In this article, we will dive deep into why social media is an essential marketing tool for aspiring artists; the best social media platforms for musicians; and different content ideas to help grow and maintain your audience.
Whether you like it or not, social media can have a huge effect on your career. Think of each channel as a free marketing tool. You can quickly and easily spread the news about new music, upcoming gigs, future collaborations – anything you want, all with just a few clicks.
Press, promoters, fans and other artists will look at your profiles to understand more about you as an artist. You should use these channels to show the personality behind the music. Whether you're a serious techno head, a fun disco producer, or a chill ambient musician – show people what you’re about. It’s time to think hard about your brand and your image, and how you want you and your music to be perceived by the public.
Social media is constantly evolving, with new platforms coming and going all the time. In our fast-paced modern world, some apps become global smash hits whilst others fizzle out without a trace. Let’s break down the best platforms for aspiring independent artists, DJs and producers.
After gigs and shows were put on hold by the pandemic, fans needed an alternative way to interact with music. Twitch stepped in to save the day. In January 2020, 4.6 million hours of music-related content was viewed on Twitch. Fast forward to January 2021, and 24 million hours were viewed in the same period of time. It’s a new, exciting, and growing channel, which is still finding its feet within the music industry, but one thing is for sure, it’s definitely worth exploring if you’re looking to reach a huge global audience.
The musicians’ choice. Bandcamp is an online platform that allows artists to create their own online store to promote and sell their music and merch. Artists can sell digital downloads, vinyl, cassettes, clothing, and more. The welfare of artists is at the heart of everything Bandcamp does, and that’s why independent musicians love it so much. They also pay artists much more than the big streaming companies: when a fan buys an item on Bandcamp, an average of 82% of the money goes to the artist. If you want a fairer cut of your income and want to connect with genuine music lovers, Bandcamp is the platform for you.
Sharing music has always been a huge part of growing an audience – whether it’s music fans sharing tracks with their friends, or DJs playing tracks to a packed dance floor. Now social media has made sharing music across the globe instantaneous, giving musicians the tools to share their music with their fans around the world, instantly. The potential reach of Instagram is incredible. Back in February 2021, Instagram estimated to have over 1 billion users. Instagram also has great in-built features for producers, such as Stories, which allows you to link directly to your Spotify and SoundCloud accounts.
TikTok is the new kid on the block. This short-form video platform has taken the world by storm. At the beginning of 2021, TikTok reported having 689 million monthly active users worldwide. Not bad for an app that has only been around for 5 years. The interesting thing about TikTok is its audience. Compared to other social media channels, TikTok’s audience is mostly between the age of 10 and 29 – exposing artists’ music to a much younger market. TikTok can have a massive impact on your Spotify streams and listener growth. For now, the royalties you’ll receive aren’t huge, but the chance of being discovered on a new and exciting platform is priceless.
SoundCloud has been a staple for electronic artists and DJs for over a decade – it’s still one of the biggest audio platforms around today. Users can stream or upload music to SoundCloud, and stay up to date with new music by subscribing to their favourite artists. There are currently over 200 million tracks on SoundCloud, reaching approximately 175 million people every month. In March 2021, SoundCloud announced it would begin using fan-powered royalties, a fairer and more transparent way for newer and independent artists to earn money. Each listener’s subscription or advertising revenue is divided amongst the artists they love, rather than being pooled with artists they don’t listen to.
Welcome to the biggest stage on Earth – at least that’s what YouTube claims. With approximately 1.86 billion YouTube users worldwide, they’re probably not far off either. Much like Twitch, YouTube is a video platform primed for experimentation. Upload your music, videos and covers, but why not try something new to make you stand out? Many artists and musicians are using YouTube to give fans an insight into their creative process and creating a loyal community that way. Production tutorials are a great way to establish yourself on YouTube. With so many budding DJs and producers in the world, you’re sure to find an audience if your tutorials are educational, helpful, and entertaining.
With so many platforms to promote yourself and your music, we don’t blame you if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Don’t worry, there’s a lot of crossover between these channels, and lots of ways that you can re-use your music and content across all of them. This section is all about building a strategy to grow your audience organically and inspiring you with engaging content ideas.
Before you even think about writing your first social caption, it’s important to know who makes up your audience. This will help you decide which platforms to use, and how best to engage with your fans. If you’re an EDM producer with younger fans, SoundCloud and TikTok could be a good place to start. Making experimental ambient? Bandcamp is probably the place for you. Do your research and decide which platforms you want to start out with. If you want to put in the work and use all of them, go for it, but it might be best to start with one or two. Take your time to understand the intricacies of each platform to increase your chances of growing your fanbase.
Now the important part: the content. Although there is room to share certain content across a variety of channels, that doesn’t mean it’s a one size fits all situation. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses, so take this into consideration. TikTok and Instagram Stories are perfect for bite-sized video clips, so imagine what interesting ideas you could create in that format: track teasers, quick production tips, clips from your studio. If you think Twitch is the way to go, you have a lot more time, space, and creative potential to help entice your audience. You could live-stream your production process, a weekly DJ mix, or a live Q&A with your fans.
Remember, these are just ideas to get you started. Check out what other artists you admire are doing and use them as inspiration. Don’t copy them, but think about what you like about their approach and whether there is something you can add to that idea that is innovative and interesting. Creating something unique that shows who you are as an artist will make you stand out much more.
Unfortunately, there is no secret recipe for making it on social media. It’s a process of trial and error. But we can give you a few key ingredients that can help you on the path to digital stardom.
Switch up your content: no one wants to see the same posts clogging up their timeline. You’ll get more followers by mixing it up! Upload videos, share pictures, do giveaways, share teasers of your music, discuss your creative process and equipment you use, and most importantly, interact with your fans. Make them feel part of the conversation and part of your journey.
All of your channels are an extension of you, your music, and your personality. Use them wisely. You’re not a global corporation, so don’t talk like one. Be yourself, get creative, and post content that’s exciting and shows fans the person behind the music.