Social Media’s Role in the Music Industry
Following in the footsteps of the microphone, the radio and the internet, social media is the newest revolution in the music industry. As the social media landscape develops, musicians must learn how to navigate these channels if they want their careers to reach their full potential.
Technology shapes the music industry.
Back when music-related technology was too expensive for the common musician, record labels held all power as the gatekeepers of the entire industry. The only way to record an album and distribute it out to the public via CDs, radio, etc. was through a record deal.
However, the rise of the internet and affordable recording technology has put the power back into the hands of musicians. Record deals are no longer required to access other platforms, but rather, all of these platforms have become intertwined with no clear beginning or end.
Chance the Rapper started with nothing but hometown city hype and an online presence on platforms like Soundcloud. Without ever signing to a record label, Chance has grown his career to the success level of three Grammys and 57.3 million streams of his debut album in the first week.
Taking an alternate route, Justin Bieber was discovered by his record label through social media, which led to his songs being played on the radio.
Social media has the potential to open important doors within the music industry, but only if leveraged properly and appropriately.
You define your brand, not vice versa.
There is no “one size fits all” solution to a social media strategy.
A musician’s social media presence should be viewed as an extension of their “brand experience.” The same brand that fans buy into when they listen to a song is the same brand they expect to experience when they follow the musician online.
Taylor Swift posts cute pictures of her cat to her Instagram. Childish Gambino did a social media blackout before releasing his album. DJ Khaled has been called “the king of Snapchat” due to his humorous and frequent involvement. These strategies work amazingly for their respective artist, but if they were to trade tactics it would seem disingenuous.
Brand consistency is the first step. Understanding where to post is the second.
Know your social media platforms.
In a previous blog, we gave a detailed description of each mainstream social media platform, including audience demographic, size, and suggestions for what type of content to use. While it is tailored towards business brands, the information is equally applicable to musicians.
Specific to the music industry, music streaming platforms have increased their interactive capabilities to the point of becoming a form of social media themselves. Apple Music Connect, Spotify for Artists and Soundcloud are the leading platforms in this emerging field.
These platforms offer the ability to create musician profiles linked to their music, create and share playlists with fans, and receive detailed statistics about who is listening and how frequently they listen. Apple Music also allows additional posts of original content to be published to a musician’s profile and/or album.
This is an incredibly young space, but it’s becoming an integral part of the music industry. The ability to interact with fans on the same platforms they use to access music is a game changer. Musicians should take note and follow this trend closely.
While these guidelines are a great place to start developing a social media strategy, it is only scratching the surface. If you’re looking for personalized advice on how to manage your brand on social media, please reach out to us.