This was a guest post we created for Marcato Musician’s blog last month. If you weren’t able to check it out yet, here it is!
It’s difficult to ignore – the music industry isn’t what it was a decade ago, let alone a few years ago. Experts agree that the music industry in its traditional form is dying. The shift towards digital has caused a slump in physical record sales, a decrease in full-album purchases, and consequently, a less lucrative industry as revenues continue to fall (It’s estimated that CD sales fell 9% in 2011.). And while the physical music industry is sliding down a slippery slope, the digital side is climbing as consumers become increasingly tech and mobile-savvy. Digital sales rose by 8% in 2011, elevating digital revenue to $5 billion.
For music artists, the surge in digital-savvy consumers is a good thing – actually, a very good thing. To compete in this cutthroat industry where only the best find success, music artists need to take advantage of the tools readily available in the marketplace. What can be seen as a wake-up call for the industry can also be a music artist’s best friend.
Technology has enabled musicians to promote their music in ways that physical records could never do. The Internet has given musicians the ability to reach a wider audience from all corners of the world; it has also made it easier for consumers to purchase all genres of music in a blink of an eye while spending less. With digital, the limitations of a physical record store are no longer. Music has become more global and more accessible with technology.
How Musicians Can Leverage Technology to Stay On Top
Musicians can use technology to promote their music and connect with new and existing fans.
1. Create Online Buzz
One of the most powerful and easiest ways to create online buzz is through social networks: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others are easy to set up, free, and most importantly reach hundreds of millions of users a.k.a. potential fans.
YouTube can be used to share video content, including music videos, behind-the-scenes clips, and vlogs. The fastest way to be seen on YouTube is by uploading viral content, which can quickly be seen by the millions of users who watch over 3 billion videos a day.
Musicians can use Facebook to build their fanbase by creating a fan page to create photo albums, post more personal content, and view the demographics of their fans.
Musicians can use Twitter to give followers real-time updates on their whereabouts, music releases, and more; Twitter can also be used to host real-time chats with fans called Tweet Chats.
2. Foster the Community
Technology has created bridges between states, countries, and even continents. Back in the day, musicians connected with their fans on tour, during record signings, fan meets, and other events. But now, musicians can connect with their fans through the Internet and, increasingly, mobile devices. And it’s not just musicians who can connect with fans; fans can connect with each other as well.
With mobile devices, interaction is no longer limited to the desktop. Fans can be part of the conversation wherever, whenever. To have mobile presence, consider creating your own mobile app. Creating a mobile app from scratch is a big investment in both time and money- two things that most beginning artists don’t have enough to spare. Luckily, there are app platforms available for musicians to easily and inexpensively build their own social apps for fans.
3. Increase Music Sales
Creating online buzz and building your fan base are important; however, without sales, musicians can’t survive for long.
It used to be people had to go to their local record store to buy CDs and cassettes. This isn’t the case anymore. Technology has enabled consumers to make their purchases online. And with the introduction of digital music, consumers can purchase and download their music in an instant. The problems associated with physical merchandise like shipping & handling, available stock, and damages are gone with digital downloads.
Digital music is more convenient, customizable, accessible, and in most cases less expensive than CDs. People only need an Internet connection to access music from thousands of artists, both mainstream and underground, across all genres. To get their music out to the masses, musicians should aim to make their music available online, whether in digital stores and streaming services or on the homepage of their website. If consumers have more opportunities to listen to your music, they’ll be more inclined to purchase their favorite tracks.
One thing is certain: Technology will continue to advance and change the music industry. Musicians must not fight this; they must embrace technology and take advantage of the opportunities available to climb to the top.