How Much Should I Spend To Promote a Single?

A frequent question from musicians is how much should I spend to promote a single? I’ve seen lots of different amounts thrown out there. $150, $500, $1,000. Determine your budget for promoting your upcoming single. You can choose from the full spectrum of music promotion opportunities, and decide which you will apply.

Choose Your Priority Tracks.

This article is about the promotion budget for a single song. So after you’ve recorded it, or a batch of songs, and after you’ve paid for any guest feature. What happens is, a lot of artists have spent all their money producing and recording, and have very little left to spend on promotion.

I recommend you choose wisely on which songs you’re going to really push and spend money on. You don’t have to put a budget behind every single song. Pick your priority tracks.

For priority tracks, you’re going to want to have some sort of video. A teaser, visualizer, lyric video, or a traditional music video. But you need some type of video, or your promotion abilities will be limited.

Types of Music Promotion.

Refresh your memory on the various types of music promotion.

  • advertising
  • influencer marketing
  • YouTube, video promotion
  • PR
  • radio
  • playlist promotion
  • partnerships
  • touring
  • guest features
  • sync
  • communities/charities

Invest in Your Music.

The money you invest in your music should be looked at as an investment. Music is an asset, and it can generate money for a lifetime. It’s not something that you release one month and expect to turn a profit 3 months later.

I’ve seen lots of different amounts thrown out there –  $150, $500, $1,000 seems to be common amounts people consider spending.

QUESTION: “What would I do if I only had $150 to promote my song?

That’s really tough, but it would have to be some sort of paid partnership. Or three $50 gift cards for 3 micro influencers. $150 might insult anybody that calls themselves an influencer. So this would be more like a favor with an incentive, rather than a paid promotion. 

But backing up for a minute. There are a lot of artist collaborations that happen for free. Especially amongst artists at the same or similar level. And the best money spent these days is on featured vocals and guest artist appearances on your track. It’s a great way to expand your reach. 

Free Music Promotion.

Most of my career has been spent developing artists. And though we did have some decent budgets at the labels, we always were scrappy and did a lot of things for free or very cheap. So you too have to get good at free promotion.

TikTok promotion can be free. Just your time and energy spent creating fun or clever short video clips. Picking up on a trend or doing cover songs acoustically or acapella. Right now TikTok drives traffic to Spotify and Apple better than any other platform. You can do outreach to other content creators on the platform to use your sounds. And the cost can be zero. 

Your friends and other artists can be a great source of free promotion. Ask them to mention you in stories, posts, or comments. Have them add you to their playlists. Return the favor.  Your own list or database of connections – and more importantly your warm relationships with those people – is going to be your best source of free promotion. So invest a lot of time developing those relationships.

But this lesson is about spending money, so let’s get back to that.

So, How Much Should I Spend?

You can work with just a little bit of money, or check out some of the more advanced options. Many of you are at different levels. So there is no one size fits all answer

Let’s use the spectrum of Brand New, Developing, and Established artists.

*These amounts are in US Dollars.

Recommended Spend Range for a Priority Track.

  • Brand new artist ($75 – $1,000)
  • Developing artist ($200 – $8,500)
  • Established artist ($500 – $15,000+)

Sample Budget Blends for Each Category.

This is ONLY a range to help you plan and customize your own budget. The highest amounts are included because I give you the maximum range of promotional opportunities, including radio.c

Brand new artist. ($75 – $1,000)

  • Instagram/Facebook/TikTok Traffic or Video Views ($40 – $75) – If this is the only ad you buy, start here. $5 p/day or more. 
  • YouTube Trueview Ads ($35 – $70) – You only pay for people who watch :30 sec or more.
  • Influencer Campaign ($0 – $500)
  • PR – ($0 – $500)
    * from recording budget: Guest Vocal Feature ($0 – $500)

Developing artist. ($200 – $8,500)

  • Instagram/Facebook/TikTok Traffic or Video Views ($100 – $250) 
  • YouTube Trueview Ads ($100 – $250)
  • Blog Banner Ads ($10 – $100) (optional) example: Rolling Stone, Complex, Pitchfork, TasteOfCountry, etc.
  • Influencer campaign ($0 – $5,000)
  • Radio discovery campaign ($0 – $2,000)
  • PR – ($0 – $1,000)
    *from recording budget: Guest vocal feature ($0 – $1,000)

Established artist. ($500 – $15,000+)

  • Instagram/Facebook/TikTok Traffic or Video Views ($200 – $400) 
  • YouTube TrueView Ads ($200 – $400) (optional) – If you don’t have a music video on release date, then skip this one for now. Come back to it upon video release.
  • Blog banner ads ($30 – $150) (optional) example: Rolling Stone, Complex, Pitchfork, TasteOfCountry, etc.
  • Email blasts ($30 – $150) (optional) – Geo target by city in promoter newsletters, i.e. Live Nation, TicketMaster. Usually recommended if you have a tour or concert around release date.
  • Influencer campaign ($0 – $10,000)
  • Radio campaign ($0 – $15,000+)
  • PR – ($0 – $1,500)
    * from recording budget: Guest vocal feature ($0 – $15,000+)

Miscellaneous Promotion.

Tour buy-ons – $50 to $1,000 p/show. Usually a minimum of $5,000 per tour.
Club/DJ promotion – If you make dance or rhythmic music you may consider ($500 – $1,500
Sync Pitching Houses – Many work on commission, but there are some that will set a retainer fee if they like your music and are confident they can provide results.
Micro Influencers – ($0 – $500 each)

Micro Influencers.

Use micro influencer campaigns to get your song going with a hashtag challenge on TikTok, or story shout outs and memes from Instagram influencers, maybe even video reaction videos. Bigger influencers won’t do much for less than $5,000.

Maybe that’s worth it. But if you don’t have that type of money, you can approach smaller influencers that will work for a lot cheaper. But think about the amount of work they actually have to do, and the time they have to spend doing it. Like producing a reaction video, for example. That’s a lot of work. But there are a lot of people that will work for $500. 

You can do all this outreach directly yourself. After all you want to do your research and know that you are getting in front of the exact audience that will like your music.  Or you can hire agencies to do this for you. But warning, they’re not cheap, and prices will keep going up.

Link to Influencer Marketing Hub.
They have a great list of agencies. Use the drop down menu on the top navigation.


So what budget will you use to promote your next single? Did this give you a better idea of how you might split up the money between the various promotional segments? Leave some comments or questions below.

Comments on How Much Should I Spend To Promote a Single?

  1. Paul says:

    Thank you very much for this interesting article. This is a difficult question. I think it depends on the personal demands of the band.
    best regards

  2. Jacob Bilal says:

    This was very helpful for me. I want to sponge all the knowledge of this wonderful great industry. Great info

  3. Gary Sutcliffe says:

    Great advice!
    If you can’t afford a professional music video, will an amateur music video help or damage your credibility?

    1. admin says:

      The price or “professionalism” of a music video does not determine how the video will perform on social media and YouTube. Think about the :15 second TikTok video shot on a phone cam that entertains us, makes us laugh, cry, cringe… those get millions of views, not because they were professional. They moved us some way or another. Lyric videos sometimes outperform expensive produced music videos, because the lyrics hold the viewer attention longer. Sometimes the plot line can get boring in a music video. Also, thumbnails (click through rate), how the video is titled. Does the title grab you or make you curious? Viewer retention. Those are extremely important factors in determining the success of a video in algorithms. That is the reason some beautifully made professional videos end up with 500 views. They didn’t achieve all of the things I mentioned above. Hope I answered your question. Todd

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