5 Great Twitter Music Contest Ideas

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Whether you like it or not, there’s no denying that Twitter has proven to be a useful marketing tool for many people – including musicians.

Lately I’ve been researching Twitter contests. And I realized there are two good reasons to do a Twitter contest campaign:

Therefore, here are five Twitter Music Contest ideas to consider when planning future promotions …

1) The Retweet Song or Album Giveaway

With this contest, you simply ask your followers to RT a certain tweet. You can give away a song download to everyone who RTs, or choose one or three or however many winners randomly.

Here’s how Mike Turner of @CrashKarma did this:

CD Giveaway / Crash Karma – RT this by 8 AM tomorrow to win a copy!

2) The Concert Ticket Giveaway

Same concept as above, only the winner (or winners) get no-cost access to your live show.

3) The ‘Help Us Write a Song’ Contest

Years ago the band O.A.R. promoted a Twitter Songwriting Contest. According to a Billboard article, fans could “submit their lyrics, 140 characters at a time, to O.A.R.’s page at twitter.com/ofarevolution. The band will then pick three winning verses, a chorus, and a bridge that will make up the lyrics of the song.”

Now that’s a creative use of Twitter.

4) The ‘Tell Us Your Favorite Song’ Contest

With this one, you post streaming (but not downloadable) links to a collection of your songs. Then ask fans to listen and tweet their favorite tracks. You can send everyone who does (or a limited number of people) the full CD or album download.

5) The ‘Help Us Spread the Word” Contest

This could be an effective way to built your Twitter presence quickly. You send an email to your fan list and ask them to A) start following you on Twitter, and B) to post a specific update that you supply, such as

Check out @KushMusicCanada It’s feel-good, downtempo music for the mind, body & soul. You’ll love it!

Then offer a prize to everyone who follows you and posts the message, or offer something cool to the first 10 people who do.

Ready to present your own Twitter music contest idea? Go for it! And check the comments section below for some additional ideas.


P.S. Also check out my Twitter Music Promotion & Marketing Guide page.

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  1. Netvalar says:

    Social media tools or any other aspect of a musicians career is only useful if they can organize it into their customized goals.

    If you are only playing out twice a year and have only an EP then your 1st priority is your music. That is before you even think about a label or DIY.

    I see waaaaaaay too many artists or bands who don’t have enough “Content” to do anything with jumping on board the “Marketing is Everything” aspect.

    However lets not get those artists who aren’t prepared into the discussion on rather Twitter, facebook, reverbnation are worth the time and effort.

    In the process of organizing ones online goals a good theory to think about is how you can tie them all together. Thus when you post your live show for next month it gets posted automatically to those locations online that your fans will be looking for that info.

    When you have great content (i.e. music) using contests rather via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is a perfect way to get your fans to spread the word about your great music.

    If course all that said I agree with Stephen that there is not enough time to accomplish everything thus the reason to organize what you can accomplish. I also agree that in this decade we really aren’t seeing the HIT potential and I am looking forward to seeing one of those (hopefully). Though there are tons of good music worth seeing the light of day IMO.

  2. Stephen M says:

    1. There are only so many hours in the day. You CAN’T write great songs, record everything yourself, produce yourself, edit yourself, market yourself, do your own product design, your own PR, and have enough time to practice your musicianship, book and promote your own tours and wind up with a not merely OK or status quo, but LEGENDARY result. Impossible. Unless you have the capital to contract many of these things out to other stellar talents. Or, if it is possible, I’d really, really love to see an example of it.

    Now, of course those who are marketing recording gadgets and self help products and turn-key instant famous rock band solutions would lead you to believe that. And I don’t blame them! What else are you supposed to do nowadays, right? Where’s my instant rock star iPhone app?

    2. Sure Roy was relinquishing control, which threw him into the classic artist vs label struggle. But just look at the RESULTS the industry was able to create when it had an effective system which weeded out those unworthy of musical success and rewarded the tasteful, well-crafted music. Now sorry, but I don’t think hiring Chinese web dev companies for chump change to “instantly” create 1,000’s of Twitter fans (which is a nice scammy practice lately) to fool the public is a good solution to the problem. And it doesn’t make up for inferior music.

    Nowadays, sure there are successful indie acts on their own and breakout indie acts that make it real big, like Kings of Leon for instance. But if you put them up against a Stevie Wonder, a prime era Steely Dan or even The Cars, they’d be musically beaten into submission, from a songs, hooks, musicianship, and talent perspective. Even standard run of the mill 90s acts had more chutzpah. What does the 00’s have to show for itself? Coldplay? Black Eyed Peas? Have we really progressed?

    It’s the hits. We’re missing real hits with genuine, non-gimmicky talent behind them. Talk to any older producer or studio cat who’s been round the block a few times and seen it from the trenches and it’s glaringly obvious. We’re missing hits from honest to God superstar talents. And I think a big part of that is the energy and focus that is created by a system that’s designed around quality. Sure that system broke down over time and died for the most part. But they proved it could be done.

    Of course it’s a deeper problem than that. Couple the Internet with generations of the self-entitled (I’m one of them) and you have millions of mediocre “me too” acts. At least with the old system, they would exist but the majority wouldn’t even see the light of day, as nature intended.

  3. Viral Gigs says:


    Thanks for that. There’s at least one idea I’ll implement immediately.

    In response to Anonymous comment about Roy Orbison.

    2 Things:

    1. it doesn’t have to be Either/Or. Great songwriting and viral communication of ideas are both creative pursuits.

    2. Roy Orbison functioned in a generation where his record label, management and other middlemen controlled the marketing and actually got his music past the gatekeepers of the industry to the fans. Twitter and other social mechanisms are now our ‘direct to fan’ avenues over which we have control.

    I agree that sometimes it can be a distraction, but for most of us who have been with a label and now enjoy these direct access routes it’s the liberating aspect of being an indie musician in the 21st century.

    Cheers – Andy

  4. Anonymous says:

    I think Roy Orbison would’ve written less legendary songs if he was worrying about things like “building buzz through Tweets”.

    Twitter should be the LAST thing musicians these days should be worrying about.

    Dumb “marketing is everything” cart before the horse thinking.

    Sorry but we’ve got to wake up and start putting the music and talent first and the marketing gimmicks second.

  5. Desiree says:

    I’ve used Twitter contests for previous clients – speed is the name of the game and visibility. Plus you get a chance to build a good community. Remember to add the call to action “Pls RT”.
    Be warned – feed that community with great content post-contest or they’ll go elsewhere! 🙂

  6. freshnerd says:

    These are some great ideas! I am actually running a contest at the moment where I giveaway a CD to whoever posts the best 5 word review.

    I definitely think Twitter is a great tool when it comes to creating buzz.