A 20 year old girl in New Zealand records a video of herself singing ‘Tum hi ho’ from the movie Aashiqui 2. Comfortable in her bedroom, dressed in her pajamas, she finally posts it on YouTube. Little did she know that 3 years later she would be performing for thousands of her fans at the YouTube Fan Fest in Mumbai.
Meet Shirley Setia, a YouTube sensation and a digital marketing success. And she is not the only one. Popular artistes such as The Weeknd, Justin Bieber and Adele gained popularity using these platforms. And so did the not so popular artistes such as Vidya Vox and Jonita Gandhi.
Gone are the days when an artiste had to struggle at a music producer’s door to be heard by the nation. A Smartphone does the trick these days. But if you wish to have more than just a few 100 people listening to you, it takes some more skills.
Digital Marketing for musicians old and new
Digital marketing has transformed how the music industry operates today. While the basic requirement remains – talent and a good composition – marketing this content has become increasingly important. This is because the musicians need to differentiate themselves from the thousands of wannabe rock stars of our generation.
Digital marketing offers a cost effective way of promoting your content. While stars like U2 and Madonna can afford to spend a million bucks to advertise their new album, most newbies can’t. And digital marketing helps cover up that disadvantage that they might have and leverage on their talent instead of big bucks.
Not only does it help new talent come to the fore, but it also helps artists popular in their own countries to reach out to the world. Look at Ninet Tayeb from Israel – a star in her own country and performing since 2003, the world got to know of her only in 2015 with her performances with Steven Wilson, the lead of the famous English band Porcupine Tree. In fact, she hit the limelight very recently for her performance in Steven Wilson’s new single – Pariah, which was promoted on all digital platforms including Facebook, Reddit, Sound Cloud etc.
How do artistes and their digital marketers appeal and differentiate themselves?
The artiste needs to appear approachable on all platforms. The audience devours every piece of information that artistes put out there. The artiste needs to live and share his life, his inspirations, his creative ideologies, his story and the works.
The social media platforms offer the opportunity to audience to interact with their favorite artistes, which was always considered to be a far-fetched possibility in the past. The more the artist interacts with their audience the more engaged they will be. Platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook offer the perfect opportunity to do so.
Presence of social media platforms also helps create artistes the buzz they need before their releases and concerts. Coldplay, for example, promoted heavily on their website and on all their social media platforms to promote their A Head Full of Dreams concert tour.Coldplay – A Head Full of Dreams Concert Tour
There are now multiple platforms which have replaced the radio as a launch pad for new music. Platforms like Spotify, Sound Cloud, iTunes and Tidal offer access to new artistes and music. In India, applications like Saavn & Gaana have also helped promoting music through mobile marketing. The key is to identify how your target segment consumes music and prioritize your efforts on those platforms.
One of the best means of promoting your music online is to have a video to go with it. Again, quality of the video content is very important. It has to be appealing and able to catch the attention of the fickle minded millennial. Artistes also use snippets of their videos to pique interest and create hype before the D-Day of release. YouTube and Vimeo allow artists to create such content and share with millions to see. Beyoncé’s new album Lemonade was a complete visual album and she promoted it on her co-owned streaming service Tidal Beyoncé-Lemonade-Visual Album .
The impact of Social Media Influencers
It would be naïve to assume that only promoting your content via these platforms is good enough. Every now and then one needs a little push from a fairy grandmother – the social media influencer. Social media influencers play a huge role in molding these artists to become what they are or can be. Kid Cudi, a budding American hip hop artiste, caught the eye of the very famous Kanye West. All Mr. West had to do was tweet two words and post a link to Cudi’s album and voila, 26,000 retweets!
The way the masses consume music today has changed a great deal. With a Smartphone becoming every individual’s best friend, digital marketing offers an array of tools to musicians old and new to reach out to the masses. It has become imperative to reach out to them on multiple platforms. Since these platforms are available to every aspiring and established musician, it becomes essential to differentiate one self.
The musicians need to be active on all social networking sites to appear more approachable, identify how their target segment consumes music and make themselves heard, create attractive videos to capture the attention of the viewer and finally never underestimate the impact a social media influencer can make.
While content is still king, packaging the content and establishing a large audience has become equally important.
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