By Dwight Brown
It’s September. Back to school. Back to work. Back to the business of selling music.
For artists who want to get their releases sold worldwide, it’s time to leave that summer daze behind, and follow the innovative steps digital stores are taking to become more competitive, get music discovered and help artists increase fan engagement.
Google Play Music launched in Japan, a country that has been reluctant to jump into the music streaming pool. Google Play Music follows in the footsteps of Apple Music, but makes inroads in the world’s second-largest music market before Spotify can get a foothold. Billboard reports the new streaming service is available for Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iOS mobile operating system.
Transitioning from CDs to downloads and from downloads to streaming has been slow going in Japan. But the country’s music subscription market grew 43 percent in the first half of the year, according to the Recording Industry Association of Japan. Both Google and Apple are competing in the emerging Japanese streaming market against LINE, which added a music subscription service to its popular messaging app, and AWA, a joint venture between CyberAgent and Avex Group Holdings, owner of the Japenese music imprint Avex Trax. All subscription services currently available in Japan are paid-only services. Now is a perfect time for artists to hook their music up with Google Play.
Shazam has opened its Verified Program To All Artists on Shazam. Originally only 200 well-known artists, like Pharrell, David Guetta and Sam Smith, could easily share what they’d Shazamed with their followers. Now all artists who sign up with Shazam can create a closer connection with the people who love their music.
A Hypebot.com article reveals that the granddaddy of music recognition apps announced that its verified artist community has achieved a combined reach of 1.4 billion followers. Peter Szabo, SVP, Head of Music, Shazam details their strategy, “We are creating an engagement that goes beyond a playlist or a recommendation. It’s an organic, one-of-a-kind connection between millions of fans and the artists they love.” Artists can sign up to be a Verified Shazam Artist here. The verification process is pretty simple and opens up great opportunities for artists to engage music lovers.
Rhapsody and BandPage (a digital platform/website with 500,000+ musician profiles) have entered a partnership designed to increase engagement. Billboard reports that the first round of data to come from the partnership — which uses information about listener’ favorite artists to target and deliver push notifications to their phones — could be a new way for artists to generate revenue in the digital streaming industry.
The push notifications alert “super fans” about concerts and “special experiences” like meet-and-greets, and generate a much higher click-through rate (CTR) than Google search ads and Facebook posts. Greg Spils, Rhapsody senior director of Traffic & Demand, notes that the company saw a 50 percent higher engagement rate with this type of messaging. For example, when a music fan is streaming an artist’s music, a pop-up appears while the fan is in the moment. It’s a new way artists can reach fans, grow their fan base and increase revenue. All aboard Rhapsody.