Top music ‘growth hacks’ you need to avoid
While every scrappy artist out there is eager find ways to quickly grow their success, many “get famous quick” schemes out thre are simply too good to be true, and can end up harming your music career.
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
Everyone wants to make it big in music, but utilizing these popular growth hacks could derail your career entirely.
Talking about a time in music where the only thing you needed to succeed was talent is like talking about the world before automobiles. Any musician breaking through in 2021 is doing so because they have much more than talent. Today’s stars are musicians, brand ambassadors, marketing directors, and social media wizards. They are plugged in and engaging with followers 24/7 while diversifying their revenue streams for long-term sustained growth. Being proficient as a musician is a plus, of course, but one can argue it’s not the most crucial element to success. At least not right now.
But here’s the thing. Many outstanding musicians have a genuine fear of never being hurt because they are not strong marketers. They worry that they’re a follower count or the number of likes they get on each Instagram post will somehow dictate the fate of their career. Despite having everything we tell each other you need to be a star, Carroll is musicians find themselves feeling desperate and helpless because they don’t know how to make the internet like them. It may read like a silly thing, but it’s not. The internet is the heart of culture. Artists either learn how to go with the flow, or they sink into anonymity.
When you Google advice for growing your digital presents, millions of articles regurgitate the same dozen or so ideas on making friends with strangers. In truth, the best advice is usually the simplest. People who make good content and treat others with kindness often rise to the top. How long that takes to accomplish depends on about a million factors, including how lucky you are with the uncaring algorithms, but it works if you work it.
A lot of the other ideas you find are more deceptive. Growth hacking is a work-intensive, systematic approach to undermining algorithms that rarely produces actionable results. These so-called tricks will have artists direct messaging strangers and engaging with old posts in a desperate attempt to attract followers. It’s the social media equivalent to “spray and pray,” only the results are somehow worse.
In this Music Biz update, host James Shotwell addresses five popular growth hacks for building online followings and the ways they can harm your career. He explains the difference between giving the appearance of an audience and having engaged followers and the many ways the industry will review an artist’s digital stats before working with them. Check it out:
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.
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