Digital Marketing has transformed the music industry as we know it. In the industry today, digital marketing is a tried and true way of getting the music heard. But why is this the case? In this article, we will explore the concept of digital marketing, and learn how it has revolutionized the music industry.
Digital Marketing: The Future Of Music Promotion
To understand how the music industry is currently impacted by digital marketing, we must have a solid grasp of what it is. According to MailChimp, digital marketing “…typically refers to marketing campaigns that appear on a computer, phone, tablet, or other devices.”
Both musicians and promoters alike have used social media to create a fanbase for their music and grow their following, which they may not otherwise have gained without it. Can you imagine “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X gaining the attention it did without the internet? Neither can I.
The internet allows musicians to connect with people through platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. Digital music promotion can take many forms, so today we’ll look at three ways this can be done, and how these methods compare to those before.
Method #1 : ‘Viral’ Music Marketing
An effective, but unpredictable way of music promotion in the modern age is by having your song go viral, either intentionally or unintentionally. This happens when a song is catchy enough to turn it into a meme or use it in other videos. The biggest platform for this is currently TikTok. With over 1 billion active users, it has proven itself as an effective tool as a marketing campaign for music. There are plenty of examples of musicians who built careers directly because of their music going viral this way, here are a few for reference:
- Olivia rodrigo – “Driver’s License”
- Doja Cat – “Moo” and “Say So”
- Conan Gray – “Maniac”
More examples of this method can be found here.
Even though this method works, it requires a lot of promotion on your end and a bit of luck. Either way, this can be attempted by anyone with an internet connection, making it one of the most lucrative options when promoting music on social media.
Method #2 – Music Streaming
With music streaming services like Spotify, SoundCloud, and Apple Music, the opportunity to share music online is one that the music industry capitalized on early, with the first MP3 song appearing online as early as 1991 with “TOM’S DINER” BY SUZANNE VEGA. The ability to share music online inherently has the effect of allowing more people to be introduced to your music.
Streaming also has the benefit of sharing your music with those who may not have been able to purchase it. By partnering with a streaming service, your music can be distributed via a reputable platform with a large audience and reach, gaining your song more listeners.
There is a drawback to this, however, and that is the impact it can have on musicians as individuals. By congregating big and small musicians on platforms like Spotify, many smaller musicians can’t make a living off of their music, due to the lack of buyers who use streaming services instead. As a beginner musician, any money is better than none, and to a bigger musician streaming platforms are great compounders for growing a fanbase that’s already established. For middle-of-the-road musicians, this method can hurt as much as help.
Method #3 – Email Lists
When compared to the other two, promoting your music through email lists may seem like an okay option at best. How can a simple email do better than chasing virality or joining a streaming platform? Let me explain: One email has the power to do many things. You can share music, reveal your release dates, sell merchandise, and overall build hype for your own music or a client’s. This method is also really effective in building a relationship with your fans.
Out of the three options listed, while not being the flashiest, the email marketing tactic is a great example of how digital marketing itself has revolutionized the music industry. There has never been a time in history before the internet where you could hype up a song in writing, with exclusive content and incentives.
The Big Takeaway:
To summarize, we have learned how the internet and digital marketing have revolutionized the music industry and three methods that are used by those within it to grow musician followings. The three digital marketing methods explained here are:
- Method 1: Posting On Social media And Becoming Viral
Having a song get pushed to virality through promotion and/or luck has been a very effective, and appealing way to grow a musical following online. The main drawback to this method is the odds of building a musical career this way with no other methods supplementing it are slim.
- Method 2: Posting Music On Music Streaming Platforms
A step up from the previous method, this one requires more setup, but that’s where the effectiveness comes in. By joining a credible streaming platform and posting consistently, your odds of gaining an organic following are much higher. The drawback to this method is the difficulty to make money for lower-level musicians.
- Method 3: Email Marketing
Through email marketing campaigns, musicians and record labels can reach out to fans and potential listeners by offering exclusive information, content, and other incentives. There really isn’t any drawback to this method, because either the musician or promoter loses nothing from building a catalogue of potential fans.
These are not the only methods that digital marketing has supplied to the music industry, and I do encourage the study of other methods. With that said, these three alone prove that digital marketing has left an impressive mark on the music industry, one that will only grow with time.