Here are eight music marketing courses that can help you take your career to the next level:
- 80/20 Music Business Crash Course
- Steps to Take to Effectively Sell Music Online
- Band Builder Academy
- Music Marketing 101
- Music Promotion Insiders
- Social Media for Music
- Advanced Sync Strategies for Film, TV, and Video Games
A bit of background / a note for transparency’s sake:
I haven’t personally taken all of these courses or joined each of these communities (although I have gone through several of them).
However, I have applied advice from all of these instructors or platforms personally. I also know many of these instructors personally, and I trust the information that each of them has to offer. Because of that, some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that, if you purchase through them, I’ll get a small commission.
It’s also worth noting that I’ve put together this list with a focus on making it well-rounded.
To that end, you’ll see courses on social media, sync licensing, and music business. So it’s less an ordered list based on top value, and more a survey of courses on a wide range of music marketing topics that I think are helpful.
It isn’t meant to be exhaustive; there are plenty of other great resources out there, and it seems like a new one is brought to my attention every day. It’s just meant to be useful as you sort through who to listen to and where to turn for music marketing advice.
The bottom line is that there’s a lot of noise in the world and a lot of “gurus” who aren’t all that good. Based on my personal experience, I’m confident that these guys are good.
So, that’s the sitch.
With all of that said, let’s dive in. Here are eight music marketing courses that can help you take your career to the next level in 2022.
1. 80 / 20 Music Business Crash Course
- Platform: Indie Music Academy
- Instructor: Ryan Waczek
- Price: $297 (one-time)
- Pitch: “Completely understand how the music industry works and build a rock-solid music brand in just 4-weeks. You’ll learn how to read contracts and secure deals, negotiate splits, register your songs, collect royalties, and attract new fans worldwide.”
If you’re looking to learn the basics of music business and get your own business set up correctly, this is the course to take. As the title suggests, it focuses on the 20% of music business that you need to know to get 80% of the results.
Ryan Waczek is a great guy and a great instructor; I’ve worked with him for a couple of years and can personally attest to both of those things. The course is delivered primarily through email (which happens to be my favorite channel), and features four weeks of lessons on the core business competencies that musicians need to succeed – stuff like distribution, royalty collection, label contracts, music publishing, and more.
It’s very tactical; there are actual examples of record label contracts and songwriting splits so that you can see exactly how things work. There’s also a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you want to get your own music business in order…
Click here to enroll in 80/20 Music Business.
2. Band Builder Academy
- Platform: Band Builder Academy
- Instructor: Todd McCarty
- Price: $29.99 / month
- Pitch: “Taught by Sony Music Vice President and top label manager Todd McCarty, Band Builder Academy provides musicians a unique process to convert fans, get more Spotify playlists, streams, and member-only tools.”
Todd McCarty has a wealth of experience in the music industry and is a super sharp guy. We connected last year (although I’d been following his stuff for a while) and had a fun conversation about music marketing / business; you can read my interview with Todd here.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If you want to up your game on Spotify, Todd’s one of the people to learn from.
While I’ve included Todd’s flagship offering, Band Builder Academy, on this list of “top courses”, I want to point out that it isn’t quite a course – it’s actually a membership community that includes 60+ video lessons, plus access to consulting from Todd, plus a suite of really useful tools and templates.
Long-story-short, it’s a pretty darn good deal.
Click here to try Band Builder Academy.
- Platform: Indepreneur
- Instructor: Kyle “Circa” Lemaire
- Price: $37 / month
- Pitch: “As an INDIEPRO member, you’ll get instant, on-demand access to our entire library of step-by-step Campaign Guides. These instructional guides have been used to trigger a flood of new listeners, build a massive subscriber list of engaged fans, or create die-hard supporters with time-tested strategies.”
I don’t know Circa personally, but I’ve been consistently impressed with the content he puts out. Check out his YouTube channel for examples – really detailed, really helpful stuff. And perhaps the coolest part is that all of the content and advice that these guys offer is tested and validated by an extensive community of real artists.
With that noted, INDIEPRO, like Band Builder Academy, is a membership community, not a course.
Actually, members get access to 14+ courses, with more added (and old ones updated) regularly. That includes stuff like “The Ultimate Album Launch,” “How to Run Your Music Business,” and the highly acclaimed (well, not sure what the threshold for “highly acclaimed” is, but I’ve heard multiple people rave about it) “Fan Finder Method”.
Members also get access to discounts on a suite of marketing and business tools, like Atomic Disc, TuneSpeak, and CDBaby.
Click here to try INDIEPRO.
4. Steps to Take to EffectivelySell Music Online
- Platform: Udemy
- Instructor: Christopher Greenwood (Manafest)
- Price: $94.99 (one-time – and it’s usually on sale for a lot cheaper)
- Pitch: “As the artist Manafest I’ve sold over 300,000 albums worldwide over 1,000,000 singles and toured over 20 different countries. I ‘take you by the hand’ and ‘behind the scenes’ and show you everything, explaining it in simple detail with videos and written support lectures.”
This is probably the most affordable option on this list; while it’s listed at an original price of $94.99, as I write this it’s on sale for $14.99. And from what I’ve seen on Udemy, that kind of price cut is pretty common.
I don’t know Chris personally and I haven’t taken this course, but it’s one of the top results when you search for music marketing courses and it’s got a ton of validation – over 13,000 students have taken it, and it has a rating of 4.4 stars (which, at that volume, is really solid).
I went through the preview videos, and from what I can tell, this is a great breakdown of basic music business advice for indie artists. Chris has had a ton of personal success, and a big part of the course is breaking down the strategies that he’s used to do it. The one potential drawback is that some of the material looks a little outdated; for example, the YouTube screen he shows looks like it’s from like five years ago. But it seems like the strategies he’s detailing are evergreen – not super caught up in the specific buttons on a specific button, and therefore still relevant.
Click here to enroll in Steps to Take to Effectively Sell Music Online.
5. Music Marketing 101
- Platform: Berklee Online
- Instructor: Mike King and others
- Price: $1,250 (one-time)
- Pitch: “Music Marketing 101 provides artists, managers, and business entrepreneurs with the foundational music marketing base they’ll need to succeed and thrive in this new music business.”
AI don’t know Mike King or any of the other instructors featured in this course personally, and I haven’t taken this course. So, take this listing with a grain of salt. To be honest, I’m mostly including it because Berklee is the premier music school in the US, so it feels fair to include one of their offerings on this list. And I have benefitted from their free content.
This course is their official primer on music marketing.
It covers a wide range of ground – everything from merchandise sales, to digital distributors, to publicity, to radio, to touring. The course outline looks pretty good. It also looks like a pretty big investment. Not only is this the most expensive course on this list, it’s also (probably) the most time-intensive.
I mean, it’s literally a three-credit undergrad class that’s open to the public. If you’re going to take this, you’d better be prepared to take it seriously.
Check out Music Marketing 101 here.
6. Music Promotion Insiders
- Platform: Jam Mob
- Instructor: Justin Smith
- Price: $9.95 / month
- Pitch: “Music Promotion Insiders is an ever-evolving ‘treasure trove’ of training and resources to help musicians get more exposure, build a following, and earn a living as independent artists.”
This is worth a shot just for the low price tag – it’s literally the same cost as going to Chipotle and getting guacamole. So there’s not much to lose.
While I’m not a member of Music Promotion Insiders, I’ve found Justin’s free material to be helpful. His YouTube channel showcases his style of teaching; it’s very tactical and detail-oriented. He does a great job of breaking things down to a beginner level, and he’s created an absolute ton of material, so regardless of which platform you’re looking for advice about, you can probably find it here.
I have two caveats, though: First, based on the content I’ve seen, Music Promotion Insiders is probably best for beginners rather than more experienced marketers. Second, because there’s so much material, it seems like it’d be hard to sift through it all. (This is why I like “roadmaps”.)
That said, there’s a Facebook Group where you can ask specific questions.
Click here to try Music Promotion Insiders.
7. Social Media for Music
- Platform: rickbarker.com
- Instructor: Rick Barker
- Price: $97
- Pitch: “My Social Media For Music training is specifically designed to show you how to rapidly build a loyal following of rabid fans who will eagerly engage with you, buy your music and your merchandise, and pay to see you play live, or via livestream.”
Rick was Taylor Swift’s manager and has since made a name for himself as a social media marketer. I’ve taken his course and can speak to its effectiveness.
It’s a nice overview of how to use social media as a musician, with specific modules on the main channels as of 2022 – Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. There’s also a bunch of bonus content, including a video on how to use Canva, one on how to use Hootsuite, and several modules on email lists and website optimizations.
All told, it’s a lot of solid content, and a pretty good bang for your buck. (I actually picked it up at a sale price of like $20, so it was nearly a no-brainer for me.)
While the material is not overly technical, there was still a lot of information that was new to me, even though I’ve been marketing professionally on social media for nearly a decade now. If you want to get your social platforms in a good spot and start building an engaged fanbase, it’s a good place to start.
Click here to try Social Media for Music.
8. Advanced Sync Strategies for Film, TV and Video Games
- Platform: Ari’s Take Academy
- Instructor: Ari Herstand & Vo Williams
- Price: $997
- Pitch: “A step-by-step guide to getting paid for your music in films, TV shows, video games and commercials with Vo Williams.”
Ari’s the man. I’ve read his book, I’ve interviewed him for Two Story Melody for his own music, and I’ve also worked with him and his team to add content to his awesome blog, Ari’s Take (I wrote an article on EPKs – fun stuff). For this course, he’s partnered with Vo Williams, who has over 1,000 sync licensing placements on his own music and a ton of insider information on how the sync world works. I don’t know Vo, but it’s clear he’s legit.
This course is my go-to recommendation for sync licensing info, for two reasons:
- I trust anything Ari puts out.
- This isn’t just a course to push info; students actually get showcases with top-tier sync agencies twice a year.
That means you get a real shot to pitch your music (based on the material from the course) to real people who can really place it. That’s cool stuff. If you’re looking to learn about sync licensing and actually get placements, this is the place to do it.
It’s worth noting, though, that because the course involves showcases, Ari and Vo are particular about who they allow into the program. Basically, your music has to be good and it has to be a decent fit for the sync world. That means that you have to apply, and you’re not guaranteed to get in.
The course only runs every six months, but you can either enroll or sign up for the waitlist here…
Click here to check out Advanced Sync Strategies for Film, TV, and Video Games.
Final thoughts on music marketing courses
Here’s a hard truth: With online education – as with most things – you’ll only get out as much as you put in. Too many people pay for courses only to leave them unfinished. If you aren’t prepared to invest time in studying and applying the insights from a course, you shouldn’t pay money to take it.
But it you’re ready to invest time and money in your music, this stuff can help.
Look, there’s a ton of information out there on music marketing – and a lot of it’s really good. But some of it isn’t, and it’s hard to sort through the noise.
My hope is that this list is helpful as you consider where to turn for music marketing advice. It’s by no means exhaustive, but I’m confident that the courses listed above can help you take your music career to the next level.
Here’s wishing you good luck in doing it.
PS – Have a good or bad experience with any of these courses? Know any other music marketing courses that belong on this list? Let me know in the comments.