This 2019 Music Marketing Strategy Hits Over 15% Engagement
(Updated June 1, 2019)
The engagement rate in this blog title is real.
Ever since we started using interactive 360° microsites to market music… the game done changed.
Read on to get the lay of the land and start developing your own interactive music marketing strategies that feature 360 content!
Looking for new ways to fascinate fans, get traction with a hit record, and increase your engagement by a literal factor of 10 (going from 2% to 20%)?
In this blog we go into detail on why interactive 360° content is a top performer and how you can make it an essential part of your new music marketing strategies.
IMPORTANT NOTE: this blog details some pretty advanced music marketing concepts. If you’re arriving here looking for general music marketing info, then we recommend you head over to a great hub like Ari’s Take that offers a holistic starting point for building a music career. Good luck!
Alright, now that’s it’s just us brilliant marketers… back to the matter at hand.
It’s a brave new world in terms of marketing for musicians. Interactive content has the potential to elevate your entire marketing mix.
The artists & labels we’ve worked with so far have achieved mind-blowing results, (namely the ludicrous engagement rates in double-digits).
Our first example: Musician Poppy goes All in on Interactive marketing
As a quick example: meet Poppy.
You should really get to know this internet culture music marketing genius…
Maybe not because you like her music (I’ll admit it can be a little abrasive to my hip hop & indie rock tastes) but because she is one of the only musicians we know who has decided to OWN interactive and new media as an integral part of her brand.
She’s a total original, and has built a seriously diehard fanbase. Hit Poppy’s Instagram and just read the comments. I’ll wait.
Her brand and her storytelling are thoroughly saturated with new & interactive media formats.
And the results re: her brand and fanbase are pretty good, tallying 2m+ subscribers on YouTube with nearly half a billion views. That’s major clout and serious buzz, y’all.
At the risk of sounding redundant:
Why should you care about interactive music marketing?
[Insert obligatory “The Times Are A-Changin” quote here.]
Well, it takes skill and ingenuity to create music marketing that actually moves the needle for artists.
And it’s only getting harder as social media channels get even more crowded with paid ads, and (at least on Spotify) artists submit over 20,000 songs per day to be considered for playlisting.
That’s almost 1000 songs released per hour. Plus that stat is from 2018 - I’m sure it’s increased since then.
To surpass fan expectations this year and throughout the next decade you’ll need unique storytelling methods and branding strategies that engage audiences in personalized ways.
Translation: DO NOT TRY TO SHOUT LOUDER THAN YOUR COMPETITION.
Shouting louder is rarely a sustainable marketing approach.
At it’s best it simply does what it’s supposed to do which is deliver basic results, and at its worst it really ticks the people off who are looking for an authentic connection.
Now, as a music marketer it’s likely that you’re constantly hunting for creative ways to increase ticket sales, make an album stand out, or get crafty with social media marketing for that next single release.
Look no further.
Interactive media (and specifically 360° content) can perform better at engaging audiences, driving ticket/merch sales, creating ROI, and building a real connection with fans than passive/flat media.
Whatever your 2019 digital strategy involves, we can guarantee that these ideas and strategies that use 360° media will fit in (functionally) and stand out (aesthetically & quantitatively).
How musicians can use Interactive Content for Music Marketing
Since 2016 our team has been creating vivid 360° content for musicians, bands, record labels, and music festivals.
We don’t just mean 360° video either... In addition to fully immersive 360/VR video production, we’ve been hard at work creating game-changing techniques (like Hi-Fi Storytelling) that leverage the power of spatial media in brand storytelling.
We've used 360° photos, illustrations and videos to:
Design interactive artist websites in 360°
Invent new hip hop marketing strategies
Boost the power of social media marketing campaigns
and much more
Interactive content is a great place to start when you are looking for creative ways to get lift in your marketing mix.
360° Music Videos
We begin with the ubiquitous music video, formerly only available as 2D media and now rocking in three dimensions thanks to modern tech.
Music videos are essential when it comes to telling the story of an artist.
They can amplify a song's meaning, call attention to things like lyricism or rhythm in the music, and help connect a musician's image with a specific sound or style.
Think of them as visual short stories that span beyond a song’s content. They serve to provide context for an artist’s sense of aesthetics, which is really what connects artists and fans.
Our mentor Gary Beckman (a legendary arts marketing consultant and director of the nation’s first Arts Entrepreneurship Minor) frequently says “people buy the artist, not the art.”
That means when a fan spends money they are buying the story, the context, the broader sense of aesthetics, and more - not just the work of art.
Music videos provide context for an artist's aesthetic landscape, and lately have become almost like visual short stories that speak beyond the song’s contents.
They provide an enjoyable experience and help fans figure out where an artist fits within the context of their personal music consumption.
Consider how rapper Nas worked to establish his reputation as one of rap's frontrunners in the '90s.
In addition to writing and recording his classic album Illmatic he was dedicated to showing listeners where his music was coming from.
This meant filming music videos in the place where his sound was born — the projects of New York City.
We live in a visual world, and music videos can be some of the most thrilling videos to watch. MTV even has the Video Music Awards (VMAs) to celebrate the best music videos of the year.
This artform often serves as an excuse for talented creators to push the boundaries of their craft, resulting in truly unique works of art.
[Ex: one of my favorite music videos ever - Music Scene by Blockhead]
As a bonus for musicians, videos are easy to share on social media with fans and friends!
With so many brilliant minds pushing the boundaries in this medium, it is fertile creative ground where directors and producers can spur the invention of new techniques.
So of course 360° music videos are pretty wild.
For example, Avicii did it in 2015 (RIP).
MUSE did it in 2016.
And in the case of Kendrick Lamar, planet Earth's rap sweetheart, the music video for his hottest track to date used 360° too.
Curious about the numbers behind interactive marketing campaigns? Check out this 2019 music marketing case study to learn more.
HUmble — Kendrick Lamar's casual flex in 360°
Unless you've been living under a rock, there's no doubt that you've caught yourself vibing out to Kendrick's hit record, “HUMBLE.”
For an artist this large to leverage 360° video in a big budget production says volumes.
The way they worked 360° footage worked into the flat video has a fresh visual appeal.
In Kendrick Lamar's video for the song "HUMBLE", a 360 camera was used for a particularly iconic shot (screengrabbed below).
FYI: "HUMBLE" won three Grammy's (including "Best Music Video") and was the lead single for his album DAMN.
At the 41-second mark Kendrick rides down the street on his bicycle in what’s called Tiny Planet view (see the image below).
This was created by filming with a 360° camera and then folding the footage into a pretty common format for this media type: Tiny Planet.
For those of you interested in learning how the directors made these shots happen, here's an awesome tutorial on K-Dot style 360° Tiny Planet Shots from YouTuber Andrew Santos.
Kendrick Lamar and his team used Tiny Planet view throughout the "HUMBLE" music video to propel momentum amidst thrilling motion shots and crispy editing.
The integration of 360° footage into Kendrick Lamar's music video added another dimension of excitement. Judging from the number of tutorial videos on YouTube for this 360° video content, it seems to be a hit.
We’ve known since day one that new media formats are more than just a novelty.
They are the literal future of storytelling.
As a relevant resource, our blog on the Playground Technique does a great job of explaining how to build better media strategies that leverage innovation & interactivity.
360° Album Art
Album covers are often the first thing someone will see in relation to a musician's new album.
Whether it's a black and white portrait of the artist on the cover or maybe something showy and controversial, the visuals that accompany music are essential.
FYI: The original idea for the album cover was born in 1938 when Columbia Records hired Alex Steinweiss as their very first art director.
The label needed a way for their releases to stand out alongside hundreds of other records on the shelf so they used pop, color, and style to distinguish their releases.
Sound familiar? I think so.
The visual aspect quickly became essential to the audio experience. By the mid ‘40s every single release had cover art.
And honestly, it’s shocking that album art has stayed static for 8 decades but hey - nothing changes until something changes.
We are happy to be the pebble that helps starts an avalanche.
Nowadays when our studio creates cover art in 360 degrees, we are giving people a way to physically engage with that essential visual component… and we’re doing it with a personalized interaction.
In contrast to flat/passive cover art, going interactive means fans can direct their own experience with a Sense of Agency (SoA).
It has been proven that giving someone a Sense of Agency with a virtual experience has a notable impact on pre-thought, sensorimotor memory creation, and more.
"Immersion in virtual reality influences not only our attitude and self-perception but also fundamental aspects of our self-consciousness."
G. Kong et al, Consciousness and Cognition 52 (2017)
…Fundamental aspects of our self-consciousness?
Yeah, that sounds wild, we know.
But for serious, in 2019 brands are really out here launching ad campaigns with content that influences pre-conscious thought.
And the good news is you can do it too! (fanfare quickens)
Interactive album art is able to connect fans with the musician, the music, and the experience in a new way — the right way.
What was once just a few photos in the flip-book of a physical album becomes an immersive multimedia experience somewhere between painting, video, and digital sculpture.
Interactive Album Art: An Example
We worked with Houston-based rapper Trill Sammy to design an illustrated album cover for his debut studio record, No Sleep Vol. 1.
The cover art came to life inside a 360° website that let fans explore Planet Trill from the ground level.
Fans really loved the concept and overall it’s maintained a ~17% engagement rate through more than 20,000 visits.
Read the full music marketing case study for more details.
This 360° album cover allows people to step right into the stylized world of Trill Sammy (this is especially true if you view this through a VR headset). Plus, you can stream his music, see his merch, and visit his social media pages all from within the interactive space.
This 360° album cover has helped him give his extremely active fan base something fresh to interact with online and on social media, generating excitement for his album release in a way that fits with who he is. He used the 360 for both his album marketing, and to further define himself as a cutting-edge artist.
For a more personal example, it’s no secret our co-founder Shep is into hip-hop. He released a 28 track beat tape last year and created this 360° album cover for sharing on his Facebook page.
Want to learn more about these 360 worlds? Check out our album art Case Study here.
Interactive Flyers & Posters
Standing out can help you sell tickets or build hype surrounding an event.
We created a 360° event flyer for AVL BattleGrounds - a North Carolina battle rap league with recurring events.
Click here or on the image below to open our 360° poster in a new tab.
This 360° flyer is simple yet immersive, and works great with social media campaigns to propel event buzz.
Our expectations were affirmed when we saw 8x social engagement using this 360° photo as a Facebook post for AVL Battle League.
As sponsors for this particular event, we knew we needed to snag a shot of the event in action. Click the image below to open this 360° shot of Battlegrounds 8 on YouTube.
360° Concert & Event Photography
360° event photography is a way to give fans a first-person view of a special event.
You can get a 360 camera for less than $400, and it will open you up completely to a new world of content creation.
For your reference, our team likes to use the Insta360 One for easy 360 shooting, and our Insta360 Pro 1 for 8k 360 video / 6k 3D content.
360 content will let you archive performances in rich ways, share eye-catching content on social media, and diversify your storytelling.
Here are some ideas for music promotion that incorporate 360° content:
For festival promoters selling brand sponsorships, get some 360 footage of the event to show festival sponsors the results of their investment.
For artists releasing new music, capture behind the scenes footage during the creation of your album… keep it in your back pocket, and drop it with your project as a special experience where fans can be a part of the album creation
For labels bringing up new artists, interactive media presents a smart strategic branding choice. Start building a fan base that is hyper-engaged with the musical experience you’re providing.
Finding creative ways to increase ticket sales isn’t always easy, but this is certainly an opportunity that will only sweeten going forward.
Fans desire a blend of novelty and familiarity but at the same time are being pelted by more boring advertisements than ever.
For fans who are hunting for a deeper connection, the 360° content you share could be just what they’re looking for.
Additionally, when browsing on mobile that 360 video, photo or design responds interactively with the movement of your phone.
On Facebook in particular, this type of media format is highlighted in a way that encourages user interaction.
As you scroll past on dekstop, the videos will rotate. And on mobile the video responds to your phone’s movement.
Using 360° immersive content for music marketing and an album release adds clarity to messaging and amplifies audience experiences.
For example, musicians can share 360° pictures or videos to social media while recording an album to build hype and highlight process.
How musicians can share 360° Media
360° content works easily on social media platforms and on artist websites. In addition to using it within their art, musicians can also make announcements in 360 degreez (a la interactive advertising).
Whether you are dropping a hot single or hosting a multi-album launch of the century that could even draw Tupac out from hiding, immersive 360s will be the icing and the icecream on the cake with regards to your event or album marketing, organic reach, social media engagement, and overall campaign success.
Music Marketing on Social Media
Musicians use social media for all sorts of things. Tweets about their process, Facebook posts sharing songs that inspire them, using Facebook Live at an event, posting to Instagram stories, probably sharing an occasional meme, and much more.
And this is how musicians help to build and strengthen a connection with their audience. Being themselves, sharing announcements, posting album art, sharing sneak previews of music videos, or interviews, and more.
360° media fits right into this mix of social media sharing and artist branding. (And right now, 360° content is supported on Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Instagram isn’t supported directly, but we know a trick around that 😊.)
If you’re looking to promote your music, or your artist’s music, look no further. 360° content is a great way to draw more attention to the visual sides of an artist’s sound, while increasing understanding of who the artist is, what their music means, and why that matters to their world. No matter the artist’s genre, interactive media works viably to engage fans while fitting into the current digital strategies employed.
Imagine you are releasing your album in two weeks that is years in the making. You're hosting an album release party and want to get as many people to come out as possible. Consider creating an immersive album drop announcement flyer. Interactive 360° content is exciting, successful, and unique enough that people want to show it to their friends.
Interactive advertising, such as 360° Flyers, cuts through the clutter of timelines while encouraging engagement. A Beaumonde hip-hop event client saw +800% increase in organic sharing on Facebook with our interactive media.
Want more stats like this? Check out our interactive album case study to learn more.
Music Marketing Campaigns: Getting ahead in 2019
There’s no time like the present. Interactive media and, more deeply, brand strategies focused on engagement are here to stay. They are not going to go away — they are only going to grow in influence and prevalence, meaning that digital strategists, labels, and artists who start this process now are positioning themselves to win big right now as well as further down the line.
Fans demand more authentic, and more robust stories from the musicians they love. Immersive media and campaigns that focus on interaction are your new silver bullet. And it’s highly versatile, and can be used in conjunction with product launches and events, to help musicians distribute their art, and even as a part of a musician’s artwork itself (a la Kendrick Lamar). 360 enhances current practices, integrates seamlessly into social media campaigns, and offers an opportunity for fresh creative styles.
This means more ticket sales, deeper connections with audiences, 4x the ROI, increased brand awareness, and a chance to stand out.
The Impact of using 360 for Music Marketing
360s are an incredible tool for music marketing and have longevity wherever applied. Musicians' incorporation of 360° content creates a cohesive and highly impactful experience for audiences.
Immersive content like this is compellingly shareable, fits with social media campaigns, and can even help artists to define (or redefine) who they are. (Trill Sammy, the rapper with whom we worked to create a 360° album cover, has modeled an upcoming music video off of the immersive world we made for him, too.)
Applications of Interactive Media
360° Content can be used to:
Capture artists' musical aesthetic more clearly than 2D media alone
Build hype for an album or event
Announce an album release or event
Continue interest after the dust has settled and build fans long-term
Plus, interactive media fits seamlessly into a broader content strategy that musicians employ when building their brand.
Terms like “VR” and “Music” may seem like they don’t match, given that the idea of VR makes us think of of shiny headsets and Music calls to mind instrumentation and harmonies. However, we have witnessed firsthand how the two pair together to create truly incredible and rarely-before-seen pieces of versatile art and marketing strategies.
Plus, 360° content, while considered VR as it’s supported by headsets, can be viewed on desktop and mobile without incurring the costs of buying a VR headset.
Emerging Trends: New Tech for Music marketing in 2019
There are a lot of really cool things going on right now in the world of VR + music. One: The Wave VR. What is it, you may ask? It’s a platform that lets a musician perform a set in VR with a live VR visualizer, while fans can watch the experience seeing the artist DJ. Essentially, it’s a virtual concert that bridges the gap of interaction between fans and artists. It’s a community for fans to experience music in new ways and a platform for artists to create a unique fan experience.
The second new & exciting breakthrough in emerging VR music tech is called MelodyVR. It’s an app that allows viewers to watch concerts live in Virtual Reality. Currently, MelodyVR is available on Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR headsets, with more platforms announced to come soon. MelodyVR is a completely new way to experience music. According to their website, MelodyVR will “get you into sold-out gigs, transport you to far-flung festivals and show you secret, VIP performances – all in stunning virtual reality.”
Ready to stand out?
Get started with Beaumonde today and take your marketing into the future.