There are so many opportunities you can get your music placed in for it to get more exposure and for you to get more potential fans. The good news is, there is pretty much no such thing as a bad placement, and all press is good press, especially if you're an independent artist trying to get your name out there. The bad news is, thanks to the internet, there are thousands of placements that aren't actually going to do much for you. Let's make sure you're going for placement opportunities that will yield you the best results.
Traditionally, when a musician would hear the word placement when it comes to music, the placement opportunity is actually a music licensing opportunity. Music licensing opportunities allow you to place your music in advertising opportunities that include TV shows, movies, video games, and commercials.
As you can imagine, these are the prime type of placements that most artists and musicians are looking to score the most. When you get a placement in a major opportunity like a popular show, not only will you be earning a pretty penny from that placement that is thousands of dollars, but you'll be getting heard by millions of people.
Music licensing placements are great to get but extremely hard to get as well. There are several top licensing companies that are very selective about the music they accept, but there are also hundreds of smaller or 'boutique' companies that you'll have better chances with, although the exposure and the pay will be less.
There are some licensing opportunities you can get that won't even make you a few hundred bucks, but it will be a good experience to learn from. For example, if a somewhat popular Youtuber is using a music platform that has several thousand tracks available for licensing, they might pick your track and you might make a few bucks and get heard by 1000 people or so. Still not bad!
The term music placement has also been popping up a lot recently when it comes to getting picked for a popular music discovery channel on Youtube or a popular discovery playlist on Spotify. These opportunities can be very huge, getting you over a million streams for example if you get a placement on an official Spotify editorial playlist or a placed on a big Youtube channel like Majestic Casual (I got one song on there before!).
If you are lucky enough to get picked for this type of opportunity, you will be in for tons of new listeners, but not necessarily in for a lot of money. Depending on the agreement you have with the promoter and the rights split of the work, you can make a big chunk of money or none at all.
Like licensing placements but even worse, there are thousands of channels and playlists that offer placements but have the smallest or no following at all. I'm currently getting promoted by several playlists on Spotify that have gotten me like 10 plays at most. Bless their hearts for trying, but it isn't doing much.
And remember how I said there is "pretty much" no harm in a bad placement? Well, some Spotify placements can actually mess up your song data if you're put in promotional playlists that don't really match your song. The only thing I'll say about that is, that song is probably not going to make it that far at this point anyway, so best just focus on the next one (sorry haha).
If you're working with a music PR or marketing company, chances are they will count any press they are able to get you as a music placement. This can include a blog, an interview, a podcast, a radio show, or a music magazine opportunity.
These types of placements can still get you places, I'm sure, but not many people are that excited to get placed in a blog or magazine these days because that's not the main way people are getting exposed to music now. There are still a decent amount of very popular blogs like PitchFork that can get you a ton of traffic, but chances are, if you're getting placed on Pitchfork, you're already getting placed on bigger playlists and licensing opportunities as well.
Even radio placements don't have the appeal that they used to, especially since you're likely not going to get that many spins, and the types of stations that allow indie artist placements to get into regular rotation don't have that huge of an audience listening. College and community stations can still help you, and even get you a small number of royalties, but you may want to pour more energy into something bigger like Spotify.