Streaming music platforms have allowed for an age of unprecedented access to massive music platforms. The barrier for entry to these platforms is relatively low, but making your music accessible to listeners is really only the first step of finding success in the modern music industry.
For those who have had their music buried by ‘the algorithm,’ the big goal quickly becomes how to market yourself as a music artist.
The biggest unspoken tip in this area is simply to make good music, which itself can be a lot harder than it sounds.
But for everything beyond that point, we turn to Yash Mall for help.
Mall is a versatile professional musician with credits ranging from commercial music composition for groups like Reliance Retail and Brand Musiq to more personal releases which include collaborations with Zach Zebrowski under the name Allowme.
His Spotify tracks have racked up millions of listens through various platforms and music blogs.
Our interview with Mall took a look at the contemporary music landscape and very concrete ways that aspiring musicians and artists can gain larger followings that will in turn help spread the word and win new fans.
You’ll find all of that and more below. We hope you enjoy.
Do you feel that all musicians need to have a substantial social media presence?
Mall: In today’s age, social media is inescapable for everyone. Used wisely, it can prove to be a gamechanger, and I know of many individuals who have achieved their dreams because of their presence on platforms like Instagram and TikTok.
For musicians, the most important thing is to be heard. Each time a listener tunes in, your ripple of influence grows larger. In a connected world, there’s no better way to reach out to listeners than to post your music on social media.
At the same time, social media also brings the world to your ears. Listening to different kinds of music and different artists influences your own artistic choices and enhances your exposure to different genres. Social media also eliminates all lag so tone truly feels part of a larger community of artists.
How important has it been for you to form professional connections while working on different jobs and projects?
Mall: Going to a music college like Berklee has opened many doors for me. Many of my teammates during my assignments in New York were Berklee alum. I can honestly say that without their guidance, I’d have had to struggle much harder to get to this point.
As a music composer, I work with some of the best-known musicians in India. All of them have helped me in developing my craft and understanding the client’s needs. Musicians need to be well-networked if they want to find sustainable work, and I’m truly fortunate that I’ve been able to tap into a very supportive ecosystem of music producers, composers, and artists.
Do you think that doing good work is the best way to market yourself?
Mall: Your best calling card is your work. As they say, one’s work should speak for itself. While that may be a necessary condition for success, it need not be the only factor. Having a good network, reaching out to listeners on social media, talking to the media, promoting one’s work on relevant blogs and magazines, working with a good team, finding the right agent– all of these are absolutely mandatory for creating a large listenership.
What influenced your decision to post music to Spotify?
Mall: When we wrote our first single, ‘Off the Line’, we knew that the song would receive good traction. For us, as indie artists, it was natural to reach out to Spotify, where we had a very high chance of getting noticed. True to our expectations, that song and the ones that followed got placed on several Spotify playlists with a very large following, some running into the millions, thus giving us very good traction. We will post our upcoming singles on Spotify to build on the goodwill that we’ve managed to create on that platform.
Are there different types of composition and songwriting that you enjoy the most?
Mall: My favorite style of music is electronic pop, though that wasn’t what I trained in originally. Living in India, I grew up playing classical piano, the only genre of Western music that has a pedagogy in India.
The classicists were a core part of my education and exposure to this genre. It was when I went to college that I started appreciating the nuances of all the other genres of music, and my interest naturally veered to electronic pop and artists such as Flume, Billie Eilish, Maggie Rogers, and Lany. As a professional composer, I have to write a lot of orchestral scores, another genre that I enjoy very much, a passion that dovetails into my interest in cinematic music.
Which of your projects brought about the largest amount of exposure?
Mall: Our second single, ‘Hurt a Little Less,’ generated the largest amount of interest in our music. With placement in multiple playlists and mentions on several music blogs, this song has given us the confidence to forge ahead in our musical journey.
I was personally very excited about the vocal production on that song, especially the chorus where we used harmonies that have their roots in gospel music. I’m also very pleased with the response to my audio branding compositions, some of which now run on national television in India.
What is your advice for young musicians trying to market themselves?
Mall: Each new project has been its own learning experience, especially when it comes to marketing. I strongly believe that there’s no substitute for hard work. For instance, for all our singles, we’ve edited and re-edited the arrangements for weeks to get the right sound.
Simultaneously, I’ve kept in touch with all my mentors and taken their assistance in promoting our music. In my experience, the best way to reach out to a larger audience is by connecting with your immediate circle and persuading them to carry your music forward.
Each happy listener automatically becomes one more marketing agent for you. Social media plays a large role in your journey. Staying connected to your fans is just as important.