Digital Marketing for the Music Maker
Gone are the days when music fans had to go to the store to buy an album and decide if they liked the artist’s music or not. Now, technology leads the way to an artist’s exposure and their engagement with fans or potential fans. Artists also can use technology to build, and eventually maintain, their brand. Here are some ways that digital marketing has impacted an artist’s ability to promote themselves.
Most, if not all, artists and bands have some presence on social media, whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, etc. I use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram almost exclusively. I can find any band I listen to on all three of these social media platforms, and each one provides something a little different.
An example of a band that I like on Facebook is Parachute, a pop rock band from Charlottesville, Va. On their page, you can find photos, videos, links to buy their music and tour dates. They maintain an active presence by consistently posting content and promoting their activities. For example, Parachute posted a link to watch a music video from their second album. I have the ability to share the music video on a friend’s page or post the link on my own page. Not only is Parachute marketing themselves through their Facebook page, but I am as well by sharing their content.
A band I enjoy following on Twitter is NEEDTOBREATHE, an American rock ‘n’ roll band out of Charleston, S.C. A very useful branding tool on Twitter is the retweet option, which is unique to this platform. NEEDTOBREATHE retweets people who are talking about their band. For example, the band retweeted Jake Peavy, a professional baseball player, who tweeted lyrics from one of the band’s new songs. So now all of NEEDTOBREATHE’S followers can see that Jake Peavy likes and supports the band’s song even though they might not be following Jake Peavy. Also, a well-known, popular person such as Jake Peavy gives more weight and credibility to the retweet and the band’s popularity.
‘Be the wheels not the track… Be the wonderer that’s coming back….leave the past right where it’s at…..be more heart & less attack’
— Jake Peavy (@JakePeavy_44) May 22, 2014
One of my favorite bands I follow on Instagram is Young The Giant, an alternative rock band based out of Irvine, Calif. They post entertaining pictures that show where they are playing, where they are at the time (what city they’re visiting) or even pictures of set lists for that night’s show. Bands can really use this application to show their creative side by posting cool photos. I follow bands on Instagram because it gives me a visual of what’s going on with the artist instead of just reading a typed post. Now, with the added video capability, a lot of bands I follow post videos that are humorous and sometimes ridiculous. It gives a music fan like me a peek into the artist’s life as being human and imperfect just like everyone else. The ability for artists to be relatable and down to earth can increase their connections with audiences.
Along with social media sites, artists can also utilize an interactive website to market themselves in an open and genuine way. A band that utilizes their website really well is OneRepublic, a pop rock band led by the chart-topping, singer-songwriter Ryan Tedder. Their website’s layout features design elements from the album artwork of their latest album Native. So just the website’s design alone is promoting the release of their album. The site’s home page provides tabs that lead to news, tour dates, media (photos and videos), music, community, store and a hashtag that the band is using for Twitter. At the bottom of the home page are links to their Facebook and Twitter accounts, as well as links to iTunes and Amazon so that fans can buy their music.
Let’s not forget about YouTube. This video sharing site has earned the reputation of giving many artists their start and increasing their exposure and popularity. One example that can’t be ignored is Justin Bieber’s rise to fame after uploading a video of himself singing a Chris Brown cover. It went viral and the video now has over 40 million views. Many artists have marketed themselves by posting music videos and clips of live performances. If an artist happens to get one of their videos to go viral, it is a great head start to a career in a very tough business.
As these social media platforms and digital tools evolve, and others are created and become more popular, artists will have to continue to adapt their digital marketing strategies. In an industry where music is somewhat of a commodity, easy access to marketing and promotional tools has never been so important.