Touring is one of the best ways for musicians to get their music heard by lots of fans, and in some cases, to help fund their next album. But touring isn't for everyone – the long hours, the extensive travel, and the late nights aren't suited to every individual musician. If you don't want to tour (or if you want to add some oomph to your promotional efforts), here are a few suggestions for what you can do to continue expanding your fan base.
Submit to Radio Stations
Make a list of local radio stations that play what you produce (even if it's just a weekly special) and send them your music. Make sure to include radio college stations, as most of them will play almost anything that's submitted, and many have regular themes throughout the week. Don't overlook online radio stations either – check out a few national or international radio stations that you can submit online to.
Expand Your Social Media
While you shouldn't have more outlets than you can manage, make sure you're keeping up to date on your current social media outlets and consider expanding to a couple more platforms. Consider which platforms are best suited to what you do, and create a hashtag list to make it easier for fans to find you. You should have a solid presence on all of the largest platforms – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr – and check out a few niche ones, like Ello or G+.
Doing giveways of anything related to what you produce – especially if you market those giveaways on social media – is a great way to get people to share what you do. Offer giveaways of everything from single-serve mp3s to signed lyric sheets, and in return, just ask people to subscribe to your social media channels and music platforms like Bandcamp or SoundCloud. People love free stuff, so offering it to them is a fantastic way to promote your work.
Play Local and Regional Shows
Even if you don't want to travel terribly far away, play as many local shows as you can in your hometown and surrounding cities. Consider playing regional shows as well – shows you can get to in a couple of hours or less – to expand your fan base and connect with other musicians and promoters. If you can get to the show and get home afterwards in a reasonable amount of time, don't rule it out just because it's more than twenty minutes' drive.
A fantastic substitute for touring is playing conventions – it's like a mini-tour unto itself, because you only have to be away for a few days. Look for conventions that host live musical acts as a matter of course, especially ones that pay – or at least offer accommodation. Conventions are a wonderful way to get your music in front of lots and lots of people at once – whole musical careers have been made during a single convention weekend.
Touring isn't for everyone – for those with serious day jobs, children, or chronic illnesses, touring can be flatly out of the question. But these five tips will help you make a living from your music in the long term, and with diligence and dedication, your fan base will continue to expand.