Modern Music Marketing: Music Promotion, Fan Relationships, and Direct-to-Fan Strategies


Authored by Mike King


Course Code: OMBUS-274

Next semester
starts June 24

12 Weeks

Level 2

Level 2

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


The internet created a seismic shift in the music industry. Traditional marketing strategies and tactics, many still effective, have been overtaken by music streaming services and a variety of online-based marketing, sales, and distribution outlets, all of which require their own specific marketing approaches and strategies.

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This course takes an in-depth look at the tools, technologies, strategies, and tactics artists can use to generate interest in their music, acquire new fans, and monetize their music. The course begins with an introduction to modern music marketing—the opportunities available, case studies on how artists are generating interest online, ways to optimize the fan experience, and the elements of the direct-to-fan approach to marketing campaigns. From there, we’ll do a deep dive into the topic of fans: the artist-fan relationship dynamic, fan communities, and fan funding. Next, you’ll learn about niche marketing and how to build an audience profile using demographics and psychographics.

You’ll learn how to build a modern music marketing technology toolset including a website, a mailings list, social media, digital distribution, and streaming service profiles. You’ll end this section of the course learning about various modern music marketing platforms to handle everything from fan engagement to e-commerce, to digital advertising.

After building a modern music marketing technology toolset, the balance of the course will all tie together as you devise a fully-integrated direct-to-fan marketing campaign plan, including deep dives into forecasting and data analytics.

By the end of this course, you’ll have mastered the art of modern music marketing, and have a fully-integrated, and optimized direct-to-fan marketing plan that you can be used to effectively promote and monetize music in today’s dynamic market.

By the end of this course, you will:

  • develop a well-rounded approach to marketing, including the direct-to-fan approach
  • understand who the fans are and the rewarding dynamic of the artist-fan relationship
  • learn how to optimize a fan-friendly website
  • build and market to a mailing list
  • utilize the power of social media outlets to build community and generate demand
  • distribute music to streaming services and download outlets
  • utilize advertising platforms and e-commerce tools
  • identify traditional and nontraditional pricing and marketing strategies
  • create a direct-to-fan marketing plan for a music release
  • properly use analytics to measure your success
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Lesson 1: Getting Started with Modern Music Marketing

  • Foundational Music Marketing Concepts
  • An Integrated Approach to Marketing
  • Marketing in an Era of Streaming
  • Technology and the Evolution of Music Marketing
  • Direct-to-Fan Marketing Approach
  • Direct-to-Fan Pioneers
  • A Middle Class of Musicians: Direct-to-Fan Marketing In Practice
  • The Rise of the Musicpreneur—Next Level Direct-to-Fan
  • D2F, D2C, DIY—Holy Acronyms, Batman!
  • Building a Marketing Team
  • Assignment 1: Your Modern Music Marketing Toolset

Lesson 2: Understanding Fans and Fan Engagement

  • What is a “Fan”?
  • Technology and the Artist-Fan Relationship
  • Fan Communities and Managing Artist-Fan Engagement
  • Levels of Fandom—What is a Superfan?
  • Super-Serving the Superfans
  • Fan Communities and the Marketing Funnel
  • Fan Funding/Crowdfunding for Musicians
  • The Art of Asking
  • Assignment 2: Asking Fans for Support

Lesson 3: Niche Marketing and Branding

  • Targeting within the Traditional Approach to Marketing
  • Targeting within the Direct-to-Fan Approach to Marketing
  • Niche Marketing: Advantages, Realities, and the 80/20 Rule
  • Demographics and Psychographics: Finding Community
  • Branding
  • The Right Merch for the Right Fan
  • Merch as Social Objects that Help Build Community
  • Assignment 3: Outline Demographic and Psychographic Traits

Lesson 4: Website Optimization

  • Brief History of Websites
  • Why a Website?
  • Best Practices for Building an Effective Website
  • Site Structure and Critical Components: Homepage, About, Music, Video, and News
  • Site Structure and Critical Components: Contact, Mailing List, Tour, Store, and Lyrics
  • Photos and Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
  • Building a Website
  • Choosing a Website Service Provider
  • Website Optimization
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Website Metadata: Meta Description, Meta Info, and Meta Tags
  • How Your Website Metadata Gets Used on Social Media
  • Third-Party Integrations
  • Assignment 4: Optimizing Your Own Website

Lesson 5: Mailing Lists and Other Permission-Based Contacts

  • Permission Marketing
  • The Marketing Funnel: Acquisition
  • Mailing Lists
  • How to Get Started
  • Building a Mailing List
  • Mailing List Best Practices: What to Do and Say
  • Optimization: Email Newsletters
  • Mailing Lists: Beyond the Newsletter
  • Automation and Segmentation
  • Other Permission-Based Contact Lists
  • Assignment 5: Create a Mailing List Strategy

Lesson 6: Social Media: Building Community and Generating Demand

  • Social Media
  • Social Media and the Marketing Funnel
  • Social Media Services: Structure and Functionality
  • Posts: Content Types
  • More Content: Stories and Live Streams
  • Feeds, Algorithms, and Hashtags
  • Memes, Influencers, and Sponsorships
  • Social Media Platforms: Facebook
  • Social Media Platforms: Instagram
  • Social Media Platforms: Twitter
  • Social Media Platforms: YouTube
  • Other Social Media Platforms
  • Podcasts, Wikipedia, and Other Community Touch Points
  • Building Community and Generating Demand
  • Relational Boundaries and Self Care
  • Assignment 6: The Present and Future of Social Media

Lesson 7: Online Music Services

  • Brief History of Music Consumption
  • Online Music Services Overview
  • The Top Online Music Services
  • Playlists
  • Algorithmic and Editorial Playlists
  • Personalized, Branded, and User-Generated Playlists
  • Digital Distribution Services
  • Self-Serve Digital Distribution Services
  • Premium Digital Distribution Services
  • Releasing Music
  • Streaming Services: Artist Profiles and Dashboards
  • Getting on Playlists
  • Assignment 7: Create a Plan for Your Next Single Release

Lesson 8: Online Marketing and Advertising Tools

  • The Music Marketing Tool Ecosystem
  • E-Commerce Tools
  • Event Promotion Tools
  • Music Promotion Tools: Types and Best Practices
  • Advertising: Channels and Tools
  • Repetition Is the Mother of Conversions
  • Advertising Channels Overview
  • Types of Online Advertising
  • Native Advertising Networks
  • Third-Party Ad Platforms
  • Where to Start with Online Advertising
  • Assets, Timing, and Budget
  • Measurement and Tracking
  • Remarketing
  • Kelela Case Study: A Peek into an Album Marketing Campaign
  • Assignment 8: Create a Promotion Strategy

Lesson 9: Direct-to-Fan Campaign Planning: Preparation and Forecasting

  • The Direct-to-Fan Approach to Sales
  • Direct-to-Fan Campaign Types
  • Pre-Order Campaigns
  • Crowdfunding Campaigns
  • Subscription Campaigns
  • Artist Channel Volume
  • Structuring Your Direct-to-Fan Campaign
  • Offers, Bundling, and Pricing
  • Forecasting Your Direct-to-Fan Sales
  • Forecasting Model Spreadsheet Data Entry
  • Working with the Forecasting Model Spreadsheet
  • Assignment 9: Create Your Own Product and Forecasting Document

Lesson 10: Direct-to-Fan Campaign Planning: Outlining Your Plan

  • Starting Your Planning Process
  • Defining Your Goal, Objectives, and Key Performance Indicators
  • Creating a Direct-to-Fan Marketing Plan
  • Calculate Your Artist Channel Volume
  • Forecast Your Projected Direct-to-Fan Campaign Sales
  • Assess Your Fanbase-Building Lifecycle Phase
  • Choose a Direct-to-Fan Campaign Type
  • List Your Offers
  • Set Your Campaign Goal
  • Define Your Campaign Objectives
  • Quantify and List Your Key Performance Indicators
  • Inventories: Channels, Content, and Merchandise
  • Assignment 10: Create Your Direct-to-Fan Marketing Campaign Outline

Lesson 11: Direct-to-Fan Campaign Planning: Finalizing Your Plan

  • Contingency Planning
  • Publicity
  • Electronic Press Kit (EPK)
  • Press Story
  • Determining Your Press Outlets
  • How to Pitch to Different Types of Media Outlets
  • DIY Publicity vs. Hiring a Publicist
  • Radio Promotion
  • Noncommercial Radio
  • Commercial Radio
  • Independent Radio Promoters
  • Working with an Independent Radio Promoter
  • Online Radio Services and Satellite Radio
  • Live Performances: Touring or Streaming
  • Physical Distribution in the Streaming Era
  • Finalizing Your Direct-to-Fan Marketing Plan
  • Assignment 11: Finalize Your Direct-to-Fan Marketing Plan

Lesson 12: Data, Analytics, and Measuring Results

  • Using Data to Measure Marketing Success
  • Data and Data Analytics
  • Sales, Radio Spins, Streaming, and Social Data
  • Music Industry Data Challenges and Opportunities
  • Accessing and Collecting Data
  • Data Analytics Dashboards and Tools
  • Website Data Analytics: Working with Google
  • Other Website Analytics Dashboards
  • Mailing List Analytics
  • Social Media Analytics
  • Streaming and Download Analytics
  • Merchandise Sales Analytics
  • Live Performance Analytics
  • Promotional Tool Analytics
  • Advertising Analytics
  • Third-Party Data Analytics Services
  • Assignment 12: Analyze the Success of Your Marketing Efforts


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
Completion of Music Marketing 101 or equivalent knowledge and experience is required.



Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Chats. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Mike King


Mike King is currently the Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing at Interlochen Center of the Arts. Mike’s career has been devoted to the arts and arts education. His first professional position was at Rykodisc where he oversaw marketing efforts for label artists including Mickey Hart, Andrew Bird, Morphine, Bill Hicks, The Slip, Kelly Joe Phelps, and Frank Zappa. Mike also spent time at Rounder Records and at Chris Blackwell’s Palm Pictures.

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Mike spent 19 years at Berklee College of Music in Boston, culminating in the roles of Vice President of Enrollment Management and Marketing at Berklee and Chief Marketing Officer at Berklee Online. 

Mike is an educator who has taught music business and marketing courses for Berklee Online and Northeastern University, and has authored courses for Berklee Online. His book, Music Marketing: Press, Promotion, Distribution, and Retail, was published by Berklee Press. Mike has also been recognized as the Best Music Business Teacher by the National Association of Record Industry Professionals (NARIP).

He has written for Making Music magazine, International Musician, Hypebot, and American Songwriter, and has been quoted in The New York Times, Huffington Post, Billboard, The Boston Globe, APM Marketplace, Wired, and The Chicago Tribune. He has also presented at MIDEM, SXSW, NAMM, NARM, and more.

Mike has served on the board of the Boch Center in Boston, and has been an advisor to several companies, including Ledger in Paris, Île-de-France, France. Read Less

Chandler Coyle


Chandler Coyle is a music business teacher, industry consultant, connector, and an integral part of all his artist clients' teams. Chandler spends his days helping artists with all aspects of digital strategy to help his clients and students find more fans, make more money, and get to spend more time on their music. Chandler has been online since 1989 and coded his first webpage in 1994. Since 2012 Chandler has been teaching both undergraduate and graduate-level music business courses for Berklee College of Music's online extension Berklee Online. In addition to his teaching and freelance consulting efforts, Chandler also provides digital expertise to the fan engagement agency Music Geek Services founded by his brother and direct-to-fan expert Jay Coyle. Chandler has given talks and appeared on panels at SXSW, CD Baby’s DIY Musician Conference, the Berklee Onsite Conference, and Chicago’s LakeFX.

What's Next?

When taken for credit, Modern Music Marketing: Music Promotion, Fan Relationships, and Direct-to-Fan Strategies can be applied towards the completion of these related programs:

Related Degree Majors


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