Hit new markets with your music

What you'll learn in this post:
  • How to bring your music to new markets
  • Whether you have to establish yourself in the domestic market first
  • How to recognize that you are creating a buzz in another country

Streaming has changed many things, not least the listening pattern of consumers. While in the past most successful songs came from the US or the UK, it is completely normal today for listeners in Germany to listen to K-pop, Nigerian songs to be streamed in the US, or Latin American artists to make it big in Asia. Through streaming, you can theoretically reach listeners all around the globe. But how can you really break into new, foreign markets?

Whereas in Europe, Japan, or Korea the population is ageing, there are countless young people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America who are hungry for new music. They might not have had a record store nearby in the past, but now, the majority of them has cellphones and thus access to all kinds of music. For the longest time, the music industry put their sole focus on a few countries only. This is rather understandable, because only 36 countries used to make up 98% of the profit. However, the knowledge of the remaining markets was lacking. Today, thanks to the artist tools provided by Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, or other platforms such as Chartmetric, you have all the relevant data at your fingertips.

Recognize the signs

It’s important to regularly check the analytics of the streaming services and social media platforms, so you can spot it straight away whenever you attract attention in an unexpected market. When that happens, you have to respond immediately: In this fast-moving age, a hype can be over in the blink of an eye and you might have passed up a great opportunity. But not every quick rise automatically means a chance to expand into a new market. Similarly, not every market is suitable for your music, no matter how lucrative it might seem. China, for instance, is always interesting due to its size alone, but it’s also very hard to crack, because the market is extremely closed off.

Domestic market first?

Experts are split on whether it is better to first gain a foothold in your domestic market or whether you should just invest into whichever market shows the biggest demand. What’s clear is that it’s always easier to build something up in a market that you are familiar with. You have fewer challenges going on tour and you know the media landscape already. Breaking into a new market, on the other hand, takes more time and a bigger budget – and those are still by no means a guarantee for success.

Others, however, find that you should seize your chance wherever it’s presented – be it at your own front door or at the other end of the world. Because once you’ve established yourself in one market, the algorithms often also ensure success in other countries, including, at some point, the domestic market. But whatever you decide to do, you need a good team as a foundation that will support you through these steps.


If you are aiming for a new market or perhaps already experienced first signs of success there, you will need to market yourself in that location. For starters, you can use targeted ads on social media, but you absolutely need to check first which social media platforms and streaming services are most popular in the corresponding market. For your long-terms plans, however, you should work with a local promoter to really be able to break into the market.

You will need people who are familiar with the local scene. Hiring these experts will be often significantly less expensive than in Europe or the US. You should also keep in mind that the streaming services might not pay as much in the up-and-coming markets. For one million streams from the US, you will receive significantly more than you would for one million streams from the Philippines, for example.

Additionally, it is always wise to observe what the competition is doing. Where are similar artists being streamed and what markets do they fail to win over?