Platinumz before his song Number One was remixed by Davido from Nigeria? But since then, Diamond has become even more popular compared to Davido. But before you think about approaching a big musician to do a remix of your song, first read our point N0.1. You need quality songs, no established musician will never ever remix a song that will make them become an embarrassment to their fans, NO, but if the song is good, why not a re-do? I have seen Radio & Weasel doing that to help struggling artists.
8. Making appearances and features in other musicians’ music projects. I guess you have ever seen this, a song of a big musician, in the video, you see other musicians who have no part in the song but are in the video, well that’s what I mean. But since you are still rising, appearing in a video of a big musician may not give a credit. No one is interested in knowing who the hell you are. But what if you convince that big fish in music to make a guest appearance in your video? Don’t you think it makes sense, definitely it does. Those big artists always have fans who follow every project where their names are mentioned.
You can as well make appearances in the events, shows and concerts organized by big Musicians. Giving an example, Jose Chameleone organizes a concert at Kyadondo, before he steps to sing for the thousands of fans waiting for him, you come first, perform your 1 or 2 songs, don’t you think that out of the 5,000 you will manage to convince 500 that yes you can sing? That’s how the music journey starts and how Audience is pulled.
This involves a lot, promoting music online is less costly and paying, however in Uganda, you do not need to use online promotion more than other means of music promotion. Bear in mind that internet Penetration rate is currently at 34% but less than 15% of the population use Internet daily and more so, the biggest percentage of internet users in urban and semi urban areas,in rural areas it’s a touching story. Here is how you can use the internet to promote your music. But even 34% is a big proportion of the population that needs not to be ignored, after all they are all adults. 13 Million is a good market segment. Here we go.
9. You Tube. Make sure you upload every video you release on You Tube. Vimeo, which is also a popular video sharing site, is not popular in Uganda. People will view your video on You Tube. Note: Uploading Videos on You Tube is not helping that much, you need to share the video link to your fans and those whom you target to be your fans. This can be done through social media sharing, email sharing and other modes of online sharing. People won’t magically know that you have uploaded a Video on You Tube. You need to tap them.
10. Audio upload. One other important thing is uploading audio on the web. Very many prefer adding a photo or moving graphics to an Audio so that it appears like a video in (MP4 or MPG) formats so as to be uploaded on You Tube. I advise you all not to do this, You Tube makes it almost impossible for people to download unless they have third party applications such as You Tube Downloader and Internet Download Manager. Rather for Audios, upload on Sound Cloud or Reverbnation. These sites allow you to own your music and have various features like Play, Download, share, rate, follow and others, which can help you and your fans, enjoy music.
There are other popular music upload sites in Uganda which can also upload your music. They upload Audio and mostly the MP3 format. These include Howwe.BIZ, Mp3 Jaja, Eachamps.COM and many others. Blizz Uganda has Music Upload and we do upload music on our site for fans to listen and download. Why not try all? It costs nothing.
11. Use of Social Media. I have