The secret guide to smarter music marketing in 2021
Music marketing has never been easy but, as James Shotwell here explains, a shift in perspective, and understanding of how contemporary fandoms work, can help pave the way to significant success.
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
Music marketing is hard for everyone, but you can unlock incredible success with a quick shift in perspective.
The most straightforward approach to successful music marketing is also the oldest. Find an artist making music similar to you that is already successful and try to win over their fans. That simple concept is the driving force behind targeted marketing. A pop-rock band that often gets compared to All Time Low, for example, will target fans of All Time Low with their digital promotions.
The motivation behind this approach to music marketing is rooted in an old way of thinking about fans and how they engage with the artists they love. At any point in history before 2006, the vast majority of listeners discover new music through sound alone. People would hear a song they liked and then seek out the artist behind it. They bought records from unknown bands because the stickers on their packaging said they were similar to bands they already knew.
But the world doesn’t work that way anymore. Thanks to the Internet and social media, consumers are more connected than ever with the creatives that they admire. We don’t just know our favorite artist’s songs; we feel like we know them. We read their every thought on Twitter, look at their personal life on Instagram, and can respond to anything they post anywhere at a moment’s notice. To put it in the simplest terms possible, the barrier between artists and fans has never been smaller than it is right now, making getting and keeping consumer attention increasingly tricky.
Today’s music fans are buying into an artist for more than their sound. Your listeners follow you because of your overall aesthetic, branding, and presentation. Your music is a gateway to an entire universe of creativity that you oversee. People who enjoy what you make want to be as close to you as possible, and they want you to feel close to them as well. They want to forge a community, both between you and them and others who like your music. Random in 2021 is about being part of something bigger than yourself, and it is the responsibility of artists everywhere to try and forge that sense of belonging amongst their followers.
In this Music Biz update, host James Shotwell explains how fandom has changed and why marketing must evolve to meet the demands of today. He provides examples to help artists understand why they need to dig deeper into their fans and their fans’ interests to find the best marketing approach. James knows that the artists who break out and lead sustainable careers today do so by possessing a deep understanding of who enjoys their music. It’s no longer about casting a wide net and hoping for great results. Music marketing today is all about niche content. Let us explain:
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James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.