It’s been a lonely trudge since the first lockdowns of March 2020. But as we turn the corner into 2021, the encouraging news is that as catastrophic as COVID-19 has been for concerts and festivals, overall growth is still happening in the music industry. By September 2020, an incredible 400 million people had subscribed to a music streaming platform. Estimates put the music streaming market of today at over $20 billion. Goldman Sachs projects the entire music industry, including other revenue streams like licensing, publishing, and merchandising will reach $131 billion by 2030! This article aims to educate artists with a few quick tips so that they grab their share of that $131 billion.
1) Your music...
Release it. There’s never going to be the perfect time to release music. If you’ve produced high quality music that you’re proud of, release it. Make sure you do your research! The music should be mastered by a professional and distributed by a reputable company that is used by other independent artists alike.
Share your music with people other than your close friends. You must look for honest criticism and feedback regarding your music, and most of the time, this won’t come from your group of friends. Find outlets, like PlaylistPush.com, where you can pitch your music to strangers and receive helpful feedback.
Build a backlog of music. Maximize your free time. Dedicate it to writing, recording, producing etc. Search for opportunities to create, because now is a chance to get better at what you do best.
2) Your social media content...
Take special care of your social media channels. Social media doesn’t have to be your number one focus, and based on your brand, you don’t need to be “on” all the time. But you do need to curate content strategically and present it in an eloquent way that your fans will appreciate. Make sure your content goes along with your “brand” or “aesthetic.”
TikTok rose past Facebook to become the most time-consuming social media app in 2020. It is fair to say that at least some of your audience is on TikTok. Explore the platform, engage with other people’s videos and make your own. TikTok is the Wild West, and you can’t hurt your career by exploring the platform. It is fairly easy to get your music on TikTok and promote it at almost no cost.
Once you feel you have a basic understanding of how to use TikTok to benefit your music career, make sure to avoid common errors like using the wrong part of your songs for TikTok sounds and dedicating your marketing budget to pay one large TikTok user.
Study TikTok and the different trends that are helping artists go viral. If you actively engage with the platform and your timing is right, you will begin to reap the benefits of this new frontier.
As an artist, Spotify should be your bread and butter. There are many details about Spotify that artists overlook. First and foremost, make sure your artist profile is aesthetically pleasing, with a professional press photo, bio, and social media links.
You must help Spotify, and its millions of users, find out about you. There are very cheap and effective ways to get your music into the ears of future fans, including the Spotify for Artists playlist pitching tool. It is important to trigger Spotify’s algorithm by first reaching as many user-generated playlists as possible. Make it a habit with every release to be placed on as many playlists as possible. This will make it much easier to be placed on those coveted Spotify editorial playlists.
3) Your audience…
Focus on your core group of fans. As you start to build an audience on Spotify, TikTok, etc., make sure you are analyzing your audience - use your Spotify for Artists data to identify the different demographics and locations where your music is resonating. Create communities with your fans by setting up a Facebook group, Reddit AMA’s or Q&A’s, etc. Make your fans feel like they're on the inside, getting exclusive access to your career. Do not forget about your core group of fans, because once you lose engagement with them, you will never get them back. Your audience dictates your brand, and everything builds from that.
This strange “new normal” is calling us to look ahead. Despite venues and festivals being locked down, royalty streams are still rising, audience sizes have continued growing, and artists are releasing more new material than ever before. We gained from more immersive listening in lockdown, with people creating fantastic playlists and actively exploring both new and catalog music. Now that the pandemic has forced us to change our ways and reorganize, there’s no better time to launch your career as an artist. Use the free tools at your disposal. Create music and content, and ship it out to the masses in a strategic way. The music industry is growing, and the stage is set for another booming decade. You have the option to jump along for the ride, or miss the opportunity and continue to wait for “the right time.”