Tag Archive: Music

  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

    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

    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. Is DIY the Way To Go?

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    Many artists are turning to labels in the hope they’ll become the superstars they dream of. But sometimes going for a label isn’t the best option. That’s what singer-songwriter Milow thought before he jumpstarted his career. He made the very wise decision to go DIY on everything. This is not only smart, this is also very positive for your career.

    Is DIY the Way To Go?

    Milow is pretty small compared to Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. They started off DIY with the knowledge of how powerful the internet can be.

    The Good

    Distribution: You can use an online distributor to distribute your music to the digital and physical stores. This means that you maintain your rights as a musician and get a lot more income than in a label deal with royalties.

    Direct to Fan: You can also build a very close relationship with your fans. Just like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis believed that the power of the internet would be strong enough to build a fanbase. They connected to the fans through YouTube and Tumblr, which was their ‘label’ they used to do their marketing.

    Crowdfunding: This is connected to the last point above. If you’re willing to give your fans an exclusive view of what you’re doing, you can invite them to your crowdfunding website. Just don’t forget that crowdfunding (like Kickstarter, GoFundMe…) isn’t a charity. It’s a pre-sale of the actual work you’re going to deliver.

    Marketing: This can be a good and a bad thing. You have everything in hand if you do it DIY. In other words, you decide what you put out there and have full control of what you want to do. But this also means you have to invest into your own brand. Bear in mind that labels will see this as an ‘advance’ and would ask for the money back at one point.

    Making cover songs can help your career. Milow made a cover of ‘Ayo Technology’ by 50 Cent in 2008 on his acoustic guitar with a videoclip along with it. The Belgian artist got his international breakthrough and got in the top charts in like Finland, Italy, Germany and even Canada.

    Music Rights: With a label they’ll ask you to sign a contract where you have to part ways with your music (giving a piece of your music rights to them). They do this so they can distribute your music etc. You don’t have to do this when you go DIY.

    The Bad

    Funding (for recordings, videoclips…): If you are signed to a label, they will have a budget to promote you or to record your songs. You don’t have this when you go DIY. But then again, this is an opportunity to be very creative with your crowdfunding page.

    Marketing: DIY is a great way to go, but it doesn’t mean that marketing will be any easier. A label has the right connections to get your music to new potential fans. But, the thing about labels is that they won’t (most of the times) sign an artist that doesn’t already have an existing fanbase. If you look at the majors doing marketing campaigns, it doesn’t really feel human and feels more like a well oiled machine.

    Is DIY Right for Me?

    Labels are there to make it easier, but it’s really a choice you have to think about.

    Do you want to invest hours and hours into thinking of strategies to get your music to your old and new potential fans, and probably invest tons of your own money?

    Or do you want to get stuck in advances and probably get no royalties for the first years of your career?

    This doesn’t mean that all labels work the same way, but you have to be careful what you sign in regards of your music.