How Musicians Can Take Advantage of Key Digital Trends Towards 2020

[Editors Note: This blog article was written by Michelle Aguilar.]

 

It is probably no surprise that businesses are being transformed by digital platforms such as Facebook. The platform has recently released a report that looks at the different ways in which businesses are being reshaped. Out of the many insights from the report, there are three findings that can be of great use, especially if you are an independent musician.

Consumer Expectations are Increasing

Facebook notes that people are expecting higher quality in mobile experiences and customer service. Reflective of their data, Facebook conversation around ‘user experience’ has been observed to grow considerably. Because of this increase, people are more accepting of surging prices. There is a willingness to pay for more convenience. This highlights the need for business to gain better understanding of the modern customer experience.

As a musician, this data can be applied to the digitalized aspects of your endeavors. Your website, press kit, and social media are all channels you can clean up and modify to make information accessible, easy to navigate, and responsive. You can also compare this to your experience as a user when attempting to connect to a business; you’re more likely to engage more when the experience is without stress or confusion.

Consumer Participation in Ecommerce is Increasing

An increase in globalization has significantly influenced the ecommerce reach. According to Facebook, more than one billion users are connected to another business in another country. Two in three online shoppers have already shopped cross-border. To give you a statistical run-down on people per region around the world are connected to a business in another country:

  • In the US, over 60%
  • In Canada, over 60%
  • In the UK, over 75%
  • In Germany, over 75%
  • In India, over 40%
  • In Japan, over 30%
  • In Indonesia over 45%
  • In Brazil, over 60%
  • In Mexico, over 60%

If people are becoming more willing to make business abroad, it is important that you make your music and music events available internationally available on the web, this includes making your music available on Spotify or other streaming services. You can also include a ‘tip jar’ to your website by creating an account on www.paypal.me—there, people can make donations by sending payments to your PayPal account.

Millennials Are The Most Populous Generation in the U.S 

According to Facebook, it is estimated that by 2020, Millennials will make up half of the global workforce. The Brookings Institution, a non-profit public policy organization, has defined key Millennial values that will shape the future of the American economy—these include:

  • An interest in daily work that reflects and is a part of larger societal concerns.
  • An emphasis on corporate social responsibility, stronger brand loyalty, ethical causes, and ability to offer specific solutions to specific social problems.
  • Respect for the environment.
  • Ability to build communities based on shared interests rather than geographical proximity, which in turn bridges dissimilar groups.

It’s important to become acquainted with the demographics that will make up most of the future workforce. After all, you are ultimately trying to find financial sustainability through your work (work which doesn’t come close to those that have a promising check every other week).And since Millennials listen to 75% more music on a daily basis (ERA) compared to other generations, these insights can serve as a guide to help you better understand your target audience.

Are there any social, economic or environmental issues that you’re interested or passionate about? If not, try to think about your personal interests; there is always someone out there that can relate and you never know, something that makes you tick may do the same for 100 (or more) others.

As an independent musician, staying on track with digital trends can be laborious since most of the time you’re busy producing, searching for gigs and doing a hundred other things to keep the ball rolling. So I hope that this brief recap on Facebook’s digital report can help fine-tune business for you and keep you prepared for your current endeavors!

Do you know of any other social media/digital trends that may be of use for other musicians? How have you managed to stay active on social media platforms? Feel free to share with us below in the comments.

When Will Then Be Now? 3 Music Tech Trends in 2017

[Editors Note: This blog was written by Rich Nardo. Rich is a freelance writer and editor, and is the co-founder of 24West a full-service creative agency focusing on music and tech.]

 

As we’ve all grown accustomed to over the past decade, the music industry we will come to know over the next 300 some odd days will look very different than the year we just bid farewell to. That’s not to say you should abandon that focus on building your Spotify numbers or that Facebook Live, Snapchat and Instagram stories should be removed from your marketing agenda, but a lot of what will likely become essential to an innovative and successful marketing campaign for independent artists this year probably wasn’t particularly of importance for you when you were putting out music or going on tour in 2016.

As we move into 2017, here are a few things that artists should be aware of and, when budget or personal connections allow, incorporate into their next release.

360 Video | Virtual Reality

Those of you who have released music videos over the past six months have probably noticed that they don’t get quite as much mileage as they used to. Many of the top-tier press outlets are starting to shy away from ‘premiering’ or posting new music videos if it is not also the first listen for a new track. This is due in large part to the fact that in the current “discover-via-streaming” world of music consumption, very few people that you would consider ravenous seekers of new music are sitting down to watch anything other than dog videos as they scroll through their social media feeds. Instead, they want new music that they can listen to while they’re doing other things.

While this will likely continue, the next phase in having a visual component to your music is poised to hit the internet hard in the form of more ‘experiential’ videos. At the base level, we are already beginning to see 360 video creep more into use. Over the next few months, we will likely see those artists with a bit more of a budget start delving into the world of virtual reality to add another level for fan’s to enjoy their projects.

I imagine that at some point in the relatively near future we will get our first multimedia release where an artist creates an entire album where listeners are able to take a virtual reality journey set to each song, creating a ‘concept album’ of sorts.

More Applications Built on the Spotify Platform

One of the biggest trends of 2016 was the importance of growing your presence on Spotify. According a report by Nielsen music, streaming has become the number one way in which people consume music, accounting for about 38% of the market in the United States. That number increased by about 76% from 2015, passing digital downloads for the first time ever. With Apple apparently undertaking an aggressive plan to terminate music downloads in the iTunes store over the next two years, that seems to be a trend we should get used to. While Apple Music is growing quickly in this arena, Spotify still rules the roost with over 40% of the streaming market.

Most people in the music industry have already accepted that fact and shifted focus to upping streams as opposed to downloads in their marketing efforts. In 2016, this was accomplished by official Spotify playlsting, as well as, by getting your music on playlists by unofficial tastemakers such as brands, blogs and individuals with large followings.

These will remain essential to growing streaming numbers, but in 2017 we will see more applications built directly on the Spotify platform that will become essential to increasing plays. Right now Cymbal.fm is the best of these services, at least in my experience. But I personally know of several competitors in that world with plans to enter the market over the next few months, each of which have several points of separation that will appeal to different sects of music fans. I tend to view Spotify playlistings much in the capacity of the “new blogosphere” for music discovery.

My feeling is that these new services are set to become a crowd sourced variation on the way we traditionally view radio.

RFID & Beacon Technology

This is another technology that has, with larger artists, already started making headway. A lot of festivals and arena tours are already using RFID (radio frequency identification) and Beacon technology to incentivize fan purchases and form other initiatives with sponsors. I’m hearing a lot of buzz that this technology will start to trickle down to smaller venues in 2017, creating new revenue sources for the promoter/venue and bands alike.

Another aspect of this technology is adding an interactive or gaming component to the live music experience. Particularly in the electronic music world, I’m very intrigued to see how artists do so this year.

(It’s Not Digital but…) Cassettes Will Replace Vinyl As The Most Popular Physical Product

I know this article is supposed to be digital based, but I feel as though this is a point worth mentioning for up-and-coming artists. Yes, vinyl is beautiful and it sounds great, but it’s expensive. Often way too costly to be worthwhile for an independent artist doing a small run for a tour. In 2017, I believe we’ll see cassettes overtake vinyl as the most popular physical product at merch tables for artists on tour. It’s way cheaper and faster to create and it still holds a particular sense of nostalgia for fans, harkening back to the ‘good old days’ of music.

Truth is, a large portion of those people that are buying vinyl aren’t listening to it anyway. They just want a keepsake from one of their favorite bands to display in their home, and to offer support to the artists they love. Cassettes are a cheaper, more convenient way to satisfy those desires for both the artist and the fan.