Tag Archive: Music Marketing

  1. How Important Are Streaming Playlists?

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    You can have a successful marketing campaign without playlist support from streaming platforms, but it is definitely something you should consider as a marketing tool for your next release. As more and more people turn to streaming as their primary source of music listening, applying techniques that relate to these platforms can certainly help boost your reach.

    How Important Are Streaming Playlists?

    How Many People Actually Listen To Playlists?

    Before considering whether playlists are right for you, it’s important to understand how many people actually engage with playlists rather than going direct to the single, album or EP that is available.

    Kobalt Music Group (one of the largest independent music service providers in the industry) says that about 10% of streaming plays come from playlists – therefore, perhaps basing a campaign around specific services’ playlists isn’t a great long-term strategy. This is because once the music comes off the playlists you have nothing left and you are potentially only appealing to 10% of your listening audience.

    If you want to get your music onto playlists you should be mixing this with other techniques that can reach other sectors of your audience.

    What Playlists Are The Most Important?

    The answer to this question totally depends on what music you are making. Perhaps the most well-known playlists are the ‘New Music Friday’ playlists. However, the tracks on these playlists burn fast – they are constantly changing. It may be considered a high-profile playlist, but if you are considering using playlists as part of your marketing campaign then it is perhaps more beneficial to be on a more specialised playlist with less followers as this may have more engagement.

    You should define what genre of music you make and then search for playlists that are created around this type of music. Follow them for a few weeks and get to know how often the tracks are changed around. This will tell you which playlists will give you the most coverage. It’s not just about how many followers it has – a playlist could have tens of thousands of followers, but if your track is only on there for a few days then this won’t give you as much exposure as a playlist that has a couple thousand followers but gives you weeks of coverage.

    How Do I Get Playlisted?

    On sites like YouTube where there’s a user-upload system, you don’t need to engage the actual platform, just the person who is making the playlists. This can often be quite easy – most people have some sort of contact details on their channel / profile or there is a messaging system embedded into the platform. Again, find out what each playlist curator usually includes and tell them why your track would fit with that playlist.

    If you are going for the big-guns like Apple Music, Spotify, Deezer etc. then the chances are you may already be using a distributor to get your music on that platform in the first place. Some of these distributors have great relationships in place with these platforms already, and can help you get onto various playlists through their own in-house marketing packages.

    What Can I Do Myself To Boost My Marketing Efforts?

    When it comes to playlisting, you don’t have to always rely on other people to include you in their playlists to help with your marketing campaign – create your own! If you’ve got a new track you want to tell people about and link people to in your website / social media announcements, first create a playlist that has your promoted track first on the list, followed by some of your other material. For example, after someone has watched a video on YouTube it automatically starts playing content from other channels.

    If you link people to your own playlist on YouTube then it keeps people on your own content. Similarly with Spotify or Apple Music – yes, you want to be promoting that specific track, but you should also be getting people hooked on you as an artist! Why not point them in the direction of more of your content? Linking people to playlists you’ve made of your own music can do this.

    Playlists are certainly important in a marketing campaign but are not the be-all and end-all of one. It’s all about analysing your own music and figuring out what playlists and what other strategies are best for the genre of music you create and for the audience you are trying to promote to.

  2. Direct to Consumer Marketing & Data and Insights

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    On April 11th 2017 BPI held their Direct to Consumer Marketing and Data and Insights training session in London. This session was hosted by Music Ally, a company that cite themselves as a ‘knowledge company’, they advise new music businesses, bands and labels etc. We went along to gain some more knowledge of the direct to consumer marketing business models available.

    Direct to Consumer Marketing & Data and Insights

    The first section of the training session was Direct to Consumer Marketing and was a session in which to learn about the shifting business model in the music industry, learn about fanbases, how to create high value content and strategies in email, mobile and other direct marketing platforms.

    The first thing we were introduced to was the ‘Six Steps of Direct to Consumer Marketing’ which were: 

    • To create value proposition for existing fans (exclusives, meet and greets, albums etc.)
    • To onboard existing fans
    • To convert existing fans
    • To show unconverted fans value
    • To show potential fans value
    • Rinse and repeat!

    We were then introduced to the four things that (very simply) fans want:

    • Easy Access
    • Acknowledgement (Building Relationships)
    • Personalization
    • Premium Content (Exclusives)

    We then began to talk about specific examples of direct to consumer marketing being used in alignment with new technology.


    Superphone is an app available worldwide on IOS created by Ryan Leslie that claims to “turn social media followers into real people” by allowing fans to have a direct connection with artists, celebrities etc. through SMS. The app initially targets highly involved fans with the aim then being to create hype and jealousy from unconverted fans. Twilio, a programmable messaging service, was cited as a competitor, however this isn’t marketed as a ‘fan service’ product in the same way that Superphone is.

    Links can be shared through the messages such as links to merchandise sites, downloadable or purchasable content including music and all these links are tracked by Google. Relationships between the artist and fans are rated based upon the frequency of messages and the click through rate of the links shared. This gives the artists an idea of which fans are most involved and worth investing time into.


    Superbot is an additional tool for Superphone which allows you to create automated responses. For example, if a fan messages an artist asking about merchandise the word ‘merchandise’ or ‘merch’ can be set to trigger an automatic response with a link to the merchandise store. These links will take the customer to Shopify, an ‘ecommerce platform’ that can be tailored for each user.

    The Bot Platform

    The Bot Platform is a Facebook Messenger tool that creates a ‘personalised bot’ to answer customer service to fans of specific artists. Users are able to set automated messages and responses but can also choose to answer personally. The settings allow users to opt in and out of notifications which makes it easier to have personal conversations. The tool also allows users to set reminders, polls and sell merchandise. Like Superphone the messages are tracked. The tool is controlled by the fans as they have to open the message in order for the user to contact them again.

    The second half of the training session focused on Data and Insights from sales and streaming to social media insights to help us understand what types of data each service collects on your fanbase and how you can best interpret its meaning. The session included tips about the best practices for cross-platform data management, and how metadata advancements, transparency and data protection have been changing the industry.

    Firstly, we looked at what data, in theory, can tell us:

    • Who fans are
    • Where the fans are (online and offline)
    • What else these fans like

    Then we thought about what each platform allows us to know:

    • Radio – Amount of plays, territories (roughly).
    • Live Gigs – Mailing list, tickets sold (roughly), merchandise sales.
    • Charts – Sales.
    • Third Party Tracking (Neilsen Soundscan, Next Big Sound, Entertainment Intelligence, Relevator, Soundcharts) – Sales, airplay, fan demographics etc.
    • Social Media – Fan demographics, feedback/reception.

    In summary, the takeaway from the session was to: 

    • Identify your goals
    • Identify what data you have at your availability
    • Build a data strategy that accounts for the whole ‘’fan journey’ – where they spend their time online and offline
    • Understand where you receive the most value from for growth
    • Increase efficiency in marketing, product development and distribution of resources
  3. What is SoundScan?

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    A lot of artists are ready to take the next step in their musical career, with that career there are a number of factors you need to know before you can rise and take over the world with your music. One of those things is SoundScan.

    What is SoundScan?

    What is SoundScan?

    SoundScan signs up stores and has a tracking system that is operated by ACNielsen (sounds familiar?) Nielsen tracks your music and music video sold in retail in America and Canada. Billboard uses these numbers for their charts that you can check regularly on their website.

    How does it work?

    Any song, video or album or any music product carries an UPC or EAN and a ISRC (barcode). This code is needed to track your music in sales with this system. Their sales numbers get collected weekly so it gets updated very often. Which is a good thing because sales don’t stand still. It is not used or royalty payments, but instead tracks song data for use in the charts.

    Is this just for Physical sales?

    No, it isn’t just for physical sales. It also counts the music that sells in digital stores (like iTunes), but since 2014 they also include streaming into their tracking list. This makes it really easy, because everything comes from one source.

    Are these numbers accurate?

    In theory all the digital sales (streams and digital downloads) are completely correct. Because when labels and artists license digital rights to the seller, they need to report their sales to SoundScan. Digital is completely covered as you can’t really make up the streams or downloads that are shown.

    There are a lot of independent stores that aren’t signed up to SoundScan. If they are not signed up, there is no way in knowing how much of your CDs or vinyl gets sold in that store. Which means there is a blind spot in the industry sales on physical music. Unless you want to contact every store one by one, this is the most accurate sales list you’ll get for in America and Canada.

    How Do I Use It?

    To start using SoundScan to track your sales data, you need to register your tracks with Nielsen and wait for them to be approved.