Yes we are on the verge of the apocalypse and just about every music venue is shut down. The main revenue stream for most artists (live shows) has completely vanished. Not only that, artists are mostly self-employed with sporadic income, making it even tougher to claim unemployment benefits. Here are some tips on how to not only increase your fanbase but also maintain your sanity and come out of this strange era better than before.
How your music fits into quarantine time.
Are you an instrumental pianist? Create a work-from-home playlist for the millions of people 'Working From Home' like Matthew Mayer did. Is your music more upbeat? Create an at home workout playlist. Is your music sad? There are plenty of people out there that are super bummed right now. Think of how your music can fit into lockdown mode.
If you're going to livestream have a game plan.
I have seen a ton of artists scrambling to put together half ass live streams in a mad scramble to engage with their fans. 90% of these live streams have been at the wrong time of day, the artist did nothing before hand to promote the livestream, there was zero direction or thought put into the show, the stream started and ended in a weak manner, and there was little ask/engagement from the audience.
A few livestream tips:
- Don't use Instagram live. Yes everyone is on Instagram but Instagram is also on everyone's phone. The moment someone gets a text, a tweet or a phone call, they’re off the stream. Most people who are at home tend to stick to desktop/smart TV-compatible platforms like Twitch and YouTube.
- Set up and promote the show. Build some hype around the show and give your potential viewers an idea of exactly what you are going to be doing. Even if it’s just you and your guitar, tell your fans that ahead of time. “Just me and my guitar tonight at 7PM PST.”
- Engage with your audience. There is a reason gamers make millions from live streams - they engage and thank their viewers. This is not a live show where you should just get up there and play. If you are a DJ do song requests for tips etc. Be creative and engage with the comments!
- Stick to a schedule. Just like your favorite shows and music, they come out on specific days of the week. Lock in a time or frequency you can stick with, and promote that time. Eventually, people will get used to your presence and look forward to your stream! Don’t expect the whole world to tune into your first live stream...you need to be consistent. Do not dabble with live streaming, either go all in or don't do it at all.
Do a career audit.
Sit down and write down everything you did in the past year. Figure out what is working and what you are doing because you have always been doing it. Artists have a habit of doing things just to do things. If you get no/little engagement on Twitter then delete it. Is your artist's Facebook page dead? Get rid of it and figure out what is bringing in cash. Are your streams on Spotify slowly increasing? Maybe time to double down on driving what fans you have there.
The new normal: 100% digital.
We don’t know how long this will last. Mayor Garcetti announced Angelenos could be on lockdown until MAY. It's time to settle in and figure out your digital strategy. Are you an extrovert? Focus on livestreams and direct communication, show your fans your production process, and take them behind the scenes. Are you an introvert? Focus on volume of releases, get your music on Spotify playlists, create a YouTube channel and upload music you like - even build a playlist with music you like to share with your fans.
Double down on your streaming promo.
People are streaming a ton of music while on lockdown globally. This is a great time to get your foot in the streaming door or max out what is already working. Shameless plug warning: Services like Playlist Push will help you increase your streaming activity and discoverability on Spotify. This a fast-track way to get your music into the ears of more potential fans on Spotify.
TikTok is steadily becoming one of the best promotional channels for artists. There is a large, young user base constantly looking for new music to make dance videos or skits to. It is very easy to “go viral” on TikTok and quickly build followers. As an example look at this TikTok video about Playlist Push that now has over 4 million views! Link to video: https://vm.tiktok.com/GY8kbg/
Tap into artist/songwriter relief funds.
Multiple charitable sources of popped up for artists and songwriters since Covid-19 has emerged. Here is a list of funds/sources.
Stay positive and best of luck!