Artist developmentMusic Business

Why does self-promotion make us cringe?

Woman giving a cringy facial expression

Indie Musicianship comes with many responsibilities and forces us to wear different hats depending on the tasks at hand. One big chunk of building a career in music is the field of “Marketing and Promotion”. You might have recorded the most brilliant song, but without planning and publishing campaigns to spread the word, the music will not land with any audiences whatsoever.

Marketing in general is massively underrated, but having to self-promote YOURSELF and your music adds another layer of resistance for many of us. But why is that?

Why does self-promotion makes us feel cringe?

As is often the case, one answer can be found in our cultural upbringing. Most of us – females especially – were taught to be humble and not to boast about our own accomplishments and successes. However, if we are too modest to talk about our musical creations, we are setting ourselves up for failure. We have to learn to separate our persona from our business in the sense that we have to wear the hat of a Marketing manager, even if the product to be promoted is related to ourselves. You can of course outsource the job, if you have enough money to pay someone to do it, but let´s face it, most of us cannot afford that luxury early on in our careers. It all comes down to “us, ourselves and we” – 24/7.

Another reason why we might feel self-promotion is cringe is the fact that Social Media has put an emphasis on the topic of self-centered personality types and their toxic traits. We might be biased in our thinking now and jump to the conclusion that talking about ourselves or our projects might be viewed as a disorder. But let‘s rewind. Does being proud of your work and wanting to share it automatically make you self-centered? Isn‘t that a generalized one-dimensional conclusion? We all know there is a fine line between self-centeredness and healthy self-confidence. If you feel hesitant to move forward with putting yourself into the spotlight as an artist you might have to work on the latter first. Truth is, there are many reasons to share your music beyond personal gratification (and personal glorification). You might enjoy making music and wanting to to base your income on it (in which case you better start treating it like a job). You might have messages worth sharing or you may simply like to build enough momentum to work as a songwriter, writing for other artists behind the scenes. Whatever your goal, don‘t feel bad for promoting your work and stepping center-stage, if it is necessary to reach your goals.

What‘s more, and this is what turned things around for me. Trying to be modest is a false, convert form of pleasing your ego. You might be scared to get judged or misinterpreted or even ridiculed for putting your art out there. However, try to get over yourself and your own ego. This is not about you, it‘s about your art.

I personally don‘t take all the credits in my music. I am blessed with creativity and privileged with the resources that help me craft music. We are also always the product of our surroundings. Be grateful if a good song happens to you and then put yourself in service of your art and promote it, so that it can land with people. If you are passionate about your music and excited to share it, don‘t overthink it! Just share it! Be child-like in that regard! A song, once released is no longer just ours. It needs to be set free so it can land with listeners that can appreciate it! Music is medicine. Don‘t hold back!

Last not least

If music truly matters to you, then don‘t get hooked on trying to please everyone. Art is for the courageous! Art is meant to be free! Including free of ego!

As always, thank you for the music!

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