Music Marketing 101


Authored by Christopher Wares


Course Code: OMBUS-126

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 1

Level 1

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


Music Marketing 101 provides you with the foundational knowledge to design, plan, and execute an integrated music marketing campaign, whether you are a self-promoting artist or a business collaborator, working with artists.

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As technology advances, it has become easier than ever for artists to record, distribute, and promote their music. However, these new opportunities come with significant challenges. With tens of thousands of songs uploaded to streaming platforms every day, the market is highly competitive, making it increasingly difficult for artists to stand out and reach a larger audience.

To add to the complexity, there is constant change in the online environment, which is affecting how music is consumed and discovered, as well as how musicians interact with their fans. This is especially true with the role of social media, which continues to disrupt many of the traditional music marketing models.

One of the biggest challenges faced by the modern musician is figuring out how and where to allocate their time, money, and resources—which are often limited—to maximize impact and get the best return on investment. The key to success is understanding how to implement the most effective strategies and tactics to successfully develop and maintain a fanbase, generate revenues, and share their music with the world.

Music Marketing 101 covers all of these essential elements of modern music marketing—defining your brand, creating a social media content strategy, getting your music on playlists, leveraging your brand to acquire endorsement and sponsorship deals, getting your music placed in film and television, drafting a release plan and schedule, and so much more. The curriculum also emphasizes ways to accomplish all of this while also staying true to your artistic integrity and vision.

You will learn the secrets of how the most successful record labels and artists promote their releases, and then apply those techniques to your music. In this course, timeless marketing principles are combined with new and emerging trends and cutting-edge tech to provide you with a well-rounded approach that will enable you to have sustainable success in the industry. You will leave the course with a real-world, actionable music marketing plan for a release.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Discuss foundational marketing concepts and terminology
  • Describe the functions of the key players involved in a music marketing campaign
  • Develop a brand identity and story for a musician, whether that’s you or an artist you’re working with
  • Design creative marketing strategies for a release campaign that is aligned with a musician’s brand
  • Analyze a musician’s online presence and devise a strategy to improve it
  • Identify the primary marketing tools and platforms used to plan and execute an integrated music marketing campaign (e.g., website creation, email and SMS marketing, social media management, digital advertising, playlist promotion services, DSP tools, etc.)
  • Draft an integrated music marketing campaign, incorporating all of the key areas of modern release strategies
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Overview Syllabus Requirements Instructors
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Lesson 1: Foundational Marketing Principles

  • Marketing Defined and the Marketing Mix
  • Expanding the Definition of Marketing
  • From Passive Listener to Fan: Understanding the Customer Journey and Decision-Making Process
  • Marketing Research and Analysis
  • Market Segmentation and Defining a Target Audience
  • Assignment 1: Creating an Ideal Fan Avatar

Lesson 2: Artist Brand, Sound, and Persona (Prior to Releasing)

  • Defining an Artist’s Brand
  • Creating a Brand Identity and Persona
  • Selecting and Protecting an Artist Name
  • Writing an Effective Artist Bio
  • Producing and Selecting Commercially Viable Music
  • Understanding the Anatomy of a Marketable Song
  • The Art of Receiving and Utilizing Feedback
  • Music Metadata and the Importance of Staying Organized
  • Assignment 2: Writing Your Artist Bio

Lesson 3: Music Marketing Plan and Marketing Creative

  • Key Components of a Music Marketing Plan
  • Setting Marketing Objectives: Creating SMART Music Marketing Goals
  • Budgeting and Prioritizing for Your Music Marketing Campaign
  • Project Description and Story
  • Marketing Creative for Music Releases
  • Assignment 3: Story and Marketing Creative Around Your Release

Lesson 4: Social Media, Part I

  • Social Media Foundations
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • TikTok
  • Avoiding Digital Burnout
  • Assignment 4: Social Media Audit

Lesson 5: Social Media, Part II

  • YouTube
  • Music Videos
  • Creating a Social Media Content Strategy for Musicians
  • Influencer Marketing for Musicians
  • Assignment 5: Drafting Your Social Media Content Strategy

Lesson 6: Website, Email, SMS, and Direct-to-Fan Platforms

  • Designing and Setting up an Effective Website for Musicians
  • Email Marketing for Musicians
  • SMS (Text Messaging) Marketing for Musicians
  • Direct-to-Fan Platforms
  • Assignment 6: Creating or Updating a Website

Lesson 7: Distribution and Digital Service Provider (DSP) Tools

  • Selecting and Working with a Distributor/Aggregator
  • Introduction to Digital Service Providers (DSPs) and Online Music Stores
  • DSPs Best Practices and Tools
  • Additional Opportunities with DSPs
  • Assignment 7: DSP Strategy

Lesson 8: Getting Music Placed on Playlists and Radio Promotion

  • Playlists
  • How to Pitch Music for Placement on Playlists
  • Radio
  • Radio Promotion
  • Assignment 8: Playlisting Strategy

Lesson 9: Advertising and Publicity

  • Advertising Principles and Creating Effective Ads
  • Google Ads
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Publicity Principles
  • Drafting an Effective Press Release
  • Assignment 9: Running an Ad Campaign on Instagram

Lesson 10: Sync Licensing, Sponsorships, and Brand Partnerships

  • Copyright Considerations for Sync Licensing
  • Television, Film, Video Game Placement, and Advertising
  • Understanding and Negotiating Sync Licensing Contracts
  • Developing and Managing Brand Partnerships
  • Assignment 10: Sync Licensing Strategy

Lesson 11: Live Performances, Networking, and Merchandise

  • Making the Most out of Live Performances and Showcases
  • Designing and Selling Music Merchandise
  • Music Industry Conferences and Tradeshows
  • Networking in the Music Industry
  • LinkedIn
  • Assignment 11: Merch Strategy

Lesson 12: Bringing it All Together: Drafting the Release Plan and Schedule

  • Planning a Release Timeline
  • Drafting an Integrated Marketing Plan for a Release
  • The Future of Music Marketing
  • Assignment 12: Culminating Experience: Integrated Music Marketing Plan


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills
This course does not have any prerequisites.


Media and Subscriptions

  • A Meta for Business account and a minimum of a $10 USD (or equivalent) budget for a digital advertising campaign on Instagram.


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 Classes. 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


Christopher Wares

Author & Instructor

Chris Wares is the Assistant Chair of the Music Business/Management department at Berklee College of Music. With extensive experience in the music industry, he has worked with leading independent record labels, publishing companies, entertainment law firms, and management companies in roles such as marketing director, artist manager, copyright administrator, and sound engineer. He has led marketing campaigns for Grammy- and Juno-winning artists and secured substantial funding for artists and businesses as a grant writer.

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In academia, Chris has developed and updated curricula, designed new courses, and organized events at various post-secondary institutions. He is an active member of the Recording Academy, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), and the Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association (MEIEA). Chris regularly serves as a grant applications juror for the Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), contributing to his dedication to fostering new talent and supporting the arts. 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.

Jay Coyle


Jay Coyle is the founder and "Music Geek" at the digital marketing firm, Music Geek Services. His company provides artist services for the music industry and has been a Topspin-certified marketer since 2009. Built upon a life-long omnivorous obsession with marketing bands and mixing in equal parts of knowledge gained from an advertising-focused Journalism degree at the University of Georgia along with his skills running a Marketing consultancy for 5 years in Atlanta, Music Geek Services was finally created in 2008 immediately after Jay left a marketing position at the EMI CMG label in Nashville.

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Jay's first project under the Music Geek moniker was doing work as band archivist and label product manager for Canadian music veterans, Barenaked Ladies. Since then, Jay has worn a lot of hats including sales, marketing, artist development, business development, tour management, and product management. Jay is currently working with Sloan, the Presidents of the United States of America, Jars of Clay, and Carbon Leaf. Jay's core focus is to help further the careers of artists while partnering with them in a "D.I.Y. +" sort of way to have long-lasting and fan-focused careers. Read Less

John Lenac


John Lenac has helped to drive the evolution of the technology and music landscape since his days as a musician, band manager, and local concert promoter in the late '80s. He helped launch one of the first Alternative Rock FM stations (KTOZ, circa 1991), and grew it to become one of the highest-rated stations in the US. After programming and managing rock stations in Nashville and Kansas City, he was a Promotion Manager at TVT Records and then Rock Editor at HITS Magazine.

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In 2004, he joined LAUNCH/Yahoo! Music. As Head of Music Programming and Artist/Label Relations, he managed a team of radio and video music programmers and interfaced with record labels, artist managers, artists, and business leaders for Yahoo’s branded original content music programs. He then joined PledgeMusic as the Global Head of Business Development, negotiating and closing deals with record labels and various manufacturing, marketing, and ticketing companies. John has been developing and managing artists his whole career, served as the president of a music festival/concert series, and founded and ran his own FM talent management company.

John's work has contributed to millions of albums sold and put dozens of gold and platinum plaques on his wall. He has been a guest lecturer at several schools, including UCLA. He's been a panel moderator and panelist at music industry conventions all over the world, including: SXSW, CMJ, MUSEXPO, Worldwide Radio Summit, One Movement Festival, Music Export Finland, MUSEXPO EUROPE, and The Global Rock Summit. He has also been interviewed by various media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Variety, Records & Radio, Billboard, FMQB, and MTV.

John is currently the Founder/CEO of TechIT Media Group (consultancy for tech & media startups) and also Founder/CEO of WITHYN (record label, artist management and live events). Read Less


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