4 Social Media Platforms Redefining Marketing Music
Are you tired of getting average results on social media when marketing your music? Having a hard time finding which social media platform works best for you? Or tired of doing the same thing as everyone else?
This blog explores 4 social media platforms shifting the nature of musician-fan interaction on social media, in addition to highlighting how immersive media fits into this new landscape of marketing music and cultural perception.
Music on Social Media: The Pushing of The Envelope
More and more, people’s expectations on social media are shifting to expect new forms of engaging media.
Eventually as more people come to understand and expect 360 content from the brands they follow, fans will be left with a kind of implicit question of "what's going on behind the camera" when brands only focus on 2D storytelling... you need to give fans a deeper avenue to connect— 🎶 Shep Bryan 🎶 (@ShepBryan) October 19, 2018
Musicians and creators are pushing the boundaries of music in terms of their sounds, and in the increased presence of breathtaking visuals accompanying their music. Not that music videos were ever dead, but recently there has been somewhat of a resurgence in music videos as used to tell stories.
Album covers, meanwhile, have begun to lose some of their original magic with the booming popularity of streaming services. Think about it. When’s the last time you went to the store and bought a CD? Or even ordered one online? There is certainly still a market for CDs, though that market has shrunk significantly as people prefer to spend, say, $10 or $20 per month for unlimited music access on a platform like Spotify, as compared to spending about the same amount for an individual CD. Does that mean musicians should stop having album covers? Perhaps the remedy comes, instead, with a new approach to the visual representations of musicians’ sound.
New Music & New Media
The VR industry (including 360° content) has been ranked one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and the response by the music industry has been varied. From interactive album art to music videos in 360° to immersive album covers (which are redefining the album cover), there is no shortage of applications for 360° media in the world of music. While a piece of 360° content can serve as the mainstay in a music marketing campaign, they also integrate beautifully in supporting roles.
As musicians seek to adopt new forms and express themselves in new ways, it comes as no surprise that 360s are seeing unique and exciting applications in this field. In our experience, 360s perform 5-15 times better than traditional 2D content and give people new experiences online, without falling victim to being popular only because of novelty.
(P.S., We worked with Houston rapper Trill Sammy to create his album cover, that also doubles as his website, in 360 degrees. And yes, if you really want to, you can experience it through a VR headset.)
Clean, harmonious 360s are deeply experiential and complement other types of media really well (like music videos and traditional marketing materials). Plus, 360s are viable longterm, for months and months after their initial posting even if the original intention was to simply announce an event. A long music career requires innovative evolutions.
4 Social Media Platforms
Choosing which social media platform(s) to use to share and market your music isn’t always easy or straightforward. The platform you choose to center your social engagement depends upon the relationship between musicians and any marketing companies, musician’s musical genre(s), audience expectations, popularity, and much more. (To say nothing about budget!)
The first two platforms mentioned in this blog are content management systems and double as ways to engage with fans. The last two platforms mentioned are ‘more traditional’ and exist in the world beyond music as regular, so to speak, social media sites that all types of people use to promote and share their lives.
Of course, many other sites exist out there, too. Over 60, in fact. The 4 explored below sit on the forefront of musical distribution, marketing, media integrations, and musician-fan interaction.
Yep, it’s a social media platform. Streaming is taking over the music listening world, and people are building playlists and profiles by the millions. With streaming as the new norm (versus CDs and, once, tapes) musicians are needing to digitally adapt and build themselves up online in order to be successful marketing their music.
Demographics & Connections
Spotify is especially popular with millennials and younger generations of listeners. For both new and veteran musicians, there is a need to have some sort of a base of music discoverability. Spotify functions as a hybrid between a content management system and a social media platform. When I get on Spotify, I can see what music my friends are listening to, and we can share playlists and follow playlists, with the focus always coming back to streamlining the listening experience.
Who Should use Spotify
Spotify is a necessity for any musician looking to take their music distribution to the next level while also being able to interact with fans. For Spotify, this audience interaction aspect comes chiefly through playlist building and showcasing some profile pictures. Musicians can create playlists, and in turn share their inspirations and favorite tunes with their world.
Spotify may not necessarily be the First step for up and coming musicians, but it’s fairly easy to use and becoming an increasingly common hub of audience congregation and interaction. Plus, it’s free to make an account and musicians can receive royalties.
Spotify as a social media platform, for all its popularity, is still far away from being Facebook. You can build profiles, but you don’t have a feed where you post statuses or comment on other people’s activities, you can’t see who follows your playlists specifically, and you can’t message people either. That said, the focus on Spotify is on the music and in this respect it excels tremendously.
For artists marketing music digitally, Spotify pairs really well with other social media platforms (like Facebook). When you release new music on Spotify, simply paste a link to your jams in a status box and, shazam!, the world is your oyster.
SoundCloud is another great content management site where musicians can share their music for free while building an audience.
SoundCloud distinguishes itself from Spotify in the ability to comment on tracks and playlists, the ability to send messages, and for creators to interact overall more directly with listeners. As a social media site plus content management system, SoundCloud is among the best.
Young Bull: a Miniature Case Study
Young Bull Music, a Durham, NC, based hip-hop trio started off their career uploading their music to SoundCloud. Using SoundCloud to engage with fans and collaborate with amongst themselves, they have since spring-boarded and expanded to Spotify as well (where they recently reached 1 million listens on one of their songs).
Who Should use SoundCloud / Challenges
Soundcloud is more popular among ‘up-and-comers’ although top-notch and more well known musicians still use it as a place share music and to be, to some degree social. I.e., taking advantage of the platform’s social features to engage with fans.
Comments, likes, and messages alone in SoundCloud aren’t going to propel Joe Schmo SoundCloud Rapper to the heights of Eminem’s kingdom. However, musicians can receive more feedback this way (than on Spotify) and can communicate with fellow musicians more easily, too.
One of the big challenges with SoundCloud, and not with Spotify, is monetization. Musicians won’t get royalties on SoundCloud as they will on the green-logo-ed Spotify. Being 2018, there’s no reason why musicians can’t upload some of their songs onto SoundCloud, and then others onto Spotify. Does that split one’s audience? No.
Facebook by no means niche with their billions of daily active users (over 1.5 billion, actually). It functions as a tremendous hub of interaction for friends and families across the globe, and almost every musician today has some type of presence on Facebook.
With Facebook, musicians have ability to go viral and be shared across very large and diverse circles of users. (Plus, in this day and age not having a Facebook could be a big missed opportunity.)
At minimum, Facebook can be used to post concert & tour announcements, links to music videos or interviews, and also to post statuses about personal thoughts depending on the musician’s style. How social media platforms are used is fairly subjective and tied the unique nature of each artist’s distinct brand and cultural identity.
Raleigh rapper, Jrusalam, for example, posts on Facebook often about his creative process, inspirations, and starts debates about what constitutes freestyle rap. On the other hand, J. Cole primarily uses Facebook to post about upcoming shows and to share links to new music.
Facebook has a slightly more curated feel than sites like Twitter. (Especially with the detail musicians can go into on the About Pages and when building a profile as a whole.)
Professional musicians are already extremely busy, from writing music, recording, nourishing their creativity, doing interviews, touring, etc… It can be hard for them to find an extra few hours each week to devote to posting and thinking about strategy.
For someone like J. Cole or Maroon 5, and with many other hugely popular musicians, teams or even companies will be in charge of social media management. Quite obviously, this isn’t a bad thing. When it comes to quick posting, Twitter is a little more personal in that its format (open app, type 280 characters or less, and quick tweet) more directly mirrors short snapshot thoughts versus Facebook. (Though Facebook could be used to quick-post statuses, too.) All said, musicians can use both Facebook and Twitter to engage with fans, whether directly or with the help of a marketing company.
How Musicians Can Use Facebook (Tools)
Messenger bots (Apple music has one)
360 photos and videos (from concert photography to immersive event posters)
Live video (could do this during a rehearsal)
And even 3D photos
In general, Facebook excels because of the tools and integrations they’ve made available for people (and musicians) to use. All of these tools serve to bring audiences and fans closer to the music and closer together than ever before.
Why Facebook is Great
It’s top-notch for sharing immersive media, for creating a hub of interaction, and for congregating the most information about yourself online outside of a website. In that light, Facebook works for marketing music (ability to run ads, etc.) and is pushing the envelope of media and how we interact online.
The nature of Twitter is more snapshot than other social media platforms. While most social media sites today are based around quick posts/multimedia, with a limit of 280 characters Twitter literally emphasizes brevity. Artists are overcoming the text-length limitation by sharing more multi-media, though, and the reputation of Twitter remains one of quickness and flashbulbs.
In that vein, Twitter seems a little more personal, and quick, like peoples’ thoughts jotted down on a notepad. There’s not as much curation, per se, as on Facebook. Though how musicians use Twitter depends, of course, on personal style and how involved artists wish to be with promotional aspects. With social media so easy to use nowadays, marketing companies and artists can work seamlessly together to broadcast the authentic image (or, ethos) of the musician to the world.
Musicians on Twitter
J. Cole tweets his Twitter kind of like a diary, mixing snapshot reflections with concert announcements, links to new music videos, shoutouts to other musicians that inspire him, sharing his interview with Lil Pump on work ethic and the message you promote, etc.
Young the Giant, a popular band, share a lot of media: short clips from music videos, lots about upcoming shows, info on tour dates, pictures from concerts, retweets of interviews, and occasional statuses that could have been written by a band member directly. This approach and Cole’s approach are equally viable.
As a whole, social media is bridging the gap between musicians and their fans, allowing for increasingly new ways to promote and to give audiences access to behind-the-scenes content.
Who Should Use Twitter
Musicians looking to be more in touch with their fans in a quick, but in-depth way. As with any social media platform, musicians (and: all brands) should use Twitter if they think their network and audience congregates there and would be receptive. Renowned Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, author of over 21 books, keeps little record of himself online, choosing to have only a website and Facebook page (that is publisher-run, at that). Given the nature of his art and fans, I doubt his lack of official social media accounts is hindering him much. (Plus, tons of fan accounts sprout up like beautiful weeds.)
Want to learn more about music marketing and how to reach more fans? Peep our guide to music marketing strategy to keep the conversation going.