Lessons in Music Marketing From 2018

December 17, 2018

[Editors Note: This article was written by Rich Nardo.]

For those of us who make their living in the music business, there are a lot of reasons to celebrate as of late. The industry jumped from roughly $16.1 billion dollars generated in 2016 to over $43 billion in 2017 and 2018 has already enjoyed another meteoric jump in earnings with over $51.5 billion reported thus far.

The new model, which has been in chrysalis for about a decade, has finally started to leave it’s cocoon and show itself to the world. There are still a lot of kinks to work out, most notably the fact that artists only took home about 12% of that $43 billion in 2017, but the fact that money is coming in at the pace it is currently indicates that we could finally be in for a return to the golden days, or at least the ability to pay our bills.

It should come to no surprise that about 75% of revenue comes through streaming and online radio, so there doesn’t seem to be much use in spending time discussing that. What is important for artists to know, though, is how to plan marketing around your music to target those dollars. With that in mind, here are a few tips we learned from 2018 about where to spend your marketing efforts and budget.

Source: The Verge

Go Straight To The Influencers

At ngagency, we’ve always strive to keep a hyper focus on direct-to-fan marketing. As people have moved away from finding new music from those christened “gatekeepers” (i.e – radio, blogs, music magazine), we’ve shifted our focus largely to streaming and those people that fans, particularly the younger demographic, follow on a daily basis: influencers. Whether it’s a brand or individual with 50,000 followers on Spotify, a YouTube personality or an Instagram star, there are many ways to get fans to listen organically in their daily life without having to rely on them seeking new music.

YouTube is the number one resource for music discovery, so it’s important to target fans there. This could mean submitting for inclusion on a vlog like Suicide Sheep, Majestic Casual or David Dean Burkhart or it can mean working with stars in the world of gaming, parkour, fitness, makeup or any other popular realm to add your music in the background of their next video. The same goes with Instagram or Snapchat, where getting an influencer to include your music in a video or to post to their story from your show could give you instant credibility and a bunch of plays and subscribers.

Spotify Is Important, but don’t Overlook Amazon

I’ve been preaching the Amazon angle for a long time now, but I feel more and more sure of it as they unroll more upgrades to their service. They’ve got one of the biggest paid conversion rates around and they’ve fortified  their original content throughout the year with plans to expand that element of their offerings in 2019.

Recently they unveiled a new voice feature that allows listeners to customize their listening experience through a conversation with Alexa. Amazon surpassed Apple music streaming for the first time in terms of streaming and due to their increased market share, Apple was forced to allow users to play Apple Music on their Amazon owned Alexa devices.

Get onboard now with Amazon Music before it reaches Spotify’s level of importance and becomes even harder to get in touch with.

The Changing Role that Blogs Play in a Campaign

Blogs are still important, but not in the same way we’ve traditionally thought about them. A feature in a respected publication isn’t going to reach new fans like it used to, but that pull quote is still going to come in handy when you’re going after other things such as tours, shows, playlisting and radio.

In a lot of ways, a press campaign has become more of an industry resource than a method to reach fans directly. That’s not to say people don’t read blogs anymore, but a premiere with even the best outlet will still only amount to a few hundred plays, where it used to insure tens of thousands of streams. On the other hand, if you’re able to catch the ear of a reputable writer who tells your story in a larger editorial piece that may be enough to cut through the clutter and reach enough readers to actually generate new fans. This could mean the writers that take the time to write in-depth pieces could have their day in 2019.

Another note on blogs is the importance a lot of the top-tier outlets are placing on video content. If you’re going to make a push for coverage, it might be worth it to focus on setting up a time to visit the offices to record a live session or interview with one of these outlets. They’re harder to come by than a standard content post but they’re great ways to build long-term support with a publication and will likely attract more new listeners. Make sure to research which blogs and magazines do these sort of sessions and find out how to get in touch with them or hire a publicist that already has a relationship there.

The Gamers Will Listen, and There Are A Lot of Them

Nobody can deny the monumental growth of esports on youth culture that is currently happening. The gamer community has developed into an important tastemaking one and they’ve got their preferred ways of finding new music that you should be promoting to.

Earlier this year we had a client that was relatively new and had no tour dates or press to rely on. By securing a feature with the aforementioned Suicide Sheep YouTube channel and another with gamer-music hub Nightblue Music, we were able to kickstart a campaign that ended up aggregating over 20 million streams in the first three months across all services, and it just crossed 100 million streams overall in the first year. The Nightblue feature also generated countless remixes and helped solidify the artists presence on Spotify. They’ve since been able to convert that initial buzz into a steady fanbase and major touring opportunities.

Here’s to a big 2019 for your project!

Rich Nardo is a freelance writer and editor, and is the VP of Public Relations and Creative at NGAGE.

Tags: featuring music marketing