As one of the most vastly consumed cultural products on the planet, music has greatly shifted marketing strategies in the modern era.
For starters, social media networks have become integral to up-and-coming artists like Maryon and Dylan Walker to establish their respective fan bases.
For years, popular platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube served as the go-to sites for finding the next big musician. These interactive platforms continue to be relevant for indie and underground artists to connect with audiences.
However, nowadays, the massive influence of music on modern marketing strategies can be best observed in the apps like TikTok. The app first started gaining the attention of marketers when it propelled Lil Nas X to stardom and enabled him to score two Grammy awards for the hip hop remix of Old Town Road. Around that time, TikTok was already catapulting musicians to the top through interactive viral dance challenges that allowed new music to circulate organically.
Between June and August of 2020, in the UK alone, the app garnered a total of 6.5 billion views in its Songs of the Summer Chart. This includes Da Baby and Roddy Ricch’s Rockstar with 825 million views, Conkarah and Shaggy’s Banana with 767 million views, and Puri’s Cono with 766 million views. Meanwhile, underrated veteran artists like Scottish Nina Nesbitt are finding that TikTok is a great way to get nearly a million views in just a couple of days. “In the UK, like in lots of places, we’ve gone through a pretty tough time,” explains Tiktok UK’s Paul Hourican via the BBC; “What we’re seeing is a real gathering around music on TikTok over the past few months.” Nowadays, it’s become common for marketing agencies and in-house creative departments to develop branding strategies based on TikTok influencers.
Outside of social media platforms, music marketing has also become very entangled with different forms of gaming. For years, music has been integral to how games from different genres design player interactions. In terms of marketing, partnerships between music and gaming entities have further strengthened the relationship between the two.
This can be observed in how popular streaming platform Twitch Prime scored a deal with EDM DJ Deadmau5 back in 2018. It led to Deadmau5’s music being used in commercials and other segments of the Livestream for Twitch Prime Day. And in turn, the result was a tangible growth in the DJ’s fan base. Today a new feature called Soundtrack by Twitch is allowing the platform’s creators to add licensed music to their streams. Tech Crunch lists artists such as Above & Beyond, Porter Robinson, mxmtoon, and SwuM as some of the musicians whose work will be accessible through the new tool. Apart from allowing musicians to cover more ground through game streaming, it also gives gamers and streamers more opportunities to discover old and new tunes from different genres.
This is not unlike the way online casinos have integrated music marketing into their own games. The popular games on Gala Bingo, such as Monsters of Rock, Michael Jackson: King of Pop, and Disco Diamonds, are aimed at fans of rock, pop, and disco, respectively. Designed to target listeners from specific genres, these games are introducing classic music to new audiences, bridging cultural musical gaps through mobile-accessible games. And with the online casino sector staking a larger and larger claim on the global video gaming industry each year, more of these musically driven slots and web games are bound to be developed in the future.
Last but certainly not least, streaming is taking over the world. In fact, by 2027, today’s online music streaming market is expected to balloon to $76.9 billion (£55.38 billion). At the forefront of this growth are platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, Bandcamp, and Tidal. These and other streaming sites have been instrumental in changing how musicians, producers, promoters, and others involved in the music industry do business. While many of the platforms have been criticised for underpaying artists, others have helped obscure talents rise to the mainstream sans traditional talent management structures. This has introduced new roles in music production and distribution while also rendering others obsolete. For the next decade, music streaming will continue to grow and influence the evolution of not just marketing but also compensation and attribution in the music industry and beyond.
These are just some of the key ways in which music is changing marketing strategies in the post-pandemic digital era. In the future, music-driven marketing is bound to further shape online gaming, live streaming, media streaming sites, social media, and any other interactive digital platforms where music can thrive.
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