5 Free Ways To Promote Your Music After Release (That Actually Work)

So you uploaded your song for release to Spotify, now what? Find out the top ways to promote your music for free that actually drive more streams.

Written By Audrey Marshall

On June 13, 2024

So you just uploaded your song for release to Spotify via DistroKid (or TuneCore, CD Baby, RouteNote, etc). Now what?

How do you get people to discover your music? How do you get people to listen to your song? What are the most effective ways to promote your music? You’ve sent it to all of your friends and family (shout-out to Mom and Dad for the listen ✌️) but you’re not sure what to do next.

This is far too common of a situation for independent music artists just like yourself. Take a few minutes to browse the /musicmarketing subreddit and you’ll find hundreds of posts just like this one from @jethammerford:

I Uploaded My First Single onto Distrokid, now what?

Unfortunately, after spending time perfecting your latest single or album, many musicians come to realize that there’s still work to do. Now you have to figure out how to promote your mu

sic, often with little to no budget, and by yourself. Great.

Why should you trust us? Well, our team has been working in music promotion and discovery for 20+ years. We’ve supported all types of artists, from Qveen Herby to ODESZA and Nicky Youre to Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, in developing an influencer marketing strategy getting their music heard by new fans. Our methods are proven for success. I mean, who has time and money to waste on bad ideas, anyways?

5 Free Ways To Promote Your Music Release (That Actually Work)

So let’s dig into the top things to do to promote your music after its release.

Top ways to promote your music for free

Let’s dive into our top recommendations for how to promote your music releases for free!

Submit for Spotify’s & Apple Music’s editorial playlists

This one is a no brainer and the first thing you should do after submitting your song for release with your distributor. It takes about 5-10 minutes at most and is something you should do for each song release.

Both Spotify and Apple Music have free artist dashboards where you can customize your artist profiles, track your streaming and listener stats, and manage your releases. If you’re not signed-up for this already, take a minute to do that now:

Within these dashboards, you’ll find a page where you can pitch your upcoming releases for editorial consideration. These playlist submissions are completely free and could result in big playlist placements for your music if your songs are selected.

Pro Tip: It’s recommended that you submit your playlist pitch at least 7 days before your release date! You won’t be able to submit playlist pitches once your song is live.

While pitching your songs to Spotify & Apple Music can be hit-or-miss (it’s not guaranteed that your song will be placed on playlists), it’s a good exercise to make sure your songs are always considered for these opportunities. And you just can’t beat an easy way to promote your music.

Use Thematic to get influencers to promote your music across YouTube & social media

We’re obviously biased to this tool, but we’ve seen the results and it’s music promotion that actually works. But don’t take it from us, hear what a few music artists using Thematic have to say about their song promotion campaigns on Thematic:

“As an artist, Thematic has been amazing with helping me reach a wider audience and growing my fan base through allowing the creators on their platform to use my music in their videos. They are also very reliable as a company as far as artist payment, communication via email, etc. I would recommend Thematic to any independent artist who is looking to grow through this type of format.”Mason Murphy

Mason Murphy on Thematic

BlakKat Melrose on Thematic

“I’m mostly known as a producer so prior to Thematic, it was hard for me to get the music I made as an artist heard. After I uploaded my first song to Thematic, a beauty influencer on Instagram with over 300k followers used my song in her video. This resulted in the song getting over a thousand new streams on Spotify! After continuing to upload more songs, another song got placed in multiple videos by a YouTuber with over a million subscribers. That song ended up being my overall most streamed song as an artist with over 5.5k streams on Spotify, and around 1k on both Apple Music and YouTube. When people came from these videos to Spotify to stream my song, it also triggered Spotify to push my song into more algorithmic playlists which helped get me even more listeners! This influx of new listeners inspires me to continue to create new music as an artist.”BlakKat Melrose

Kyle Coghlan Testimonial

We could go on, but you get the idea 😜

Launching a song campaign with Thematic to promote your music is easy and takes only 10 minutes.

Here’s how Thematic works for music artists:

  • Sign-up for a free artist account at: https://app.hellothematic.com/artist-login
  • Submit the songs you want to promote
  • Add your artist photo, bio, and social links
  • Your songs will be reviewed by the Thematic community to make sure there are creators ready to promote your music
  • Once approved, your songs will go live for creators who can discover and start using your music in their videos
  • When creators feature your songs, they are required to include a link of promotion, driving new fans, listeners, and traffic to your Spotify, social media profiles, and official music videos
  • All of your placements and usage stats are tracked in your artist dashboard so you can easily keep track of your growth

We’re putting this music marketing tool in the “no brainer” category, as well, because who wouldn’t want to see their music promoted by influencers and get more streams on Spotify. It’s free to use and totally organic growth.

💡 Did you know? Artists using Thematic see an average of a 20% increase in their Spotify streams from their campaigns!

As a bonus, Thematic also hooks up music artists with special Artist Perks, including discounts and access to resources and sites that help you level up your career.

So what are you waiting for? Promote your music on Thematic at: hellothematic.com/artists

Create content!

Let’s face it, you can’t expect your music to get discovered if there’s nothing to discover you by.

Sure, your music is available on Spotify and Apple Music, etc. But your music can easily be lost in the millions of other songs readily available on streaming sites.

One of the best ways to promote your music and get discovered by new fans and listeners is to actively create content. This can take many different forms, so let’s cover the basics.

Create video content for social media

Create video content for Instagram, YouTube Shorts, TikTok, and Facebook Reels. Music is no longer just an audio-only experience. Most listeners today will discover and engage with your songs in an audiovisual format.

Think of how much time is spent every day on short-form video sites like Instagram and TikTok (if you’re curious, users spend approximately 2+ hours on social media sites every single day). Users are mindlessly scrolling to devour new, entertaining content and your music and artist content should be part of that.

It also just makes sense. Imagine that you just heard a great new song and want to learn more about the artist only to find inactive or empty social media profiles. What is the likelihood that you’ll follow that artist and keep up with their latest releases? Or that you’ll become a long-time fan? The chances are slim-to-none. People crave connection and want to engage with and become fans of artists who are active online.

Video content can take the form of music videos, lyric videos, visualizers, interviews, behind-the-scenes, dance content, gaming live streams, tutorials, lifestyle videos, and more. With that in mind, there’s no reason for you to not have video content on your artist social profiles. It’s one of the most effective strategies to promote your music online.

Video content creates discoverable and shareable moments for you and your music. It’s an essential part of any music release strategy with videos consistently released. So while not a quick 10 minute way to promote your music, creating video content is a longer-term project that will slowly build an organic and engaged fanbase.

Create playlists on streaming sites

Don’t rely on having your music picked up by trending playlists online. While that can definitely happen, it’s rare for a brand new music artist to be featured on New Music Friday or any of the other trending playlists of the day. Instead, consider creating your own thematic playlists to promote your music.

Everyone is looking for great playlists to soundtrack their life moments, and having these readily available featuring your own music is a brilliant way to promote your music and get your songs in front of new listeners. Anyone searching on Apple or Spotify can easily land on your playlists and become a new fan.

Does your song have that perfect road trip feeling? Make a playlist featuring both your own songs and other songs that match that vibe. Create the connection between your own releases and other trending artists and make your music more discoverable as a result.

Thematic artist HOAX does this well with their ‘songs that make us sad, in a good way‘ playlist on Spotify:

You’ll find a mix of songs they like that fit the theme, with a choice few of their own songs sprinkled throughout.

Creating playlists can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a few hours, depending on how deep you go and how many playlists you create.

Pro Tip: Create and feature these playlists on your official artist profiles on Spotify to show that you’re active and engaging with your audience.

Also (side note), how cool is it as a fan to discover playlists made by your favorite artists? Personally, I love discovering the songs that my favorite music artists are listening to ✌️

Start a simple website or blog

Have you searched for your artist name on Google lately? What do you see as a result?

If you’re not seeing a stream of all of your social media profiles, blog reviews, music releases, and the like, you’ve got some work to do.

New listeners who were recommended your music by friends or heard about you from a Spotify radio session should be able to easily discover you and your music through a simple search online. 

One of the best ways to make this happen is to have a simple website with artist photos, a short bio, links to all of your social media profiles, streaming and download links (of course), and a way to get in touch. As the official site for you as an artist, it’s likely that Google will highlight this as one of the first search results for your artist name.

Check out the Google search results for Thematic artist Noah Guy, for example:

Noah Guy Search Results

Any new fans looking up more about Noah Guy can easily find a ton of valuable and engaging content, making it super easy to learn more and follow him on social media and streaming sites.

Pro Tip: Are you someone who loves writing blogs or other written content? Consider starting a blog that highlights your interests or stories from making music or being on the road. This is another great way to promote your music and get your name and songs out there in a different content format.

Use your local community to get out there

Think of this music promotion strategy as a way to get your music discovered locally… and by locally, we mean literally locally in your community.

Your local community or neighborhood is full of ways to promote your music that you may have simply overlooked. We’re often so focused on digital and online promotion strategies that we sometimes forget the in person opportunities to get your music out there.

For example, music discovery happens every day in local music venues. If you’re an artist who is able to perform live, getting out and on stage for any and all live music shows is a great way to promote your music and catch the ears of new listeners.

Or perhaps there’s a hot hangout spot  in your town where all the high school or college kids spend their free time. Is there an opportunity for you to play gigs there or to have your music played at that space?

This music promotion idea is one you can get creative with. Think outside the box for untapped opportunities to promote your music and find new listeners in your community.

To get your started, here are five ways you can think about using your local community to promote your music:

  • Play local gigs
  • Go to networking events (or start one yourself!)
  • Collaborate with similar artists (either locally or online)
  • Drop by your local shops and see if they’d be open to including your music on their in-store playlists or including your music links on their bulletin boards
  • Look for local festivals in your area (music or otherwise) for opportunities to play

Pro Tip: Stop by your local record store and see if they ever host any music listening parties. As a go-to place for all music lovers, this can be a great way to promote your music and get your name and songs out there!

Submit your music to blogs and online tastemakers

People love sharing the music they love online. Thankfully, this creates a great opportunity for artists to get their music shared by influential blogs and tastemakers

There are a few different ways to submit your music to blogs online for free, so let’s dive in!

Pitch blogs directly

The first way to do this is to make direct contact with blogs that fit your style of music. Approach this method thoughtfully and with respect to the outlet’s preferred pitching method. Some blogs will have specific instructions for how to submit music for consideration, while others may not accept pitches at all.

Do your research here and first create a list of blogs and media outlets that would fit your style of music. It wouldn’t make much sense to pitch your alternative rap song to an outlet that covers only indie bedroom pop music, so think this part through. Take some time to actually read through and get to know the site and the types of songs and artists they like to cover.

Then review the blog’s preferred pitching or submission methods, if available. And when you’re ready, go ahead and make your pitch. 

Below are some best practices to use when pitching your songs to blogs directly:
  • Follow their pitching guidelines (this is critical)
  • Be professional and polite (we would hope this is obvious) in both your messaging and the formatting of your email. There are actual people reading your pitch and they are often quite busy. Don’t expect an immediate response and always keep your pitch clear and concise.
  • Include relevant links, such as a streaming link to the music and your social media accounts. You should make it easy for them to learn more about you and your music.
  • Provide a short bio describing you as an artist and your latest release. Think of this as your artist elevator pitch for someone who has just 30 seconds to get to know your music.
  • Don’t use attachments – nobody wants mp3/wav files, giant PDFs of your EPK, or artist photos clogging up their inboxes. If you have relevant materials to share, just include them as links.

Use sites that help you pitch music to blogs & tastemakers

Consider using sites like Submithub or Groover to help you in pitching featured blog placements for your releases. These sites were developed to help streamline the pitching process for independent music artists who are trying to promote their music and get new song releases featured on blogs, radio stations, and by internet tastemakers or curators.

Keep in mind that these methods can sometimes be hit-or-miss, depending on the type of music you create and the curators you select to pitch. Some artists have seen great success with these types of pitching sites, whereas others don’t seem to find the right ‘match’ for their music.

Pro Tip: Some of these types of pitching sites provide free submissions, but others may require a small fee per pitch. As a result, some curators will willingly take your pitch fee without providing quality results or feedback, resulting in a bad experience. Do your research here to see if this makes sense for your releases.

What to AVOID when you promote your music release

Now that we’ve covered our top recommendations for what to do after releasing your music to get it discovered, let’s cover some of the things you should avoid doing to make sure you don’t sabotage your release.

Avoid bots, stream farms, paid playlisting sites, and artificial streams

You may have recently heard about TuneCore, DistroKid, and other top distributors cracking down on the widespread stream fraud that’s taken over streaming services.

If not, the gist of this is that there are bad actors in the space that are fraudulently increasing their streams on sites like Spotify and Apple Music, which unfairly compensates those songs and artists over artists that have legitimate streams (since they operate on a pooled and shared revenue model).

To combat this stream fraud, distributors are penalizing any artists that are inflating their stream counts fraudulently. This means that your release can be instantly removed from all streaming sites, you can lose out on earnings, and your account may be shut down completely if you are flagged for ‘artificial streams.’

Here’s the quick summary from DistroKid on artificial streaming penalties for reference:

If the majority of the streams on your release are found to be artificial, your music will likely be removed from streaming services, and royalties that were earned from the artificial streams will not be paid. You may also receive a warning from DistroKid and/or your DistroKid account will be closed.

How do you avoid being flagged for artificial streaming? DistroKid lists it very clearly:




So don’t fool around with bots, paid stream sites, or even pay for playlists sites. These will not get you real, long-term fans nor get you the attention you think you deserve for your release. 

Overall, this is a clear “no brainer” of what not to do when you promote your music. Why risk your entire release and artist reputation for a few fake listeners? It’s just not worth it.

Don’t spend your entire budget on Facebook and Instagram ads

Promoting your latest song release via a Facebook ad or Instagram ad seems to be a default strategy for most new musicians and music artists who are looking to get their music discovered.

Unfortunately, this is a very costly and low return-on-investment music marketing method for many artists, especially those just getting started.

Instead, we recommend holding off on any meaningful ad spend until after you have some momentum with your release and you have a better grasp on your song’s ideal audience. Let’s break it down.

First, try out all of the free song promotion strategies we have recommended above. Start to get some traction and listeners for your release to see how listeners are resonating with your songs. 

Then ask yourself the following questions:

Who are the people who are listening to my music?

You can find out some basic demographic info on your listeners in the Spotify & Apple Music for Artist dashboards we linked above.

Are your listeners located in a specific country? Are the creators who are promoting your music on Thematic all located in a specific region?

What is your mix of listener gender and age range? Do you find your music getting more streams with younger listeners or is it pretty even across gender identity?

What types of playlists are being created around my music?

Do you notice any sort of theme or trend here? Do you find your music consistently added to “summer beach day” or “chill out evening” lists?

Do the videos your songs are being featured in have a similar topic or content theme? Are they mostly lifestyle vlogs or workout sessions?

Which of my songs is performing best?

If you released an album or EP with multiple songs, which particular song is getting the most streams? Is there a specific segment of that song that is getting added most to TikTok or YouTube Shorts videos?

Once you are able to answer these questions and you have a grasp on who your general music audience is, then you’ll be ready to amplify your songs with social media ads to promote your music.

You may be missing out on new fans and wasting valuable marketing budget by not promoting your music to the right audience. We highly recommend waiting until you have some data around your music and listeners before committing any budget for Facebook, TikTok, or Instagram ads. This will allow you to more effectively target new fans and maximize your ad spend.

✅ Pro Tip: Take the same approach with your short-form video content. Did one of your TikToks take off and get a bunch of views? Think about boosting that specific video when running an ad campaign since you know it already drives great viewer engagement.

We hope you find this guide on what to do after releasing a song helpful! At Thematic, we’re all about helping you promote your music for free and we hope you try out some of these music marketing strategies to start getting your music discovered! 

And we hope to hear and support some of your music on Thematic! If you haven’t already, sign-up today to launch a free song campaign:

Did we miss any great free music promo opportunities? Drop us a message on social media @hellothematic – we’d love to hear from you!

Looking for more creator tools and resources? Visit Thematic’s Creator Toolkit for additional resources on creating content – including starting a YouTube channel, thumbnail and channel art templates, best practices, and of course, great royalty free songs to use in your videos for free with Thematic.

Audrey Marshall, Thematic Co-Founder & COO

This post on What to do after a Song Release: 5 Free Ways to Promote Your Music is brought to you by Thematic Co-Founder & COO Audrey Marshall

With a background in entertainment PR (via Chapman University), Audrey has led digital strategy for music artists, content creators, and brands. From brand campaigns for Macy’s, American Cancer Society, and the L’Oréal luxe family of brands, to music-driven influencer marketing campaigns for Interscope Records, Warner Music, AWAL, and Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas (featuring creators such as Lexy Panterra, Blogilates, Mandy Jiroux, Matt Steffanina, and Seán Garnier), she in an expert in navigating the influencer marketing space. Audrey has also developed and managed some of the leading beauty, lifestyle, and dance channels on YouTube.

Certified across the board with YouTube, Audrey has a specific focus on digital rights management for music assets, running multiple SRAV-enabled CMS. She is passionate about working with other builders in the space for a more transparent digital rights ecosystem.

At Thematic, Audrey leads the product team and oversees operations. She has driven partnerships with leading talent and music companies, including Songtrust, Kobalt/AWAL, Select Management, BBTV, ipsy, and Black Box, and has helped the platform grow to a thriving community of 800k+ content creators who have posted 1.5M+ videos using the platform, driving 45B+ music streams and $95M+ in earned media value for independent music artists.

Get your music discovered by millions

Thematic matches your music to influencers who promote your songs across YouTube videos, social media, and podcasts ✌️

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