MUSICIANS DOMINATE SOCIAL-MEDIA FEEDS
Musicians Dominate Social-Media Feeds
By Nate Rau – USA Today Network – Tennessee – 8-17-18
With a single tweet, Blake Shelton can alert 20.7 million fans to his upcoming single or pass along details of his latest television appearance.
Before he was a platinum-selling star on a major record label, Kane Brown was an independent artist cultivating a following on Facebook.
And buzzworthy Nashville pop artist Phangs books house shows across the country using his social-media channels.
Social media is no longer a side dish in an artist’s career. It is the lifeblood of the entire music industry.
And new research unveiled on Monday from the firm MusicWatch shows that the music industry — more than Hollywood, sports or politics — dominates social media.
MusicWatch conducted survey-style research asking questions of people who use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat regularly. The results of the research crystallized the reach, impact and popularity of music among social-media users: Music is more popular on social media than any other categories of social media.
“The overall numbers are pretty impressive,” said Russ Crupnick, managing partner at MusicWatch. “When half of Twitter users are engaging in terms of getting updates from artists, bands or influencers, that’s substantial. When you have almost 70 percent who are viewing photos or videos or live events, we’re not talking about niche. This is something that is a big, big deal to a substantial part of their audience.
Among the study’s findings:
› 44 percent of Facebook users like an artist or band.
› 51 percent of Twitter users follow or get updates from an artist or influencer.
› 68 percent of Snapchat users view or most videos from a live event.
› 56 percent of Instagram users follow, share posts or tag artists.
Crupnick said one finding from the research that jumped out to him was the sheer number of ways that music fans interact with the artists they love.
The relationship isn’t simply static. Fans don’t passively follow artists. They view video, share posts and tag friends with photos at concerts.
Most importantly, the MusicWatch research discovered that music fans are hunting for so-called hard news: When does an artist come to town? When is the next single going to be posted on social media? When will the new album be released?
“I think where music is different from other social-media categories is the number of things people are doing with them — following, or commenting, or music discovery, or linking this to a streaming service, or finding tickets or live information,” Crupnick said. “I don’t know that any other category of entertainment you can find on entertainment on social media offers the variety of engagement.”
With the immense popularity of music on social media, it has logically been a game changer within the music industry.
Whereas as recently as five years ago, social media was more of an afterthought than a major pillar in an artist’s career. In music industry towns like Nashville, social-media strategy has become a viable profession with vice-president-level positions at booking agencies, artist management firms and record labels.
“Companies are starting to hire more digital specialists because it’s become such an important focus area. Agencies, labels, managers — they’re all bringing digital in-house,” said Nick Barnes, an agent specializing in digital strategy with United Talent Agency. “Since most music discovery happens online now, digital promotion, specifically playlist curation, has become the driving force for fans to find new music.”
Barnes said that social-media-savvy artists recognize the different kinds of content necessary for each of the platforms. The days of sharing the same basic post on four different platforms are long gone.
Music fans expect a different experience and different kinds of content, Barnes said.
“I often tell my clients that social media is now an integral part of their business,” Barnes said. “It’s crucial to make the digital plan front and center in an artist’s marketing strategy in order for them to succeed and connect with their audience.
“Luke Pell does a great job of crossing all platforms and making very specific content for each separate channel. Before he was a touring country musician, he was part of the TV world and he understands that not all content fits every platform. You can’t make one thing and put it on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram and expect the same level of engagement — viewers are looking for something different from each one.”
Barnes said the rise of social media has created challenges for artists to engage their fans. In effect, social media is the new battleground for winning over and educating music fans. Artists at all levels — from Taylor Swift with 87 million Twitter followers to Phangs with 3,600 — are implementing creative strategies to attract and engage fans.
“Getting fans to engage on social media is the top priority,” Barnes said. “With the rise of videos, views, likes and shares comes the amplification of actual content. Even though fans are interacting more, it’s becoming harder for an artist to cut through all the noise and resonate with their audience.”
Nate Rau writes for The Tennessean in Nashville.