Counting for one of the most dynamic, fast-changing and popular industries of all times, the Music Industry finds itself at yet another turning point, adapting and evolving together with the modern, global and inter-connected world. From the way songs are distributed and consumed, to the way new talent is being discovered and released, this article will offer you the three important highlights, with tips and tricks to help you keep up to speed.
New emerging acts or experienced musicians – there is one common phrase they will all agree to: “Music today is not the same it was”. While this is not referring strictly to the quality (or genre) of the composition, it is surely a true, valid, statement from all its commercial perspectives.
1. The Rich & Famous “safe bet”
Just kidding – there is no “Safe bet” in this industry. However, many things changed in relation to how fans pay for, and consume music. While in the past the “big money” were in physical sales and possibly touring, today digital streaming (and downloading) has become the go-to music consumption method for most youngsters – and it’s a growing trend! Digital (and to a certain degree physical) sales are still important being an instant international outlet, however, as artists, we should never look at this income stream exclusively. To make sure you are earning your “fair share”, ensure you register your work properly before releasing, and are also reporting live performances to bodies such as PRS for remuneration. More details can be found here.
Alternatively, the second biggest income stream remains from live performances. According to multiple reports, including Mintel UK analysing Entertainment and Leisure habits of population, there is a growing demand for live entertainment, the preference changing being the way in which this is delivered. It appears that younger population values more intimate, high quality and unique experiences, which could be one of the factors contributing to the success of music events companies such as Sofar. On the other hand, events that offer an immersive experience such as music festivals are still highly popular, mainly on the electronic and rock scenes.
The bottom line?
The more unique and “complete” a live performance is as an overall experience, the better chance your band has to attract fans and win them long-term.
As advertising is changing too, and brands’ customers place more importance on recommendations and product endorsements, it is becoming more and more popular for artists and celebrities to be affiliates. Beyond the popular instrument representation partnerships, it is now common for musicians to endorse fashion accessories or fragrances. Sounds interesting? See Shawn Mendes’ recent affiliation with the luxury designer house Armani to get an idea of how this could be a long-term valuable income stream for you. Don’t worry – you can start small, with an accessories start-up or local boutique clothing brand.
To keep in mind: Your affiliations will also have to match your music “brand values” – don’t become an endorser unless you and the brand are compatible in this direction, otherwise there will be damage to the brand image of both you and the product you represent.
2. Releasing your music has never been easier.
We have all heard of artists being discovered through Youtube, Vine or (more recently) Musical.ly – a few popular examples being James Bay, Shawn Mendes or Justin Beiber. Well, they are only few of the artists that managed to make themselves heard and built a fan base using the internet. Platforms such as Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Youtube, Apple Music or Spotify make it very easy nowadays to publish songs as an independent artist, while keeping all your ownership rights. For details of how to register and distribute your songs with an aggregator, check out this article.
Why should you do it?
Because most of the people in the industry who are serious about their career have already started, and it’s one of the most effective way of “making yourself heard”. Influencers such as Gary Vaynerchuck or popular songwriters such as Ryan Tedder are also strong supporters of this approach, agreeing putting as much material as possible online is essential today, as there is so much information overload. The two major points outlined are: You never know which song will get the perfect timing and resonance with your audience and you never know when the right song will reach the right person that could help you skyrocket your success.
From spring 2017, Spotify has changed its artist registration regulations, meaning that after releasing your music (as an independent artist, through an aggregator such as CD Baby) you don’t have to wait for a specific follower base threshold to be reached – you can get verified and start managing your account straight away! Fun times 🙂
3. Your fans are closer than ever
You probably know that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the best platforms to keep in touch with your fans – but do you actually have a strategy and do it consistently?
Even planning your posts might sound like something “too serious”, being a musician and having a brand is similar in many ways to having a business – fans (or customers) want to hear from you! Make sure you have a communications plan 🙂
Why should you do it?
While this might sound complicated in the beginning, once you learn the basics of digital marketing, how to schedule posts and eventually create an Email list, this time invested will prove itself highly valuable.
As everything is so interconnected, your fans want (and expect) you to answer their messages and to let them know what you’re up to all the time. Big label companies also discovered this, and in the recent years well-known artists were more and more encouraged to personally communicate with their fans on social media when possible, rather than leaving the job for their PR – Interesting, isn’t it?
There are dedicated music platforms, such as Drooble (a new emerging Social media environment dedicated only to musicians and music lovers) where you’ll find a lot of passionate people, advice, feedback and support. Have a quick look, you’ll surely like it!
This is just a quick snap of how the music world is moving, and how you can keep up and take advantage of these changes as we speak. Not sure where to start? Have a quick look at your online presence, your upcoming calendar and your plans for the future. It will all be a bit clearer if looked at in perspective. Then try interconnection the events and see how you can leverage the online environment for your offline activity, and create a coherent communication through both mediums.
Marketiu is Europe’s “freshest” Arts & Entertainment Digital Marketing and PR Agency, headquartered in London and on a mission to help artists an entertainment firms thrive and keep art expression at its highest standards.
We also deal with Digital Marketing/PR consultancy for SME and private seminars/trainings on Marketing Strategy.
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Andrei Tiu (Marketiu Founder and CMO; Founder & Manager of four music bands. newest being Naked Canvases; Internationally awarded young entrepreneur): firstname.lastname@example.org